Expanding one’s repertoire is an essential part of becoming a better musician.
By learning new tunes of varying styles and difficulty, you can expand your palette of musical skills and deepen your musicianship.
Here is a list of 5 tips to keep in mind while learning new tunes
- Check out the Records
- Save the sheet music for LATER. Listen to as many different versions of the song as you can!
If we were learning “Stardust,” here would be some good versions of the tune:
- Listen for how the singers/horn players interpret the melody. Everyone interprets it differently!
2. Internalize the Melody Aurally (by ear)
- Sing along with the recording – out loud or in your head.
- If you can sing it, you can play it!!
- Listen for patterns
- Melodic ideas, repeated phrases, etc.
3. Analyze the Form of the Tune
- Looking at the bigger picture will help you in the long run.
- Are there all 8-bar phrases?
- Is it 32 bars?
- Examine the phrase structure.
- AABA, ABAC, or other?
- Don’t go “chord-by-chord.” Hear the whole form!
4. Examine the Harmonic Movement of the Tune
- Look for defining harmonic characteristics.
- g. “the bridge goes the minor ‘vi,’ or “the second phrase ends on a II7 chord, which is F7 in this key”
- (These landmarks will help you remember the tune!)
- Does the tune start in major or minor?
5. Play the Tune in Different Keys!
- Playing in different keys will deepen your understanding of the tune.
- You can discover the harmonic movement in a variety of contexts!
- With a cemented understanding of the tune, not only will you remember it better, but you’ll also be ready if someone calls it in any key.
Comment below with your strategies which you would like us to know!