13 March 2009

Why You Needn't Learn "Must Know" Guitar Songs

Steel GuitarMust know guitar songs is a topic that occurs regularly on guitar forums and sites. But I'm here today to tell you why I think there is no such thing as a must know guitar song.

These must know list usually consist of a few of the most well known songs in a particular style. But why limit yourself to these?

There are many thousands of great songs in the world, most of them undiscovered by most people. So find and play some that YOU really love.

Image by Waka Jawaka.

Music is a creative activity where you have an opportunity to express yourself. Your playing shows a little of your unique self when you choose songs that reflect your own tastes and preferences.

By all means, you might want to learn some popular songs, you might even love them yourself. But remember that there is a world of difference between learning a popular song because you love it, and learning it because someone says you just have to.

So treat these "must know" song lists with care. Some might be fun to learn, widely liked, or offer some interesting learning challenge. Before you rush off to learn the songs because you were told to, take the time to listen to them. Decide if you like them or not, and learn them only if you really enjoy them.

Beware of filling your play list with songs other people enjoy. Make sure your list is full of songs YOU love and enjoy playing. You'll have more fun with them and you'll transmit more of your enthusiasm to your audience.

Setting out to learn "must know" guitar songs can lead you to boredom or frustration if those songs don't really inspire you. Learn the songs you love and enjoy playing and you'll be more motivated and have more fun from your guitar. Remember, the only songs you have to play are those you choose to play.

What about you? Let us know what do you think of "must play" guitar songs in the comments.

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Anonymous said...

The thing I don't like about must know songs is that I kinda feel like the world is dictating me what I should like or not!!
Unfortunately, you always reach a point where you do it, just because you feel that you have to... And you're right... This is a mistake!!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you, it's not because it's must know that you have to know it.

But the interesting thing about the must know, is that if you like a song from this list and learn it, they are good chances that your audience will know the song as well!!!

Gary Fletcher said...

Sarssipius, know what you mean, resistance is sometimes hard. Nice blog you've got going there, thanks for dropping by.

Psyro, good point about the audience. I think there's nothing wrong with choosing songs for your audience, as well as yourself. But I bet your own favourites include some songs your audience knows, too - especially if your main audience is your family ;-)

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