Advice on how to memorize songs

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gregmchir

Full Access

Joined: 11/16/19

Posts: 36

First off I would like to thank guitar tricks ,I have gotten to the point where I can play at least a dozen songs . There is a slight problem though. I can only play the songs in performance mode where the tablature scrolls . The problem is not timing or chord changes but knowing where to go next To clarify right now I am playing acoustic songs that don't have a distinguishing riff but do recquire a singer beginner /easy ie Wild horses ,,Imagine ,Losing my religion ,Wide open spaces,Every rose has its thorn

I am at a standstill now because I want to learn new songs but I feel I should memorize what I know first . Do I learn each song section by section or do I play along with the scrolling tablature?. Do I memorize one at a time or two or three? I try to pick up cues from the singer and not look at the scrolling tablature but sometimes I play the wrong chords and then I lose the rhythm If I just played along to the track without visual cues I get lost . If these songs get removed then technically I wouldnt know any songs except for ones that have the same chord structure over and over

I rely on performance mode or jam mode because I cannot sing at all This enables me to play songs that I never would have considered I am handicapping myself because I can't play in front of anyone without the scrolling tablature .

Thank You

#1

First off I would like to thank guitar tricks ,I have gotten to the point where I can play at least a dozen songs . There is a slight problem though. I can only play the songs in performance mode where the tablature scrolls . The problem is not timing or chord changes but knowing where to go next To clarify right now I am playing acoustic songs that don't have a distinguishing riff but do recquire a singer beginner /easy ie Wild horses ,,Imagine ,Losing my religion ,Wide open spaces,Every rose has its thorn

I am at a standstill now because I want to learn new songs but I feel I should memorize what I know first . Do I learn each song section by section or do I play along with the scrolling tablature?. Do I memorize one at a time or two or three? I try to pick up cues from the singer and not look at the scrolling tablature but sometimes I play the wrong chords and then I lose the rhythm If I just played along to the track without visual cues I get lost . If these songs get removed then technically I wouldnt know any songs except for ones that have the same chord structure over and over

I rely on performance mode or jam mode because I cannot sing at all This enables me to play songs that I never would have considered I am handicapping myself because I can't play in front of anyone without the scrolling tablature .

Thank You

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7446

Originally Posted by: gregmchir
The problem is not timing or chord changes but knowing where to go next

The solution is to keep repeating the songs until you have the overall song form memorized. This is a normal part of learning to play music. It's great to have the sheet music or the chord chart. But in the end they mostly serve as reminder cues. You have to have all the knowledge of the music & physical skills to play all the parts under your command in order to play the song anyway.

So, congrats on learning the songs! Keep playing them and listening to them in order to make the overall song form or structure completely second nature.

Originally Posted by: gregmchir

I am at a standstill now because I want to learn new songs but I feel I should memorize what I know first . Do I learn each song section by section or do I play along with the scrolling tablature?. Do I memorize one at a time or two or three?

That depends on each student. Some people learn better doing one thing at a time & sticking with it until it's complete. Some can jump around more from section to section or song to song & it helps them stay interested & motivated.

Originally Posted by: gregmchir
I try to pick up cues from the singer and not look at the scrolling tablature but sometimes I play the wrong chords and then I lose the rhythm If I just played along to the track without visual cues I get lost

That happens to all of us! :) It's just part of the learning process. The only solution is to keep playing through the songs. That's not really bad news is it? Play more guitar!

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#2

Originally Posted by: gregmchir
The problem is not timing or chord changes but knowing where to go next

The solution is to keep repeating the songs until you have the overall song form memorized. This is a normal part of learning to play music. It's great to have the sheet music or the chord chart. But in the end they mostly serve as reminder cues. You have to have all the knowledge of the music & physical skills to play all the parts under your command in order to play the song anyway.

So, congrats on learning the songs! Keep playing them and listening to them in order to make the overall song form or structure completely second nature.

Originally Posted by: gregmchir

I am at a standstill now because I want to learn new songs but I feel I should memorize what I know first . Do I learn each song section by section or do I play along with the scrolling tablature?. Do I memorize one at a time or two or three?

That depends on each student. Some people learn better doing one thing at a time & sticking with it until it's complete. Some can jump around more from section to section or song to song & it helps them stay interested & motivated.

Originally Posted by: gregmchir
I try to pick up cues from the singer and not look at the scrolling tablature but sometimes I play the wrong chords and then I lose the rhythm If I just played along to the track without visual cues I get lost

That happens to all of us! :) It's just part of the learning process. The only solution is to keep playing through the songs. That's not really bad news is it? Play more guitar!

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

ScubaCPA

Full Access

Joined: 05/11/20

Posts: 22

Greg

I print the notation for all songs that I learn and keep them in a binder. That way I can practice anytime anywhere without needing my computer or tablet or internet connection. Also I will have them forever no matter what happens to Guitar Tricks.

Gary

Gary

--------------------------------------------

Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top Pro (2), Fender Player Stratocaster, Squire CV 60's Stratocaster, Hamer Ecotone, Yamaha APX600 (2).

#3

Greg

I print the notation for all songs that I learn and keep them in a binder. That way I can practice anytime anywhere without needing my computer or tablet or internet connection. Also I will have them forever no matter what happens to Guitar Tricks.

Gary

Gary

--------------------------------------------

Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top Pro (2), Fender Player Stratocaster, Squire CV 60's Stratocaster, Hamer Ecotone, Yamaha APX600 (2).

William MG

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Joined: 03/08/19

Posts: 1249

A very timely post Greg. I have been frustrated by my lack of ability to retain songs after I have learned to play them. So I just began something new: each of the songs I have already learned are being relearned and once I have them down again, I am going to put them into a rotation of sorts so they see regular play. I don't know of any other way of holding them into my memory.

I can attest to what Christopher says, it really does take lots of repitition until we have muscle memory built in and we aren't thiking so much. Personally I try to hone in on the bass. But I also use the drums to single a change.

And forgot to mention, I need to stay in Performance mode for some time before I can make the jumpt to Jam Along.

Good luck.

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

#4

A very timely post Greg. I have been frustrated by my lack of ability to retain songs after I have learned to play them. So I just began something new: each of the songs I have already learned are being relearned and once I have them down again, I am going to put them into a rotation of sorts so they see regular play. I don't know of any other way of holding them into my memory.

I can attest to what Christopher says, it really does take lots of repitition until we have muscle memory built in and we aren't thiking so much. Personally I try to hone in on the bass. But I also use the drums to single a change.

And forgot to mention, I need to stay in Performance mode for some time before I can make the jumpt to Jam Along.

Good luck.

"If it sounds cool, it is cool!"

Mike O

Works for me!

dlwalke

Full Access

Joined: 02/02/19

Posts: 240

Originally Posted by: gregmchir

First off I would like to thank guitar tricks ,I have gotten to the point where I can play at least a dozen songs . There is a slight problem though. I can only play the songs in performance mode where the tablature scrolls . The problem is not timing or chord changes but knowing where to go next To clarify right now I am playing acoustic songs that don't have a distinguishing riff but do recquire a singer beginner /easy ie Wild horses ,,Imagine ,Losing my religion ,Wide open spaces,Every rose has its thorn

I am at a standstill now because I want to learn new songs but I feel I should memorize what I know first . Do I learn each song section by section or do I play along with the scrolling tablature?. Do I memorize one at a time or two or three? I try to pick up cues from the singer and not look at the scrolling tablature but sometimes I play the wrong chords and then I lose the rhythm If I just played along to the track without visual cues I get lost . If these songs get removed then technically I wouldnt know any songs except for ones that have the same chord structure over and over

I rely on performance mode or jam mode because I cannot sing at all This enables me to play songs that I never would have considered I am handicapping myself because I can't play in front of anyone without the scrolling tablature .

Thank You

Yeah, Me too. I think I am slowly getting better at that but am not sure but remembering what to do has been at least as much of a challenge as learning how to do it. I believe I am finding that the more I figure out a song myself (versus just copying the chord changes off a googled document or something) the easier it is to retain it. That's not surprising as it's multiple processing channels and so on....stuff which educators know is effective.

I've also tried using mnemonics to help with certain sections in certain songs. Like on "For What It's Worth" (a pretty easy song), I would often mix up a particular chord order. There's a part where the chords are E-D-A-C but I would sometimes strum EADC or something different. But you can pronounce EDAC (EE-dak) so now I say that internally when I get to that section to help remember the order of those chords, and I never get it wrong anymore. The other thing that I suspect is true, is that as you learn and play more songs, the connection between what you are hearing in your head (because if you're like me you can accurately reproduce the song in your head) and what your fingers do is strengthened, eventually bypassing the clunky part of your brain that tells you what to do. Eventually, you end up just moving to the correct chords without thinking too much about it. That may come slowly, after years of playing (and maybe I'm wrong and it doesn't come at all) but it seems to be true of other types of motor learning like playing sports, swinging a tennis racket or just walking. Things start off kind of clunky and with conscious intent, but eventually become more automatic, smooth and accurate. I don't know how age enters into the calculation. At almost 60, I wouldn't be surprised if my ability to learn new (guitar) tricks is more limited than it once was. Only time will tell I suppose.

Dave

#5

Originally Posted by: gregmchir

First off I would like to thank guitar tricks ,I have gotten to the point where I can play at least a dozen songs . There is a slight problem though. I can only play the songs in performance mode where the tablature scrolls . The problem is not timing or chord changes but knowing where to go next To clarify right now I am playing acoustic songs that don't have a distinguishing riff but do recquire a singer beginner /easy ie Wild horses ,,Imagine ,Losing my religion ,Wide open spaces,Every rose has its thorn

I am at a standstill now because I want to learn new songs but I feel I should memorize what I know first . Do I learn each song section by section or do I play along with the scrolling tablature?. Do I memorize one at a time or two or three? I try to pick up cues from the singer and not look at the scrolling tablature but sometimes I play the wrong chords and then I lose the rhythm If I just played along to the track without visual cues I get lost . If these songs get removed then technically I wouldnt know any songs except for ones that have the same chord structure over and over

I rely on performance mode or jam mode because I cannot sing at all This enables me to play songs that I never would have considered I am handicapping myself because I can't play in front of anyone without the scrolling tablature .

Thank You

Yeah, Me too. I think I am slowly getting better at that but am not sure but remembering what to do has been at least as much of a challenge as learning how to do it. I believe I am finding that the more I figure out a song myself (versus just copying the chord changes off a googled document or something) the easier it is to retain it. That's not surprising as it's multiple processing channels and so on....stuff which educators know is effective.

I've also tried using mnemonics to help with certain sections in certain songs. Like on "For What It's Worth" (a pretty easy song), I would often mix up a particular chord order. There's a part where the chords are E-D-A-C but I would sometimes strum EADC or something different. But you can pronounce EDAC (EE-dak) so now I say that internally when I get to that section to help remember the order of those chords, and I never get it wrong anymore. The other thing that I suspect is true, is that as you learn and play more songs, the connection between what you are hearing in your head (because if you're like me you can accurately reproduce the song in your head) and what your fingers do is strengthened, eventually bypassing the clunky part of your brain that tells you what to do. Eventually, you end up just moving to the correct chords without thinking too much about it. That may come slowly, after years of playing (and maybe I'm wrong and it doesn't come at all) but it seems to be true of other types of motor learning like playing sports, swinging a tennis racket or just walking. Things start off kind of clunky and with conscious intent, but eventually become more automatic, smooth and accurate. I don't know how age enters into the calculation. At almost 60, I wouldn't be surprised if my ability to learn new (guitar) tricks is more limited than it once was. Only time will tell I suppose.

Dave

gregmchir

Full Access

Joined: 11/16/19

Posts: 36

Thanks everyone for your advice . As Christopher suggested it all boils down to memory I decided to concentrate on 2 or 3 songs until I get them down then keep repeating the process

#6

Thanks everyone for your advice . As Christopher suggested it all boils down to memory I decided to concentrate on 2 or 3 songs until I get them down then keep repeating the process

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 7446

Originally Posted by: gregmchir

As Christopher suggested it all boils down to memory I decided to concentrate on 2 or 3 songs until I get them down then keep repeating the process

Good deal. Glad the replies helped!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#7

Originally Posted by: gregmchir

As Christopher suggested it all boils down to memory I decided to concentrate on 2 or 3 songs until I get them down then keep repeating the process

Good deal. Glad the replies helped!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

anjabrown7

Registered User

Joined: 07/20/21

Posts: 2

Originally Posted by: gregmchir

First off I would like to thank guitar tricks ,I have gotten to the point where I can play at least a dozen songs . There is a slight problem though. I can only play the songs in performance mode where the tablature scrolls . The problem is not timing or chord changes but knowing where to go next To clarify right now I am playing acoustic songs that don't have a distinguishing riff but do recquire a singer beginner /easy ie Wild horses ,,Imagine ,Losing my religion ,Wide open spaces,Every rose has its thorn

I am at a standstill now because I want to learn new songs but I feel I should memorize what I know first . Do I learn each song section by section or do I play along with the scrolling tablature?. Do I memorize one at a time or two or three? I try to pick up cues from the singer and not look at the scrolling tablature but sometimes I play the wrong chords and then I lose the rhythm If I just played along to the track without visual cues I get lost . If these songs get removed then technically I wouldnt know any songs except for ones that have the same chord structure over and over

I rely on performance mode or jam mode because I cannot sing at all This enables me to play songs that I never would have considered I am handicapping myself because I can't play in front of anyone without the scrolling tablature .

Thank You

1.Sing through instrumental passages. If you're trying to memorize a piece for trumpet, violin, guitar, bass, or any instrument—even drums—try singing your part aloud. ...


2.Practice at different tempos. Don't simply practice your piece at performance tempo. ...


3.Transpose to another key.

#8

Originally Posted by: gregmchir

First off I would like to thank guitar tricks ,I have gotten to the point where I can play at least a dozen songs . There is a slight problem though. I can only play the songs in performance mode where the tablature scrolls . The problem is not timing or chord changes but knowing where to go next To clarify right now I am playing acoustic songs that don't have a distinguishing riff but do recquire a singer beginner /easy ie Wild horses ,,Imagine ,Losing my religion ,Wide open spaces,Every rose has its thorn

I am at a standstill now because I want to learn new songs but I feel I should memorize what I know first . Do I learn each song section by section or do I play along with the scrolling tablature?. Do I memorize one at a time or two or three? I try to pick up cues from the singer and not look at the scrolling tablature but sometimes I play the wrong chords and then I lose the rhythm If I just played along to the track without visual cues I get lost . If these songs get removed then technically I wouldnt know any songs except for ones that have the same chord structure over and over

I rely on performance mode or jam mode because I cannot sing at all This enables me to play songs that I never would have considered I am handicapping myself because I can't play in front of anyone without the scrolling tablature .

Thank You

1.Sing through instrumental passages. If you're trying to memorize a piece for trumpet, violin, guitar, bass, or any instrument—even drums—try singing your part aloud. ...


2.Practice at different tempos. Don't simply practice your piece at performance tempo. ...


3.Transpose to another key.

jcpenneyassociate.k

Registered User

Joined: 11/17/21

Posts: 1

Sing through instrumental passages. If you're trying to memorize a piece for trumpet, violin, guitar, bass, or any instrument—even drums—try singing your part aloud. ...
Practice at different tempos. Don't simply practice your piece at performance tempo. ...
Transpose to another key.

jcpenney associate kiosk

#9

Sing through instrumental passages. If you're trying to memorize a piece for trumpet, violin, guitar, bass, or any instrument—even drums—try singing your part aloud. ...
Practice at different tempos. Don't simply practice your piece at performance tempo. ...
Transpose to another key.

jcpenney associate kiosk

W3

Full Access

Joined: 03/09/17

Posts: 44

As I was taught years ago, after you've learned the song, if you can play it through three times then you've got it. Has been true for me at least.

#10

As I was taught years ago, after you've learned the song, if you can play it through three times then you've got it. Has been true for me at least.