Hi . I’m Marc. I live in a coastal town about 1.5 hours north of Sydney, Australia.
I just wanted to reach out and get some advice so I’m practicing the way I should be. I’ve been using the app and have done a few modules in Grade 2 but when it comes to practice, I’m wondering if I’m doing it correctly and how others approach practice.
I’ll complete the module, then do the practice for that module and then move on to the next module but should practice be cumulative or should I just be practicing for the module I’ve just completed? I feel like I’m fine doing the module practice but I’m forgetting things that I’m not sure I should be forgetting. For instance, I learnt to play Wish You were Here and then moved on but now I’m no longer practicing that song, I’ve forgotten a good part of it a few weeks down the line.
I guess my question is… Is it OK to be forgetting songs we’re no longer practicing when we’ve moved on a few modules? How do you treat practice? Do you add the songs to a song list so you don’t let those things you’ve learnt fall through the cracks? Where do you keep your song list, within the app? What else should I be doing besides doing the structured practice in the app at the end of the module?
I kinda feel like I’m not doing everything I should be doing.
I have always gone back to songs that I particularly liked as I have improved and learned different techniques. Taking the example of “Three little birds” by Bob Marley, on the beginner course it’s pretty basic but sounds ok, once you’ve learned syncopation and a real reggae strumming pattern you can make it really sound like the original. That’s true for all of the early pieces that you learn so is worthwhile doing.
Forgetting songs you’ve once learned because you aren’t playing them is par for the course. Personally learning songs is what gives me the most enjoyment so keeping on top of my repertoire is a good part of my regular / daily practice. I often go back and dig up songs I used to have memorized and play them to get them back into current memory. Usually it only takes a small number of plays to get it back to where I can play it completely from memory.
Welcome to the community, good to hear from another Aussie, we are also in New South Wales, within spitting distance of the Queensland border.
This is the best advice one could give. When practicing something try always to understand why you’re practicing it, this will lead to develop and bulid your unique way to your goals. In the course, can’t remember where exactly, Justin asks that we have a certain number of songs from memory before we move on, I couldn’t understand why and I found it so difficult, the App makes you work on other aspects but doesn’t help in this. But just try and you’ll understand for yourself why it’s so important to memorise a song. Choose one that you really really love
Thanks Silvia. Yeah, I find using the app is great but definitely have been feeling like I’m missing something along the way. So when it comes to songs, do you just collect some tabs together and keep a songbook outside of the app?
@Norrie Yeah, a songbook is a very good idea. Justin has a lesson in the Beginner Course over the website, check it out and it’ll show how to best do it. Working on one song at the time seems also a very good idea. Enjoy your journey.
Hi Marc, memorising songs over a longer period of time is also difficult for me.
There is one video lesson from Justin where he explains, what he recommends for easier memorising. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it anymore, to put a link here. Maybe somebody else from the community knows which video it was.
Justin says, that after learning the song perfectly, he repeats playing it from memory after a week, after two weeks, after a month, after 3 months,… Finally, after about a year, he won’t forget it anymore.
Thanks Nicole. I might take some time and have a scan through some older lessons. I’m sure I’ll find a few more things I probably should’ve taken in better. I did the Songbook lesson Sylvia talked about but obviously I’d just thought that’s a good idea and moved on to learning the next lot of chords and not put that into action. I don’t recall seeing the one you’re talking about. Maybe it’s still ahead for me. I’m still only a couple of modules into grade 2.
Hi Marc! This is just my opinion as a visual/tactile person. It might work for you too. I think some of it is understanding sheet music and tablature because it’s giving you directions. If you can understand the “directions” of the song as they are written you will be much more prepared to play it correctly whether your memory kicks in or not.
I’m learning how to read both and trust me it helps your confidence to pick up a guitar book or music book and go “ yes I mostly understand the songs in this book as written and I will take a crack at it!” Or “ Nope. Not at that level of musicianship yet. Completely bamboozled.”
A lot of amazing guitarists though find some other way of learning that works for them. But me, I need all the help I can get so I’m gonna try to read the directions. Plus I want to learn to compose and it’s hard to compose if you don’t speak the language of music.
Welcome Norrie, from another Aussie, on the mid north coast of NSW. Almost neighbours mate
Re your post. In the end its all about songs. Thats why we play guitar. But of course, we need to also develop the knowledge, technique, muscle memory etc, in order to play those songs. So something like 50% songs and 50% technique, chords, scalesc,rhythm etc for practice. Of course, its a personal thing in the end, so whatever suits your goals.
Definitely get a songbook together though, with some songs you’ve learnt that you like, and make 1-2 of them a part of every practice routine. Thats what will help hone the techniques, chord changes, etc that you’ve been practicing. Plus its fun, mostly . Popular sites like Ultimate Guitar have literally over a million songs/ tabs available that you can print out.
@sclay Thanks mate. Yeah, I’ve been trawling Ultimate Guitar but I need to start learning whole songs instead of bits of songs. Do you set up a playlist in Apple Music or Spotify or similar to play along with?
I’ll often use Youtube initially. You can play over full songs, or often find song backing tracks. You can slow it down as well.
For songs I’m really working on, I’ll usually download it locally so I can better analyse it, change speed, loop sections etc…
Lots of good advice already in this thread, here’s my take on it.
When a module includes a song or a riff lesson, it’s usually there to teach you a specific skill, or to get you thinking about something, or to give you a little taste of a playing style to see if you like it, not with the intention that you must learn how to play each riff and song perfectly from memory before you move on.
Justin usually says something along the lines of “you’ve at least had a go at …” a riff piece, when talking about whether you should move on from a module.
One notable exception was the Happy Birthday Fingerstyle lesson, where he said you should be able to play it at a party before you move on, so really you would need to have it memorised to pass that requirement. A lot of people found that lesson very difficult at this level.
Bottom line, if you love WYWH and you want to learn to play it all the way through from memory, go for it. If you don’t, and you feel like you’ve learned the lesson that Justin was trying to teach by introducing you to that song, then go ahead and drop it.
Every now and then I have a go at one of the riffs that I had previously passed, just to see how much of it I can still play. I always forget how to play the La Bamba riff and have to piece it together again, but that’s not a big deal for me. Having La Bamba permanently memorised is not one of my guitar goals.