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by Maurice Richard
This was one of the most important things for me.
I wanted to be able to hear a song I liked and then immediately go to my guitar and figure out how to play it. This is one thing that motivated me to want to learn how to play guitar.
It is a lot of fun to do this now and feels good every time I successfully learn a new song this way.
Many of my students feel the same way when they finally reach this level in their guitar playing development and I am sure you will too.
Here are 3 things you need to be able to do in order to hear a song and then figure it out yourself.
This is one of the key ingredients to being able to do this well. I am sure it is no surprise to you.
The problem is that most people do not have a very good ear and chances are you are one of them. It is definitely not common and I find it is even less common with guitar players and surprisingly it is usually the one skill that is lacking the most.
Another surprising thing I found out is that most people think they are stuck with a poor ear for music, that it’s someone genetic or inherited.
This is not true. Developing a good ear for music is something you can train. It is a skill and like any other skill you can take steps to improve it.
I had a horrible ear when I first started to play guitar and I thought I was stuck with it. Fortunately, I found out differently and now I have a pretty good ear.
It can be done!
I am sure this is obvious but you have to know some chords in order to figure out songs form the radio.
The problem is that most of us try to learn songs that are beyond our current knowledge of chords.
For example, if you only know a few open chords you can only figure out those songs that use the exact same chords.
Unless you listen to a radio station that plays songs with only those chords it will be hard for you to successfully figure out songs yourself. It can become quite frustrating too.
It is important to continue to learn new chords and expand your knowledge into barred chords. This is where I finally made the breakthrough I needed.
Once you successfully learn barred chords you can play anything so you will remove this limitation. You still need to train your ear but at least you can play the required chords.
You can have a good ear and you can know all the chords a song is made up of but that does not mean you can put it all together.
You need to be able to execute the chords properly or you will not be able to hear the matches between your playing and the music you are trying to figure out.
Making sure you develop your skillset with chords, playing the accurately and changing between them quickly and efficiently will go a long way to help you to figure out songs.
Of course, you also need to have good timing and rhythm so you can find the beat and work it out on your guitar so it fits the song.
Learning how to hear music and then play it on your guitar is not as easy as many people think. It takes time to learn all of the skills you need.
However, you can speed up that process by making one good decision. That would be to find a trained and experienced guitar teacher to help train you.
A professionally trained guitar teacher will not just teach you all of the skills above one by one. That would take a very long time to accomplish.
They will know how to layer them together at the right time and in the right way so you get to your goal in the shortest amount of time!
This is different than the conventional way and is not easy to accomplish. So, don’t settle for just any guitar teacher. Find one that has specific training on how to teach guitar.
Maurice Richard is a professional guitar teacher that operates out of the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He has been a member of an elite guitar teaching mentorship program since 2007 and has taught many people how to learn to play guitar. He has also helped many learn how to hear music and play it on guitar.
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