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How Learning Your Favourite Songs Can Limit Your Guitar Playing

Posted by The MindMusicMentor on August 19, 2012

Hi There,

Being inspired to want To Learn the Guitar usually comes about from hearing certain sounds, certain songs that literally strike a chord with You, really resonate with You, really make You stop and really notice the Guitar – make You actually think that Yes it would be really great if You could just play some of the songs of Your favourite heroes.

And If you’re like most people, You may even try to do this either all on Your own or with the help of a teacher to help You learn the songs that You feel You really want to Play.

And there’s nothing really wrong with this approach, short term, being able to play on Guitar the songs and getting the sounds of Your heroes can seem very rewarding, and yet a scenario that seems to come up all too often is the guitar player who has been playing for perhaps 10 years or more, either self-taught or perhaps even had some lessons and can play some of their favourite songs, and yet they feel that over the last ten years there is still something missing in their playing.

Yes they can follow chord charts and TABs and yet there still is something deeper that they are missing from their music, a deeper understanding, a deeper musical foundation that they have not developed because they have just been focussed on “only learning to play their favourite songs” and completely avoided everything else, something that while they may still enjoy picking up the Guitar, this missing element of really understanding music having this solid musical intuitive understanding is not there.

This is easier to understand with some actual examples – If say You like the Music of Oasis – then the obvious thing would be to simply learn the music of Oasis – and yet if you wanted to get a much deeper understanding – and this is what too many all too often miss, it would also be good to gain a better understanding of the influences behind Oasis – such as The Beatles, and The Punk Rock Group The Sex Pistols – and then get a musical understanding of the influences behind the Beatles, the Sex Pistols and so on.

Similarly if You consider a more recent band like Vincent Vincent & the Villains and a song like “Pretty Girl” – then yes You could of course learn how to play this song – and yet it would be way more usefull to develop the understanding of where key elements of that sound came from – in this instance Bo Diddeley from the 1950s and consider songs as well like Bo Diddeley, Mona By The Rolling Stones, King Rocker By Generation X.

And by taking this approach You begin to get a much deeper understanding of the foundations of music – and by understanding the influences, the heroes if You will of Your guitar heroes – You will be laying the foundation  musically to consider arrangements and even be able to begin the process of composing Your own music because your exposure in terms of listening and playing is far broader.

Anther way to think about this is that if Music were a house – then learning Your favourite songs would be like building a one room apartment – if instead You learn about the influences and what makes particular sounds that You like work – well instead of building Your Musical one room apartment, You are quite literally creating Your very own Multi-Room Musical mansion.

It is usually when students make this shift in their thinking away from just wanting to learn their “Favourite songs” to wanting to get a far deeper and broader understanding of music that I am able to help them the most towards becoming the guitarists they want to be; this is one of the reasons why there are many classic songs in the student shows – this really helps to deepen Students’ musical foundation by helping them broaden their musical understanding – and be able to play multiple styles of music really well as well as compose their own.

Going Past Just wanting to learn Your favourite songs, not limiting Your Musical options, getting a deeper understanding – (after all even Your Guitar Heroes have Guitar heroes and knowing about them can only be a good thing) – is one of the main keys to becoming the Guitar Player You want To Be – and not just a copy of someone else!

Til Next Time


Andres Guitar Academy – Where Students Go Beyond Their Favourite Songs!


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