PDA

View Full Version : memorizing songs



garyg
07-15-2011, 08:08 AM
Other than the mantra of UU (practice, practice, practice) are there any "tricks" that you folks use to memorize songs and lyrics. I find myself practicing, practicing, and practicing and still flubbing more complicated songs (complicated by beginner standards, songs with 6-8 chords that are not in a symmetrical format, verse, chorus, verse chorus, bridge, verse, chorus, etc.). And even when I get a song down I have trouble when our little uke group gets together. and others are singing and playing. Maybe I'm just too old for this :rulez: TIA, g2

TCK
07-15-2011, 08:14 AM
As resistant to the idea as I was at first, singing the song makes memorizing and remembering chord changes a snap...on instrumentals I hum the melody line and they tend to stick.
No such thing as too old...my wife can't memorize them either. She has not tried singing them (though she is a whiz with lyrics)...she just gets to carry the binder with all the lead sheets ;)
Get a video camera too- will help with the playing in a crowd anxiety, because when the red light goes on, you will experience the same thing

Mel Ott
07-15-2011, 08:18 AM
I think I read an interview with David Byrne where he said something like "Lyrics are a trick to make you remember the music." I know there were some jazz band leaders who insisted that their sidemen learned the lyrics to the songs they'd play. That's all in line with what TCK says (and my own limited experience). If you sing the song, it's a lot easier to remember the melody and the chord changes.

cheekmeat
07-15-2011, 08:19 AM
And even when I get a song down I have trouble when our little uke group gets together. and others are singing and playing. Maybe I'm just too old for this :rulez: TIA, g2

Playing in front of people is a whole other animal. I find myself constantly screwing up things I have down pat in the living room. An audience makes you lose yr freakin' mind sometimes. Unfortunately, the only way to get through that is to...You guessed it...Practice playing for people. :)

garyg
07-15-2011, 09:02 AM
Just to be clear I do learn the words, frequently before the music (I'm learning how to play songs that I've song without accompaniment for years) and that somehow makes it more difficult for me. I can play the music alone without an error but when I try to sing at the same time I often can't get through the song without a mishap or two. Maybe I am too old, like I didn't use my reading glasses to see what that emoticon I used actually did <g> - it was completely irrelevant to my post..

MisoHappy
07-15-2011, 09:11 AM
Make sure you've got the lyrics down first, no questions :) that will make thing's easiest. After that...you just gotta keep practicing the parts you find yourself missing most often.

I play along to the song sometimes too, i don't know if that would help you x)

cheekmeat
07-15-2011, 09:24 AM
If the song has a story to it, it can help to try to think of where you are in the story instead of where you are in the lyrics.
I often try what I call the "Leap of Faith" method, wherein if I'm lost in the lyrics, I just let go and try to sing something. Sometimes, the lyrics come out. I wish I could say it works all of the time, but it is probably not but a quarter of the time. Then I revert to the "Mumbling Fool" method which I'm sure we're all familiar with.

ksiegel
07-15-2011, 10:45 AM
As resistant to the idea as I was at first, singing the song makes memorizing and remembering chord changes a snap...on instrumentals I hum the melody line and they tend to stick.\

I can't agree with this enough!

Of course, then I have to try and memorize the words... Sometimes they come, unbidden, on their own just when you're ready to give up. Others, you'll just have to keep the lyrics handy.

-Kurt

PhilUSAFRet
07-15-2011, 12:55 PM
As resistant to the idea as I was at first, singing the song makes memorizing and remembering chord changes a snap...on instrumentals I hum the melody line and they tend to stick.
No such thing as too old...my wife can't memorize them either. She has not tried singing them (though she is a whiz with lyrics)...she just gets to carry the binder with all the lead sheets ;)
Get a video camera too- will help with the playing in a crowd anxiety, because when the red light goes on, you will experience the same thing

Sorry to disagree re: never too old to remember, but as some of us age, we develop problems with our memories, some don't....Fact!

janeray1940
07-15-2011, 01:09 PM
Starting at about 3:35 in this video is some discussion of memorizing:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MP4BMu15DTk

I don't really sing and play; I mostly fingerpick. I've come to realize that memorization works this way for me: first I get really familiar with following the lead sheet until I'm satisfied that I can play it well; then I'll try to play without looking and it will go downhill really, really fast. And it will stay bad for a while and then suddenly something will "click" and I'll have it memorized and be able to play it pretty well.

GreatGazukes
07-15-2011, 02:06 PM
Bing Crosby was notoriously bad at remembering the lyrics, he become famous for his b..b..boo...boos. Heck, he didn't even have to play an instrument. One trick you could use is to draw pictures of the song as a story board, this will help you have some recall of what is going on in the song, "oh this part I drew a black cat, here a haunted house, there a sail boat".

:)

OldePhart
07-15-2011, 03:12 PM
I've come to realize that memorization works this way for me: first I get really familiar with following the lead sheet until I'm satisfied that I can play it well; then I'll try to play without looking and it will go downhill really, really fast. And it will stay bad for a while and then suddenly something will "click" and I'll have it memorized and be able to play it pretty well.

That's exactly how it works for me, right up to that "click" and be able to play really well part - that part never seems to happen for me. :)

janeray1940
07-15-2011, 03:20 PM
That's exactly how it works for me, right up to that "click" and be able to play really well part - that part never seems to happen for me. :)

Patience... Sometimes this can take *months*. I have songs I started working on last summer that I'm only now starting to think I can play even remotely well :)