I’ve found that learning CW is hindered by my preconceptions I’ve had about Morse code. When initially starting on the Koch Method using HamMorse, I would turn the sound I heard into a mental picture of dots and dashes, then I’d do an internal lookup of what that picture in my mind was against the alphabet.
As you can imagine, this takes way too long, and takes too much concentration to effectively work in real-time CW translation.
After many hours of trying and listening, I realize now what others have said all along about Morse: Just relax, and let the sounds come in on their own. The sounds need to reflexively become letters with little mental effort; Don’t try to visualize dots and dashes. Just listen, practice, and let the sounds become letter representations in your mind.
The above sound file says: CQ CQ CQ DE KF6UJS KF6UJS KF6UJS PSE K
That is what my CW general call to the world would be if I wanted to start a conversation with anyone listening on the frequency. CQ means a general call; DE means “from”; PSE means “please”; K means “go” (i.e. invite to respond).