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Loveiz
09-10-2018, 07:28 AM
I'm very much a beginner and never played an instrument before. But have managed to get to grips with some chords and am teaching myself " somewhere over the rainbow" using Uke4u youtube which is brilliant.
My question is how long does it take for the brain to remember a tune? Guessing it's like how long is a piece of string.
Reason I ask is if I try to verbalise any lyrics it's like my hands have been amputated!
It doesn't stop the pleasure though.

upskydowncloud
09-10-2018, 07:54 AM
I think a lot of it is just practising! It takes a while for your muscle memory to get it and for you to remember all the chords or notes. I always find working on a song I know and love helps me learn it. I also prefer learning from a video than tab or sheet music too. Singing and playing is not something I can do but it adds an element of difficulty again I think.

It sounds like you’re doing the right things, just keep at it!

Rllink
09-10-2018, 08:44 AM
I came at it as a singer who wanted to accompany myself with the ukulele. I don't have a definitive answer to your question, I do believe that it comes easier to learn the song and then learn the accompaniment than it does the other way around. I always approach a new song by memorizing the lyrics first, then the chords, then if I want to do something fancy, I work on that later. As far as memorizing songs, there is no easy way, you just have to be determined. I have memorized a lot of songs. I will say that it gets easier and easier as you memorize more and more songs. That is because there are common aspects of songs. After a while you will recognize common chord progressions, even common melodies and common lyrics. When you do run across those, you realize that you've already done half the work. Okay, hope that helps.

acmespaceship
09-10-2018, 10:22 AM
Playing and singing at the same time is tricky. All it takes is practice -- but sometimes a lot of practice. That's ok; you'll get it eventually. Try playing uke and humming the tune. Once that gets easy, you can start singing lyrics. It's ok to glance at a lyrics sheet now and then while you're getting the hang of it.

Bruddah Iz didn't quite exactly remember the lyrics either ;-)

In fact, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" isn't the easiest song to play or sing. If you practice for days and it still isn't coming together, set that song aside for now and try a basic 2- or 3-chord song with lyrics you know in your sleep. The first song you learn is the hardest; after that it will get easier.

ksiegel
09-10-2018, 11:05 AM
I don't read music. If I know the melody of a song, I can usually learn to play it.

Remembering the words, that's another story. I often don't try, and eventually they come.

However, if I have learned the words and melody first, by hearing it and singing along with it (in the car, for example), and I can sing it without accompaniment, then playing it is usually a breeze.

Note that I have used the word "usually" twice. There are times when I know a song cold, and the moment I pick up the ukulele (or there is someone there to listen to me), I lose the words, chords, and/or melody.

So, having seen that many of my favorite performers use lyrics (either on an iPad, monitor, or in a book), that is what I do. Every time.

ukantor
09-10-2018, 08:22 PM
I used to one of those people who say, "I can't memorise chord sequences or lyrics". So I always used chords/lyrics sheets. Then, one day, I was showing a friend a uke I had just made, and someone said, "Play something, then." Not having a cheat sheet with me, I couldn't.

I decided to learn just one song, to avoid a repeat of that awkward moment. I chose "Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea". It took several weeks before I was confident enough to sing it in public, but I got there.

That made me realise that if I can learn one song, I can learn another, and another. I set my sights on six. Once I'd achieved that goal, I learned some more. The limiting factor, for me, is how often I can sing the whole bunch of songs I have learned. If I don't sing a song at least once a week, it starts to fade. I once had more than thirty songs memorised, but now find that it is more realistic to keep a smaller repertoire memorised - say, a dozen. I am eighty years of age.

Even now, if I put my mind to it, I can learn a new song (chords and lyrics) in a couple of weeks, but if I don't sing it regularly, it is soon lost.

Yes - lyrics first, then the chord sequence. That works for me.

John Colter

EddiePlaysBass
09-10-2018, 09:23 PM
It comes with practice, as others have said. I can memorize a song on the bass fairly easy, because I have been playing that instrument for roughly 20 years. On the uke, I struggle, because I have been playing that instrument for roughly 20 days...

As for singing and playing along, I believe Sting once said that he gets both parts down individually before adding them. For me, again on the bass, it comes naturally. Except I can't sing worth a damn :) Haven't tried it while playing the uke.

By the way, ukantor, great story!!

mmn
09-11-2018, 03:39 AM
Depends on how old you are. Ever notice how quickly kids learn a language compared to adults? I think it's the same with music. I used to be able to learn a song well enough to perform in a few hours. Now it takes days...!

Loveiz
09-11-2018, 11:34 AM
Thanks for answers all helpful.
Since I'm over sixty I think it's going to take some time.
But it's pleasurable none the less.

ukantor
09-11-2018, 12:11 PM
"It's pleasurable none the less"

That's what it's all about, Loveiz. I recently memorized a quite jazzy arrangement of "That Old Black Magic", which uses at least sixteen different chords. It took me about a month, but I was able to perform it at a garden party, at the end of August, in front of a couple of dozen guests. As I said above, I'm now eighty years young, and it gave me great pleasure, and a huge sense of achievement.

The problem now is to play it often enough so that I will still be able to remember it at Xmas! I tried it today, and it is already starting to slip from my mind.

All the best with your endeavours!

John Colter.

ProfChris
09-12-2018, 01:07 AM
I used to one of those people who say, "I can't memorise chord sequences or lyrics". So I always used chords/lyrics sheets. Then, one day, I was showing a friend a uke I had just made, and someone said, "Play something, then." Not having a cheat sheet with me, I couldn't.

I decided to learn just one song, to avoid a repeat of that awkward moment. I chose "Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea". It took several weeks before I was confident enough to sing it in public, but I got there.

That made me realise that if I can learn one song, I can learn another, and another. I set my sights on six. Once I'd achieved that goal, I learned some more. The limiting factor, for me, is how often I can sing the whole bunch of songs I have learned. If I don't sing a song at least once a week, it starts to fade. I once had more than thirty songs memorised, but now find that it is more realistic to keep a smaller repertoire memorised - say, a dozen. I am eighty years of age.

Even now, if I put my mind to it, I can learn a new song (chords and lyrics) in a couple of weeks, but if I don't sing it regularly, it is soon lost.

Yes - lyrics first, then the chord sequence. That works for me.

John Colter

I think you have to discover the learning style which works for you. Unlike John, I need to start with the chords and get those right. Then I work out how the tune fits to those chords, stumbling over the lyrics. Next I keep on playing it until I've got the lyrics. Finally, I work out any instrumental parts, fills, passing chords etc.

The one thing I'm sure we all agree on is that you have to work on the song, going over those parts you haven't got right until it's all in your memory and then making all the parts fit together.

Remembering them all is definitely the hard part - I usually carry lyric and chord sheets, and a quick scan through those is often enough to remind me how it starts. And my memory is all muscle memory - if I can remember how to start playing it, usually the tune and lyrics follow.

Rllink
09-12-2018, 04:40 AM
My problem is remembering songs that I memorized but haven't played for a long time. It is like I have a thirty songs that I can keep in my head at one time, and for every one I memorize I'm going to have to forget one. I know that isn't how it works, but that is how it feels sometimes. I've probably memorized hundreds of songs, but I couldn't come up with a lot of them right off the top of my head right now.