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Learning songs by heart

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Help: Learning songs (22)


GUEST,JTT 15 Jun 02 - 08:20 PM
Bobert 15 Jun 02 - 10:10 PM
Celtic Soul 16 Jun 02 - 12:29 AM
CapriUni 16 Jun 02 - 01:05 AM
JennieG 16 Jun 02 - 02:03 AM
C-flat 16 Jun 02 - 03:26 AM
DMcG 16 Jun 02 - 03:40 AM
Mr Red 16 Jun 02 - 04:19 AM
fat B****rd 16 Jun 02 - 04:38 AM
Jeri 16 Jun 02 - 09:13 AM
CapriUni 16 Jun 02 - 09:56 AM
Willie-O 16 Jun 02 - 10:04 AM
Pete Jennings 16 Jun 02 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,Al 16 Jun 02 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,GUEST, Rob 16 Jun 02 - 04:44 PM
treewind 16 Jun 02 - 06:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Jun 02 - 09:05 PM
Genie 16 Jun 02 - 11:23 PM
rich-joy 17 Jun 02 - 02:59 AM
KingBrilliant 17 Jun 02 - 04:10 AM
GUEST,mick /punch the horse 17 Jun 02 - 07:48 AM
lady penelope 17 Jun 02 - 01:39 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 17 Jun 02 - 03:02 PM
Mr Red 17 Jun 02 - 04:49 PM
Liz the Squeak 17 Jun 02 - 04:56 PM
Uncle_DaveO 18 Jun 02 - 04:30 PM
53 18 Jun 02 - 04:46 PM
CapriUni 18 Jun 02 - 09:21 PM
DonD 18 Jun 02 - 10:04 PM
Ferrara 18 Jun 02 - 11:17 PM
GUEST,ozmacca 18 Jun 02 - 11:55 PM
Murrey 19 Jun 02 - 12:45 AM
KingBrilliant 19 Jun 02 - 02:28 AM
Dave Bryant 19 Jun 02 - 05:24 AM
lady penelope 19 Jun 02 - 08:35 AM
CapriUni 19 Jun 02 - 08:46 AM
GUEST,JTT 19 Jun 02 - 08:59 AM
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Subject: Learning songs by heart
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 08:20 PM

I'm reading an interesting book about behavioral psychology, and the author has a tip for learning things by rote.

She says to start at the end - for example, if you're learning a song, learn the last two lines first, then the third and fourth last and the last two, and so on - that way you're always playing towards your strength.

Same deal if you're learning a tune: learn the last bit of it, then the second-last bit and the last bit, then the third-last, the second-last and the last, etc.

Anyone else got any good tips for learning new things?


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Subject: RE: BS: Learning songs by heart
From: Bobert
Date: 15 Jun 02 - 10:10 PM

Hunnhhhh? Ya talkin' to me? Danged! I thought I was gonna learn something her but It's back to tapin' cheat sheets to the top of the ol' Martin.....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Learning songs by heart
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 12:29 AM

Oh, man, but I think that might make me utterly insane. I'd wind up singing it in the order I learned it! ;D

My memory (being someone with mild learning disabilities) is really tempermental. What I have found works for my very esoteric mind is to draw pictograms for each word one line at a time. I find that I don't do well memorizing abstract characters (writing or numbers), but I can memorize images fairly fast and with much less effort. The translation from picture to language seems a lot easier than to memorize the words from reading them over and over. It does make for some fun moments in the learning process when you forget what a certain pictogram was supposed to mean. You can wind up singing something completely different than what you had initially intended until it is engrained into long term memory.


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: CapriUni
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 01:05 AM

I learn songs by heart by listening to them over and over, then I learn them "inside out", as it were. There's usually one line in the middle of the song that sticks in my brain (often the hook, but not always), and I find myself singing that line as I go through my day. Then, I can tease out the line that goes after it, then the line that goes before it, so I've got three lines stuck in my head.

That turns into 5, then 7, 9, etc., till I have the whole song.

...But I do use the backwards method for remembering my dreams. When I wake up, the last image I saw is most vivid in my memory... I lie in bed for a moment, and try to remmeber what happened just before that image, to try and make sense out of it, then the image before that, etc. back to the beginning of the dream.


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: JennieG
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 02:03 AM

What works for me.....I write the song down. I learn it as much as I can from the written page or recording, then I write it down a few times. That seems to fix it in my mind better than other methods do.
Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: C-flat
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 03:26 AM

Same as JennieG, I write it out a couple of times. I'd be interested to try out GuestJTT's technique as I think it could work for me. I usually break the stuff I'm trying to learn into segments anyway.


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: DMcG
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 03:40 AM

I'm not sure I understand why learning the end should be easier than learning the beginning, or more precisely why this is not something that varies person to person.

Anyway, maybe I should cross refer you to the song about "Billy Bones", where I could only remember the last verses and still haven't remembered the earlier stuff. (In my case, once I've got going on a song I normally find it easy to remember the next line: its getting the first line or two sorted that's most trouble)


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: Mr Red
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 04:19 AM

I never learned by picking-up the end first but it sounds good to me.
I always reckon that writing down the lyrics helps (several times). It re-inforces the memory via a different route. Singing them out - in the car on long journeys, repetitively. I always liken it to a stool, you need at least three legs to be self supporting.
Different route, legs of journey, legs of stool, sorta has a symmetry dunnit?


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: fat B****rd
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 04:38 AM

I always found it easier to learn songs that I wanted to sing. On the occasions when I HAD to learn something it always took longer and was nowhere near as satisfying.


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: Jeri
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 09:13 AM

I don't agree with learning the last bits first. I have to see a song or tune as a whole, and it has to make sense as a sequence. If I take bits out of sequence, I've completely eliminated contextual clues. Maybe that's the idea behind the recommendation to learn the end first - to not rely on context. Context, however, is the primary reason I can remember lyrics or notes at all.

Writing or typing out lyrics also helps me a lot. I can just print them in many cases, but if I write them, I have to notice each individual word. This may be effective because I tend to learn better visually than auditorily. (Is that a word?) When I try to dredge up the words, I try to remember writing them and what they looked like on the page.

I learn songs while driving. I have the printed words with me, but I can't (and wouldn't want to) easily read them. They're there for when I get stuck. I generally learn verses at a time. I'll get the first one memorized, then work on the next.

If I just rely on the "cheat sheet," I'll never learn them because I don't have to. I don't have to think about what comes next, I don't have to think about how one part of a song relates to the rest. I don't have to do any of the tricks that bring the words back to my concsious mind. The "safety net" of the printed words interferes with my learning - my brain doesn't have to do any work. I don't have to risk forgetting, but that very risk is what motivates me to learn the song well.

Ballads seem like they should be harder to learn because they can be very long. Sea shanties seem easy because they're short. I find the reverse is true. Ballads tell a story - if I ask myself "so then what happened?" I'll often remember the next event in the song and then how the verse expressed it. Verses in shanties often aren't sequential. There's no clue what comes next.


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: CapriUni
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 09:56 AM

I tend to learn better visually than auditorily. (Is that a word?)

The word you want is "aurally"

Personally, I'm an aural learner -- or at least, I'm closer to the aural end of the spectrum. Although I'm not a singer, twice a year, I participate in something called the Art Garden, where writers read their work before an audience in magazine format. We don't have to memorize our work, and can read from a page, but I like to memorize as much as possible, so I can pay attention to the listeners, and modulate my words based on their response, instead of having my eyes on the page. As I'm writing the piece, I have to stop and read the work aloud, first to make sure the sounds of the words don't clash with each other, but also to help me remember. When the piece is finished, I read it aloud into a my computer's .wav recorder, then play it back. I do both several times. If there's a phrase or word I continually stumble over, it gets edited out.

But I like Mr Red's analogy of a three legged stool -- the more parts of my brain I can get into the project, the better. That way, if one part of my brain starts farting, the others can pick up the slack. As I'm reading the piece aloud, I'm concentrating on seeing the words on the page, visualizing the concrete images those words evoke, hearing the sound of my voice (as it sounds to me from inside my own head, and outside my head), and feeling the physical sensation producing those words as I say them -- the way my body resonates with the sound, etc. Ususlly, I can memorize about 75% of the piece within 5-6 go-arounds.


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: Willie-O
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 10:04 AM

Yeah, Jeri, just like Bob Dylan songs. Recent biography observes that he wrote Mr Tambourine Man and the other ramblings of that era by arranging random phrases on scraps of paper on the floor of a rented room, while smoking a shitload of weed and drinking the vino red. But as well as the lyric fragments he also cut out lots of pictures from magazines for visual inspiration...try and memorize a lyric put together that way!

I'm with the write-it-down folks. And I like to transcribe in real listening time, just scribble the first word or two to each line and fill in the rest after.

You have to be rock solid on the beginning and ending. And never apologize for the middle.

Willie-0
2c


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 10:17 AM

Another vote for the write-it-out-by-hand approach. Also, when I learn a new song I'm also learning/refining my own finger-picking arrangement, so I play it over and over again until it's fixed in my head and fingers. I know when I'm there when my wife shouts something like "if you play that bloody song once more I'll kill you"!

Pete


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: GUEST,Al
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 03:10 PM

I learn by first understanding the song, as though it were prose with a message to tell. It's a lot easier to memorize a poem with meter and meaning than to memorize a paragraph of random words. Approaching a tune as a list of notes to remember would be very hard for me. Al


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: GUEST,GUEST, Rob
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 04:44 PM

as a guy who has just picked up the banjo, and now has a reason to memorize songs, i am finding all of your sugesstions interesting. I have tried several of them before to help memorzie poems during high school, and they all worked to some extent or another. I did the pictograph method to try and memorzie Shakespeares "all the worlds a stage" and although i did not memorize it perfectly, i had a lot of fun drawing out all the pictures. My father introduced me to the memorzie it backwards method. As strange as it seems, it worked when i actually had the patience to try it. Not only does it make you repeat the poem a billion times, but it makes it hard to skip words because there is no overall structure to the poem that you can use to mentally smudge or negate words, and by the time there is a structer you have repated so many times it does not matter anymore.

My favorite way to memorzie a song is through plain old repetition, either by listening or singing it countless times, until i have it. Besides, those other methods are really designed for memorizing things that have to be said word for word without mistake, somthing that i percive, has never really been important in the folk world.


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: treewind
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 06:14 PM

I've seen the "backwards" method recommended on a mailing list that deals with East European and Balkan music. The specific problem there was learning the words to songs in a language that you don't speak like Croatian or Bulgarian, but it should work well in English too.

The logic is that as you sing the song your confidence should increase as you reach lines that you've spent more time learning.

The method is also good because it counteracts the natural tendency to learn starting at the beginning and to end up knowing the first verse much better than the last.

I don't believe it spoils your understanding of the natural flow of the words. After you learned the last two lines you practice the previous two lines with the last two (which you already know) and carry on that way (or similar) so you're singing lines in the correct sequence!

My partner (who is really the singer around here) says she like to visualise the story of the song as a movie so she is describing the action as it plays. This works well with ballads that tell a story, not so much with songs that don't have much of a story line.

Another recommendation on the eefc list was practicing singing in the car, if you spend any much time driving (like to work), and I have tried putting the song on to minidisc and playing in the car to sing along with. ....

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 09:05 PM

Verses in shanties often aren't sequential. There's no clue what comes next. Shanty verses generally didn't have a fixed sequence, they were supplied by the shantyman, who'd amend them as he felt like it, and to suit the length of the job involved.


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: Genie
Date: 16 Jun 02 - 11:23 PM

JTT ,

Having spent many years studying and teaching the psychology of learning and memory, I would recommend rehearsing the middle of the song more than either the beginning or the end.

Treewind mentions "the natural tendency to learn starting at the beginning and to end up knowing the first verse much better than the last."
Oft-replicated findings on recall memory are the "recency" and "primacy" effects. Lots of theories why, but the key point is that we tend to remember the beginning AND the end of a list, a song, etc., better than the middle.

My experience with my own memory and with doing sing-alongs [or having audiences sing with me on a song or two] reinforces this concept. Folks will know the first couple of lines of a song, and maybe the whole first verse, and they usually know the bridge, and they usually know the last verse or the last two lines of it. It's in the middle where they go blank.

One advantage to rehearsing the lines in forward sequence is that each line will then cue the next line,/u> [i.e., trigger your memory of it]. If you tend to work back to front, then each line will cue your memory of the previous one--which is not a big help when performing. I'm not saying you shouldn't use that method when FIRST learning a song [Don't we say of something we know well that we "know it backwards and forward?"], but I'd strongly recommend a lot of 'dress rehearsal' time doing the song all the way through in the sequence in which you will perform the lines!

If there are many verses and you tend to forget their order or leave out a verse when relying on memory, make up a mnemonic for the verses in order . E.g., Take the first word [or phrase of each verse and make up an acronym or short story using them in sequence. Often, after learning a song, if you can think of the first word or phrase of the next verse, the whole verse will come to you. [E.g., in chanteys, the verses are often easy to reconstruct, but it's easy to omit verses because they don't 'come to you' on the spur of the moment.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: rich-joy
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 02:59 AM

Another "write-it-out" vote!!

However, though I had a great memory for lyrics when younger - when the world (my world?) was less frenetic and less stressful - from the age of my late 40's onwards, I have had a buggar of a time with memory!!!

Does anyone have any cures that have worked for them - herbal teas or whatever??!!!!!!!!!

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 04:10 AM

I have been relying on cheat sheets for ages, because I didn't think I had learnt any songs. I realised that I often sing & play things through without cheat-sheets in the house though. So - on Friday I decided to just play through everything that I could without the paper. To my utter amazement it took pretty much all day. I got to 68 songs, and a few more are still trickling back to mind.
In this case it must have been sheer repetition that did it - and (similar to what .... said) - the fact that I was using the cheat sheets was completely hiding the fact that I no longer needed them.
Also - I seriously thought I was singing fine with the sheets, but now I realise that reading at the same time as singing DOES compromise the delivery - its SO much better without the sheets. On saturday night we went to a BBQ with friends and I sang totally "sans papier" all evening - and it was just way more fun and more satisfying. And I felt disgustingly smug when the others had to rely on the sheets or give up half-way through (not that I like feeling smug you understand).
As with most things, confidence is a big issue, and just knowing that I have memorised that many songs is making it much easier to memorise new ones!
So that's my advice - have a bit of a check and see how much you already know!
I can see the logic of learning from the arse-end backwards. It should even out the repetitions across the whole song, and should ensure that even if you forget a bit you can still FINISH the song.


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: GUEST,mick /punch the horse
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 07:48 AM

Here is one method a singer in Ireland showed me.

Get the tune fixed in your head.

If there is a chorus get that sorted out.

Remember that songs tell a story.

write the words down three times,and you should be somewere there.

write down the first line of each verse,carry these round with you.

Then rehearse,rehearse,rehearse.


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: lady penelope
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 01:39 PM

I also find writing it out helps to set the general shape of a song in my mind.

What I used to do ( and really ought to get back into the habit ) was to learn a song till I could get through it without looking at the words, then I would start singing the song from the second verse in. Then the third etc. You still sing the whole song, you just start in a different place. I found it the only way to stop that "well I know the first two verses brilliantly but......" syndrome.

I have tried the learn it backwards thing, but I'd just end up learning the song back to front, I couldn't sing it forward at all!

I wonder if it's like when I worked at Woolworths and we had tills that only added up, you had to work out the change yourself. I can't add up for toffee, but I can subtract like a shot!

The human mind is a place of wonder.............

TTFN M'Lady P.


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 03:02 PM

Listen to the title of the thread. It isn't, Learning songs by ear, or brain. When you learn a song by "heart" you've made it part of who you are. Don't mean to go all mystical here, or squishy. But, just like you learn a melody and play it on an instrument and get all the notes "right," you may never get the song. Music is more than memory. If that's all it was, I suspect that halk of us wouldn't be singing anymore.

I vote for the visualizing approach, meself. Not necessarily writing it out repeatedly like, "I will never throw a spitball again," but just seeing the words on a page. I sing in a Men's Chorus, and we learn the songs by "heart." The Chorus Director has us read the words to the song several times and asks us to think about the words that we're singing. I think that it's a great technique, because you are releasing yourself from any thoughts about where your harmony line is, or the melody line. We DO read the words in the rhythm of the song, though. Most importantly, it helps us to "hear" what we're singing about. There have been other threads that have found great humor in people singing the words wrong to a song, never noticing that the words that they're singing make absolutely no sense. I contributed "So long, it's Finger's Ganolia," as a brutal missunderstanding of So Long, It's Been Good To Know 'Ya." If you're just learning words so that you will remember them when you sing, there are some songs that you'll never get right. Even simple songs. I always found it metaphysically challenging to contemplate one of the verses of Skip To My Lou: "Litte red wagon, painted blue." Think about it... :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: Mr Red
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 04:49 PM

One thing I found is that songwriting and song learning a two entirely different processes. One is highly divergent and plastic even after the song is "finished". The other is highly convergent, variations are frowned upon!
Worse still, learning ones own songs brings this home. And I find a finished song is now a song to "learn" almost like any other.


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 17 Jun 02 - 04:56 PM

You can recall information a lot better when you are in the same state you were in when you learned it (hence the amount of songs and tunes I know when pissed), so if you are sober and happy when you learn a song, you will remember it best sober and happy.

Thus those tapes that were very popular in the 1970's for learning stuff whilst asleep only worked when you were asleep again.

Bit awkward in the driving test, eh??

LTS


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 04:30 PM

Lady Penelope said:

"I have tried the learn it backwards thing, but I'd just end up learning the song back to front, I couldn't sing it forward at all!"

Seems to me you may be applying the technique wrong.

The idea is, say you were learning the alphabet. You would start Z, and then Y Z. Then X Y Z. Then W X Y Z. Then V W X Y Z.

That way, each portion that you learn connects automatically to what you already know. There is NEVER a reverse recitation involved, as "Z Y X W V U T S..."

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: 53
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 04:46 PM

I always can memorize the music but I have a harder time with the words. Is there some secret code or something to help memorize the words?


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: CapriUni
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 09:21 PM

Well, I'm just the opposite, 53... I learn the words almost at the very first hearing, and the lyrics are the firsst thing I notice when I hear a new song on the radio. But when I try to learn tunes, my mind slips a groove, so to speak. If a melody has a pattern of musical phrases that goes A B A C C, for example, when I try to sing it, it will come out something like C B A C.

Do you have a secret code for memorizing tunes?


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: DonD
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 10:04 PM

A couple of thoughts:

As an old salesman, I approach the problem like selling myself a song, which means presenting it to all senses (well, not smell) at the same time on the order of 'show them the brochure, and read the words to them while they are reading along with you, so the prospect feels the paper, sees the print and hears the copy at the same time'. Something should get through

I learn songs a lot from records/tapes/performance; if theere's word sheet to read along, that helps, and then writin/typing it and singing it puts the other senses into play.

I also find (as a completely inept banjoist, guitarist/whsitle player, that my fingers will learn things that my mind doesn't know. If I try to recall some song or phrase by figuring it out, it's hopeless, but if I just let my fingers go, somehow the tune is in therepatterned into the nerves.

I do find it's not as easy as it was fifty years ago! I was tickled to hear Pete Seeger on Sunday at the Clearwater Revival have to stop himself into the second verse of one of his own old songs to say, "Oh, wait, I just sang that verse, didn't I?" He didn't have that prob;em when I first heard him fifty years ago, either. And the hills are getting steeper, too.


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: Ferrara
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 11:17 PM

Lots of good suggestions here.

Don't know if I can offer anything worthwhile but here's what I do, anyway.

My pattern with words is to get them written down or typed first of all: either from Digitrad etc, or I sit and play the song over and over, jotting down one or two words in each line, every time I repeat it. I sort of enjoy this process.

I try to keep a digital copy of songs I'm learning, because I always lose the words and I can print them out again quickly.

I keep a folder of songs I'd like to know all the way through. I carry a song or two when I go out: read and practice verses in the car, go over a verse or two when I'm in the bank or grocery line, work on it while I wash dishes, whatever. I don't necessarily keep at the same song until it's learned, I switch back and forth unless I'm obsessed about a song and HAVE to learn it all RIGHT NOW. (Happens a lot, actually.)

I'm definitely going to try the "learn toward the end" approach, as well as "get the middle firmly fixed in mind" approach.

About tunes. I have a hard time with a lot of tunes and have worked out a lot of shorthand tricks. One is to print the words (first verse and chorus at least) double spaced, then put little squiggles and marking to show where the dratted thing goes up, down or sideways. I have some standard marks that I almost understand.... Then from time to time I look at my marked-up copy while I listen to the song, and make some corrections.

Also sometimes I write Do-Re-Mi notation above the notes. To show that it's a high note, I might use, say, Do-2 instead of just Do. Maybe this will be useful for somebody. You can usually find "Do" by assuming that the very last note in the song is "Do."

BTW, if I'm trying to learn a tune, I probably have it on tape, vinyl or CD and can work from that.

If I am trying to learn a song that I don't have as a recording, usually I know the tune but only know bits of the words. That's when I get obsessed with learning All Of It Right Now, because otherwise my mind keeps repeating the fragments that I know, and it feels like there is a broken record in my head.

Joel Bailes said that if you like to learn songs, you will never be bored. You always have something interesting to do -- work on a new song.

'S True.

Rita


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: GUEST,ozmacca
Date: 18 Jun 02 - 11:55 PM

Write it down....... Works every time.... all except for the ones that you don't need to. I find that it helps to have the cheat sheet there with you, but some songs will stick - especially the ones which have a story. And maybe not the story IN the song, but the story BEHIND the song, such as remembering when and where I heard it performed first or best. Images in the mind help a lot too, such as imagining certain scenes called up by the lyrics, or by being able to emphasize certain phrases.

But it sure helps to have the book, especially if you intend to do a lot of songs which are not time-and-time-again favourites. Wherever possible, and if you don't dance about too much, a music stand or similar is a great help. Still, what do I know? I spend my time hitting a skin and trying to make people enjoy what we're doing. They seem to laugh...... hmmmmmm......


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: Murrey
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 12:45 AM

I agree it's about heart and how much a song reaches inside that makes the words become easier to remember ( I could never learn a song that I didn't like -tried it -doesn't work !) However on the practical side writing them down,listening to them over & over , singing in the care with the words nearby ( thanks Jeri it's nice to know someone else uses that one ). One more trick I find works for me -read them a couple of times just before you go to sleep --seems to speed up the process when I really want to learn words fast! Just please don't be telling me you can't learn the words by heart cause you CAN if you try !!!!! Murrey


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 02:28 AM

Murrey - I had to learn a song I don't like recently (Hide Your Love Away - Beatles). I found the song utterly distateful when I was working from the paper. Was obliged to do it because it was selected by someone else in our fledgeling band (all rehearsals & no performance at the mo).
I hate-hate-hated the song utterly.
However, its time we did without paperwork - so we selected a couple to start off with. One of them was HYLA. To my complete bemusement, by the time I had learnt it I had actually come to love it. D'oh!

KRis


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 05:24 AM

I also agree with jerry's comments about learning songs by HEART. If you really love a song and want to sing it, learning the words is a doddle. I find also that many songs just get absorbed by hearing them. There have been many occassions when I have been asked for a song which isn't in my repertoire and managed to sing it - often I do a bit more work on it and it joins the regular list.

I often have more trouble with lyrics which I have written myself because I have to keep remembering which version I ended up with out of all the the words/lines I considered !


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: lady penelope
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 08:35 AM

Dave-O, I was doing it the way you have listed it here, the trouble came with my cues being in the wrong place. Because I was learning the lines 'backwards' I couldn't get a grip of my next line. I'd still remember the lines as I learnt them temporially. At one point in time I could sing Matty Groves backwards ( line by line, not literally ) perfectly but got 'lost' doing it the right way round!

I've found I do this with other information as well. If someone breaks down, say, a biological process and then starts to teach me the process from halfway through, I find it very hard to keep the cycle of the process in order once we go back to previous steps. I don't like reading series of books out order partly because of this as well ( never mind spoiling the surprises ).

The triggers for memory are as varied as there are different people. Many will find that one method works brilliantly, while others can only look on in wonder ( "I wonder how come that don't work for me?" )

My job is ordering the supplies for my department ( I work in a microbiolgy lab ). I have a pad that I write everything down in as I go along. If I don't write things down as people talk to me, I become very hazy about what's going on. BUT I very rarely actually refer to the pad other than for serial numbers and the like, because the act of writing it down has lodged it in my memory. I've tried doing this at home, however, but for some reason it does't work anywhere near as well.

Maybe I'm peculiar, who knows? : )*G*

TTFN M'Lady P.


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: CapriUni
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 08:46 AM

I often have more trouble with lyrics which I have written myself because I have to keep remembering which version I ended up with out of all the the words/lines I considered!

Good! It's not just me, then.... :-)

As for "learning to love" a song you hate at first -- I think the more time you spend with the words, the more time you have to understand the nuances they portray. After all, we tend to decide if we hate a song after first hearing, and just one interpretation.

Then again, a few favorite songs lose their appeal after a while...

I guess it's like a relationship with people, and I guess it is -- a relationship with the writer.


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Subject: RE: Learning songs by heart
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 19 Jun 02 - 08:59 AM

Interesting stuff. I think I'll try to learn a song backwards, two-lines by two-lines - but also include writing out the two lines, since I come from a literate culture.

The reason I feel the backwards method should work is songs like "One Man Went to Mow" - listen to kids singing it, and the increase in confidence and volume as they move back towards "three men, two men, one man and his dog, WENT TO MOW A MEDOWWWWW!"

By the same token, I'm looking for a kid to mow my lawns; I'm thinking of putting up a notice in the local shop: "One man wanted to mow, wanted to mow a meadow".


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