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mikelz777
04-03-2012, 07:55 AM
Before I came to the ukulele, I played guitar off and on. (mostly off, I could go months if not a year+ without touching one so I wasn't accomplished by any means) When I started thinking about learning songs on the uke, I realized that at best, I could only play 1 or 2 songs from memory after 18+ years of sporadically playing the guitar. When I did play, I guess I just enjoyed sitting and playing songs from chords/tab sheets and didn't bother trying to learn the song by memory. Now that I'm playing the ukulele, I think my attitude has changed and was wondering what others here tend to do.

Do you like to learn a song until you can play it by memory or do you rely on a song sheet each time you play? I suspect for a lot of people it is a little bit of both but I think it would be cool to have a repertoire that I could play by memory. (While I'm certainly not ruling it out, right now I don't have plans for performing for others.)

Markr1
04-03-2012, 08:29 AM
I memorize so I'm not having to look at a book to play a song. It's not easy and of course I spend a lot of time and repetition doing this it's all worth it when it's memorized. That's just my thoughts on it and I'm sure there are ones that go the other way with it. It's just my own preference.

Plainsong
04-03-2012, 08:30 AM
I tend to memorize them just by playing them over and over. I haven't yet and will never play anything on uke that was so demanding of me that I gotta have sheet music. When I was a kid, I used to marvel at how someone could play anything on any instrument without needing sheet music, but now it just feels like part of it.

Then again, I never remember lyrics...

If you need sheet of music or tabs or whatever works for you, then that's what you use, I wouldn't sweat it. :)

ukuraleigh
04-03-2012, 08:31 AM
Great, question and I'm interested in the answers.

I tend to play from chord sheets and then if I really like how the song sounds on the ukulele, I try to commit it to memory. I'm up to about a dozen songs that I can recall from memory.

What I do find is that I get little retained memory from simply playing from the sheets over and over. I actually have to commit to memory by almost taking visual photographs of how my fingers are making the chords for a song. Not sure if that makes sense.

Anyway, I enjoy both and try not to stress about how many songs I know "off the top of my head" but then again, it is nice to sit on a beach and just play. ;)

My 2 cents.

vanflynn
04-03-2012, 08:35 AM
Depends on the song. If it's a simple chord progression I try to memorize it via the I IV V7 (ala Jim D'Ville type) method. Other songs that I like on the uke are too much for my old mind to remember (the 80's were fun, I think)

PoiDog
04-03-2012, 08:39 AM
Do you like to learn a song until you can play it by memory or do you rely on a song sheet each time you play? I suspect for a lot of people it is a little bit of both

Both.

Basically, I start with a tab/chord sheet and work on the song until it is comfortable (like getting familiar with weird chord changes), then play it so I memorize the pattern. But I find that when I play some songs (Come On Eileen, or '39) it helps to have some kind of chord cheat sheet handy so I don't lose my place or forget a transition. I wouldn't say I am playing from either memory or a page, but using the latter to help the former.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
04-03-2012, 08:56 AM
Both, definitely.

I don't feel like I "know" a song until I can play it by heart, but I sure like playing songs I don't "know", so I play songs from books, sheets, the web, etc. every day.

It's nice to have more than few songs to play by heart---especially simple, good ones. The list of songs I know grows/shrinks with my learning/forgetting cycle.

Mandarb
04-03-2012, 09:11 AM
I try to learn instrumentals and not songs where singing is involved. Yes - I memorize them and some of them have taken quite a bit of time for me to get down.

Ron
04-03-2012, 09:13 AM
I've found that having someone to play with has helped me learn songs by heart. Mostly because we agree when to put the charts away and try it without and then can back each other through the bits we can't remember. So after three years we've got about sixty songs down - thats practcicng for about 2 and a half hours every week. . We still take charts for songs we haven't yet learned properly but want to play publicly.

guitarsnrotts
04-03-2012, 09:25 AM
I try to learn instrumentals and not songs where singing is involved. Yes - I memorize them and some of them have taken quite a bit of time for me to get down.

Me too. I don't consider me knowing a song until I can sit down and play it from memory. After about 6 months, I finally got an instrumental chord solo version of 'Chinatown My Chinatown' down.

janeray1940
04-03-2012, 09:29 AM
This might sound backwards: I memorize all of my classical/fingerpicking songs - I find it way easier to play complex pieces from memory once I've gotten the basic structure of the song down.

The easy stuff, simple chord progressions, I don't usually memorize. I try to actually hear the changes and follow along that way, but I'm not a very good by-ear player so I still use chord charts even for songs I've been playing for several years.

Mandarb
04-03-2012, 09:30 AM
Me too. I don't consider me knowing a song until I can sit down and play it from memory. After about 6 months, I finally got an instrumental chord solo version of 'Chinatown My Chinatown' down.

There was instrumental that I attempted to learn last year - I thought I would have it down in a few weeks....it took me months. I actually stopped working on it and learned a second instrumental that only took me about a week - "Fur Elise".

Ken Middleton
04-03-2012, 09:38 AM
There is another option. This is to work the song out each time you play it.

Using this technique means that you can play songs that you have never played before. Also, the key doesn't matter. It is possible to play in any key.

Surprisingly, quite a lot of people use this technique, even if it is just in a simple way. For instance, lots of uke players can just play pretty much any 3 chord rock and roll song without really thinking too much. And in several keys.

GX9901
04-03-2012, 09:49 AM
I pretty much only play instrumentals, and I think it would be almost impossible to play them if I had to read from a tab sheet, so by the time I have an arrangement down, it's pretty much committed to memory by default. Also, in the last year or so I've mostly learned by watching videos and a little bit by ear, so I usually don't have tab sheets to begin with.

SailingUke
04-03-2012, 09:53 AM
I believe learning a song is playing without a book/sheet.
I am constantly amazed at all the folks who bury themselves in a song sheet and don't listen to what they are playing.
When you play by yourself you should be able to hear what you are playing, when in a group hearing the group dynamics can be beautiful.
I always wonder why people want to read everything they play. Why play music if you are not going to listen?
Rather than memorizing a song, I believe you need to get it loaded into your memory so you feel and hear it.
Playing from a book sounds mechanical to me, little emotion or artistic interpretation.

ukulelecowboy
04-03-2012, 10:15 AM
With 90 songs in our songbook and working with a jazz vocalist that expects me to be "at the right place at the right time playing the right chord" I use my charts all the time. No exceptions.

Fortunately, I use the official Ukulele Cowboy Society Bandstand which holds my charts, capo, tuner, etc. and nicely hides my towel, water bottles and other unsightly stuff. Here is a shot of it and us at a recent gig...

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/photo-2.jpg

BeardedGent
04-03-2012, 10:29 AM
I memorize, or that's what I did when I played guitar. It takes practice, time, and a lot of repetition but it's easier than having to play off a song book.

stevepetergal
04-03-2012, 11:32 AM
Both. If you want to play well, you have to become familiar enough with the material that it's memorized anyway. And reading is work, while playing is ...well...playing!

Kem
04-03-2012, 11:59 AM
There is another option. This is to work the song out each time you play it.

Using this technique means that you can play songs that you have never played before. Also, the key doesn't matter. It is possible to play in any key.

Surprisingly, quite a lot of people use this technique, even if it is just in a simple way. For instance, lots of uke players can just play pretty much any 3 chord rock and roll song without really thinking too much. And in several keys.

I second this. It's also a useful skill to have when you write songs.

csibona
04-03-2012, 12:03 PM
I hardly memorize anything - I usually play from a book. There are a few songs that I've basically memorized because I've played them often - but it isn't the goal of my playing. I am mostly arranging songs from lead sheets (melody plus chords) in chord/melody form (I'm not a singer) so I'm not working off tab all that often... I am also playing for myself/by myself and not in front of an audience...

Uncle Rod Higuchi
04-03-2012, 12:05 PM
I'm happy that so many have already worked out for themselves how best to play the uke comfortably.

As long as we're not judging one another by our own standards, I say, go for it.

Personally, I have my uke and songbook with me wherever I go. If I had to, I'd probably be able to
play quite a few songs from memory, but only because I've played them so often.

I now have almost all my song sheets on my Nook Color (rooted to Cyanogen Mod 7). OK, it's only
a 7" screen, but I can read it and in the dark as well!

I can generally playt most songs with rather simple progressions. There are a some songs that have
unusual chord progression sections that I can't always remember, hence the song sheets.

I also like the fact that OTHERS can crowd around the music stand and play along. Can't do that
if the songs are only in my memory. Oops, sorry for that dig.

I just hope all of us ukulele players find a way to play the songs we love, instrumentally or with
vocal accompaniment (oh, wait are our voices accompanying the uke or is it the other way around?).

keep uke'in' everybody,

ItsMrPitchy
04-03-2012, 12:10 PM
I usually play by memory cause thats just how i always learnt. Im not used to reading of a sheet and playing so i just memorize all songs that i play.

uke4ia
04-03-2012, 05:04 PM
I've learned and forgotten lots of songs over 36 years of playing. Right now, I've probably got around four hours worth of songs memorized, about half of it stuff I wrote. I don't really play any I-IV-V songs, so they all have different chord patterns. And I'm always trying to learn more songs. Eventually it gets hard to remember everything, and to get around to practicing them all from time to time so I don't forget them. There are very few songs I feel comfortable playing in front of an audience if I haven't played them in the last couple of weeks. Even if I've played a song hundreds of times, if I haven't played it for months, there'll be some lyric or chord change I'll forget.

I've got a looseleaf notebook for any stray sheet music I photocopy or download. And a thicker notebook of songs that I printed out the chords from the Ultimate Guitar Tab web site. I'll practice stuff out of both notebooks, and in time I sometimes get to where I have the song memorized.

I saw an article yesterday that Springsteen has a discreetly placed Teleprompter on his current tour to make sure he remembers all the lyrics. So don't feel bad if you're not working strictly from memory, you're in good company.

wickedwahine11
04-03-2012, 05:13 PM
I have three or four fingerpicking songs memorized, but there is one I have played nearly every day for a couple of years and I still only have about 90% of it memorized. For everything else, I rely on my iPad.

vanflynn
04-03-2012, 05:19 PM
Viva le iPad! ( la iPad?)

Freeda
04-03-2012, 05:40 PM
I have some illness-related memory loss (serious enough that I only have maybe a dozen distinct memories before the age of 12) so I will never be a memorizer. Just memorizing the chords themselves is challenging enough!

Ron
04-03-2012, 06:00 PM
Fortunately, I use the official Ukulele Cowboy Society Bandstand which holds my charts, capo, tuner, etc. and nicely hides my towel, water bottles and other unsightly stuff. Here is a shot of it and us at a recent gig...

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b75/ADDmodeler/photo-2.jpg

Got to get me one of them Official Ukulele Cowboy Society Bandstands ;-)

kapahulu50
04-03-2012, 07:27 PM
I like being able to sit in spontaneously with other bands, and I don't have a large enough repertoire memorized where I'm likely to know all the pieces their playing. When I'm practicing I do a lot do sight reading just to keep up the reading ability. It's probably also the voices of my former classical music teachers getting furious if they caught me playing by ear vs. reading....

tigersister
04-03-2012, 07:56 PM
There is another option. This is to work the song out each time you play it.

Using this technique means that you can play songs that you have never played before. Also, the key doesn't matter. It is possible to play in any key.

Surprisingly, quite a lot of people use this technique, even if it is just in a simple way. For instance, lots of uke players can just play pretty much any 3 chord rock and roll song without really thinking too much. And in several keys.

I'm totally in awe of anyone who can do this. My husband, brother, and both sons can do it. Truth be told, I'm a little envious that they can pick up an instrument that they're unfamiliar with and slowly work out a tune.

I'm not musically inclined and I do not possess this ability, nor does my daughter btw. I'm hoping with much practice that I will be able to eventually train my ear enough that I'll be capable of it. I'm only now, after a year of picking up ukulele, getting to the point where I can catch my mistakes.:o So for me, I need the sheet music, tabs, and written song chords. I'm slowly starting to remember parts of tunes, but I rely very heavily on stuff that is written down and will probably do so for a long time yet. I'd like to work up to memorizing a few tunes so all I have to grab is my ukulele and then be able to jam anywhere.

His Sinfulness
04-03-2012, 08:24 PM
For me, practice and memorization are one and the same. If I practice it enough to play it with any accuracy, I will remember it for months or years to come. I have always been a terrible sight-reader, so when I use sheet music it is only until I can remember it enough to step away from the music stand.

ItsAMeCasey
04-03-2012, 10:37 PM
I play completely by memory. I noticed that when I used to read tabs I'd memorize a song really slowly. I think the more you don't read tabs the easier it becomes to commit songs to memory.

blab
04-03-2012, 11:49 PM
I try to have at least 10 songs memorized. Unfortunately, I forget the chords if I don't play them regularly. If I do play them regularly, I get bored of some songs and have to replace them. So it's an ongoing effort.

I, too, am not able to memorize songs by just playing the sheet, even when re-learning. I have to switch to memorize mode.

Ukuleleblues
04-04-2012, 01:16 AM
Once you have "memorized" a song it is much more fun to play and it doubly more fun to play with others. The best part about it is the more you memorize the more you can. The first three songs were so difficult to memorize, now we can play around 100 songs, some simple and some very complex. Of course you have to play them once in a while to keep proficient. We played for about 5 hours at a festival last weekend (20 minute lunch break) and did not start repeating songs until the last 45 minutes. It's nice not to have to bring around sheet music books, a stand , clips (when it's windy), just you and your Ukulele.

barefootgypsy
04-04-2012, 01:34 AM
Great, question and I'm interested in the answers.

I tend to play from chord sheets and then if I really like how the song sounds on the ukulele, I try to commit it to memory. I'm up to about a dozen songs that I can recall from memory.

What I do find is that I get little retained memory from simply playing from the sheets over and over. I actually have to commit to memory by almost taking visual photographs of how my fingers are making the chords for a song. Not sure if that makes sense.

Anyway, I enjoy both and try not to stress about how many songs I know "off the top of my head" but then again, it is nice to sit on a beach and just play. ;)

My 2 cents.What he said! Absolutely! I love to sit with a song sheet with chords and play from that, but I'm trying to commit my favourite stuff to memory, including some instrumentals. In fact, I'm drawing up some targets for myself, so that when I achieve them I can feel justified in buying another uke! I still have my starter......:D

ramone
04-04-2012, 01:36 AM
I find by playing a song enough times, I will memorize it. I use chord charts to learn songs but after awhile, I don't need them.

Wooville
04-04-2012, 02:49 AM
I find that once I learn song lyrics by memory, it really starts to sound better. Reading from a chart is great, but sometimes my mind will stray from the sheet....then I'm lost and so is the flow of the song. At my bluegrass jam, I always have a cheat sheet on hand....too many distractions.....

Sporin
04-04-2012, 02:52 AM
I still play from chord sheets, even when performing at open mic night. I know it's less "proffessional" but no one seems to mind and I simply couldn't do it otherwise because I have a horrific memory.

Then again, I've only been playing for a year.

ukulelecowboy
04-04-2012, 03:57 AM
I still play from chord sheets, even when performing at open mic night. I know it's less "proffessional" but no one seems to mind and I simply couldn't do it otherwise because I have a horrific memory.

Then again, I've only been playing for a year.

I would have to disagree. Whether or not you play from charts does not dictate any level of professionalism. The idea is to play your best and have fun. There are countless renowned musicians that used music and charts throughout their entire careers and there are many factors that dictate whether music/charts might be used for performance.

Mike

barefootgypsy
04-04-2012, 04:09 AM
I would have to disagree. Whether or not you play from charts does not dictate any level of professionalism. The idea is to play your best and have fun. There are countless renowned musicians that used music and charts throughout their entire careers and there are many factors that dictate whether music/charts might be used for performance.

MikeIt's so interesting to read all the different views on this - following a sheet versus playing from memory. I think we put value-judgments on our own level of competence, and it's interesting to realise that others don't actually share those criteria! It's all good food for thought!

dkcrown
04-04-2012, 06:28 AM
I memorize all of the songs I play. I think. Errr...I forget.

OldePhart
04-04-2012, 06:48 AM
I have found that I can and sort of do memorize songs but if I don't play one for a few weeks it's gone and I have to play it several times again before I get the chord progressions right. I still prefer having lead sheets in front of me though - sometimes I don't even refer to one but it sure is nice to be able to glance down if your mind wanders - especially if you're playing for an audience!

John

Shazzbot
04-04-2012, 07:19 AM
I've been at this for 14 months and just want to strum and sing at the end of the day for my own pleasure.
I have three notebooks full of songs.
One for the songs I am most comfortable with, one for hymns and the last and biggest for tunes that are either more difficult or unfamiliar.
Depending on my mood, I pull out the appropriate notebook.
I know this is an inefficient way to learn, but I have great fun in the privacy of my office/den and have little desire to inflict myself on others.

Couloirman
04-04-2012, 07:25 AM
Gotta memorize. Its the only way to be able to spontaneously play people the songs you like.

Manalishi
04-04-2012, 07:28 AM
Both methods work for me! Some songs I have known for years and
I formerly played them on guitar; same chord changes,just different
chord shapes on the ukulele. Others I like and have to check the
sheet,as has already been said,to refresh my memeory,which is not
what it once was!

Uncle Rod Higuchi
04-04-2012, 07:30 AM
none of us should feel like we have to apologize for the way we play our ukes, either privately or publically.

point - we're each having fun with our ukes.

Group performances, well, that would be up to the group. However, my experience has been that if you want
to include as many ukulele players as have brought their ukes, then you'll probably need to let them look at
the song sheets. Otherwise, it's probably a smaller group that has practiced and rehearsed any number of
times, and evern then, they may choose to use songbooks vs all memorized.

Probably no definitive answer to this concern. any perhaps it needn't be a concern anyway.

keep uke'in',

kaizersoza
04-04-2012, 07:51 AM
I use both methods and it is serving me very well, if i like a song and i play it regularly it automatically commits to memory, some songs i have learned but don't particularly like gets quickly forgotten, but if i ever go back to that type of song it doesn't take too long to get it back under my fingertips, now lyrics, ahhh lyrics, they come and go as they please lol

Ukuleleblues
04-04-2012, 08:34 AM
I play completely by memory. I noticed that when I used to read tabs I'd memorize a song really slowly. I think the more you don't read tabs the easier it becomes to commit songs to memory.I read that is because your brain allocates more resources to a particular function the more you use that particular function. It's called plasticity. BTY it's harder for me to memorize a song I've played from tab a lot compared to one I learn 100% by ear or learn it quickly by looking at the tabs sparingly. A LOT easier.

Mandarb
04-04-2012, 08:47 AM
none of us should feel like we have to apologize for the way we play our ukes, either privately or publically.

point - we're each having fun with our ukes.

Group performances, well, that would be up to the group. However, my experience has been that if you want
to include as many ukulele players as have brought their ukes, then you'll probably need to let them look at
the song sheets. Otherwise, it's probably a smaller group that has practiced and rehearsed any number of
times, and evern then, they may choose to use songbooks vs all memorized.

Probably no definitive answer to this concern. any perhaps it needn't be a concern anyway.

keep uke'in',

Yup - agreed as long as everyone is having fun. I try to memorize instrumentals that I am working on for myself but songs sheets for a group are great especially if they are not familiar with the song.

Mandarb
04-04-2012, 08:49 AM
I read that is because your brain allocates more resources to a particular function the more you use that particular function. It's called plasticity. BTY it's harder for me to memorize a song I've played from tab a lot compared to one I learn 100% by ear or learn it quickly by looking at the tabs sparingly. A LOT easier.

Gary Marcus talks about that concept in his new book, "Guitar Zero - The New Musician and the Science of Learning".

Plainsong
04-04-2012, 10:03 AM
Funny how long and short term memory works with the muscle memory. If I'm learning a song, and I mess up, my fingers will so so so want to go to that wrong mystery chord again. They're so helpful that way.

But then I can pick up a wind instrument and play something from high school (*cough sputter* years ago), and not think about it, even the difficult stuff, stuff that would bend my fingers in half on a uke, but can be played on autopilot on those..

It's no shame though to need a sheet of chords, tabs, music, whatever, to play. On the one hand, you'll be surprised how much your fingers know that song by the time you get to performance level, but on the other, it just doesn't matter. I know stage fright gets me in a way that doesn't help, and if I was singing there would be some cheat sheet lyrics somewhere where I could see them. Whether you think you're using it as a crutch, or because you don't feel your memory is so hot, or because you genuinely read the music, if it sounds good, it is good.

bigchiz
04-04-2012, 10:25 AM
Memorizing has always been very challenging for me. Not just music but oaths or whatever. Have never been officially diagnosed but have been asked several times in life if I have lysdexia (dyslexia :) ). On the other hand I've received many complements on accuracy and musicianship in sight reading as a semi-professional bass player.

Playing chordal instruments had been very challenging too. A year ago I received a uke and now making these four strings sing is so fun/rewarding/satisfying. May want to revisit the memorizing aspect, maybe things will be easier now.

SuzukHammer
04-04-2012, 03:45 PM
Repetition - hundreds and hundreds of times.

I also think it depends at what level or understanding of music you are at - it gets easier to learn songs faster the more you play.

Magoosan
04-05-2012, 06:26 AM
I think there are several factors, age being a significant one. When I was younger, memorizing seemed to happen automatically. The older I get, not so much. If I was limited to the songs I could memorize, I would really get bored shortly. My repertoire is 300+ songs. I would rather have the variety than stuck to a few I could memorize.

Ken Middleton
04-05-2012, 07:02 AM
... I would rather have the variety than stuck to a few I could memorize.

That's a really good point.

When I was younger, I played piano in a dance band (quicksteps, waltzes, tangos, etc). We played 1000+ numbers. We had a scrap of paper with chords and a few scribbled bits of of music on it for each tune. I didn't usually need the music, but it was good to have it there. We definitely needed variety though.

barefootgypsy
04-05-2012, 09:36 AM
I like to work on learning any piece that I really like - after playing it lots of times from the sheet, I try to play it without it - without success at first of course, unless it's a 3 chord song..... but when I can't find a chord, it's because the ones I'm trying don't sound right and you know you're looking for a particular chord sound.... then I have to look it up and perhaps that chord "sticks" next time, til I've got the whole song. I think that helps to fix certain progressions in your musical memory, as well. I've still only got a few down from memory. Trouble is, the songs I like the best are the ones with loads of different and unusual chords! When I've pinned one, the achievement feels good. Other times it's just relaxing to strum along with the song sheet.

CountryMouse
04-06-2012, 07:02 AM
When I do videos for YouTube, I almost always have the lyrics & chords in front of me because I *know* I'm gonna mess up otherwise. My brain seems to be getting too old for massive memorization. I know the lyrics really well from songs I learned 40 or so years ago, but recent songs? Eek!

Mousie

SweetWaterBlue
08-13-2012, 01:57 AM
There is another option. This is to work the song out each time you play it.

Using this technique means that you can play songs that you have never played before. Also, the key doesn't matter. It is possible to play in any key.

Surprisingly, quite a lot of people use this technique, even if it is just in a simple way. For instance, lots of uke players can just play pretty much any 3 chord rock and roll song without really thinking too much. And in several keys.

This is an old thread, I know, but I would really like to get to this place in my playing, but don't know how. I find it difficult to memorize songs. The melody is easy to get into my head, but memorizing the chords and especially the words is much more difficult. I force myself to memorize some songs by playing them hundreds of times, but a few weeks later, they are mostly gone.

Just last night a few friends and I were playing in a town square. As is our custom, we were using tab sheets and books. When a small crowd gathered around, they began to ask us if we could play certain songs. We mostly could not, and I found it quite humiliating to fumble around trying to find a song sheet under such conditions. Trying to help us out, the crowd lowered the bar on most songs by asking if we could just play one from a certain genre. We still looked like deer in the headlights. This isn't the first time this has happened, and it always bothers me.

barefootgypsy
08-13-2012, 02:10 AM
I think you just have to say, firmly and congenially, sorry but we don't do that one (yet).... it's better than fiddling around and failing in front of people, like you say. With the best will in the world, you can't have everyone's favourite song practised up and under your belt ready to go! It's great mental exercise and very rewarding to learn songs, and to try to work them out as you go, but even if you learned another 20, people would ask you for different ones.... some of the old standards (not rock) tend to have about 12 different chords in them, and you'd have to be pretty brilliant to play those by ear.

luluwrites
08-13-2012, 04:36 AM
I think you just have to say, firmly and congenially, sorry but we don't do that one (yet).... it's better than fiddling around and failing in front of people, like you say. With the best will in the world, you can't have everyone's favourite song practised up and under your belt ready to go! It's great mental exercise and very rewarding to learn songs, and to try to work them out as you go, but even if you learned another 20, people would ask you for different ones.... some of the old standards (not rock) tend to have about 12 different chords in them, and you'd have to be pretty brilliant to play those by ear.

You can always add: "But if you like Smoke on the Water, you'll like this one" and launch into whatever it is you DO know.

seeso
08-13-2012, 04:40 AM
My problem isn't memorizing songs, it's remembering what songs I know!

Ukuleleblues
08-13-2012, 05:18 AM
My problem isn't memorizing songs, it's remembering what songs I know!If I don't have a song list when we play I can't remember the songs we know. I always thought that was weird. You can remember how to play the song but forget the song.

The more songs you commit to memory the easier it becomes. The less you look at the sheet music while learning them the easier you can learn a song.

Garydavkra
08-13-2012, 06:00 AM
I also played guitar on and off for years and learned to read music as I learned to play guitar. I found that I relied mostly on sheet music to play. Now that I'm playing ukulele, I've decided to try memorizing some songs. I've found that for me, memorizing tends to free up some of my mental resources. I feel more at ease and the music tends to flow better. There's more of "me" in the music. However, I still use sheet music because, I can't remember everything and it feels comfortable. I also have notebooks of songs that I've found elsewhere and have written a few of my own.

There are some cultures on this earth that have no form of written music at all. It's passed from teacher to student and all memorized. So, it seems both systems work just fine.

mangorockfish
08-13-2012, 06:43 AM
Me, I use whatever it takes. I have played drums for many years in bands and had to play songs that I didn't give a tinker's damn about. When I started playing the uke, I decided to play only songs I like, so if I memorize them fine and if I don't, that's ok too. If you like them, they are easier to memorize.