Learning a Challenging Piece
No matter your instrument or level, learning a new music piece can be very challenging. To begin to tackle your song, you will want to get your head organized; don’t attempt to learn the entire song all at once. Take a look at the entire song, find any similarities, or, if learning by ear, listen to the different themes and phrases for similarities. You will want to begin with the most common theme or phrase and learn that section. Why? Because once you learn it, you’ve already learned a majority of the piece and this makes it easier to swallow the tough stuff to come.
Next, you will want to look or listen to the first section. Is there anything challenging happening here? If so, take it measure by measure, or riff by riff. Learn just a few notes at a time, then connect those phrases together, within 30 minutes to and hour you should have this tough phrase smoothed out. If not, you may want to try working on another area or, just take a break to let what you’ve learned sink in. When you come back to that section, chances are you will play it perfect, sometimes things just need to marinate a little. You will need to do this with any challenging phrase you find in a piece.
Now that you have learned the main theme and all of the challenging phrases, you are ready to put them together. At this point you may be able to play your song perfectly, but chances are you will need to spend some time connecting and smoothing out phrases so they blend together just right since you have learned them separately.
Although simply put, it won’t be easy. You will need to spend a lot of time learning your song. Just be organized and patient with yourself and it will come.