M2M Day 125: It took me one hour to learn 41 seconds of this song…

This post is part of Month to Master, a 12-month accelerated learning project. For March, my goal is to play a 5-minute blues guitar solo.

Today, in an attempt to start absorbing blues licks*, I planned to learn the entire song Lucille, one of B.B. King’s most iconic songs.

(*a lick is just a series of notes that can be packaged together and reused as a contained musical idea)

To clarify: For me, “learning” a blues song doesn’t mean memorizing the entire song note-for-note, but instead playing through the whole thing, analyzing what the artist is doing, and determining how I can incorporate some of the artist’s musical ideas into my own playing.

Today, I thought I could easily work through the 10-minute Lucille in an hour, since, for much of the song, B.B. is talking and not playing.

However, after 60 minutes of practicing, I made it 41 seconds into the song, most because I severely underestimated the density of musical inspiration. This isn’t a bad thing, but does mean that I’ll need to reassess my original lick-learning strategy.

Originally, I planned to spend about a week playing through dozens of my favorite songs, in an attempt to absorb as much musical inspiration as I could. Then, I would spend subsequent weeks digesting, interpreting, and converting this material into my own.

In theory, this seems like a nice idea, but one that just isn’t accomplishable in the timeframe I have.

Instead, I’ll need to be much more strategic upfront about which source material I use for inspiration. I’m not sure how this new strategy should work, but I’ll figure it out tomorrow.

Read the next post. Read the previous post.

Max Deutsch is an obsessive learner, product builder, guinea pig for Month to Master, and founder at Openmind.

If you want to follow along with Max’s year-long accelerated learning project, make sure to follow this Medium account.