MEMORIZING Tunes with intricate phrases and licks....

Discuss playing styles and techniques, or share your own here.
wholetone
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This seems to be a very big dilemma for some reason with some guitarists who apply themselves to learn the WHOLE song instead of learning bits and pieces. Back in the day, I was always so mezmorized at how a good friend of mine at the tender age of 17 could quickly learn Vai or Satch tunes in the blink of an eye, then execute flawlessly. I asked him, "dude, WTF, how long did it take you to learn that"? His reply was "always, take it in parts, one passage at a time, and DON'T jump ahead into the next passege without learning it COLD!!"
I think as a whole, as humans, our memories (short and long term) allow us to take in what is perceived vs. what we actually memorize without forgetting. I know some of us NEVER forget tones we hear, and others just simply take a holiday when concentrating. Perhaps concentration is the key and practising to concentrate is another form of disipline. That is why rehersing a tune is just as important as PLAYING IT, in order to execute without any mistakes.

Happy Practising
slash89
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I think you are right. Some of my students forget what I learned them the second they walk out of the door, while others remember everything. This is really frustrating, but I guess it's just the way it is. I personally remember every lick and song I've learned. It is kinda strange actually. I practically know everything Guns N' Roses, and I still remember it all even though really I don't play that kind of music any longer. I don't know the reason for this. It might have something to do with concentration, as you mentioned. I am very focused when I learn something. But what do I know :lol:

Peace,
Kristian :)
djhollowman
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Yeah, I can still play the pieces I did for my o-levels at school over 20 yrs ago without having to think. The difference? I practiced them! Over n over! Nowadays, I just don't have the time I would like to devote to it, so I ram in as much as I can when I get a chance, but I know a percentage of it just doesn't stick! Well, that's what marriage and kids does for ya! Still, I have 2 sons now, so I'm hoping for budding guitarists!
bladerunner
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wholetone, pls tell me what your friend ment by "learn cold"
this is a very interesting subject. i was used to learning by repetition, i do this even now, but found (although hard to keep a constant at it) that analizeing and understanding intimetly what u play helps that info to sediment a lot better...
english bad:))
spanishphrygian
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Yeah I know what you mean exactly dude! You see I was sitting there memorizing all four Bach lute suites then it was time for supper. I really liked the salad because there was thousand Islands dressing on the table. You see I never been to Hawaii or anything but I thought that it would be fun to cruise. Now that the Pacific Ocean is safe from the Japanese Submarines and all of that stuff from back in World War II. Then there is World War I such a long time ago! I can't believe how time flies by! Anyway back to the main point? Oopps I forgot what it was. :twisted:

haha, Okay I am just joking. Yeah, I think that you made a good point on memorizing a piece. I was taught to start at the last measure and go back, therefore when you get to the begining you have the whole song down perfect!

Muscle memory is where it is at here! Luckily, are muscles can remember things in a totally cool and different way then the other parts of our brains! hehe.
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Big Bad Bill
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spanishphrygian wrote:Muscle memory is where it is at here! Luckily, are muscles can remember things in a totally cool and different way then the other parts of our brains! hehe.
'Muscle memory' actually comes from the same place as all other memories-ie from the brain!

When I'm trying to learn a piece of music I find a soon become bored with the process-I find it very difficult to memorize a piece all the way through-in fact I'm not sure I do know any tunes all the way through-except a few VH numbers!
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Ricardo
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One thing is to be able to sing it, every note, or at least the EXACT rhythmic phrasing to the entire piece. If you can do that without your guitar, it will really stick. I have been able to learn tunes without my guitar by doing that in the car. Just sing along to every note and rhythm. One mistake and rewind and get it right. Then repeat the whole song. Keep repeating until you are not even thinking about it, just humming a tune.

Ricardo
wholetone
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Bladerunner:
learn cold: Knowing it flawlessly just like the recording, without hesitation.
I am amazed at how many players THINK they know how to play tunes from Vai, SAtch, or EVH. I certainly can't! If I choose to perform them, you can bet at least one guy in the audience will scratch his head. Although, the rest will think you're GOD, without noticing all the mistakes. I think only true musicians will notice their musicianship without the glamour aspect, and others will just assume they have the "golden gift"!!
To make my point regarding memory clear, spanishphrygian touched on "starting from the last measure". This is key when memorizing a tune. Muscle memory!!! Try memorizing your food shopping list. I bet you'll get most of it without getting bored...
spanishphrygian
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I took some speed reading classes in college. My teacher sugested that boredom is the lack of challenging material. I don't know if this connects with music, but I am thinking it may.

Therefore, I say that if you are getting bored with memorizing, try harder material.

I don't know though. I think Ricardo's idea is the best making music sense. 'Memorize the peace by singing it and hearing the notes,'

I usually memorize with my fingers, which is totally non-musical and very "digital."

I should step back then and take an objective look of how I sound with this "muscle memory method,"

I fear that it might not work and that we should all avoid it! :oops:
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lydian2000
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wholetone wrote:Bladerunner:
learn cold: Knowing it flawlessly just like the recording, without hesitation.
I am amazed at how many players THINK they know how to play tunes from Vai, SAtch, or EVH. I certainly can't! If I choose to perform them, you can bet at least one guy in the audience will scratch his head. Although, the rest will think you're GOD, without noticing all the mistakes. I think only true musicians will notice their musicianship without the glamour aspect, and others will just assume they have the "golden gift"!!
To make my point regarding memory clear, spanishphrygian touched on "starting from the last measure". This is key when memorizing a tune. Muscle memory!!! Try memorizing your food shopping list. I bet you'll get most of it without getting bored...
I couldnt agree more to what u and Ricardo wrote.
Ibanezjem555
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Ricardo wrote:One thing is to be able to sing it, every note, or at least the EXACT rhythmic phrasing to the entire piece. If you can do that without your guitar, it will really stick. I have been able to learn tunes without my guitar by doing that in the car. Just sing along to every note and rhythm. One mistake and rewind and get it right. Then repeat the whole song. Keep repeating until you are not even thinking about it, just humming a tune.

Ricardo
Haha Learn Yai Yai then!
djhollowman
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Ricardo wrote:One thing is to be able to sing it, every note, or at least the EXACT rhythmic phrasing to the entire piece. If you can do that without your guitar, it will really stick. I have been able to learn tunes without my guitar by doing that in the car. Just sing along to every note and rhythm. One mistake and rewind and get it right. Then repeat the whole song. Keep repeating until you are not even thinking about it, just humming a tune.

Ricardo
Yes, I agree. When playing someone else's work, I think you can't really know what music to expect from your fingers until you can anticipate it first in your mind, and this where really listening and learning it properly comes in. Without something in your head to compare to, you simply won't recognize when your playing is not right! (Or when it IS right, for that matter!) I feel it's vital to actually listen correctly too. For example, I always thought I knew how to play the riff from "Master Of Puppets", but when I got the tab book years later and tried to play from it, I'm going "That bit doesn't sound right!!??" So I play the song on headphones, really listening with no distractions, and there you are - the tab was right, I was wrong! Once I knew what to listen out for I knew exactly where I'd gone wrong, I'd made an assumption but it was incorrect! To any non-guitarist I'm sure my original version sounded fine, but I changed to the correct version immediately, for accuracy but also for pride, lol! :D
djhollowman
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Ibanezjem555 wrote:
Ricardo wrote:One thing is to be able to sing it, every note, or at least the EXACT rhythmic phrasing to the entire piece. If you can do that without your guitar, it will really stick. I have been able to learn tunes without my guitar by doing that in the car. Just sing along to every note and rhythm. One mistake and rewind and get it right. Then repeat the whole song. Keep repeating until you are not even thinking about it, just humming a tune.

Ricardo
Haha Learn Yai Yai then!
Ok, here we go........yai yai yi o yai yai yai o yi o yai, no wait, that's not right, it's yai yai o yi.....no, ya yai...hang on.......(quietly, to self)"yai yai o yi o yai".......OK, it's yai y........oh, bo**ocks, I'm off to try Alien Water Kiss!!
spanishphrygian
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[quote="djhollowman"][quote="Ricardo"]One thing is to be able to sing it, every note, or at least the EXACT rhythmic phrasing to the entire piece. If you can do that without your guitar, it will really stick. I have been able to learn tunes without my guitar by doing that in the car. Just sing along to every note and rhythm. One mistake and rewind and get it right. Then repeat the whole song. Keep repeating until you are not even thinking about it, just humming a tune.

Ricardo[/quote]

Yes, I agree. When playing someone else's work, I think you can't really know what music to expect from your fingers until you can anticipate it first in your mind, and this where really listening and learning it properly comes in. Without something in your head to compare to, you simply won't recognize when your playing is not right! (Or when it IS right, for that matter!) I feel it's vital to actually [i]listen[/i] correctly too. For example, I always thought I knew how to play the riff from "Master Of Puppets", but when I got the tab book years later and tried to play from it, I'm going "That bit doesn't sound right!!??" So I play the song on headphones, [i]really[/i] listening with no distractions, and there you are - the tab was right, I was wrong! Once I knew what to listen out for I knew exactly where I'd gone wrong, I'd made an assumption but it was incorrect! To any non-guitarist I'm sure my original version sounded fine, but I changed to the correct version immediately, for accuracy but also for pride, lol! :D[/quote]

Yeah Active Listening is one of those things they tried to teach us in Music school. I still am not good at it, but I work on it everyday. For some of us, listening is a skill that has to be practiced actively.

For me it is easy to slip into the passive listening world and let he music just take me away. Yet working on Actively knowing what goes on takes more work and time for an average person like me.

On the other hand, we had a 12 year old kid in class with perfect pitch and a 120 iq that could memorize everything he heard and write it down on paper! haha. The Funny thing was his fingers were having to catch up to his great mind on the guitar though. Wierd huh? I don't know what you call that.
MarkRobinson
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In my experience as both a musician and a teacher it all comes down to repetition and experience. There's nothing like playing something thousands of times (at least I'm not exagerating) to drum something in. Then it becomes second nature and it'll stay with you for many years. This doesn't work so well for I'd say about 10% of people? The trick for them is to reintroduce certain parts to kick start the memory and then they're normally fine again.
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