Learning new songs

DrumWhipper

Very well Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 6, 2016
Messages
1,012
Reaction score
842
Location
Arkansas
What is your method for learning new songs? I know a lot of different people have a lot of different ways.

For me I will always listen to each song numerous times. I’ll work to chart the song, then will also continue to listen to get the feel and make mental notes.

I can absolutely wear a song out from listening to it so many times. I’ve also been known to listen to them over and over again on the way to a show to keep my mind fresh.
 

michaelg

DFO Veteran
Joined
May 13, 2012
Messages
1,607
Reaction score
842
Location
Ireland
Currently use something similar to the nashville number system. Its the best.
 

langmick

Very well Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Messages
612
Reaction score
718
Location
East Lansing, MI
After charting with bars and figures, I work on singing and humming the melodies and work to understand how the vocalist will sing and what's needed to carry the melody. That's helpful for me to keep things from going too much off the rails, and those are the most important things for most music.
 

WonderMonkey

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2021
Messages
179
Reaction score
110
Location
Vandalia, OH, USA
Kind of the same as you. By the time I've charted it out and made notes, I no longer need my chart or notes. Just the act of doing that helps commit it to memory. Kind of like taking notes in school.
I like this. Then, if you need to refresh yourself, you have your chart and notes.
 

m_anderson

Very well Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Messages
602
Reaction score
585
Location
Maryland
For me I will always listen to each song numerous times.
This. Be it cassette or CD, I used to play it in the car constantly until I couldn't stand it, but I knew it backward and forward.
 

audiochurch

DFO Veteran
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
1,633
Reaction score
350
Location
New Jersey
Listen to it, and other versions of it, as much as you can. Fall asleep to it in your headphones at night AFTER you make your own chart of it(might as well start charting now). Then, practice to it in your headphones with your chart, without your chart.

Repeat, rinse, and be able to sing the lyrics along next.
 

CAMDRUMS

Very well Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2013
Messages
1,475
Reaction score
473
Location
Beverly, MA
like to perform with a band? If it’s not something I’m familiar with, I map out the form - verses, chorus, bridge, solos, and note any significant stuff like breaks, etc. then I just play along. If it is originals and I am working off a scratch demo, once I know the form, I experiment with different beats, fills, etc. so that I can give the songwriter a few options.
 

drums1225

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2017
Messages
321
Reaction score
560
Location
New York, USA
When I first started playing drums, my teacher instilled the ethic of learning songs by ear, note-for-note. I always found it to be fun, so that became my favorite part of playing and studying drums. Back then, I just listened to the songs enough to memorize them; I would know the lyrics, melodies, guitar solos, and every detail of the songs. These days, I don't always have time to memorize everything, especially when there are 20, 30, or more songs to learn in a short time, sometimes with only a few days' notice. The answer? Charts.

I transcribe new songs on the 1st or 2nd listen. That way, by the time I get to the end of a song, I could play it on a gig, even if I never listened again. As others have said, the act of "writing" charts (I usually use a notation program) gives me a big jump on learning and memorizing the songs, and I usually don't end up needing my charts on gigs, but they're there if I do.

My charts are only as specific as I need them to be. On one end of the spectrum, there are literal, bar-by-bar, note-for-note charts, and on the other end, I just write out the form. Usually, I'm somewhere in the middle, as close to general form charts as I can get. The key is to know yourself, and accurately gauge your ability to retain the details of a given song. I can listen to a song and say to myself, "There's NO WAY, I'm going to remember that in the heat of the moment", so I'll notate it verbatim.

Once I have the tunes charted, I listen as much as I can stand it, to commit them to memory. I call it "total immersion", and I listen ONLY to the music I need to learn, never allowing myself the luxury of listening to any other music for pleasure until I'm confident I have the material memorized and gig-ready. And if I fall a little short? Charts!

So, in a nutshell, BOTH charts and a lot of listening.
 

Murat

DFO Veteran
Joined
Jun 22, 2015
Messages
2,191
Reaction score
1,757
Location
Aurora, Ontario
Pretty much everything that is said above plus I like singing the song as well. At the end of the day every instrument is trying to serve the vocals so I make sure I have an idea about what is going on vocally so I don't play something that sounds cool to me but totally messes up the singer.
 


Top