Originally Posted by loungesurfer
1. Isn't the purpose of learning songs from sheet music to get a grasp of the musical structure so eventually you can read the chord notation and play the correct notes?
Yes, however, others have written most of the structure out for you already - fake chord and or lead sheet music will take you there - right now. Fake chord sheet music takes you there very quickly, http://www.roughstock.com/cowpie/son...n/pretty-paper
,however, as mentioned below unless you already know the tune, fake chord does little to help with what the tune is supposed to sound like. Fake chord works wonders on covers if you already know the tune. Now lead sheet gives you more of what you need and IMHO is the best of both Worlds. For example: http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic...?ppn=MN0050644
2. If the above is correct do you have any suggestions for speeding the song memorization process?
Play a lot of songs. I bet you will see some patterns developing. Most of what I do is jamming, I don't try to play by rote, note by note. You sound like a good candidate for this. Now your instructor may frown upon this method. Since you pay him do what he says.
I have not done any transposing so that might help fill the gap since I have no idea what the sheet music should sound like. In fact, I was told by my instructor that I'm more attuned to audio than to written music. As a result I can usually play in time and rhythm when listening as opposed to reading a voiceless piece of paper! Alternately, maybe I need to sing to the notes on paper before attempting to play a piece.
Sing the tune as you play - under your breath - along with the vocalist - Yes if I do not follow along with the lyrics; 1) I will not know when the chord change words comes into play and 2) a groove will never develop.
Now understand I'm jamming country. Give me the Key and away we go. That may not work with the music you play. Old time Country is dirt simple I IV V I. That progression works for every verse and chorus 97.334% of the time. We are playing covers that we grew up with so the tune is not a problem. You get to where you can jamm a cover you've never heard before. Grab a I IV V I and play chord tones. IMHO - Much more fun than learning note by note and relying on your memory.
You can play by rote or you can play patterns and wing it. Playing by rote will take you farther down the road, but, takes longer. Up to you which road you go down.