Practice Tip #3: What Songs Are You Learning?


Practice Tips is a series that, although aimed at guitar players, is very practical and applicable to any skill you want to master.


In previous “Practice Tip” posts, we’ve explored the need to be SMART when you practice. “SMART” is an acronym standing for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-oriented.

Here’s another note about being specific in your growth as a guitar player:

Be specific in the choice of songs you want to learn.

By being specific in this area, many different things are accomplished. Here are some of the benefits of learning songs:

  • Improved understanding of writing the songs you enjoy
  • Learning tricks you could use in your own improvisation
  • Having songs in your repertoire to play for your enjoyment
  • Discovering moves on the guitar that you enjoy
  • Improving your understanding of chord and note transitions
  • Gaining more experience with your guitar
  • Learning more about how you want to express yourself through your guitar

So here’s a great challenge for you to be specific with your growth in guitar:

Create a list of five songs you want to learn on your guitar

This challenge needs to keep in mind the realistic and time-oriented principles of SMART practice habits. Be sure to pick songs that are realistic for your skill-set. And be sure to set a date in which these songs will be learned. The songs don’t necessarily need to be mastered. You will continually practice these songs. Learn them, write down how to play the songs, and keep these in your practice routine until they have been mastered.

In the spirit of responding to this challenge, here are the five songs I would like to learn by June 15th:

  1. Second One To Know by Chris Stapleton*
  2. That Western Skyline by Dawes**
  3. Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More by Allman Brothers
  4. I Need A Change by The Shouting Matches
  5. Impossible Germany by Wilco

I’ll be sure to post on June 15th about my progress, what I learned from this challenge, and any notes I have from this experience.

Go pick five songs you want to learn. They might even be songs that you haven’t taken the time to learn but you’ve always wanted to learn. Give yourself that chance to learn the song. You have no clue what you could unlock by taking on the thing you’ve always been curious to master.


*Purchase Chris Stapleton’s new album “From A Room: Volume 1” here

That beard though!

**Purchase my favorite album “North Hills” by Dawes here