View Full Version : Remembering what you have learnt..

11-06-2010, 06:29 AM
Howdy all,

I was just wondering, how other peoples memorys are..
Can you remember for example a song you may have learnt 4 months ago ??
Just wondering if its me, i can remember certain things i learn, but sometimes it seems the more new stuff i learn the more old stuff i forget, not everything..
Do other people suffer with this is what i was wondering ??

Keep on strummin :)

11-06-2010, 07:38 AM
Kinda.. Sometimes..

If I hadn't played a specific song in a long time, I kinda forget a little bit, but after I tinker for a minute, it comes back to me and I am playing like I never stopped. Muscle memory I guess kicks in with a little reminder...

11-06-2010, 08:36 AM
It depends on how much I've drilled the tune into my head. Songs in my band's set list come back instantly even if we haven't played for a while, due to repetition, but the casual song I may have picked out here or there seems to evaporate quickly over a short time. Sometimes writing down arrangements can help etch it into the brain for a longer period of time - just the physical act of writing and seeing it in a visual form can help.

Pukulele Pete
11-06-2010, 08:43 AM
What was the question..............? ?

11-06-2010, 12:08 PM
i only been playing about a month now, but feel i have progressed and learnt alot, and being a student i have alot of free time to uke out, but i don't think i have forgotten any songs i have played unless i only played it once or twice anything i have played and practised i can remember very well

11-06-2010, 12:20 PM
Like I mentioned, "Muscle memory". You can learn something, and if you dont use it, you can loose it. But once you gain muscle memory, it will always be there even if you have to knock the dust off, it comes back very easily. I truly believe muscle memory is stronger than traditional brain memory. I have muscle memory on songs I played for years on the bass, and guitar, but can't form the chords any longer due to arthritis, but, the fingers still know what to do. Kinda weird when they try to do it still, but the physical limitations I have now prevent it. VERY frustrating for me. That is why I don't pick up the bass or guitar much anymore. The smaller neck of the Uke, is much easier for me now anyway, which is why I fell in love with it. I still have limitations even with that, but at least can play with some degree of confedence. But, again, Muscle memory is very strong...

11-06-2010, 12:46 PM
Like with Chirstmas songs each year, I need a little review and then I can remember them. Each year gets easier. I guess thats long term memory kickin in. W ehave just shy of 100 songs on our song list. I have to play them once in a while to remember them. It's weird that some of the songs I can play better if I haven't played them for awhile. It's like all the short term screw ups get wiped out of my brain.

Papa Tom
11-06-2010, 04:24 PM
>>>Sometimes writing down arrangements can help etch it into the brain for a longer period of time<<<<<

On the contrary...for ME, anyway. The mistake I made from the beginning (I've been playing uke for about four years and played drums for my whole life before that) was to write down every song I learned, rather than just etching them into my memory. All these years later, though I've gotten quite good at the instrument, I can barely play "Happy Birthday" without pulling out my chord chart!

mm stan
11-06-2010, 07:55 PM
The more songs you learn and build your song library,,the less you play of the old ones, you may get rusty with them...but they come back...eventually...I think???what I said???

11-06-2010, 08:37 PM
What was the question..............? ?

Dude, I forgot. Ask one of the smart kids.

11-06-2010, 10:47 PM
If I memorise a song, but don't play it for a while, I find it slipping away after a couple of weeks. I've now got a list of about a dozen songs that I make a point of playing at least once a week. I'm talking about reasonably challenging songs. Three chord jobbies are not a problem, of course.

So the limiting factor, to how many I can remember, is how many I am happy to keep playing on a regular basis. Being 72 years old doesn't help.

Can someone tell me where I left my reading glasses, please?

John Colter.

11-06-2010, 11:28 PM
i have a relatively small amount of songs i know but i still find it hard to remember them off the cuff. I have to remind my self usually by playing the last two chords in a given progression. I don't know how bad its gonna get once i get a decent number of songs under my belt. yikes!

Ukulele JJ
11-07-2010, 02:51 AM
This used to be a big mystery to me when I first started playing gigs. I remember one guitarist I played with in particular who knew a whole raft of songs. I couldn't figure out how he did it!

Then I discovered something: The better one's ears get, the easier it is to "remember" songs.

You're not remembering the chords so much as you're remembering what the song sounds like and sort of figuring out the chords on the spot. You might remember a few key oddball chords (like the E7 in SOtR) other signpost chords, but the rest sort of get sketched in, with a healthy dollop of music theory helping you make educated guesses.

And this all got a lot easier once I started using the Nashville Number System. It forces you to think more of the sound and function of the chord within a given key, rather than on the letter name of the chord. Did wonders for my ears, and eventually for my repertoire of learned songs.

Now melodies and specific riffs tend to be a bit more of a "muscle memory" thing, but ears and theory help a great deal there too.


11-07-2010, 03:05 AM
Like someone else said, I write down the songs I learn, mostly because that's how I learn them, but after a while I can play some of them without having to look at the chords, like Tudorp said, muscle memory plays a big part!

11-07-2010, 03:27 AM
Thanks gang for the responce, i tend to learn a few songs within a short space of time and although i can play them very well at that time, some do fade of into the muddled memory's of my mind.. I can find that a song i'm struggling to remember one day, all of a sudden the next day is back as clear as ever..
Its good to know that other people go through it and interesting to read how you all try differnt methods to learn these songs..
Usually if i can remember some of the basic chords to the song i can grasp where the rest of it hopefully should go, that relying on the fact that i can remember how the song went in the first place..

Keep on strummin :) if you can remember what to play that is

11-07-2010, 06:13 AM
I remember songs I've learned 3 years ago, just sometimes it takes a little bit of thinking to bring them out fully. But this might also be because I don't really learn songs anymore, so my memory isn't packed full of them or anything. Dunno if that helps. I found that good nights sleep always helps with the memory process with new songs though

11-07-2010, 06:59 AM
I used to be able to memorize songs pretty easily, compared to now anyway. I now need tabs to remind me of almost every song. But, I'm getting better with training my ear to recognize when to change chords, and finding melodies without hitting too many clunkers. Memorize as much as possible before you hit 40.

11-07-2010, 07:44 AM
a decade too late for that advice.. ;)

11-07-2010, 08:50 AM
Well, after playing guitar for years there were some songs I forgot.
So I learned from my mistakes and changed strategy with the uke. It might be a bit nerdy, but it works for me! :)
I made a textdocument on my laptop and everytime I learned a new song I would put the tabs/chords into a uke folder and write the song I've learned in the document.
I keep track on what I've learned, uke websites and most important to me, songs I want to learn. I tend to forget what songs I want to learn and then suddenly I'm stuck because I have no idea what to learn next because I've forgotten it all - so I've begun writting songs down as I stumble across them and it's been great knowing what to learn next. Keeps me motivated too.

11-07-2010, 10:42 PM
I have a written list of the songs in my "repertoire". I can play them all from memory, but without a list of the titles, I can't remember what I know!

Also, there's knowing and KNOWING. Sometimes I can play a song when I practise it, but when I try it in front of other people, I blank. You have to get to the stage that your fingers will still keep going, even if the mind stops working.

John Colter.

11-10-2010, 09:31 AM
Aloha Bruddahs and Sistas, Got the "Uku Itch" last month after not playing for a long, long time, maybe 25-30 years. I'm 65 years old and trying to remember songs I learned at 10 yrs. old was a challenge. I remember what the song sounded like but did'nt remember the chords. Took awhile, but got it. My problem is not too much remembering, but my hand and fingers is not what it used to be, dexterity wise. Maybe the beating my hands took during my 38 year career as a Diesel Truck mechanic or my age? Probably both. Bobo

Papa Tom
11-10-2010, 04:09 PM
>>>Sometimes I can play a song when I practise it, but when I try it in front of other people, I blank.<<<<

That's MY big problem. I've got a whole children's medley worked out on paper and I can practice the heck out of it until it's pretty much etched into my memory. But as soon as I get in a room with my grandchildren and start playing and goofing with them, every song -- all three chords in each of 'em -- goes right out of my head!