Let me start by saying I searched previous topics to see if I could bump an already similar thread, and couldn’t find one I thought would fit. But if the mods see this as fitting in one of the others, I’m happy to see it moved.
I’ve been holding myself back from starting a topic on this because I figure there might not be any real answer, or the answer might be different for everyone, or the dreaded answer might be that I already know the answer, and if I do know it, I guess my problem then becomes either accepting the answer, or I don’t know what to do with the answer. But I’m just going to get it out so I can say I’m not bottling it up.
I’ve just grown unsatisfied with my playing (like many of us, I’m sure), my current state of progress, and my inability to figure out which way to step. I’m (technically) stalled at Gr 2, Module…14 for sure, maybe even a little of 13. From my previous discussions over the summer I determined I needed to stop moving ahead in the lessons, learn some songs, and let a lot of the course material consolidate. I’ve been doing that at least a couple of months (a few weeks sprinkled in where I was pulled away for personal reasons and didn’t get to focus on the guitar in any way), so maybe there’s been a total of 8 weeks where I just focused on memorizing some songs. Some things have consolidated, I think. Some haven’t.
I forced myself to start looking away from the app while I tested my memory on songs as they played. I find that somewhat effective for memorizing. But what I find very un-fun is playing without a backing track. It really shows how bad my playing is (obvious as to why). I can play perfectly in time with a drum beat. Without one, my timing isn’t terrible but also not great (remember I’ve played piano a long time, I don’t struggle too bad with timing). But it’s the sounds coming out of the amp. Urgh! I don’t like them!
Here are some particulars when trying to learn songs and practice in general:
Chords not sounding good (muted strings or fret buzz). I’m aware that this is supposed to improve with time…I guess? But I just don’t see how it’s going to get better with just practicing songs, I just feel like I’m going to play badly forever. How long before these fingers start making better sounds?
The lyrics. Sheesh I can’t remember lyrics very well at all. That’s another of the hardest things about not playing with the app and the songs that have an actual singer- I am struggling with how to start a song and end a song, and remembering or knowing all the lyrics.
Retention. Yeah I will learn a song pretty good for a week or two. Then I’ll get a difficult task at work that over the course of several days pushes out the song I just learned and then I have to pretty much start over. Or I’ll move on to a new song and by the time I learn it, the other one’s disappeared from my brain. So its a cycle of drilling the same 3 or 4 songs for weeks on end.
Pick clicking noise. Sometimes it really just drives me nuts. No matter what material I play with its so very clicky.
Rhythm playing versus lead playing - I’m getting very anxious about not ever learning lead playing or single note melodies. Surely there are lessons on this? I just need to be told to relax about it, I think, that it will come. And the fact that one guitar can’t do both…or can it? Is that taught or discouraged? But a song never sounds right without both lead and rythym, in my opinion.
Which leads to my topic title - how do you learn songs? I read so many forums where new players are asking for songs that are easy to learn and people just bombard them with songs and bands and say ‘this is easy, that is easy’, ‘try this, try that’… and I’m just bewildered. Try…HOW??? Like by ear?? That makes me think I’d learn a song with the complete wrong fingerings (as seen in any of my question posts I tend to make things very hard) seeing as I don’t know where in the hell to put my fingers.
Do you (yes, you the reader) learn by ear by figuring out a song regardless of whether you’re making the correct chord, whether its an efficient way or not, or if the chord progressions are correct? Do you learn the lead, or melody, or simply the chords? Do you just play the recorded version over and over and over and over and over and over? Do you look up tab instead? A chord book? Do you only learn what Justin has a lesson plan on? Do you have some other plan of attack? Do you learn one easy version and then learn a hard/accurate version later? Before the internet and Youtube, was it easier or harder to learn songs? I just find it overwhelming I guess with how to learn a song, and why it will sound like crap for so long, and how long it will sound like crap for.
Maybe I should just start moving on in lessons to break the frustration cycle, not sure.
Sorry this is so long, and probably full of questions that have no real specific answers since we’re all different.