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Nickie
08-05-2017, 06:15 AM
I had a discussion with a band member this morning who is also my voice coach.
She had been considering getting an iPad with which to carry songs around on OnSong, like Tammy and I do.
She was concerned that the notes would be missing though, and that would make the melodies difficult to sing correctly.
I suggested that we can learn to sing the songs from the Beloff books, and we'd be okay with just the lyrics and chords in front of us.
I suggested that the musical mind remembers song melodies quicker and better than it remembers chords or lyrics (we hum melodies a lot, and that's the form of the Earworms we carry around)
She said I was right, chords and lyrics are the harder parts to learn. Chords come to me last of all, even after lyrics, and I don't know why. Songs are difficult for me to sing without the chords, though.
What are your thoughts on this?

Croaky Keith
08-05-2017, 08:22 AM
I've never been good at remembering anything, so if you do find a formula, let me know. :D

Rllink
08-05-2017, 09:59 AM
I'm with you on this Nickie. Almost all the songs that I sing are songs that I already know the tune to, but if I don't know the tune, I go to YouTube and listen to it. I mean, I can play melody if I have the notes there, but I seldom do that to learn how a song goes. What songs are you playing? Are they so obscure that people have never heard them before?

Nickie
08-05-2017, 04:41 PM
I'm with you on this Nickie. Almost all the songs that I sing are songs that I already know the tune to, but if I don't know the tune, I go to YouTube and listen to it. I mean, I can play melody if I have the notes there, but I seldom do that to learn how a song goes. What songs are you playing? Are they so obscure that people have never heard them before?

No, we do a lot of popular songs, but my coach is Classical trained, so she didn't listen to popular music as a kid, so she doesn't know it. When I was a kid, I couldn't have cared less about lyrics of songs. I was too busy protecting myself from bullies.
I don't memorize things well, but have always made it through things because I'm an excellent taker of tests, can pass almost any test whether I know the material of not.
Music theory does throw me for a loop, though. I will be learning it for the rest of my life. Singing too....

Rllink
08-07-2017, 10:33 AM
No, we do a lot of popular songs, but my coach is Classical trained, so she didn't listen to popular music as a kid, so she doesn't know it. When I was a kid, I couldn't have cared less about lyrics of songs. I was too busy protecting myself from bullies.
I don't memorize things well, but have always made it through things because I'm an excellent taker of tests, can pass almost any test whether I know the material of not.
Music theory does throw me for a loop, though. I will be learning it for the rest of my life. Singing too....I need to be aware that not everybody watched American Bandstand, listened to the top 40 on the radio, and bought an 8 track when they first came out. I don't always know the lyrics of a song just off the top of my head, but i usually have heard the tune before.

As far as memorizing songs, it isn't easy for me either, but I commit songs to memory all the time, and the more of them I memorize, the more I hear commonalities among the songs and recognize those commonalities. That is music theory. I think that is the case with a lot of us is that we are learning music theory all the time, but we don't realize it, because it isn't labeled. I see it with musicians all of the time. They say that they don't know music theory, but when you hear them they are sure putting a lot of music theory into their playing. Just because they don't verbalize what they are doing as eloquently as some, doesn't mean that they don't know what we are doing when they are doing it. There is an academic aspect of music theory, and a practical aspect. One aspect does not preclude the other. Learning how to play music is learning how to apply music theory, whether we know that is what we are doing or not.

Down Up Dick
09-28-2017, 06:18 AM
The best way to overcome all the musical memory problems that we oldies are having is to sing melodies that we already know and make up words of our own. Then only the chord placement will have to be figgered out.

OR . . . We could make up and sing our own darned songs. :cheers: :old:

Croaky Keith
09-28-2017, 07:09 AM
OR . . . We could make up and sing our own darned songs.

Yep, I sometimes do that! :)

No one can then say it's wrong. ;)

quiltingshirley
09-28-2017, 07:46 AM
I can play without a problem but remembering the melody in the different keys is torture. Even with a start note I'll go back to how I think it goes. And memorizing the lyrics, I often put my own words in. Does wonders for the folks playing along waiting for a special word that tells them chord change. I'd say it's an age thing but think I'd do it if I was still young. Till I started reading this link, I thought I was unique!

Uncle Rod Higuchi
09-28-2017, 07:59 AM
If i want to learn a new song (to me), I listen to it as much as possible to get a feel for the melody
and the 'story' in the lyrics. If I can understand the 'story' it's easier for me to remember how
it is told (the lyrics).

meanwhile, the melody is washing my brain so that it becomes more and more familiar.

when I feel comfortable with the melody I start working on the chording, even before I nail down
the lyrics.

then I sing and play the song, tweaking the chording and phrasing as I go along, until it becomes
somewhat second nature to me - that is, I don't have to really think about either the melody,
lyrics, or chords - i'm simply playing the song... from memory! funny how that works out. :)

keep uke'in',

PS the latest song I worked on was an oldie (they pretty much all are oldies :) ) by Vic Damone,
among others, "You were only fooling... while I was falling in love!" :)

Down Up Dick
09-28-2017, 08:58 AM
If i want to learn a new song (to me), I listen to it as much as possible to get a feel for the melody
and the 'story' in the lyrics. If I can understand the 'story' it's easier for me to remember how
it is told (the lyrics).

meanwhile, the melody is washing my brain so that it becomes more and more familiar.

when I feel comfortable with the melody I start working on the chording, even before I nail down
the lyrics.

then I sing and play the song, tweaking the chording and phrasing as I go along, until it becomes
somewhat second nature to me - that is, I don't have to really think about either the melody,
lyrics, or chords - i'm simply playing the song... from memory! funny how that works out. :)

keep uke'in',

PS the latest song I worked on was an oldie (they pretty much all are oldies :) ) by Vic Damone,
among others, "You were only fooling... while I was falling in love!" :)

That's a good way, but l mostly play folk music. Sometimes the lyrics are pretty stupid. I don't even bother with them.

Strangely enough, I'm an English major, but, in high school or college, I never had to memorize any poems. And, most of my musical life, I played wind instruments, so, of course, I never bothered with the words. Sometimes I read them, and, if they were interesting, I'd remember snatches of them.

Another strange thing about music lyrics and me . . . I really like Opera! And, of course, I can't understand much unless I have a libretto with translation. Ha! I like alotta foreign folk music like Klezmer too.

I guess what I'm sayin' is that the words don't always mean a lot to me, and yet . . . they do. I dunno. :old:

acmespaceship
09-28-2017, 09:13 AM
... She was concerned that the notes would be missing though, and that would make the melodies difficult to sing correctly. I suggested that we can learn to sing the songs from the Beloff books, and we'd be okay with just the lyrics and chords in front of us.
There's no reason she can't put the notes on the iPad. Scan your sheet music and import it as a PDF into OnSong. You can also buy Jim's Daily Ukulele books in Kindle format.

I sing melodies from memory (because I am a terrible sight singer) but I make plenty of mistakes. Anyone qualified to be a vocal coach would not be satisfied getting the melody mostly right. Melody notation is a valuable resource for singers who know how to use it.

Ideally, she'll learn the song to the point where she doesn't need the notation for performance... but then you won't need the chord sheet, either. I don't want to get into the eternal argument about playing from memory vs using "paper" so let's just say if you get to cheat by looking at chords, a singer gets to cheat by looking at notes. Whatever works is good :-)

Nickie
01-09-2018, 12:20 AM
Sorry for the late reply.
Thanks so much for all of your suggestions.
My colleague is doing very well at memorizing our songs. She has to because her vision is weak and none of her glasses seem to help with reading. She does mix up some of the words, though.
Another member has a very strong voice and sings well, but gets mixed up between the melody and the harmonies, but denies this. She likes to blame this on the rest of us. I don't know if there's a solution, but we're trying by assigning melody or harmony on each song we do, and notating the first note at the top of the song page.
I did write two songs, but still cannot remember the chords!
I did just receive a copy of Edly's Music Theory for Practical People, and I'm beginning to see the light. There is much more to it than I ever dreamed.
Some songs I do remember, after doing them 40 times, but having the iPad in front of me quells stage fright. Even if I don't look at it. If I get nervous, I trance out and my brain totally locks up. That's a whole 'nother topic, though. But it's a good case for sheet music or iPad.

Nikoslikos
02-02-2018, 09:24 PM
I have studied classical and jazz theory for years and eventhough I recognize all the patterns in a song I still have trouble memorizing it.
But I think I have found a way that helps me memorize songs easier than before. It's a 4 part procedure for me that usualy takes about a week to master
1) Listen to the song as many times as possible.
2) Learn to sing the melody and lyrics AWAY from my instrument.
3) Apply the chords to the melodic poem I ve learned slowly at first at a pace such as I am able to recognize patterns, verses, choruses, key changes etc. One hit per chord change at the beggining is ok.
4) Add rhythmic variations appropriate to the song. Keep practising until I have it all down with the right tempo, intro , ending etc. The goal is to be able to sing it to others like pianists do ..a complete work of music that is with a beggining and an end and with the right feelling of course.
Only then it is finished for me.. I come back to it twice a month to revise..
One last thing..a song is a live thing you know! I mean even if its 100 years old when you reproduce it, it very much comes alive..its a new story you re called to sing and express to others. Every time a little bit different..that is I think the magic of it all.

Rllink
02-03-2018, 04:51 AM
My problem right now is not memorizing songs, it is remembering songs that I have memorized. I'm at the point where I'm forgetting old songs as quickly as I'm memorizing new ones.

Barrytone
02-08-2018, 12:58 AM
I can remember chord sequences without too much trouble. After playing music for many years I know which chords go where depending on the melody. Words are something else. And when I play alone, I rarely struggle but in a group, I seem to lose confidence and need a songsheet. I guess it's an age thing.