learning a song

Learning songs can be a “brutal” experience.

That’s because so many people are taught to go about doing it the wrong way.


I see it all the time on YouTube.

The tutor plays something fancy that sounds impressive.

Your heart races with anticipation as you begin learning the song.

You learn the first few notes, you play them nicely, and all is going well.

Then you think, “This is fun, I’ll learn a few more notes”.

…But deep down, you have an inkling that you’re not quite ready for these next few notes.

The tutor in the video keeps going. He doesn’t tell you to stop, so you figure, “Let’s keep going”.

…And what happens next is frustrating.


You start to learn the next few notes, but your fingers trip up.

Then you go back to playing the first few notes, but you forget one or two of these notes and mistakes start to creep in.

…And like a vice slowly being tightened, an overwhelming feeling starts to grip you.

Before you know it…

An hour has passed by and you’ve skipped back and forth throughout the video and not made any headway.

Finally, you throw your hands up in the air, put your guitar down, or go back to playing what you can already play.

It’s a frustrating experience and a depressing scenario.

Believe me, I’ve been there in the past too.

…But there is hope.


So, what should you do instead?

Pretty much the opposite of what most people do.

It’s all got to do with the way you approach a song and the mindset you have, because…

If a song is technically easy enough for you to play, the process of learning the song should be fun.

…And not a brutal or frustrating experience.

These days, all the songs I teach are playable even for beginners.

Learning them is a case of simplifying the process and being methodical.

Breaking the song down one bar at a time.


Learn one bar.

Repeat it 20x times methodically.

Have a break.

Repeat it again.

Commit this bar to memory.

Then stop.

Don’t learn any more notes.

Instead, go and do something else and repeat the same part 20x later.


It will “stick” that way and your muscle/brain memory will improve.

It’s hard when you’re having fun to be disciplined like this, but it works like clockwork.

Spend 10-15 minutes per day doing this and you can make far more progress in far less time than most people do with songs.

…And that’s what I’m covering in a new DTAA lesson, where I’m teaching the wonderful fun song, “Frankie and Johnny”.

The song is essentially a 12-bar blues that has been performed and recorded by the likes of Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash, Big Bill Broonzy, and many others.


In this lesson, I’ll show you how to play the song in a step-by-step way.

You’ll learn how to play it both using a pick (which is how I’m playing it for reasons explained in the lesson) and with your fingers, if you prefer to play fingerstyle.

Most of all, I’ll show you how to enjoy the journey of learning a song.

You can then use these new skills to learn any song in a much more enjoyable way.

Check it out below…

The Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy


Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.

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