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mikelz777
09-09-2013, 04:36 PM
As I was adding some songs to my song book today, I realized that I have been playing the ukulele for about a year and a half now yet I don't really know any songs. I currently have 44 songs I've chosen for my songbook and there are many more waiting for chord diagrams and/or to be transposed to a key I can sing comfortably. As I sit here typing this, I can think of only 1 song that I can play by memory and that is the first song I ever learned on the ukulele. (Groucho's verses of Everyone Says I Love You from Horse Feathers.)

I do play regularly and sometimes for more than an hour at a time but I guess my joy and pleasure has been in playing for the moment. I haven't worked on memorizing anything so I'm chord/lyric sheet dependent. I could probably play bits and pieces of songs if pressed but only know one by memory. Is anyone else out there like this? If so, are you happy with this practice or do you have plans to memorize songs? I guess it would be nice to know a bunch of songs without having to look at a song sheet but I'm not sure how to go about it without it seeming too much like work.

Freeda
09-09-2013, 05:07 PM
In short, yup.

gyosh
09-09-2013, 05:20 PM
Yup. .

TCK
09-09-2013, 05:37 PM
245 videos... I remember ten of the songs.
So...yup

1300cc
09-09-2013, 05:46 PM
are your song in pdf file....if yes send me a copy and i will analyze it see if i can help you ;)

Newportlocal
09-09-2013, 06:15 PM
Same here. I admire people that can play and sing from memory.

bunnyf
09-09-2013, 06:16 PM
Well here's the long answer. Playing about same time as you, 2 huge 3ring binders, love playing, practice several hrs/day...had nothing memorized..embarrassing. I decided that I was gonna put an end to that but like you, I want to continue having fun, not make it a chore. This is what worked for me. If you want to make quick progress, first, start with songs you already know the lyrics to (one less hurdle), second, one's that you can sing reasonably well (chords in a key you can sing, or you'll have to memorize which songs you need to capo and where, or you'll start playing, song terrible, have to stop and then fiddle-fart with your capo to figure out where you need it, by then people will no longer be interested), third, pick some easy four chord progressions to start with, and fourth, pick songs you like, cuz if you don't want to quickly tire of something you've taken the trouble to memorize. You'll find these kind of songs won't take long to memorize. Just run thru them periodically when you practice/play, so they don't fade away. I also pick one or two more difficult songs that I work on to memorize but I don't pick one with a million chords changing every two beats, like some old songs do (I'll save that for when I'm alot better player). I look for ones where I can organize the song easily into some discernible pattern, even if it's different for v, ch, and br.And again see rules 1,2, and 4 above. Before you know it you will have a bunch of songs you can rock out. I do love being able to take my uke to the beach, park, wherever, whenever and just play. That being said, if you never memorize a single song and always have to break out that songbook, so what? You're havin' fun, right? Just my 2cents, from a fellow advanced beginner.

UkerDanno
09-09-2013, 06:27 PM
I have never been able to memorize words to songs, even way before I became a senior citizen! Maybe a few lines or a verse is about all...I can play the first verse of 26 Miles, that's my entire repertoire from memory.

JonThysell
09-09-2013, 07:08 PM
I make it a point to memorize the songs I really love. Not necessarily the latest hip song to learn, but the ones I mostly know by heart anyway. I find that manually transcribing a song into my songbook, and experimenting with where exactly to put chord changes, really helps with remembering a song. The harder thing for me is remembering the list of songs I know, because I end up practicing a lot around strangers and don't like subjecting others to my voice!

Hammond
09-09-2013, 07:35 PM
:wallbash: I am. Too lazy to memorize:rolleyes:

Dwjkerr
09-09-2013, 07:38 PM
I've been doing it for about a year. If pressed I could play one song.

hammer40
09-09-2013, 07:42 PM
I have been playing about the same amount of time and I know exactly one song, Silent Night. And I just recently learned that one. I've just been spending most of my time just trying to get proficient at as many chords as I could, figuring I would learn some songs after that. Also, for some reason I just can't figure out the tabs, at least the ones with the words to the song and the chord above a word. I need to see how to strum or pick, not just the chord to change to. I do enjoy just "noodling" around so for now that will suffice.

Ukejenny
09-09-2013, 07:45 PM
I don't have many memorized at all. For me to memorize a song and get it good and deep in my memory, I have to play only that song for a long period of time without playing anything else. That is too much like practice for me. I like to jump around when I'm playing. I've been playing less than a year so, maybe with years of playing the same songs, they will sink in.

thomas
09-09-2013, 08:36 PM
5 or so years and I do not know a single "song" start to finish. I do know some cools chord progressions, and have a lot of fun with them. Have fun. Imitation is not always the goal.

Hammond
09-09-2013, 09:21 PM
When I pick up the ukulele, I immediately play "over the rainbow" to warm up my hands. This is the one whole song I memorized the best.:music:

vonbiber
09-09-2013, 09:35 PM
I bought my ukulele about one year ago. But I started really (kinda) practicing just a few months ago.
At first I thought I'd just learn to play tunes (like I used to do on the guitar) since I'm a terrible singer.
But since strumming a few chords seems easier at first I just try to pick some songs that I really like
and that are not too hard too sing.
So far I memorized: Ukulele Lady, Shady Grove,
O'Brien Is Trying to Learn to Talk Hawaiian (I already know the lyrics, but I'm in the process of learning the chords),
Hey Good Looking
There are few others that I'd really like to learn.
To memorize the lyrics I take them with me everywhere (I sing them in the street when nobody's around, ...)
a

GreatGazukes
09-09-2013, 10:19 PM
I think the trick to memorising a song, is not so much about changing from chord 'A' to chord 'B', rather to remember how the fingers move on the fret board. The 'dance of the fingers' if you will. Then memorising it in stages, starting at the start, running through to the point of failure, check what comes after the point of failure, then from the beginning and repeat. There would be few musicians who could play all their songs from memory, but a practice of some memorised songs on the days before a performance allows them to play without sheet music.

Hms
09-09-2013, 10:48 PM
Uncle Rod to the rescue.
Uncle Rod's boot camp which you may already have heard of also has an accompanying songbook, but not so much a songbook, but how to learn new songs using a 'disposable method'
If you look at it I'm sure it will make more sense! (Aloha to you document)
http://ukulelebootcamp.weebly.com/
h

PhilUSAFRet
09-09-2013, 11:37 PM
Yeah, me too. I keep telling people I can remember the chords, or the words, but my ageing memory makes it very hard to do both. :confused:

kvehe
09-10-2013, 12:09 AM
Yep, me too. The only one I know absolutely for sure is the first one I learned (This Land is Your Land). When I was taking lessons I knew two or three more, but since I hated them I haven't played them since the class ended, and now they're gone from the memory bank.

Ukeplayer2013
09-10-2013, 12:33 AM
I am the same. I know maybe (4) songs memorized. My chords I know a Bunch,but if I don't know a chord I look on my apps or online - charts. I got to start my scales (important ) I barely did them on the guitar and mandolin. I pick up my uke and fart around all the time. I play a few songs and a few from uu play along a lot.

Sporin
09-10-2013, 02:40 AM
I have maybe 3 songs memorized and books and books full of others I play regularly. My mind just won't remember chords and lyrics very well (I blame a very intoxicated college life) so I stopped fretting about it because, in reality, no one cares if you play on book. :D

I LOVE playing new songs and am constantly finding ones I want to try out. It's the #1 thing I do when I should really just be practicing scales or something.

Mandarb
09-10-2013, 02:52 AM
I don't sing....so at jams I just strum chords, some songs I will attempt to solo as others strum chords. For my own enjoyment I play instrumental pieces of which I have about six memorized - I do not know if that constitutes a little or a lot. I am currently working on memorizing some chord melody pieces.

FiL
09-10-2013, 02:57 AM
Like so many others, I can relate. Been playing for years, but only have a handful memorized. It takes some amount of dedication to: 1) NOT look at the songbook; 2) practice the same song over and over again; 3) NOT keep trying out new songs; and 4) go over the lyrics and/or chords in my head whenever I get the chance. I'm trying to address all those issues now, but it has taken a week just to get one simple song down. I know it will pay off in the long run, because nobody wants to watch a performer with their face buried in a music stand, but it is a very long run!

- FiL

bunnyf
09-10-2013, 03:05 AM
You know it's not just us. I go to Guitar Army (local weekly jam) and some mighty fine players bring their sheet music everytime, and not just for backup just in case they space. They actually are following along with it while playing. My first guess is that they prob. need it for more for lyrics but I do see they have all the chords written in, not just a few cryptic notes. So, ch/lyric sheets are fine with me. I do think it's nice to have about a 1/2 doz to a doz that you can rock out when asked to play. And even for those of us who are primarily strummers, I like to have one with a modest lick in it (looks like you know more than you do). Pickin' is my next goal..at least a little.

mikelz777
09-10-2013, 03:15 AM
Wow, I guess I'm not alone on this! I think what might of put the memorization thing into my mind was a recent picture of someone playing a guitar around a camp fire. If I did that with my uke, my repertoire would last about a minute or two. "Now for my next song fragment..."

I haven't been in any kind of performance situation yet so that's probably why I haven't felt motivated to try and learn songs by memory. I really enjoy the process of finding a song I like and working it so it's suitable for my song book. I put everything on WORD so I'll have a hard copy as well as a computer copy. First I'll get the font set and get the size down so it will fit on one page. (Out of 44, I only have 2 songs that require 2 pages-the wordy Bruce Springsteen) I like my songs to have the chord names in brackets embedded within the lyrics at the chord changes so if it isn't already formatted that way, I'll change it. (ex. [C] lyric lyric [F] lyric lyric [G] lyric lyric, etc.) If they're not already formatted that way I'll have to play the song several times to make sure the chord changes and the chords are right. I'll usually check the lyrics against a recorded version because I've found a ton of mistakes when people publish versions on the internet. (chords as well) As I'm doing all of this I'll try the song out in different keys to find the one that's easiest to sing and then will transpose all the chords if necessary. I'll then put labeled chord diagrams on the bottom of the page so anyone playing the song will have everything they need to play the song without having to look at a separate chord chart to find a chord they don't know or don't remember. I'll then play it several times over several days and if I find no further need for changes or corrections, I'll print it out and put it into my songbook. I use a 3-ring binder with page protectors so I don't have to worry about song sheets tearing and falling out with all the page turning. So far I've just been throwing the finished songs in my book as I finish them so there is no rhyme or reason there. I kind of like it that way because it mixes things up. For example, here are some of the first songs in my book:

Ain't Misbehavin' - Fats Waller
Spirit In The Night - Bruce Springsteen
Twenty Flight Rock - Eddie Cochran
Everything Is Broken - Bob Dylan
Ho Hey - Lumineers
Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell
She Thinks I Still Care - George Jones
I'm A Long Gone Daddy - Hank Williams

It's a nice, eclectic mix.

ShakaSign
09-10-2013, 03:23 AM
Memorizing songs are much easier if you understand a little music theory and have some musical knowledge (music degree not needed). Many songs follow repeating patterns and standard chord progressions that make them much simpler to remember or jam to when you don't have a chord sheet in front of you. You still have to memorize the words, of course. If ever wonder how musicians who don't play with each other can just jump on a stage, call out a song and key and start jamming, it's because they know the pattern and the progression.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_form
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chord_progression

Mxyzptik
09-10-2013, 03:26 AM
Well I don't share this phenonomen at all. I have played the piano for close to 40 years and never was able to memorize anything. I always needed the music.

I've played my ukulele for about 2 years and I now have a play list I can go through of 15 songs.I'm considering playing at a local coffee shop this month if I can get up the nerve.

I honestly can't explain the difference way my brain works for the the ukulele but not for the piano ?

Ukejenny
09-10-2013, 04:13 AM
I memorized Tonight You Belong to Me from the youtube tutorial. It was difficult for me and I had to work on it a lot. I ended up memorizing the licks and chords but didn't know the words as well. I had to go back and work on the words and kind of have them memorized.

Another thing to try, if you wish to memorize a piece, is to try memorizing the chords first, and then the lyrics, or lyrics first and then chords. See if that helps one way or the other. It may not. Doing both together may work better for you. With me, chords and progressions are easier to remember, but not lyrics.

Trinimon
09-10-2013, 04:22 AM
Yup, sign me up for this club. Got a bit of tabs and chords for songs but ask me to play anything off the top of my head... I hear crickets chirping. :p

Ukejenny
09-10-2013, 04:24 AM
58557

I've noticed in recent years, that Billy Joel will have a notebook of songs in front of him. Somewhere he did a kind of master class, he had a huge notebook.

Pukulele Pete
09-10-2013, 04:26 AM
Wait , ..........What was the question ?

hibiscus
09-10-2013, 04:54 AM
I was just thinking about this last week. I play for pleasure, but I realized I hadn't memorized one song, so I decided on three finger picking songs to finish up. One down, two to go. . .

Olarte
09-10-2013, 04:58 AM
Funny I'm the opposite, I can memorize all the classical pieces I play on guitar or Uke instrumentals, but when it comes to songs on the uke, I need a song sheet with lyrics and chords..


Well I don't share this phenonomen at all. I have played the piano for close to 40 years and never was able to memorize anything. I always needed the music.

I've played my ukulele for about 2 years and I now have a play list I can go through of 15 songs.I'm considering playing at a local coffee shop this month if I can get up the nerve.

I honestly can't explain the difference way my brain works for the the ukulele but not for the piano ?

GaryC1968
09-10-2013, 05:03 AM
I had someone comment on one of my YouTube videos, "good song, but why are you reading? Didn't you write it?". I felt kind of embarrased, but I do tend to just record songs and post them and then not really play them again. Now that I'm trying start playing at open mics, I'm working on memorizing my originals. I played 4 without the chords and lyrics in front of me a few weeks back, but I didn't have any more songs when they went back around again.

falty
09-10-2013, 05:12 AM
I'm getting better. I'm coming up on playing for two years now. The first year or so I just kept going from one song to another, so excited to try new stuff. Then in the spring our uke group had our first public performance and I finally learned to play 5-6 songs from start to finish. I'm just now settling down and enjoying playing songs from start to finish. This is partly because I can now sing and play at the same time. But as far as full songs memorized from start to finish with lyrics? I might be able to do three right now.

caukulele
09-10-2013, 05:21 AM
Well, I'm very glad to see this thread, because I am a daily player, play a lot of songs and yet can't play any from memory....It's wonderful to know that their are many of us out their. I always wanted to just sit down and play a bunch of songs from memory, but I'm finally beginning to realize that, for a number of reasons, this will probably never happen... Glad to know, I'm not alone in this.

Coconut Willie
09-10-2013, 05:42 AM
lol....thought it was just me!! I can not remember any as I play many many different songs. Maybe if I played the same one over and over I might remember it.

UkeyDave
09-10-2013, 05:58 AM
I'm so happy to find this thread. I've been playing for 16 months and have literally tons of songs in my songbook. I've now got down to sifting through ones I like for a playlist but as for memorising ANY song - I just find it impossible.

I'm also worse if I have to play in front of anyone. I just seem to go to pieces and would dearly love to be able to just play something without song sheets but alas its just not happening for me despite trying different techniques. I've come to the conclusion that I will ALWAYS need the song sheet although I am now beginning to make a concerted effort to learn each song more thoroughly rather than skipping from one song to another.

I seem to have a low boredom threshold so I can play a song to death and then get fed up of it before I master it properly. Then when I do come back to it later I find that I'm not as adept at playing it well. I think I probably need to narrow down my songs and concentrate on quality rather than quantity. I do play EVERY day without fail though and seem to have an insatiable appetite for NEW songs which I need to put a stop too. Otherwise I'm not going to push myself enough to improve. Well thats my theory. Only time will tell if I am successful but I really have given up on ever being able to memorise my playlist.

strumsilly
09-10-2013, 06:06 AM
I make it a point to memorize the songs I really love. Not necessarily the latest hip song to learn, but the ones I mostly know by heart anyway. I find that manually transcribing a song into my songbook, and experimenting with where exactly to put chord changes, really helps with remembering a song. The harder thing for me is remembering the list of songs I know, because I end up practicing a lot around strangers and don't like subjecting others to my voice!
me too. I know about 10 by heart, but sometimes when I play in front of others, they vanish.

BlueLatitude
09-10-2013, 06:10 AM
I've been playing for over a year and a half now and I can't play any songs at all! I can't sing so I've been concentrating on fingerpicking. And there I have a grand total of ONE tune I can play by heart -- Kahuli Aku. And I can play part of Ahe Lau Makani when I've been practicing it regularly.

I used to be able to memorize pipe tunes by the dozen, but I have much harder time memorizing things with all the notes all over the fretboard. It's not as instinctive for me.

vanflynn
09-10-2013, 06:33 AM
I play a lot of folk and country that is a I IV V(7) progression so I can recognize the progression. I don't necessarily memorize the song though. Anything more that that, I only have just a few tougher ones that I may be able to get threw just because I've played them so much (as long as I don't think about what I'm doing)

SailingUke
09-10-2013, 07:22 AM
Here's my take and no offense meant to anyone.
My belief is that if you listen to what you are playing you can easily learn a chord progression.
Too many folks get all hung up on reading and don't listen to what they or those in a group are playing.
Step one: learn the chord shapes (don't read the diagrams).
Step two: learn the chord progression (use Uncle Rod's method)
Step three: feel the strum and rhythm while humming the melody.
Step four: when you can do all of the above you will be surprised how quickly the lyrics will come,
some songs you have been singing for years and when you free up your mind the lyrics will flow.

Stay positive and don't convince yourself you can't memorize lyrics.

janeray1940
09-10-2013, 07:40 AM
I'm not a singer and most of what I play involves pretty complex instrumental arrangements. I think over 4 years I've memorized maybe a half-dozen, maybe 10 if you count a couple really easy ones.

But as others have said - for singers and those who just want to play chords, once you learn a progression you can play countless songs. Learn the I-IV-V and I-vi-ii-V (or I-vi-IV-V) progressions and you'll have tons of songs that you've "memorized."

Probably a good topic for another thread, but personally - I don't think "memorizing" is the way to go. Understanding the concepts and theory is a lot more effective. Particularly in the US, it seems a lot of us are hardwired for rote memorization, as our entire educational system is structured upon it. To prove my point - how many of us elder-types can remember the stuff we learned in elementary or junior high school (names of every state capitol! multiplication tables through the 12s!)? I certainly can't :)

molokinirum
09-10-2013, 07:45 AM
Remember a song....I can't remember what I had for dinner last night!!!

JonThysell
09-10-2013, 09:39 AM
Particularly in the US, it seems a lot of us are hardwired for rote memorization, as our entire educational system is structured upon it.

To a certain limited extent, but creative thinking is taught far more often here than internationally. (I taught internationally, and they thought me mad when I questioned how their kindergarden classes consisted of taking notes from the board and memorizing said notes).

For ukulele, I think it's worth it for everyone to have a least a half-dozen songs they can play without needing something in front of them, at a social event, or even just home for the walls to hear. The songs don't need to be complicated- they might even be all following the same progression in the same key. Then memorize a few intro, turnaround, or end licks, and you'll have plenty to mix and match from. Start with just the chords and a simple strum, then make it more interesting.

Example, I think Kimo Hussey is an amazing musician, and yet, after seeing 60+ videos of him on YouTube, along with his 13-track album, I think I've seen him play a total of like 15 songs ever. And of those fifteen there's two or three that make up the vast majority of what he seems to play for people.

You don't need a huge repertoire, but I think having some repertoire is a good thing. Even if it's all instrumental (bonus, no pesky lyrics!)

csibona
09-10-2013, 09:59 AM
I have very few songs memorized - when I go somewhere in the car I often take an ukulele and grab a music book on the way. If I didn't take a book I would be reduced to playing the few songs I do know... I found it much easier to memorize the songs I play in clawhammer style compared to the lyrical songs. Besides - no one wants to hear me sing.

SailingUke
09-10-2013, 10:13 AM
Remember a song....I can't remember what I had for dinner last night!!!

Again, I don't mean to be insulting, but I find this hard to believe.
Do you work?, Do you need to be retrained every day ?
Do you carpool to work with someone that can get you there & back ?

I hear your comment often, believe me, you have talked yourself into thinking you have no memory.
How many of you sing to the radio ? My radio shows don't come with lyric sheets.
My belief is we know lyrics, but we have them buried in our brains and they can't find the way out when we are multitasking playing and reading.

Also don't feel as though you need hundreds of songs, most folks would rather hear you play the same song well as opposed to new songs not played well.
I also know I have a good memory, but I work at it too.

Ukejenny
09-10-2013, 11:11 AM
I'm also worse if I have to play in front of anyone. I just seem to go to pieces



Me too! Can't hardly play for anyone but my kids. I even hate to look at my phone when I'm doing a SOTU video. I look at the ukulele neck, out the window... anywhere but at the screen on the phone.

ChaosToo
09-10-2013, 11:41 AM
I know the opening few chords to a few songs, but I can't remember anything all the way through. When I was gigging in a band (on drums and vocals) I could remember a lot more - but only if they were on the current set list.

Oddly though, I can remember pretty much all the lyrics from songs from years ago that I just had in my record collection, so I guess the capability is in there.

Right now though, I'm just messing around writing my own bits and pieces of songs and trying to practice new chords and changes, which is fun - and surely that's all it's about? :D

Uncle Rod Higuchi
09-10-2013, 11:56 AM
Hi Guys (and Dolls:))
been playing the uke since 6th grade (1960) so it's been a few years.

as a singer/strummer I really don't try to memorize the songs I play. I probably
could if I wanted to... but I simply don't want to memorize 'all' the songs... even
my favorites. :)

Anyway, I don't think it's necessary to 'burden' ourselves or each other with this.

Those who want to be able to play without any 'support' are welcome and even
encouraged to do so. And, those who would rather not try to memorize their music
should be free to use as many supportive aids that they can handle.

If someone wanted me to play a gig for them with the proviso that I had to memorize
all my music... I would politely decline. That's just me. Of course if they were paying
mucho bucks, then I might try :)

I think tablets like the iPad and the various Android options are wonderful... sure beats
carrying around several 3" binders full of sheet music! Of course, I'll need to learn how
to manage my battery life. I seem to run out of power just when I want to use the thing.

I have about 500 or so songs available on my tablet (Old Favorites and Hawaiian) that I
enjoy playing and singing - alone, in a group, or for an audience. I would be somewhat
lost without this support/aid.

I do believe that the more one plays the easier it can be to remember... but that said,
some of us have good memories, others not so good, and some... well they remember
everything!!

OK, keep uke'in' everyone.
memorize if you can and want to,
or just play and enjoy :)

Shastastan
09-10-2013, 12:11 PM
It's called C.R.S. = Can't Remember S__t.

It irks me no end that I can play some songs from memory from jr. high and can't play any from memory that we play in our monthly programs. I can't even remember the key signatures! I hate to have to use charts as a crutch. YMMV. Oh yeah, it's another thing about getting old that I don't like either. :)

bunnyf
09-10-2013, 02:27 PM
boy this thread really took off..I guess there are a lot of us who can relate

sugengshi
09-10-2013, 05:20 PM
Memorizing songs are much easier if you understand a little music theory and have some musical knowledge (music degree not needed). Many songs follow repeating patterns and standard chord progressions that make them much simpler to remember or jam to when you don't have a chord sheet in front of you. You still have to memorize the words, of course. If ever wonder how musicians who don't play with each other can just jump on a stage, call out a song and key and start jamming, it's because they know the pattern and the progression.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_form
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chord_progression

This is good information for me. Thanks. :agree:

Nickie
09-11-2013, 12:19 PM
I play almostevery day, and I only know 3 songs from memory....but I'm old, what can I say?

SailingUke
09-11-2013, 01:15 PM
I play almostevery day, and I only know 3 songs from memory....but I'm old, what can I say?

Age is no excuse. Bill Tapia was 104 and I never saw him with a songbook.

1300cc
09-11-2013, 02:12 PM
Age is no excuse. Bill Tapia was 104 and I never saw him with a songbook.

how old he started playing

Nickie
09-11-2013, 02:58 PM
Some guy at our open mic said it was a shame I couldnt' memorrize my songs....so I quit open mic....his loss!

TG&Y
09-11-2013, 03:06 PM
Yup (and another yup to make 10 characters)


As I was adding some songs to my song book today, I realized that I have been playing the ukulele for about a year and a half now yet I don't really know any songs. I currently have 44 songs I've chosen for my songbook and there are many more waiting for chord diagrams and/or to be transposed to a key I can sing comfortably. As I sit here typing this, I can think of only 1 song that I can play by memory and that is the first song I ever learned on the ukulele. (Groucho's verses of Everyone Says I Love You from Horse Feathers.)

I do play regularly and sometimes for more than an hour at a time but I guess my joy and pleasure has been in playing for the moment. I haven't worked on memorizing anything so I'm chord/lyric sheet dependent. I could probably play bits and pieces of songs if pressed but only know one by memory. Is anyone else out there like this? If so, are you happy with this practice or do you have plans to memorize songs? I guess it would be nice to know a bunch of songs without having to look at a song sheet but I'm not sure how to go about it without it seeming too much like work.

bunnyf
09-11-2013, 03:32 PM
Aww Nickie, I brought my sheet music to open mic. Who knows when a senior moment will strike. Even if I didn't need it, it was nice to know it was there. We aren't professionals. Hey I saw a performance by Stevie Wonder where he forgot the lyrics. Don't let someone's thoughtless comment keep you from getting up there. (See you at the Whistle Stop)

Mxyzptik
09-11-2013, 05:38 PM
My problem isn't memorizing the songs, I have about 13-15 songs now that I can sit and do start to finish one after another . Chords , lyrics even a little solo in each one . I play on front of my family or a few close friends and neighbours. Earlier this week I put myself out there and played for a couple at work, I was nervous and forgot a lyric and blew a solo that I can usually do flawlessly. I pushed through and worked it out it bothers me when that happens.

In about 2 weeks I am going to really put myself out there at a coffee shop with about 35 people and maybe the local paper. Anybody got some tips to control the anxiety ? It is that anxiety that causes me to forget a song I can usually do.

wendellfiddler
09-11-2013, 11:15 PM
Over 30 years ago when my wife and I got married we decided to sing a song during the ceremony - "Things We Said Today" by the Beatles. We are both musicians, we were intending to sing an play guitar and dulcimer - both of us completely forgot the words after the first line. It was funny, and fine, but years later I thought - "Geez, why didn't we just put them on paper on the floor?" Silly!

doug

chrimess
09-11-2013, 11:28 PM
My short term memory is horrible so few of the songs prepared for the seasons week-over-week stick, but I do remember how to play Nothing else Matters on guitar from 23years ago...

etf
09-12-2013, 12:32 AM
I'm at that age where I find that if I learn something new something from my memory has to give way. So if I have to many songs in my head, with my memory I'll forget where I live or where my ukulele is. So, I just get my iPad out and play off my songbook. If I don't play a song often enough by the time I learn the next one I've forgotten the last lol.

ETF :cool:

Sporin
09-12-2013, 01:43 AM
If you want to be like a great professional ukulele player you probably do need to copy whatever he or she does or did, but if you just want to be your plain old self, there is no need to copy anyone you are already an original. If you don't have time to learn a tune by heart or don't have the skill to memorise stuff, bring your book along and still join in and let yourself be part of the music. You are in the wrong group and the wrong place if there is someone who can't cope with you using written music, unless you are being paid to play from memory. Of course it is polite to make sure you have the right music and you start and finish a tune when the others do, so you do need to do some preparation.


Aww Nickie, I brought my sheet music to open mic. Who knows when a senior moment will strike. Even if I didn't need it, it was nice to know it was there. We aren't professionals. Hey I saw a performance by Stevie Wonder where he forgot the lyrics. Don't let someone's thoughtless comment keep you from getting up there. (See you at the Whistle Stop)

Well said to both above. :cool:

I use my sheet music at open mic's, no one is bothered in the least. I'm not a professional musician, I'm not trying to be a professional musician, no one expects me to be at an open mic, and no one is paying to see me play.

If anyone sitting their drinking coffee or beer is so put off by the very presence of my sheet music as I provide them with free entertainment, they are welcome to come up and show me how it's done off-book. :D Fact is, 99% of the people watching an open mic are either there by accident or would never in a million years stand in front of strangers and sing a few songs themselves. I've never had anything but genuine, positive, feedback from the strangers watching, or the actual pro musicians who run the open mics.

Anyone who says otherwise probably takes themselves way too seriously ;) :P

-D

cdkrugjr
09-12-2013, 06:59 AM
Brain works oddly. I can play "Kid Charlemagne" (Piano and Donald) from memory, but I struggle with the lyrics to "Mustang Sally." OTOH, I can play most any 3-4 chord song, reconstructing it as I go along, so long as I'm not singing lead on it.

Manalishi
09-12-2013, 07:11 AM
I was challenged on this recently;our little club has a current songbook of 180 plus
songs,and I told one of our players that he ought to be able to play 'about fifty'
of them 'off the sheet'. He said he would be lucky to play two or three!
I then tested myself (at home one day) by playing as many of the 180 plus songs
as I could,from memory. I managed thirty two. So,not so sharp as I had hoped to
be,but not too shabby for an old dude who has only played ukulele for a few years!

mangorockfish
09-12-2013, 08:23 AM
Me, I am an old Rock-N-Roll drummer so I gravitate to R-n-R songs. If I know the words from years of playing in a band and singing ( alone of course) to the radio, it is much easier if you only have to memorize the chords. However, I only know a few songs from memory, but that is why song books are/were made.

PTOEguy
09-12-2013, 08:31 AM
for me it can be very much song based - Somewhere Over the Rainbow just can't seem to lodge in the memory banks, but Five Foot Two is totally memorized. If its a hymn where I know the words it doesn't take long at all to memorize. Wish I had the training my sister (and now my kids) have from Suzuki method - they can all rattle off most everything they've ever learned.

Pueo
09-12-2013, 09:59 AM
I can play just about any song from a songsheet as long as I know how the song goes. I have a hard time remembering not only entire songs though, but also WHAT songs I know how to play!
There are a few that I can play from memory, but I have like 85% to 90% of A BUNCH of songs but I seem to go to pieces if I try to play them from memory, yet if I have the page in front of me, no problem, even if I do not look at the page! Weird.

I see a lot of live music, and I notice that many performers have a book or an iPad on the stage so I don't feel too bad about it.

Those guys that get up there and play anything and everything, even random requests, with NO book or iPad though, yeah, I want to be that guy!

I just took a brief mental inventory of songs I know that I can play without messing up from memory and I got 10. I really need to work on that!

bborzell
09-12-2013, 12:56 PM
What works for me is to play sections of each song until I get them each down and then begin to add my own stuff. By the time I am through the initial learning process for the entire piece, I will have come to "own" enough of the song through my modifications that it all stays with me.

Repetition without a book/sheet also helps alot.

camperman
09-12-2013, 01:00 PM
I can't really play without memorising tunes. I suffer from slight dyslexia and when I look away from a page and back I haven't a clue where I got to. A few people in my uke club have asked me why I'm useless at strum alongs but can play far more complex tunes from memory and the simple answer is that the club tunes don't interest me as much as the ones I choose to play so I don't learn them and hence I get lost on the page. Same thing comes to people asking me what chord I'm playing. I have to stop and think and have a look because although I begin to learn a tune from the chords I practice and remember it by remembering where to place my fingers. Once I get to that stage it's like riding a bike.
Everyone is different though. I find it easier to learn a tune I've been singing along to for years and am already familiar with the melody and rhythm etc.