Tommy Emmanuel and Learning Through Songs

In 2011, Tommy Emmanuel gave an interview with TG Acoustic Snapshots:

Interviewer“Do you still practise guitar?”

Tommy: “Yeah, I’ve been practising this morning”

Interviewer: “What do you practise?”

Tommy: “Play songs… and I enjoy it”.

I love this response from Tommy.

“Play songs… and I enjoy it”. 

I think we can all learn something from this.

Here’s why:

Songs are Fun

Learning through songs that inspire and excite us leads to an enjoyment of practice. Fun practice means more practice. More practice equals improvement.

Songs Inspire and Motivate

Because songs mean something to us, they inspire us to get started and motivate us to push onwards. The process of learning a song that we love is worth all the sweat and tears because we know that being able to play it will make us feel awesome.

Songs Teach

Songs are also great teachers because they contain all the elements of music that we could wish to learn about – dynamics, technique, chords, scales, phrasing, tone, feel, theory, rhythm, harmony, improvisation, and so on.

A song isn’t just something to play, it’s a treasure of new discoveries and a peek into the mind of the songwriters and musicians who wrote it. It’s a banquet of new chord voicings, articulations, melodies, textures, and musical ideas. Explore and discover all the wonders it has to offer.

Songs as Direction

Confused about what you should be practicing? Don’t be. Choose a song that you love. You’ll have fun learning it. It’ll inspire and motivate you. And it’ll teach you a bunch of cool stuff if you dive deep.


  1. Original video by TG Acoustic Snapshots