How I Prepare for a Gig: Song-Learning-101

Song learning usually consists of 3 simple steps for me. If there’s a recording or demo of the song, I’ll listen to it and write a chart. From there I’ll jump over to the kit and play through it, and I’ll be good to go. This sounds pretty simple and straightforward (and it really is!), but there are a few key things you want to look out for and make sure you do. The question of “what’s the best way to learn songs” is one I get frequently, so I hope this lesson-style email helps you out!

Step 1: Listen to the Recording

Really listen to the recording. Whether it’s the original record that you’re covering, a vocals-and-guitar demo your bandleader sent you, or a fully put together demo of a new arrangement, listen to the recording thoroughly. In other words, a quick listen in the car doesn’t count. Listening via your phone speaker doesn’t count. Listening to it with any distractions going on around you...

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