UNDERSTAND THE FORM
Ten Minute Virtuoso – Expanded Explanation

Common Forms for Rock Songs

Almost every rock song contains some variation of these sections:
–Intro
–Verse
–Chorus
–Bridge
–Solo (most often over the chord changes from the verse or chorus)
–Outro (technically not a real word, but it’s used commonly)

You need to recognize these sections of every song you’re learning to play. Knowing the order of the sections will make the song much easier to memorize. And, you’ll see that there’s a lot less to practice then you originally thought. Once you know how to play the first verse, the second verse is probably the same. No reason to practice them both unless there’s a difference.

Common Forms for Jazz Tunes

Here is the most common form for a jazz standard:
AABA

All four of these sections, taken together, form one “chorus” of the song. In the jazz world “chorus” means one time through the song. So, this word is used in a completely different way than it is used in the rock world.

The B section of a jazz tune is known as the Bridge. This is often the most complex part of the song and can be in a different key than the A sections are in.

Let’s take a look at this form from the perspective of being as efficient and effective as possible in your practicing – the essence of the Ten Minute Virtuoso message. If you are like most musicians, you will play through this song from start to finish over and over again. This means that you’ll practice three A sections for every one B section. That is very inefficient.

Instead, you want to be different from other musicians. You want to make good use of your time and do everything possible to learn efficiently right from the start. By understanding the form, you will quickly see that your practice efforts need to be on the Bridge. If the A sections and the B section are of an equal level of difficulty, then you need to practice an A section and the B section the same amount. That’s 50% of your time on each.

If the B section is more difficult than the A section, you need to give it more time. Maybe you’ll need to spend 75% of your time on the B section and only 25% of your time on the A section. Notice that this is exactly opposite of the way the song will be performed (when the A sections will be 75% of the performance).

Musicians who truly understand song forms learn much more quickly than musicians who always play from start to finish of every song they’re learning. Knowing the form helps you memorize more quickly and learn more songs in the same amount of practice time.

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