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Old 12-05-2012, 06:09 AM   #1
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Angry I can't learn and memorize songs

Hi, I've been playing guitar for 2 years and in those two years I have been learning and practicing scales, studying theory, and improvising.

However, I have never learned a whole song or solo. I have trouble memorizing licks because it feels like remembering a telephone number.

This is becoming a huge problem for me because I am a self taught player, because I learn from instructional DVDs and I have trouble remembering and the exercises. I also want to learn how to play my favorite songs on guitar.

My Learning Process goes like this:
-I learn the first part of the lick and then practice that until I've got it down.
-I learn the next part of the lick and practice that.
-When it comes to putting the two together, I forget the first part of the lick.
-I relearn the first part and by the time I've got that down, I've forgotten how to play the second part.
-I get frustrated and stop playing guitar for the next 2 days.

And no, I am not stupid or mentally challenged.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:33 AM   #2
steven seagull
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That's where you're going wrong, you're picking up the guitar too soon.

Your absolute first step should be to memorise the piece you're planning on learning - if you can't recall the sounds you're trying to replicate from memory then it makes trying to play them on the guitar significantly more difficult

That also ties in with having spent too much time focussing purely on the technical aspects of playing the guitar and not enough time getting to know the instrument itself. If you don't know what sound is going to come out of your guitar when you put your fingers somewhere again that makes learning songs so much harder
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:50 AM   #3
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^^^ agreed.

By the sounds of it, you are learning music in a completely visual way rather than aural.

I'm in a cover band and there's a lot of songs to learn and a lot of times, very short notice. For example, I may get a text on my way to work asking to learn a song for practice tht night. I won't have any opertunity to pick up a guitar till I get to practice so what I will do is listen to that song as many times as I can possibly fit in (be it on the bus or i've got 5 mins spare time) from listening I will usually pick up the key, structure, chord progression, a few licks here and there and I'll be as well prepared as possible and up until I pick up the guitar.

Tabs are great but I personally feel that they turn music into a number game and I don't like numbers!

As you haven't been playing all that long, it might help to do some ear training. There are plenty exercises online but I prefer practical application. For example, at home I usually have a guitar in my hands (much to my girlfriends annoyance!) and will play along with everything on tv (music channels, background music, adverts/commercials) it's hard at first but after time you will be able to pick things up very quickly. Do this alongside learning your favourite songs. I've got poor memory but if I can hear it in my head, I can usually have a quite good idea of what to play

Also, I find if I learn by ear, I'm less likely to forget what I have just played. Don't know if it's the same for everybody but it's very true for me.
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Last edited by kidcasino : 12-05-2012 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:28 AM   #4
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I'd also like to add that I learnt a great deal from listening to the likes of BB King. I listen to the song, work out the key & attempt to recreate the licks.
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