My “secret” to learning 5 songs in five days

Hey, it’s Dan here...

You probably don’t know me...

I work for Darryl as one of his guitar teachers.

Darryl wanted me to share this unique story with you...

We were talking the other day about how I learnt all these songs in five days.

So he gave me permission to tell you the story.

First… I have a confession to make...

The real number is 22 songs…

I couldn’t use that number to begin with because let’s be honest...

That would’ve sounded way over the top…

And not to mention down right unbelievable.

Whenever I tell this story to our students…

They look at me like I’m crazy… but it happened.

I found myself in the situation where I had to learn 22 songs in five days.

It was a maddening experience…

I lost out on sleep…

I was stressed… and nervous whether I could do it or not…

But I had people counting on me.

My “secret” to learning 5 songs in five days

Back in 2016… before working for Darryl…

I was asked to join a band.

They were a tribute band so the songs were all other peoples.

And the music… was Iron Maiden (they’re a british heavy metal band)

The phone call went something like this…

“Dan… we need your help.

One of our guitar players has chopped the tip of his finger off… and so he can’t play.

We’re looking for someone to stand in for him…But the show is this Friday.

(This phone call was happening on Monday that week)

Can you do it?”

My heart began racing at the idea of playing these songs…

I loved the band Iron Maiden… and so I jumped at the chance to play their music live.

That also meant accepting that I had to learn 22 songs… by Friday.

So what did I do?

I had to use every trick in the book I knew to learn these songs.

I’m going to share with you two practicing techniques that I used...

And none of them involved picking up the guitar.

#1 Creating My Musical Blueprint

I actually had this step completed before I took the call…

But I did it anyway… just more of it.

To learn these songs… I needed a blueprint in my head.

Just like a builder needs a blueprint of how to construct the building…

I needed one so that I knew how these songs went.

To create this blueprint…

I would listen to these songs on repeat throughout the day…

All while I went about my normal day to day work.

Of course it wasn’t mindless…

I was actively listening…

Listening for any little triggers to help me remember what parts came next…

The vocals were a big help for me!

#2 Creating My Mental-Movie

This is another piece I had huge success with…

I would try to imagine myself playing the guitar parts…

Seeing myself going from one section… to the other.

I would practice the guitar parts while I was standing in a que at the shops…

Making micro movements hand…

I didn’t want it to look like I was rocking out with an air guitar in the middle of Sainsbury’s.

This helped me because I learnt that the brain doesn't know the difference between what’s imagined vividly…

And what’s real.

Without this piece… I certainly wouldn’t have been able to practice enough to learn all these songs.

Were these the only two things I did?

No… there were many more…

But I’m going to save those for another article.

I’m not saying you can go away and learn five songs in five days now…

These skills took me some time to develop and get good at.

What I found is that the more songs I learn…

And the more I tried to use these techniques (among others)...

The faster I was able to pick up music.

Give these techniques a try next time you find yourself learning a song.

I hope you find them useful…

And please… whatever you do…

Never put yourself in the situation to learn 22 songs in five days

 Dan “people think I’m crazy” Mayhew