How do you memorize music and other things?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Harry Styron, May 1, 2019.

  1. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    This is an area that I study - and the linked article has it right. Constantly testing your new knowledge is the best known way to remember things long term. And this is generally true for all people - we're all individuals, yadda yadda, but we all have human minds (I think! I sometimes wonder) which function in similar ways.

    Also: Age related cognitive decline is a real thing, youngsters. We weren't born this forgetful, we earned it and so will you if you're lucky. And we don't "only use 10% of our minds" or other silliness. We are really just not as smart as we think.

    If you have trouble memorizing lyrics or solos, practicing them without notes is the best way to learn. Another proven technique from language learning is to try memorizing long strings of information - such as the pronunciation of complex new words or phrases - by first memorizing the end bit, then adding chunks from there, gradually working towards the beginning bit. So you might start with the last four bars of a solo, nail that, then add the 4 previous bars, etc.
     
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  2. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    My wife says that - that half of remembering something is simply writing it down.

    As for me - I seem to just know a lot of 60s and 70s music. Last night my band worked up 'Devil With A Blue Dress' by the Detroit Wheels, and I didn't even have to listen to it. Chord changes, the modulation, even the solo was right there, pulled McCarty's solo off pretty much note for note.

    My wife tells people I know hundreds of songs but still can't remember to throw my dirty socks in the hamper. :) She's not wrong.

    - D
     
  3. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Meister

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    For music, I play/learn almost entirely by ear, so I think it tends to stick with me.

    If I read something in a book, it's much harder to recall.
     
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  4. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Meister

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    Musical stuff: improvise over large gestures, improvise over repetitive progressions, sing lead lines before playing, sing them while playing to better understand phrasing and direction. Slow deliberate practice with consistent fingerings. Play sitting & standing. Play in different rooms.

    Lyrics: I suck at memorizing lyrics. Most effective for me: speak & sing lyrics. Repeat 2-line couplets 3-5 times each. Imagine people, places, things to attach to the lyrical story so the lyric is assigned meaning.
     
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  5. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    These are good tips.

    I have sometimes thought that playing the same song on a different guitar, or sitting or standing, or with different people, made the same song seem like an entirely different song.

    Last weekend, I had a gig with two solos, one was improvised, and the other, in Bluesette, I had memorized. We had rehearsed Bluesette at a fast tempo (about 160 bpm), so I practiced it at home first slowly and eventually could play along at a recording of the same arrangement at 174.

    At the gig, where I was nervous because I couldn't hear myself well, I did fine on the improvised solo, but totally screwed up the Bluesette solo. The director set it at about 80 bpm, to accommodate the dancers, and I started out way too fast and my 16 bars were done before I could get back on track. Even though I know every note in the solo and the underlying chords, I still found a way to do it wrong.
     
  6. GibbyTwin

    GibbyTwin Tele-Meister

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    I'm 67 and in the camp of those who say we lose memory over time. Further complicating that is the fact that we are living in a time when more than ever we are constantly being bombarded with information (audio and visual, digital and traditional) in the form of commercials, billboards, printed ads, etc., etc., that our brains are processing even though we think we are ignoring them. I use a tablet when gigging to help 'jump start' my memory on the more recent song lyrics we have added to the repertoire. Sometimes I am able to recall all the lyrics of a song without prompting (if it is one that becomes a mainstay) but as soon as that song gets pulled from the list for a while, when it gets added back I'm looking at the tablet for prompts when we play it. And, it's always for lyrics...I seem to be able to remember the music.
    I can't remember the time I last played a gig without having to use a memory crutch. :)
     
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  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I have an atypical memory system, which has always been sort of like a 75yo, unable to remember what I just learned yet recalling select old info almost photographically.

    While aging is worsening it, I find there are still areas where I can cement in an event and recall fairly minute detail, while most stuff vaporizes as soon as I move on to the next thing.

    My handle here; Telemnemonics, relates to the fact that I have a poor memory for music, yet once I touch the strings of a Tele, my mind accesses the lost stuff.
    Sorta.
    Part of my thinking process is that I cannot bear to repeat music, and must change it around a bit to find any enjoyment. Makes for some challenges!

    I'm for certain losing short term memory to a degree that is worrisome, yet for example critical portions of a group meeting discussion last Sunday is well recorded in my mind, or at least I'm pretty sure it is.
    The reason being that I kept processing the two discussions because I need to continue them in my work.

    At the same time, I can have an argument with my wife and then have no clue what the hell just happened. Maybe that's normal though?

    I do not believe that the brain fills up as we age, but I do believe that our thoughts can get cluttered with too much current info, which may impeded the setting up storage of essential info as opposed to getting bogged down in processing what amounts to drivel coming in from TV news, peer chit chat, TDPRI etc etc.

    I certainly can identify ways my brain stores memory, which is generally based on a specific structure which remains in place like a foundation, on which I build current info and can recall it pretty well.
    I seem to need that foundation though.

    If a discussion makes no sense to me, or lacks logical structure/ direction, I will have a very hard time remembering it, because in my mind, senseless info doesn't congeal into something that can be retained.
     
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  8. Jim603

    Jim603 TDPRI Member

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    I remember chord changes by the intervals. For example I know I'm on I and I'm going to a minor third next. I don't consciously think of it that way, but I can "feel" the changes. I don't know if this will help the OP, but that's how I learn songs with no cheat sheets or books.
     
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  9. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Holic

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    This is because men are simpler life forms, and easily confused.
     
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  10. archiemax

    archiemax Tele-Meister

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    A hack I've used for remembering lyrics, usually when the song has four or more verses: Write down the first few words of each line and use that as a practice cheat sheet (for practicing at home, not on stage.) If you can start the line, you can usually complete it. Eventually you can toss the sheet away. Told this method to a singer I used to work for; he tried it and it worked for him too.
     
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  11. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm afraid I don't know "To Throw My Dirty Socks in The Hamper" can you post the chords?
     
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  12. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Tele-Afflicted

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    plus we confuse the arguments with facts and logic which apparently causes all sorts of problems.
     
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  13. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Wait - what did you ask ?
     
  14. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Tele-Afflicted

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  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    That plus the fact that girls have superpowers...
     
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  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Oddly (or maybe it isn't odd, IDK) I can often remember the next verse if I sing through the previous verse, but that would require I know the beginning of the prior verse in order to get started. Sort of like riding a bicycle.
    So yeah that might work.
     
  17. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    They don’t .

    I have seven sisters .

    Trust me on this one.
     
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  18. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Holic

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    Yes exactly. My cheat sheets are set up as 1 page you can see from 5 feet away. The arrangement, first phrase of each verse, chord structure, and any oddball things I might forget.
     
  19. 1955

    1955 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Immersion, funnel-patterns living only in content, no escaping rest.

    Takes everything, no mercy gnashing what I do not want to learn.

    So I don’t do it if I’m smart.

    Volition Circumference: I have slept to audio narration since I was in high school, slow sword raking out of the sheath.
     
  20. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Music - repetition - muscle memory. I have an Amazon Alexa Dot plugged into the PA in my music room. You just need an 1/8" stereo to dual (L&R) XLR adapter - $10 on Amazon. "Alexa play The Last DJ by Tom Petty".....and I'm off playing and singing. If the band is learning a new song I'll go through it three or four times per night for the 6 days between practice with the guys. Having the magic music Dot is soooooo nice. They're only $20 now and free to use if you have an Amazon Prime account. You just ask for a song and it plays. You can pause and go back just by asking. It's like having an assistant it the room. So simple.



    Business meetings - I take notes constantly. I retain anything better when I focus and use my hands. I also stay awake and I'm more engaged when I listen/translate into "John speak"/write it down. I carry a leather journal to every meeting, every sales call, every engineering discussion and I have a written log of every conversation and specification. I buy the same leather journals at Barnes & Noble and I have about 30 of them in a cabinet in my office. I'm pushing 55. I have to write everything down.
     
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