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freedive135
03-13-2009, 08:59 AM
What are your tips, tricks and or techniques other than the standard....

Practice practice practice

I ask because I play for a couple hours each night off of sheet music and have no problem playing alot of different songs.

But....
Take away the sheet music and there are only a handfull of songs I can play all the way thru from memory.

I am finding what helps me is if I print out just the words then write in the chords or fingering it helps....


What do you all do??????

thejumpingflea
03-13-2009, 09:30 AM
What are your tips, tricks and or techniques other than the standard....

Practice practice practice

I ask because I play for a couple hours each night off of sheet music and have no problem playing alot of different songs.

But....
Take away the sheet music and there are only a handfull of songs I can play all the way thru from memory.

I am finding what helps me is if I print out just the words then write in the chords or fingering it helps....


What do you all do??????


Work on one song at a time. Learn one section and play it over and over. Then turn your stand around and play it. Keep doing this and you'll be able to memorize any song.

Ukulele JJ
03-13-2009, 09:37 AM
What do you all do??????

I'll tell you, but you're not going to like it... :D

Music theory and a bit of ear training.

I try to think of chords in terms of their function within the key, rather than merely memorizing the note name. This does two things. One, it helps you see chords in terms of "patterns" rather than just random letters. Two, it actually helps train your ear to recognize chord relationships, regardless of the key you're in.

Here's an example: At a meeting of our local uke club a few months ago, someone brought in a chord sheet for "Five Foot Two". I took a quick look at it, and from then on I didn't need the chord sheet any more. I will always remember how to play that song, and I can play it in any key.

Am I some sort of super-genius? Heck no. I just noticed that the song does this:


Start on the 1 chord and move to the 3 major chord (this is a very distinctive sound, so it's easy to remember... think "You're Sixteen")
From there, just go down in fifths until you're home again.
The bridge is pretty much the same thing, except that it starts right away on the 3.


Granted, this only helps you if you're good at naming chord relationships and figuring out what chord is a fifth away (or fourth, or whatever) from any other given chord. But like anything else, it gets easier with practice.

If you want to, post the name of a song you're having trouble memorizing. I'll see if I can come up with a few tricks like the one above to help.

JJ

sukie
03-13-2009, 09:41 AM
I'll tell you, but you're not going to like it... :D


JJ

It makes my head hurt! :D There is just way too much to learn.

freedive135
03-13-2009, 10:02 AM
If you want to, post the name of a song you're having trouble memorizing. I'll see if I can come up with a few tricks like the one above to help.

JJ

:eek: Chordie . com
Pick a song:p

For me its mostly the "bridge" part of a song that escapes me!!!

You are always so much help and I mean that, what a wealth of info...
Because you and Seeso I have gotten a few Music Theory books and this summer I am signing up for a class cuz it is just alittle hard to absorb with out someone teaching me.

Ukulele JJ
03-13-2009, 10:52 AM
:eek: Chordie . com
Pick a song:p

Heh, heh...

Well that actually brings up another tip about memorizing songs: Don't use chordie! :p At least not right away.

In other words, work on learning to figure songs out on your own. This is hard at first, but it won't be that hard forever. It's obviously a lot easier to remember a song that you've put the sweat into transcribing than it is to memorize a song you've merely read off of a web site.

Plus, this is another way to train your ears!

The best way to memorize a song's chords is the same way you memorize a song's melody when you sing it. When you're singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat", you're not thinking "C, C, C, D, E" are you? You're not even thinking "1, 1, 1, 2, 3". Nope, you just hear in your mind how the song "goes", and you tell your mouth to start making those pitches.

The more you work on your ears (by, for example, picking out songs yourself), the closer you get to being able to do that with chords too. I'm not perfect at it myself, but every year I'm better than I used to be. :cool:

JJ

Ukulele JJ
03-13-2009, 11:06 AM
It makes my head hurt! :D There is just way too much to learn.

Well, in the grand musical scheme of things there is a lot to learn, true.

But the "five foot two" trick actually requires knowing only two things:


Major scales
The circle of fifths


Okay, so those are big things. But still, just two of 'em! You can get a good handle on those in a single weekend, I betcha.
:shaka:


JJ

Rubbertoe
03-13-2009, 11:11 AM
I usually play piece by piece (learn 1st verse, then the chorus and then the bridge) and then stitch it all together later. If at all possible, I find an mp3 of the song to learn the beat, strum (if I'm trying to duplicate it) and the lyrics and listen to the song until my ears start to bleed. If there are lyrics, i find its easier to memorize the song once i can 'sing' it b/c i know where the chord changes take place.

Harold O.
03-13-2009, 01:33 PM
Well, in the grand musical scheme of things there is a lot to learn, true.

But the "five foot two" trick actually requires knowing only two things:

JJ

As soon as anyone says circle of fifths, major/minor chord, I/IV/IVV, I'm lost. I know it's not as hard as I am letting it be, but as a guy who just wants to play a couple of songs as opposed to a guy who wants to be a musician, it gets too complicated too fast.

That said, after three months of playing (from ZERO) I can tell when the uke is out of tune, I can tell when I strum a wrong chord, I can tell when one of the strings is not ringing out. I know some chords feed some chords better than others, etc.

I don't notice note/chord patterns so much when learning a new tune. For me it's purely physical. Maybe that's monkey play as opposed to making music. But we learn in a variety of ways. And I've gotten pretty good at a couple of songs.

With "Five Foot Two", I rewrote the lyrics to better match my wife "Five Foot Three, Eyes of Brown" and found that I could remember the words I wrote easier than the original.
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9921

Howlin Hobbit
03-13-2009, 03:14 PM
Start on the 1 chord and move to the 3 major chord (this is a very distinctive sound, so it's easy to remember... think "You're Sixteen")


Much better to use the III dominant 7th there.

I'm for a bit of theory myself, but there are folks who don't give two shakes about it and still make fine sounds when they play.

The problem is getting too technical just spawns comments like here about "that's too much!" and "makes my head hurt" and such.

I'll plug my "Cheater Theory" doc again. It's on the Ukulele page at my site, it's free and it'll help get a lot of the basics down so that, even if you can't do all that stuff in your head, at least you'll have a grip on what's being talked about.

Lots of good advice here though. Learn it in chunks. Play off the sheets for a bit and then "turn the stand around" or the sheets over or whatever and take a stab at it. It'll come to you.

Mostly don't get too wound up about it. It's not a race (or a contest or whatever). Learn at your own pace and celebrating your victories (there'll be lots of them) is much more important than beating yourself up about your setbacks.


With "Five Foot Two", I rewrote the lyrics to better match my wife "Five Foot Three, Eyes of Brown" and found that I could remember the words I wrote easier than the original.

Man, you're lucky! For the most part (not 100% of course) if I'm going to fluff a song or lyric it'll be one I wrote myself.

Never have figured out why, but there ya go.

MisoHappy
03-13-2009, 04:18 PM
Memorize only one song at a time
Memorize it bit by bit, not entirely

1014
03-13-2009, 05:18 PM
I'll plug my "Cheater Theory" doc again. It's on the Ukulele page at my site, it's free and it'll help get a lot of the basics down so that, even if you can't do all that stuff in your head, at least you'll have a grip on what's being talked about.





definitely, worth its weight in gold, HH. props for it!

Ukulele JJ
03-13-2009, 06:55 PM
Much better to use the III dominant 7th there.

It is. And I do. It's 7th chords all the way home, in fact. But hey, I was trying to keep things simple.

Or at least I thought I was. :o



The problem is getting too technical just spawns comments like here about "that's too much!" and "makes my head hurt" and such.

It does seem to, and that's a shame. It's almost like people's defenses spring up when anything vaguely theory-esque is mentioned. I guess there have been some bad music theory experiences in some people's pasts that have turned them off of the whole thing.

Anyway, FreeDive asked how we memorize songs, and I answered. Doesn't mean anyone has to do it my way, of course.

JJ

Ukulele JJ
03-13-2009, 06:59 PM
...as a guy who just wants to play a couple of songs as opposed to a guy who wants to be a musician...

You've been playing the uke for three months, and can knock out a couple of songs.

I've got some bad news for you, Harold... You are a musician.

At least in my book you are. :cheers:

JJ

freedive135
03-14-2009, 06:03 AM
[QUOTE=Ukulele JJ;105571]It does seem to, and that's a shame. It's almost like people's defenses spring up when anything vaguely theory-esque is mentioned. I guess there have been some bad music theory experiences in some people's pasts that have turned them off of the whole thing.[QUOTE]

I think it might have to do with the math is bad and makes my head hurt thing!!!

Thanks for everyones ideas... it all helps.

I think part of it for me is when a song uses only a few different chords thrown in as in a bridge after you get used to the major chord part of the song.

CDon
03-14-2009, 06:46 AM
But the "five foot two" trick actually requires knowing only two things:


Major scales
The circle of fifths


JJ
And here (http://randscullard.com/CircleOfFifths/) is a good tool to help learn this. The web page can be saved and used offline. There is an excellent tutorial with it.

Howlin Hobbit
03-14-2009, 07:23 AM
And here (http://randscullard.com/CircleOfFifths/) is a good tool to help learn this.

Great find, CDon! I hadn't realized how the notes in a given scale fell so tidily on the circle nor how easy it was to do the harmonized chord scale (which chords are major, minor or diminished) from it.

bobbitybobman
03-14-2009, 01:21 PM
Regardless of what techniques you might use, just remember that melodic memory is one of the best and easiest to work with. In other words, you can remember songs easier and better then pretty much anything else.

So I guess it still bubbles down to practice.

Harold O.
03-15-2009, 06:27 AM
Regardless of what techniques you might use, just remember that melodic memory is one of the best and easiest to work with. In other words, you can remember songs easier and better then pretty much anything else.

That's the underlying theory behind ancient peoples passing down their history through oral recitation.

PickNStrum
03-15-2009, 10:19 AM
I learn a lot of songs now from youtube watching other players.

-Play video all the way through
-Play first few measures and pause
-Try to repeat what I just saw and heard. Once memorized, move on to the next few measures. repeat until you've completed the song and memorized it at the same time.

This method also helps at learning to watch other players in live situations and quickly find it on your own instrument. Down side is you will always rely on memorization. Ukulele Jj method is better.

HoldinCoffee
03-15-2009, 11:02 PM
Dude, dig this:

(exploratory analysis on visual thinking presented by a master musician from the early years of his stellar career)

Part One:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU57i9rxoYU

Part Two:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcqY66chhCA

Part Three:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFbzkyOxsao

Ukulele JJ
03-16-2009, 02:35 AM
Part One:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU57i9rxoYU

Nice! That is pretty much what jazz looks like.

JJ

Sebuke
03-17-2009, 09:19 PM
And here (http://randscullard.com/CircleOfFifths/) is a good tool to help learn this. The web page can be saved and used offline. There is an excellent tutorial with it.

This site was brilliant! :nana:

I will sit down and finaly learn the Circle of Fifth after 7 years of guitar playing.