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How can I memorise tunes better?

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Jun 17, 2022 - 1:34:30 AM

alextheseal1996

Australia

3 posts since 6/9/2022

Hello all, Waa wondering what strategies you all use to memorise your tunes.
I have no problem playing the songs at all up to speed when reading tab but I try to memorise small parts at a time but there there just seems to be a mental block that won't allow the information to settle. What tips or advice can you guys offer me?

Jun 17, 2022 - 4:55:14 AM

242 posts since 12/23/2010

Try memorizing just 2 to 4 bars at a time. Look away from the tab, play those 4 bars. When you can do that without looking, then play 4 more bars and look away, and continue until you have the whole song in you memory. Then play that song without looking at the tab every day and soon it will be engrained in your brain.

Have you ever tried to pick out a song without any tab? Try finding just the melody to a song you know and can hum or sing. The more you rely on your brain and less on tab, the easier it will be to play and remember.

If you're playing instrumentals instead of vocals, it's a little more difficult, but again, memorizing a few bars at a time will eventually get you where you don't have to rely on tab.

Jun 17, 2022 - 10:45:22 PM

alextheseal1996

Australia

3 posts since 6/9/2022

Very solid advice there, Sherry. Thank you :) I was trying to do this but I have this stupid instinct to try and learn things as fast as possible and it simply isn't working for me haha, so thank you :) I will do this

Jun 18, 2022 - 4:55:44 AM

242 posts since 12/23/2010

quote:
Originally posted by alextheseal1996

Very solid advice there, Sherry. Thank you :) I was trying to do this but I have this stupid instinct to try and learn things as fast as possible and it simply isn't working for me haha, so thank you :) I will do this


You're welcome.  How do I know that will work for most people?  Because, when I was a beginner, it worked for me.  You're not the only one who tries to learn too much too soon and the brain just goes on standby.   When I was teaching banjo I had several students who wanted to "play like Earl" immediately.    Took a lot of talking and explaining to get them to slow down and let their fingers and brain connect. 

Jun 26, 2022 - 9:08:24 AM

Robert

USA

101 posts since 12/30/2010

It also helps to listen to the tune so that you get positive feedback when you play it back in time. Listening is important as reading a tune. If you use both of the tools you will find that the tunes will come a bit easier.

Jul 15, 2022 - 8:17:32 AM

5 posts since 9/12/2016

A few years ago I started with Tabs. I got so dependent on tabs that I couldn't play without them. When I tried to play along with others I was dead in the water. Use tabs to learn each measure of a song then GET RID OF THE TABS. They are dangerous if you get addicted to them.

Jul 16, 2022 - 7:08:01 AM

27 posts since 10/16/2015

A trick I discovered years ago and it's time tested with many of my students, is be sure you know what the piece of music is supposed to sound like once learned. Then learn it by going to the the very last measure first. Once that's memorized, add the measure in front of it, etc until you have the whole thing. Human nature is when learning from the beginning and you make a mistake, you start all over again. You really know the first half of it, but the last part never gets the attention it needs. Try it on shorter solos first, then build up to longer ones. If you can do it as a discipline, you'll find you'll start memorizing solos much quicker.

Jul 19, 2022 - 2:27:58 AM

alextheseal1996

Australia

3 posts since 6/9/2022

Absolutely exquisite strategy, Eddie!!!! I'll be sure to try this :)

Jul 23, 2022 - 2:32:13 PM

mbruno

USA

6 posts since 6/24/2022

A few ideas - some already said but just figured I'd keep it in one spot:

1. Break larger parts (like verse / chorus) into smaller parts or phrases. Songs like Salt Creek have an A and B part. Both of those parts could be broken down into 2 smaller parts - so A1 and A2 for A part and B1 and B2 for the B Part. In some cases you can break those parts into even smaller parts.

2. Listen to the song a lot. When I'm learning a tune, I take my dog for a walk or head to the park and listen to as many variations of that tune as I can. When I find one or two I really like, then I listen to those a ton. The idea is to just drill the tune into my head so I know what it should sound like

3. Write up a chart of your own. Tabs are good to start as someone mentioned, but learning songs solely by reading tabs made by others isn't a great idea. For one, they are often wrong and need small tweaks. For another, you learn to play the song like whomever wrote the tab - which may not be your way. For this topic, the act of writing stuff out can be really helpful for memorization - at least for me.

4. For vocal tunes - try to associate the vocals with an image or a logical story. For Old Home Place as an example, the guy met a girl 10 years ago, they left the farm for the town, she ran off with someone else, and now he wishes he was dead. Thinking like that helps me remember chords etc - sort of like remembering the first line helping you remember the rest etc.

5. Play the song a lot - self explanatory, but play it a lot ;)

Happy picking!!

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