The Importance of Learning Songs - You Actually Like!
Why do we learn music? A broad question indeed however, one that is relatively simple to answer from a scientific perspective. Studying and performing music incorporates elements of cognition, problem solving, mathematics, kinesthetics and a myriad of other brain and body related functions necessary for maximising your potential both on and off stage. For most of us, however, the motivation is not rooted in improving cognitive function or stress management rather, it’s about connecting with art that sparks joy, emotion and a burst of energy within us.
Simply listening to music can endow us with that familiar fuzzy feeling usually reserved for a warm hug or a professional massage. This feeling connects us to ourselves and the world around us in a profound and primal way that crosses all borders. What better way to understand the world and each other than to partake in an ancient craft enjoyed and practiced the world over?
When approaching music education from a scientific, methodical angle we certainly are able to achieve improvement and progression yet, progress can feel slow, rigid and, dare I say, boring! This rings especially true for younger learners just dipping their toes in a new instrument or vocal practice. Scales, chords and staves are all important cornerstones of reaching your maximum potential as a musician but, the reason they all exist must be reiterated constantly to avoid burnout; that reason is, of course, playing songs!
When learning an instrument, nothing can feel quite as thrilling and fulfilling as being able to strum away to your favourite Beatles tune or Taylor Swift ballad. This sensation is what keeps us engaged in our art, practice and study. The goal of performing songs and pieces should always remain close in mind for those undertaking an instrument and those who might feel as though they’re spinning their wheels running through scale after scale, exercise after exercise.
Instead of the strictly regimented approach, a great way to enhance your musical journey is to take time to delve into learning the songs you like and are familiar with. Children, in particular, can benefit from applying the new chord they’ve learned to their favourite song be it Ed Sheeran, Peppa Pig or Black Sabbath. If you’re struggling to learn how to bend notes on the guitar, why not learn the guitar solo from “Back in Black” (or a song of your choosing)? This way, you’ll have a context to which you can apply the technique, a clear vision of the sound you’re trying to make, an introduction to other useful techniques and, a fantastic party trick to bust out at your next family get together.
Ultimately, music is an art form; something to be cherished, shared, enjoyed and explored to its fullest extent. There is a place for technique and theory in every corner of music practice but we must never forget why these concepts exist in the first place - to perform or, even, create amazing music. In any area of education, the best way to keep ourselves accountable and progressing is to search for any and every way to make the journey FUN!
Article written by Sam Dawes, Lucid Music Tutor - Learn about Sam HERE