How Do You Learn New Music?

I’m always learning new music, whether it’s for a music therapy session, voice student, performance or gig. Many times I might have the words or lead sheet with chords in front of me, but not necessarily the melody line — which means I need to have it down pretty well.

My go-to method for learning new tunes is to either download the song or record it (if I wrote the song myself) and then make a playlist that goes everywhere with me. Spotify has come in very handy for this purpose, since I have the app downloaded on my laptop, iPad, and iPhone. I listen to the songs in my car, while I get ready for my day, at the gym, or while I’m doing mindless tasks at the computer.

This method works well enough, since it allows me to multitask. But I always wonder if there is a better way…now more than ever, because I have a gig coming up in less than a month that requires me to learn about two hours’ worth of new music!

So I’m curious: how do YOU go about not only learning new melodies, but getting them to stick? Please share your own method in the comments!