Has anyone found a curated list of songs to use when teaching / learning music?

Often when someone picks a piece of music to learn (with the goal of improving on the guitar and not only to have some fun) they often pick a song that either:

  • Sounds easy enough but is too hard (requires cross-picking, two-way pickslanting, the only playable fingering puts a lot of demand on the weakest fingers etc etc)
  • Sounds challenging but is in actuality pretty easy to play

It would be wonderful to have some site where the teacher can say “I think you’d be appropriately challenged if you picked a song from category X” and then the student was free to choose whatever songs in the category they liked. Legendary if you could further filter on tags.

Does such a place exist? Are there any good books with lists of songs that are appropriate at various levels? I know this exists for classical guitar because I went through quite a few such books when I worked on my sight-reading a long time ago.


Interesting question! I know Justinguitar did a redesign fairly recently and there’s a section of the site for “songs” where you can sort by color-coded difficulty grades, as well as some other tags like genre:


Is that along the lines of what you’re thinking of? Not super granular as far as exact techniques used, but seems like this could be useful as a good general resource.

Yes! Thanks! That’s certainly the closest thing I’ve seen.

I think it would be cool to set this up as a wiki with very clear rules about how to grade songs. It is probably possible to create a system where it would be a more or less mechanical process to assign a piece of music some difficulty score. You probably don’t want to aggregate them, though. It would be nice to say ‘this piece is a 55’ but if you got to that number by averaging a bunch of zeros with an unplayable tapping passage that wouldn’t be very useful.

While people were picking through the songs they could also apply tags to indicate the harmonic devices used in the songs. That way, if you thought lydian sounded weird and wanted to play through some songs to familiarize yourself with that sound you could find those easily.

This is starting to sound like a cool project for a hackathon :slight_smile:


also, a 100-point scale for rating things is incredibly useless >:(

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