Singer Songwriters and Learning Songs: Reading Chord Charts and Playing by Memory

What approach do you take when you want to learn a new song: Use any chords you can find, use tabs or books or learn the song by ear?

Learning a song by ear is far the best method, but also the one which will take the most of your time: By the time you figured out the song you will have a good idea about the groove of the song, the sound of the drums and what most instruments play. It may have taken you some time but the song is now in your system, you have played along with the song while working out the riffs, or chords, and you really do know the structure of that song.

What about learning a song from your screen? Nothing wrong, but keep listening to the song, do not just get the words and keep reading the chords while you play. Try to get away from the screen, or paper or whatever memory aid you are using. Learn the song, play the chords and listen to the sound you are making. Get the chords to ring full and just play. You can play while you sing, you can also listen to the chords while you just play and not sing. By doing so you help to get the song into your system, and once you do know that structure of the song you will be able to play better.

When you play with other people, try to memorize the song as much as you can. Once you have done this you will find the playing experience more rewarding since you can feel where your parts fit in the context of the rest of the band, or ensemble.

Enjoy your playing and hope to see you soon again,