When you’re learning to play an instrument, sometimes it’s tough to get motivated to practice – especially if you’re playing songs and exercises that don’t really excite you. When you start playing your favorite songs, though, you might find yourself able to get into your music a bit more. There are many ways to find the lyrics and chords to your favorite songs, but not all of them are simple, and sometimes you might end up more frustrated trying to track down lyrics or chords than you would be practicing music that you’re not listening to on your stereo regularly.
There are two main options for finding song lyrics and chords. One option is to go to your local music store and ask if they have the sheet music for the song you’re looking for. This is fairly easy, as the salesperson can point you in the right direction. The other option is to go online and try to find it. While you might be able to find more obscure songs this way, you also run the risk of finding music that has been transcribed improperly and won’t sound like your favorite song regardless of how well you practice. That’s never fun! Here’s how to make your search easier:
Consult Your Private Instructor
When you’re trying to find the lyrics and chords for a specific song, make sure to ask your music teacher for advice. He or she may know of a website or a local music shop that can provide you with just what you’re looking for. And if you stumble upon the music for that elusive song but it doesn’t quite sound the way you want it to, your teacher can definitely help you determine what needs to change in order to make it sound like the original recording.
If you’re playing guitar, for instance, you might come across a song that is actually played with a capo on the third fret, but the chords you’ve found do not call for a capo and instead show a fair number of inverted chords. While the general structure of the song will be the same, you’ll likely find that you can never completely duplicate the same guitar sound as in the recording. Your teacher can help you discern these differences and help you transpose the chords so you can use a capo and sound just the way you want it to.
On the other hand, if you’re playing piano, you might find that the music you’ve found is missing a few parts of the chords that make the difference between sounding close and sounding exactly like the recording. Again, your private teacher will be able to hear which notes each chord is missing and help you fill in the gaps. Often music that is transcribed will be slightly simpler to play than what the original arrangement was, to make it easier for a wider range of piano players to practice it. While this is a good idea to start learning songs, if you’ve practiced the same melody for months and it still doesn’t sound the way it does coming through your stereo, the frustration will be back in spades. Working with a good private instructor to help you find the differences between your arrangement and the original recording is key.
Tips for Finding Music Online
There are many sites out there that offer guitar chords and tablature, as well as sheet music and lyrics for piano. You may find that the more lyrics and chords you search for online, you’ll keep coming back to the same few sites and settling in on a couple that have the proper arrangements and selection of songs that you want. Here are a few guitar sites that have a great selection of lyrics and chords to get you started:
Ultimate Guitar: This website has over 800,000 songs of chords and tabs. If it’s a hit song from a major recording artist, chances are you can find it here!
Guitar eTab: With around 200,000 listings, this site is another great resource.
Chordie: This site is even more expansive than the other two combined. The only drawback is that most of the songs on here are not completely accurate, so use this as your last resort.
If you’re trying to find lyrics and chords for a specific song online, make sure to be as precise with your search as possible. Use the name of the artist and the name of the song when you are searching. If the artist has multiple recordings of the song, such as a studio version and a live version, also use the name of the album for the specific recording you’re looking for. Click through the first few results of your search, and browse around the website a bit before deciding which arrangement to start practicing. A good site will have a huge selection of lyrics and chords available, as well as possibly a key to deciphering any specific nomenclature of the music they have. This is always good to have in case there’s a notation that you aren’t familiar with. Of course, your private instructor can help you decipher these things as well. Good luck, and have fun!
Photo by Tarun Kumar