I think us "musicians in learning" maybe take the idea of learning a song too serious. We listen to a song or maybe grab a tab to one somewhere off the web and sit down and start to teach ourselves how to play it. This is all cool and everything but when it doesn’t sound like the actual song then we start thinking about a few things. Giving up on the song and start looking for another one to learn or worse yet we set the instrument down and back off from it leading to frustration and getting stuck in a rut and possibly even quitting.
So why beat yourself up over it! Yeah we all want to sound just like it does on the CD. Unfortunately what is not realized is that if you went to see most of your favorite artist live and in concert you’re not going to hear the artist perform their songs to perfection. The thing we forget sometimes is that we don’t even really care that the artist does not sound just like their CD and we still enjoy the performance, so why hold yourself to a higher standard.
Some people may argue that to learn the song means to learn it note for note. That’s all fine and dandy if you’re a concert pianist or on the road with someone like the Trans Siberian Orchestra. But when learning I think it’s just unrealistic to expect ourselves to perform to these standards. We set ourselves up for failure thinking this way.
So what’s the answer? The answer is to quit over thinking the song your learning. Figure out the chord structure and the strumming pattern and go at it. Once you get the basics down you will start figuring out how to add little twists to the song so it will start to sound similar to the one you’ve been listening to. But you need to start somewhere, you need to start with the basics and you don’t need to make it sound perfect. I’m sure when you play the song for your family, friends or even just for yourself they will feel proud of how you performed and you will too.