Ten Minute Virtuoso – Expanded Explanation

Once you’ve got your music broken into small sections, you have many options for learning the song:

Skip some sections altogether

• If certain parts of the song are already very easy for you, don’t waste time playing them. Wait until later in your practicing, when you’re doing full run-throughs, to play these sections.
• If one section happens over and over in the song (such as the chorus or “hook” of a rock or pop song), don’t think that you need to play through it every time it shows up in the song. Just learn it once.
• Play every section EXCEPT for the first section. Simply skip the beginning of the song. This is the opposite of what most musicians do, and it’s very freeing to realize you don’t have to play the beginning.

Play the sections out of order

• Practice the sections backwards. This makes the last third of the song as strong as the beginning usually is!
• Learn each section one at a time, in random order.
• Start with the section you like the best. You’ll have fun and then want to learn the rest of the song.

Learn the sections by order of difficulty

• Go through the most difficult section first. (This is the ultimate version of focusing on the Tough Stuff.) This is the best use of your practice time but not for the feint of heart.
• Or, start with the easiest section. This will build momentum and make you feel like you’re making quick progress.
• If a particular section is much more challenging than the other sections, it can be broken down even further. These sub-sections work the same way: each of them can be practiced in any order or by level of difficulty.

Group the sections

• String together two sections and play them in order.
• Work on the transition between two sections.
• Play all of the sections in the middle of the song.
• Play all of the related sections. (For instance, in many rock songs there are multiple verses, but with different lengths. You can review all of these verses to make sure you know how they’re different from each other.)