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julie
09-22-2008, 06:00 AM
Is it 'bad' that I have a really terrible memory and always need to look at tabs to play a song? I seem to have no trouble remembering parts of songs, but to sit down and play a whole song from start to finish without looking / cheating is hard for me. What do you think?

Regards,
Julie Strietelmeier
http://the-gadgeteer.com
http://ukulelereview.com

mdnjustin
09-22-2008, 06:05 AM
I had a hard time doing this too, but I found that if I played the song enough, I'll remember just by muscle memory.

Guting
09-22-2008, 06:16 AM
you just not playing it enough or havent played long enough, it takes time for some.

I dont even need an uke to play or learn songs, lol!

julie
09-22-2008, 06:24 AM
I think the problem is that I have only ever played by myself, so I've gotten into bad habits of not playing songs all the way through when I sit down to practice. I tend to play a song till I make a mistake and then I'll either go back to the start or start playing something else.

LonnaB
09-22-2008, 06:29 AM
It takes me awhile to learn a song all the way through w/out looking at tabs and chords IF I've learned the song myself by looking at tabs and chords. Depending on my level of motivation, it could take me a few hours or several months. If I don't play through the songs I've already learned regularly, I lose 'em.

But, if I learn something by watching someone else, I never need the tabs or chords to begin with. Dominator's video instruction for 'Something' comes to mind.

When I have taught myself a song by looking at tab, I never feel as though I truly "own" the song until I can play it without looking at the tab. When I can do that, I'm more able to feel the song and use the ukulele to a fuller extent for interpretation.

Sayyadina
09-22-2008, 06:34 AM
When I have taught myself a song by looking at tab, I never feel as though I truly "own" the song until I can play it without looking at the tab. When I can do that, I'm more able to feel the song and use the ukulele to a fuller extent for interpretation.

That is exactly what I am experiencing.

haole
09-22-2008, 06:41 AM
I think the problem is that I have only ever played by myself, so I've gotten into bad habits of not playing songs all the way through when I sit down to practice. I tend to play a song till I make a mistake and then I'll either go back to the start or start playing something else.

This is me in a nutshell. :( Lyrics are by far the worst part for me, though. My last rendition of "I'm Yours" contained "You fell into a crack / So I looked at your face and I laughed."

seeso
09-22-2008, 07:12 AM
Julie, if it's important to you to memorize songs, then you have to play them over and over until you remember them. You'll find that it gets easier with time.

Ukulele JJ
09-22-2008, 08:10 AM
Part of it is simply developing your ear, which comes with time and practice.

After all, you don't have to work on memorizing the melody to a song you're singing, do you? You just sing it. Same with playing, to a certain extent. You play the right chords/notes just because that's what it sounds like you should play. Work on your ear, and your memory will follow!

Around here in Nashville, we have something called the "Nashville Number System". It's a way of notating the chords to a song using numbers instead of letter names. It stresses the function of the chord in the key, instead of the name of the chord. My ability to "hear" chords improved by leaps and bounds the more I read/played/wrote number charts.

JJ

Pete Howlett
09-22-2008, 08:23 AM
When I started gigging in clubs here in the UK you wouldn't be seen dead with a pusic stand - now it's almost obligatory. My mate Sid has a 1000 songs in his head - does a great show.

remy
09-22-2008, 09:08 AM
If I get really into a song, I just keep playing it over and over, so inevitably I memorize it. But I wouldn't worry about it if you don't remember songs right away. A lot of times I play with the music in front of me but I only look down if I forget something or for the parts that I'm not sure about. You might be able to gradually memorize something this way. Just play the first few lines, and then look back at the music. Do that for a while, and eventually you can add a couple more lines on.

Hey, that's how I memorized the bill of rights in gradeschool, come to think of it.

deach
09-22-2008, 09:11 AM
....

Hey, that's how I memorized the bill of rights in gradeschool, come to think of it.
I think SchoolHouse Rock had something to do with me memorizing that.

VengefulTikiGod
09-22-2008, 07:28 PM
Start memorizing songs and lyrics! You do not want to end up like I was a few months ago, having a bunch of half-memorized songs in your head and not being able to pull them off on the spot if asked to play something. Become a walking jukebox. It's the difference between being someone who just noodles in front of the TV and being a real, performance-level musician.

Pro-tip: If you have an mp3 player that you listen to regularly or a CD player in your car, make a playlist of a bunch of songs you want to memorize lyrics to and put in on there. The act of waiting for a bus or driving to the store becomes free study time. Sing along even, if no one's around. Much easier and more reliable than sitting at a computer trying to cram a long lyric sheet into your head all at once.

thesoobz
09-22-2008, 08:20 PM
yeah. it just takes time dont worry! just practice them correctly dont want to memorize how to play them wrong.. haha ive done that couple times.. ahhaha

KoloheBoy
09-22-2008, 08:33 PM
Is it 'bad' that I have a really terrible memory and always need to look at tabs to play a song? I seem to have no trouble remembering parts of songs, but to sit down and play a whole song from start to finish without looking / cheating is hard for me. What do you think?

Regards,
Julie Strietelmeier
http://the-gadgeteer.com
http://ukulelereview.com

practice ;)

UkuLeLesReggAe
09-23-2008, 02:11 AM
i remember things that r important...
so yeah i can remember everything i learn when it comes to uke..

although i fail all my tests :P

Ukulele JJ
09-23-2008, 08:23 AM
I read a book "your brain on music" and it kind of explained it all.


That's a very good book, by the way. For those who haven't read it, I recommend it.


JJ

ichadwick
09-23-2008, 12:49 PM
Is it 'bad' that I have a really terrible memory and always need to look at tabs to play a song? I seem to have no trouble remembering parts of songs, but to sit down and play a whole song from start to finish without looking / cheating is hard for me. What do you think?

Depends on several things, not least of all the particular song. Some songs I can memorize easily - I've played guitar more than 40 years so I have some practice at it. There are some songs whose chord progressions lend themselves to memorization. Others I need a hint or even the entire tablature to play, even if I work at them.

Generally if I play a song often enough, it finds a memory groove in which I will eventually remember it without prompting. What's annoying is that I can still play songs I learned in the 60s and 70s without hesitation, but that new songs I'm working witrh are often much more of a struggle to commit to the memory bank.

I have a good memory for patterns and shapes. I don't get lost easily, I find my way easily in FPS and RPG games, I do well in recognition tests. I remember the location of books in my collection by the pattern of the shelf. That makes it easy to memorize chord patterns.

Of course, I am of the age when memorization was common in schools. We learned to memorize large poems, or pieces of poems, or soliloquies from Shakespeare. That really helped because I can memorize lyrics today thanks to that training.

It's not "cheating" to refer to song sheets or tabs. Probably most of us have a library of 30-50 songs we like to play; if you don't play them regularly and frequently, you simply can't remember each one. Use what works, use what makes sense. Keep in mind that actors today don't memorize whole scripts or politicians whole speeches: they have prompters to remind them of their next lines.

Here's an idea: go to a copy shop and photocopy your favourite songs at 25%, then copy them 4 on a page, double sided and cut them into quarters. You can copy them onto card stock or laminate the paper for better stiffness. This will give you small, easily carried song sheets you can put in your case, put on a music stand or in stick into one of those uke clips.

Tonya
09-23-2008, 01:09 PM
My problem is the opposite--lots of memorization comes easily to me--but I can't play a diddly darn if I'm forced to just "listen" and make it happen by ear. My brain wants to take over because it seems a lot stronger at its skills than my ears are in doing theirs.

JoeyJr858
09-23-2008, 01:22 PM
for some odd reason... 1st verse is ALWAYS solid... then 2nd to end. CRASH AND BURN! lol

Valerie
09-23-2008, 04:57 PM
Yup, I memorize, but I do often find myself returning to the sheet music if it is a piece I've not practiced in a while.

I've a fairly good memory- but what is strange is that when I play a piece I know by heart- if I try and think about what note comes next- I crash and burn. But if I just don't think- I play much better. It's like I'm on autopilot: I pick the song I want to play, press start and just sit back and let my fingers do the work.

I think, in part, this is why I have such a hard time playing in front of people/ a camera. If I just record audio I can play a song near perfect every time. But I turn on my camera/someone enters the room and I start to think too much and then I mess up.

luckyends
09-23-2008, 05:12 PM
one of the things i noticed is that songs repeat...
ALOT
for example i learned the first verse of a song on my uke (chords only no lyrics)
and i learned how to play the whole song

so often times that happens and that makes life easier

Dominator
09-23-2008, 07:34 PM
I definately memorize songs. Problem is that if I don't continue to play them then they vanish into never never land. But the good thing is that when I do need to refresh I can go back to my tab archive and brush up in quick order.

14twelve
09-24-2008, 01:29 AM
Yup, I memorize, but I do often find myself returning to the sheet music if it is a piece I've not practiced in a while.

I've a fairly good memory- but what is strange is that when I play a piece I know by heart- if I try and think about what note comes next- I crash and burn. But if I just don't think- I play much better. It's like I'm on autopilot: I pick the song I want to play, press start and just sit back and let my fingers do the work.

I think, in part, this is why I have such a hard time playing in front of people/ a camera. If I just record audio I can play a song near perfect every time. But I turn on my camera/someone enters the room and I start to think too much and then I mess up.

I can totally relate to that. I can memorise them and play them when it's just me and the ukulele, but as soon as a camera comes on, or someone walks in, it's gone.

I find the easiest way to memorise is to try and get away from the tabs. I write the tabs for everything I play, but then rely on them too much and find I only remember it when I make myself play it without the tabs over and over again.

haole
09-24-2008, 06:38 AM
Learning from tabs screws me up a lot. For a lot of players, tabs just encourage them to memorize fret numbers without thinking about how each note relates to the chord. I feel that I have a better grasp of a song if I learn the chords first and then try to figure out the melody myself. The whole thing comes together a lot clearer.

Howlin Hobbit
09-24-2008, 08:55 AM
For some dumb damn reason the likelihood of my screwing up lyrics is greater if it's a song that I wrote.

Don't ask me why. Thinking about it just makes me drink more bourbon.

(*takes a shot* See?)

davoomac
09-24-2008, 08:41 PM
When I really want to memorize a song, I take the lyrics with me every where and I play the song at home, in the car, and on my ipod wherever I go. You will learn it within a day or two guaranteed!

FHS-72
09-25-2008, 07:26 AM
i suffer from O.P.S. (old people syndrome) i memorize the song , but have to wait five years for me to remember what i memorized.:o

ichadwick
09-25-2008, 07:41 AM
i suffer from O.P.S. (old people syndrome) ...
What's annoying for me is that I often can't remember what I had for breakfast, but I can remember every word to Flying Purple People Eater, Monster Mash, every Beatle song... songs I heard 40-50 years ago.

Starting on the uke, I found I could recall without a lot of effort a lot of folk songs I played in the 60s and 70s, but had to work at learning new songs for it. I suppose I just dredged them out of the memory bank and played the guitar chords on the uke, minus the two extraneous strings, whereas new songs required me to actually learn something and carve new memory grooves in the old grey matter.