Listening is extremely important. Every slur, hammer-on, slide, vibrato you hear when learning a solo, LEARN IT. Most aspiring artists I meet take all their time learning how to shred like crazy but never learn the sound that is needed to draw the listener in.
Take a guy like Joe Satriani for example. He talks about the melody being the focal point of his music.
The way to internalize this is not only to play the melody, but to play the composer as well so to speak, to internalize the story of the song, the mood, the flavor. The best artists out there can do this with ease and that's the key here. "Artists".
Take a painter for example, nobody cares about his or her brush stroking technique. Can you paint me a picture that's touching, inspiring, and emotional? This is what guys like Andy Timmons and Steve Vai can do easily. Yes, technique is important but phrasing is even more crucial to a successful composition.
I really hope this changes how you think about practicing and learning songs! Now, let's start learning some examples in the next video.