save time learning songs

Here’s how to save time when learning a new song.

I do this BEFORE I start learning it.


What I do is take a moment to study it.

I look for one thing in particular and this one thing can save me a lot of time.

The thing I’m looking for is repeating patterns.

Most songs have lots of sections that repeat.


You’ll rarely play a song all the way through in which every note is different.

Side note: a fingerstyle version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” I learnt a few years ago was the closest thing to this I’ve come across.


This goes for strumming songs where the verses and choruses tend to be the same.

It goes for riff-based songs where the riff is played throughout frequently.

…And it goes for fingerstyle-type arrangements too.


Let’s take “Frankie and Johnny” (the new arrangement I’ve released today).

This song is basically an upbeat 12-bar blues piece that repeats throughout.

The whole song uses the 12-bar blues structure, so you just learn the 12 bars and then repeat them.

…But within those 12 bars, there are lots of repeating sections.

Two of the bars use repeating parts and another is a simple variation.

Therefore, you only have to learn nine “fresh” bars of music.

And that is effectively the whole song.

Knowing that can already make you feel better.


Of course, you have to learn how to play each bar, smooth them out, and put them all together nicely, but seeing these patterns really helps.

It removes the feeling of being overwhelmed and allows me to get a plan together to learn the song.

…And if I get stuck, I can just keep it simple and focus on the first few bars, knowing I’m progressing with a big part of the song.

So, to summarise, whenever you learn a song, don’t think of it as 3 ½ minutes of overwhelming stuff to learn.

Think of it as small sections you can break down into manageable chunks.


I hope that helps and if you want to learn a great song with a smile on your face, check out the academy below.

The Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy


Today is the last chance to get the new lessons, which include the exciting new “Frankie and Johnny” arrangement.

I’m having a tonne of fun playing this tune, a few of my private students are loving it, and you can too.


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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