Well done, Jeff. … JT is a great challenge for anyone and you accompanied him brilliantly.
Us finger-pickers in here know the challenge of combining playing and singing.
For me learning tab just takes (lots of) time, but lyric learning I struggle with. Writing out long-hand helps me; but we’re not all wired the same, so whatever works best for you.
FWIW, this is what works for me:
- Learn the chords first and then get the tune’s fingering down. Tab helps me, but the objective is 100% commit it all to memory. I cannot read music score well enough, so learn beat & cadence/rhythm by ear.
2a. Start to play it along with a version you like; also listen to words and their timing to the tune. Listen to the song as performed (often enough not to lose interest ! ).
2b. In parallel start to commit the lyric to memory.
- Start singing along to your finger-picking but without the lyric, (ie. la-la-la) to get the rhythm and flow of the song’s lyric down.
- By this stage bringing the tune and lyric together becomes a much easier task.
At this point it becomes possible to focus on performing your cover version a song. Views differ on this, but I don’t think a performance is possible if one still needs to rely on written tab and lyric.
… just my penny-worth.