Memorizing Music

Discuss playing styles and techniques, or share your own here.
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The Prez
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I simply have problems, it's probably my biggest flaw. If I memorize a piece, it's outta my head mostly the next day, especcially if your trying to play in front of a crowd of people. Any suggestions on how to memorize, espcecialy leads, it's so easy to forget with a complicated lead.
badhorsie551
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Playing it a MILLION times usually helps.

If its melodic its alot easier to memorize.
jmchambers5
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listen to it a buunch of times. then learn to sing it perfectly. theen learn to play it.
vinccenzzo
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I have something that can be useful too.
When you play a song by memory your attention is always better on the beginning than on the end. Also think about any tune you know, you probably know the beginning of the song better than the end.
The trick to is to start learning the tune from the last bar. Then learn the last 2 bars, then the last 3 bars and do it until you get to the first bar.
Massacre
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LOL the what what and the what. :lol: Are you tryin to sound smart again. LOL .
johnz
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I usually break the song up into different sections. I memorized each section (usually small sections) by repetion (lets say 50 times). Then I put section one together with section two, and play it the same amount of time I would play one individual section (about 50 times). I keep adding a section on until the song is finished. I guess this works for me...but the main goal is to stay extremely focused the entire time.
Mikael Nilsson
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Steve Morse has gotten the same question. The best way to memorize music is by going through the whole song in sections in your head, without the instrument, he said. That combined with playing it a million times maybe is the perfect solution.

mvh mk
Derek
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Everything on here so far is very true, I agree wholeheartedly. Learning pieces from the end forward can be very helpful in that if you can get through the first part, you find yourself getting into parts that you are more familiar with and comfortable playing instead of getting through the parts you know and then finding areas where you think "oops, that part needs more practice! I've forgotten the notes." or anything along those lines.

If you're musically literate (by which I refer only to the written version of music, not the playing aspect) then you can check how well you really know a piece by trying to write the notes down with no instrument near, I know some people that use that technique extensively. Personally, that never worked for me, but visualizing the fingerings and notes while lying in bed at night was always a good way for me to review what I had accomplished during the day and prepared me for major recitals and/or performances.

Singing is definitely something to do, even if you're not a good singer you can sing the pitches at least semi-correctly, and singing without the guitar in hand is very helpful, particularly in multi-voiced parts (i.e. classical pieces or anything with counterpoint.) My teacher used to have me play one voice and sing another, I hated it but it worked. He would also stop us in the hallways if he noticed guitarists without guitars in hand and make us sing different Sor studies together, each on a different part (top voice, middle, low, etc.)

Anyhow - my biggest recommendation was taught to me in college and I've rambled quite a bit just agreeing with everybody else. If you learn spots that we called "roadmarks" or "flags" within the piece, you learn that no matter what happens (and mind-blanks do occur) you can instantly jump to one of your flags and continue from there and hopefully not too many people will notice or remember your mistake. Of course, that's not as helpful in a band situation, but if you're on your own it's alright. Not perfect, but it's better than stopping mid-piece in front of an audience.

Personally, I found mastering nuances within somebody else's solos too much trouble to bother with, so I started just learning a particular lick or two to get the audience to recognize what the solo is supposed to sound like, and then I just go into my own ideas. It saves time and effort, and nobody's complained about my versions yet, so it seems to work alright. The majority of what I do live is improvised when it comes to solos anyhow, it keeps me from getting bored in a 4 hour gig. :roll:

Hopefully this is at least somewhat helpful.

Derek
chrose1201
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vinccenzzo wrote:Also think about any tune you know, you probably know the beginning of the song better than the end.
The trick to is to start learning the tune from the last bar. Then learn the last 2 bars, then the last 3 bars and do it until you get to the first bar.
Actually that's a pretty good piece of advice. I learned that in an art course one time where we were shown to take a picture and draw it upside down. Whether you realize it or not the brain has a preconceived notion of how someting is supposed to look or sound from past experience. Therefore no matter how you fight against it your subconscious is going to lead you to how "it's supposed to be". If you learn it backwards you're going against preconceived ideas so it might just work well. I never though about applying it to music, but I think I'll try it.
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