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  1. #1

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    I am looking for some good tips or techniques for memorizing music. Thanks!

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  3. #2

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    Interesting thread, curious to see what others have to say.

    My method? Listen over, and over, and over again. Sing along, sing away from the recording as well (more to myself than out loud).

  4. #3

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    Some people will say that if you don't know how a song goes, you don't know it yet, and I think those people are correct by the common definition of what it means to know a song (how it song goes).

    Some people will say say that if you have to put any effort into recalling how a song goes, you don't know it yet, as well. I think these people are also correct for a little different reason; learning a song and preparing it for performance does not really seek to memorize the song, but to internalize it.

    Internalization of a song means you know even more than just "how it goes"; it means you have played with the song, explored the song, experimented with the song, and acquired multiple perspectives of how it goes and how to play it.

    The major shortcoming of just memorizing a song is that what you have is a series of memorized elements (notes, chords, fingerings, etc.) any of whose failure to be recalled may crash the song, or your confidence.

    Internalizing a song means you can play the song within different contexts without being thrown off, your grasp of the song is resilient to interference, you can think as you play the song musically "above" the song rather than struggle "within" the song, etc.

    Also, beware of fooling yourself into thinking that you have finally "got it" after being able to play the song all the way through:

    Amateurs practice until they get it right;
    Pros practice until they never get it wrong.

    That right there really says the difference between memorization and internalization.

  5. #4

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    I get what you are saying, but practically how does it work? For example, a song I really like is Autumn Leaves. I know the song, can sing it from memory, can sing different variations of the song and change things along while singing it. I also have four different variations of the song on sheet music, each very different than the other. When I play through them I know what to expect because I know the song so well. But in all honesty this is not making the memorization process any easiser, I just know immediately when I have played something wrong. I know the most important thing is hard work, but am I working smart as well? I am not convinced about this latter point. One can find a lot of advice on the internet about how to memorize music, but I am curious about what has worked directly for forum members.

  6. #5

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    The science of memorization is about repetition.

  7. #6

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    "Internalization of a song means you know even more than just "how it goes"; it means you have played with the song, explored the song, experimented with the song, and acquired multiple perspectives of how it goes and how to play it."

    This makes perfect sense as well. But honestly I am a low intermediate player and don't yet have the facility on the instrument to do much more than rudimentary exploration.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwparker
    I get what you are saying, but practically how does it work? For example, a song I really like is Autumn Leaves. I know the song, can sing it from memory, can sing different variations of the song and change things along while singing it. I also have four different variations of the song on sheet music, each very different than the other. When I play through them I know what to expect because I know the song so well. But in all honesty this is not making the memorization process any easiser, I just know immediately when I have played something wrong. I know the most important thing is hard work, but am I working smart as well? I am not convinced about this latter point. One can find a lot of advice on the internet about how to memorize music, but I am curious about what has worked directly for forum members.
    Singing it is fine.
    Can you sing the melody line in your head without singing it out loud?
    Can you sing the chord changes in your head?
    Can you play it without the sheet music?
    Can you play it in other keys without the sheet music?

    "...I know the song so well. But in all honesty this is not making the memorization process any easier..."

    What does that mean? Are you saying that Autumn Leaves is an example of you are having trouble memorizing?
    Last edited by pauln; 04-19-2019 at 04:47 PM.

  9. #8

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    This made me think, how indeed? And I can't think of any technique! I just do... or don't. But I can't force it! Some tunes I memorized and its always there. Some I have to re- learn all the time- they just dont stick. But I was never taught any memorization tricks, do they even exist?

    Now memorizing lyrics, that would be interesting... I suck at it, but Im not a singer. Today at the gig, we had a singer in the crowd who wanted to sit in. She called Summertime. Man, Im not a singer, not even an English native speaker, but I think I know the words to this song! She didn't, she had to sing from her phone, karaoke style! Haha, it's just inconceivable, how do expect people to take you seriously?

  10. #9

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    Many classical musicians use a technique of memorizing backwards - don't read that too literally. It means memorise the last phrase, play it over and over, then the second-last phrase, etc. The theory behind this is that as you perform a piece, you are always coming to something you know better, which gives you confidence. I'm sure this could be adapted for a jazz context.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwparker
    "Internalization of a song means you know even more than just "how it goes"; it means you have played with the song, explored the song, experimented with the song, and acquired multiple perspectives of how it goes and how to play it."

    This makes perfect sense as well. But honestly I am a low intermediate player and don't yet have the facility on the instrument to do much more than rudimentary exploration.
    Do it anyway ; seriously, facility on the instrument is not something you wait for in order to explore music - you explore music in order to develop facility on your instrument. This was obvious to we who were self taught from day one, don't wait, the biggest fastest gains were at the beginning.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Many classical musicians use a technique of memorizing backwards - don't read that too literally. It means memorise the last phrase, play it over and over, then the second-last phrase, etc. The theory behind this is that as you perform a piece, you are always coming to something you know better, which gives you confidence. I'm sure this could be adapted for a jazz context.
    Only I would do it not with pharses but with large sections..
    Otherwise there is a risk to ruin the music...

    There is definitely a tendency to learn everything from the beginning whic makes it so people do not reall y come to an ened but memorize teh beginning very well.

    So once the form is already familiar in general it really makes sense to wrok over last sections separately.
    But I ould not splite it backwards in phrases...

    For example when we learn long poem... we can also lear some sections but we cannot lear phrases.
    It is a bit messy...

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwparker
    I am looking for some good tips or techniques for memorizing music. Thanks!
    Try to take a long poem and figure out how you would learn it... even if you can do it easily without any method try to see what are the 'benchmarks' that you unconciously make while learning...

    This is actually the same thing... we memorize best what we understand best.

    I do not believe in other tips honestly.

    As a kid when I played classical guitar there was no xerox so I had to copy it by hand right in the class... in many cases I memorized the piece during copying process. Anyway if not - after playing it through once or twice.. for sure.

    Now it became a bit more difficult... but still possible.

    It is concetration and attention to the important points, capability to highlight more difficult places, not overlook or skip what seems more problematic for memory...

    Memory is a strange thing...


    Besides you said for example that YOU CAN HEAR if the tune goes wrong... then it is not memory that is the problem - it is convention.

    It is like you can hear that somebody says wrong words in a poem... but you can't remember the right once... it may happen of course but seldom... right?

    Probably the problem is to relate the sound with the notation/grip/notes etc.?

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Many classical musicians use a technique of memorizing backwards - don't read that too literally. It means memorise the last phrase, play it over and over, then the second-last phrase, etc. The theory behind this is that as you perform a piece, you are always coming to something you know better, which gives you confidence. I'm sure this could be adapted for a jazz context.
    my teachers in music school mentioned that, and also this idea: make a copy of your music and cut out each bar. put them in a hat and select one at random. Start there and go til the end. The thinking was if you can start anywhere in the piece, if you make a mistake you will more easily be able to keep going. Sounded cool, I never got around to it though

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by joe2758
    my teachers in music school mentioned that, and also this idea: make a copy of your music and cut out each bar. put them in a hat and select one at random. Start there and go til the end. The thinking was if you can start anywhere in the piece, if you make a mistake you will more easily be able to keep going. Sounded cool, I never got around to it though
    but there is something crazy ib it though... probably I am basically against such method into musical education whatever it concenrs... it just makes it all a bit meaningless to me.

    Good music is semantically integral..

    actually it is against human thinking and against organization of music to begin something from any occasional point..
    what is prcaticed that way? some weird skills of memorizing whatever without and realtion and connection?

    Probably it works for someone...

    but if I have to explain that I just would have insisted that you do not memorize, you just love, understand and repeat... love, understand and repeat ...

    (and repeat becasue you love not because you have to)))

  16. #15

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    Jonah, it's not supposed to be the only way to practice it-- it's one useful exercise to try during months of learning a difficult piece. It would be weird if that's all they did. Plus it's nice to play such games just to keep your mind from going crazy practicing the same thing hours a day for months

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    Do it anyway ; seriously, facility on the instrument is not something you wait for in order to explore music - you explore music in order to develop facility on your instrument. This was obvious to we who were self taught from day one, don't wait, the biggest fastest gains were at the beginning.
    Thanks for this. I probably need to spend less time on the method books (William Leavitt 2 right now) and just sit down and start figuring things out on the instrument, take the songs I know and transpose them into different keys, build my own variations into the songs, see what the possibilities are, etc.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Many classical musicians use a technique of memorizing backwards - don't read that too literally. It means memorise the last phrase, play it over and over, then the second-last phrase, etc. The theory behind this is that as you perform a piece, you are always coming to something you know better, which gives you confidence. I'm sure this could be adapted for a jazz context.
    I've read about this technique several times. I'm going to give it a try with the next song on my list which I want to learn.

  19. #18

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    I agree with the repetition part. Play it 1000 times.

    I also find that memorizing portions helps. One line, one phrase, one section, and the transitions between sections. Isolate tough parts, break them down, find out why they are difficult to negotiate, find a way to conquer them - while giving yourself enough time to avoid injury.

    I've mentioned it before but Bruce Holzman teaches his students to play new music both slowly and loudly until it's mastered (using the term loosely). This helps ensure that the player is not mentally intimidated by any section, because not only can they play it cleanly they can play it boldly.

    There is a tendency to shrink from something which eludes us technically, because we know it's not going to sound so great when we play it. This loud and slow approach is one way to force ourselves through that barrier.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    The science of memorization is about repetition.
    Yes ... and association.

    Regardless of what you're trying to memorize, the more different ways you can think of that thing, the more likely you will retain it. So all of the techniques discussed give you a different way of associating whether it be playing in different keys, backwards, with different rhythms, times, knowing the notes of the harmonic changes, associating to a similar tune you know and noting the difference, intellectualizing ( say 16 bars rhythm changes + 8 bar bridge in whatever ) etc. Another technique, although not quite sure how it applies here, is to integrate the things you're trying to memorize into a story that will be easier to remember. The more different synapses your brain forms on something, the more likely it will retain it. This works for anything, not only music.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by keith
    Yes ... and association.

    Regardless of what you're trying to memorize, the more different ways you can think of that thing, the more likely you will retain it. So all of the techniques discussed give you a different way of associating whether it be playing in different keys, backwards, with different rhythms, times, knowing the notes of the harmonic changes, associating to a similar tune you know and noting the difference, intellectualizing ( say 16 bars rhythm changes + 8 bar bridge in whatever ) etc. Another technique, although not quite sure how it applies here, is to integrate the things you're trying to memorize into a story that will be easier to remember. The more different synapses your brain forms on something, the more likely it will retain it. This works for anything, not only music.
    Great points. Analyze it. Know the tune/piece in both top down and bottom up fashion. In other words, know it from both macro and micro analysis.

    Know the form (AABA, etc.), know the key center(s), know the changes, know the melody and know the rhythms. Conceptualize them separately, and then all together.

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    I don’t memorize tunes, but if I did I think I’d focus on the sequence of the chord changes.
    For example, Autumn Leaves in E minor:

    A Section
    4 bars: 6-2-5-1 in C Major
    4 bars: 2-5-1 in E minor
    Repeat A Section

    B Section
    4 bars: 2-5-1 in E minor
    4 bars: 6-2-5-1 in C Major
    (The B Section is simply the reverse of the A Section)

    C Section
    4 bars: 2-5-1 in E minor with a descending chromatic sequence from Em to C#7
    4 bars: 2-5-1 in E minor

    So for this 32-bar tune all you have to remember is two simple chord sequences:
    6-2-5-1 in a major key
    2-5-1 in the minor key based on the third of the major key

    This simplifies it greatly and makes it easy to transpose to other keys.

  24. #23

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    What is the content of what you want to memorize?

    Named things like chords? Unnamed things like how it sounds?

  25. #24

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    I am working on memorizing chord melody arrangements of mostly jazz standards and some Christmas music.

  26. #25

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  27. #26

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    Learning 7th chord inversions and quite a few altered 7th fingering for jazz actually made it much easier to learn classical/romantic pieces on the guitar. Instead "oh crap, how did this passage go exactly" "oh look, thats this m7 inversion fingering right here.
    Chord arps helped also the same way. It's much better to remember difficult stuff when a lot of that is already familiar to fingers.
    Knowing the theory helps also.
    And ears. Try to play by ear a lot - the best tip probably

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwparker
    I am working on memorizing chord melody arrangements of mostly jazz standards and some Christmas music.
    Right, but what exactly of the chord melody arrangements are you memorizing?

    Imagine you were successful in memorizing one... when you play it, what are the things that you are actually recalling from memory?

  29. #28

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    I'm guessing you were looking for some evidence based learning techniques for memorization of musical passages. There have indeed been many studies on memorization techniques. I can only pass on one off hand, and only from a non science user's perspective.

    Many memorization techniques use the idea of "chunks". Rather than trying to learn long passages note for note, you break up passages into short familiar phrases. Imagine the song is built of Lego bricks. It is easier to remember that the melody is a "blue" brick, two "red" and a "blue" again than to remember sixteen notes. Obviously what you call your short phrases (numbers, colors, shapes, "Bob", etc) is up to your learning style.

    For me, four six or eight note phrases work best. Songs often have short common building blocks that get reused across many standards, so they become familiar. Eg. a minor triad ending with natural six, or a 5-4-3-1-3-4 in major.

    You can get a primer on "chunking" from Wikipedia here:

    Chunking (psychology) - Wikipedia

    But science based memorization is a whole world you can lose yourself in. There are even hobbyist who compete learning long strings of information. Melodies are just one subset of the things they memorize. A little online research and I think you will be amazed.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln
    Right, but what exactly of the chord melody arrangements are you memorizing?

    Imagine you were successful in memorizing one... when you play it, what are the things that you are actually recalling from memory?
    The notes from the piece of sheet music, so I can play the piece as notated from the music by memory. I can memorize music, and have done it many times on both the guitar and other instruments when I was younger. Now that I've started playing again after a long hiatus, it now seems to be more challenging to do this then it was in my teens and early 20's, hence my question. Folks here have given a lot of good advice which has been much appreciated. Thank you.
    Last edited by dwparker; 04-21-2019 at 08:56 AM.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwparker
    The notes from the piece of sheet music, so I can play the piece as notated from the music by memory. I can memorize music, and have done it many times on both the guitar and other instruments when I was younger. Now that I've started playing again after a long hiatus, it now seems to be more challenging to do this then it was in my teens and early 20's, hence my question. Folks here have given a lot of good advice which has been much appreciated. Thank you.
    From my perspective, you are not internalizing the music by memorizing the score (you are not learning "how it goes"). I would suggest taking a break from sheet music and spending some time learning songs directly from recordings, with just the instrument, by ear.

    My favorite version of "Drown In My Own Tears" has 72 chord changes for each cycle of the three minute long form... internalization of "how it goes" is needed in order to play songs like this... depth and grasp of playing something like this isn't at the "notes" level.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Many classical musicians use a technique of memorizing backwards - don't read that too literally. It means memorise the last phrase, play it over and over, then the second-last phrase, etc. The theory behind this is that as you perform a piece, you are always coming to something you know better, which gives you confidence. I'm sure this could be adapted for a jazz context.
    I learned the method described by Rob MacKillop from Robert Paul Sullivan when I was studying classical guitar at New England Conservatory, and I have employed it for all of the music that I seriously study ever since. The adaptation I developed while studying improvisation with Charlie Banacos is to take the last bar and play it cycle 5 in all 12 keys before moving back one bar. After I get to bar one, I do the same thing with two bar segments, then four, then eight.

    Contrary to what some others might say, this method saves time. The structure of the music gets internalized deeply. A happy byproduct is that you deconstruct the music, and then re-construct it on the day that you play it from first bar to last.

    There is also no substitute for sheer repetition, as several people pointed out. Set a goal for yourself, play the piece 10 times a day for seven days for example. It’s amazing how much more musical it becomes once you have overcome the “just getting through it“ phase.

    I hope this helps.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  33. #32

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    I admit I use a lead sheet a bit too much when learning a tune. Sight reading it is my starting point, the way I lock it in to memory is to...try to play it from memory. I stumble, fumble for a chord or note, but when I find it, it seems to be retained better. I try to mix up inversions, etc. especially with chord solos, because learning by rote memorization can lead to the unintended consequence of "pattern thinking", where you know how to play a song only one way, and not really know the changes. Kind of like learning pentatonic scale patterns and not knowing what the notes are.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwparker
    I get what you are saying, but practically how does it work? For example, a song I really like is Autumn Leaves. I know the song, can sing it from memory, can sing different variations of the song and change things along while singing it. I also have four different variations of the song on sheet music, each very different than the other. When I play through them I know what to expect because I know the song so well. But in all honesty this is not making the memorization process any easiser, I just know immediately when I have played something wrong. I know the most important thing is hard work, but am I working smart as well? I am not convinced about this latter point. One can find a lot of advice on the internet about how to memorize music, but I am curious about what has worked directly for forum members.
    Here I am just trolling the forum and just happened to spot this post...I was there once.

    I was always struck when attending a seminar or taking a lesson from a pro, by their ability to pull tunes from memory for illustration.
    Inevitably one would say, " you know like the bridge to Stella or Indiana" or something like that and then go on to play it to make some musical point.
    So I determined to develop the skill or at least learn the songs they kept referring to.

    This skill I believe is in HARMONIC FUNCTION...what is the songs structure, what is it doing and where is the listener going.

    Structurally speaking, Autumn Leaves is an excellent example of a completely "circular" tune when seen as written in G6...(view e minor as G6 with the 6 in the base).
    From this point, G, the song moves right through the scale : ii-7 V7 I maj7 IV maj7 vii-7b5 III7 (note the only alteration is to make the iii-7 chord a dominant)
    vi-7.
    The bridge begins on the vii-7b5 moves to the III7 and the circle continues.
    The melody is A Dorian mapped on your fretboard.

    Now you can transpose to any key on the fly.
    Hope that is food for thought.

  35. #34

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    I think the guys who can play a zillion tunes in any key are doing it this way:

    1. They memorize a melody the same way everybody can sing Home on the Range. Melody just sticks in your mind. Lyrics help. But there's no magic to it. Some people are more gifted than others.

    2. Say it's Stella in an odd key. Most of us can sing the melody starting on any note. But, not everybody can play it in any key.

    I don't think the pros are thinking of some bandstand shorthand for remembering the chords to Stella. The tune doesn't lend itself to that.

    Rather, they hear the sound of the chords in their minds and they're fingers just go there. That is, they can hear the chord type, the interval, the harmonic movement, or whatever. They aren't thinking about using internal language, at least not typically.

    How do you get there? I think it's ear training.

    I'd suggest starting with a simple tune set IRealPro for 12 repeats changing key by a 4th and don't look at the chart, ever.
    At first it might be really difficult, but things usually get easier with time and repetition. Then progress through somebody's list of the must know standards. Easy first.

  36. #35

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    I guess there are levels of memorization.
    Like, do you have to concentrate and pay visual attention all the way through the tune? Do you need to be aware of the literal notes or pattern or harmony all the time? etc.
    Can you be distracted and still not mess up?
    Can you let the fingers just go do their thing and yourself just enjoy the scenery? If focusing back to the playing and attempting to make it "more interesting" somehow, are you able to keep the form intact?

    Also, with many tunes it's possible to learn them quickly so it seems you got this. But it might be just in a short term memory and could have hiccups when performing the first times. Imo, that's the common source of frustration with attempting to learn many tunes fast. But when it goes wrong, it doesn't mean you're too stupid or slow - it only means that the tunes are not in the long term memory yet.

  37. #36

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    I got Bruce Forman’s video on this subject, it’s very useful. Note it’s about ‘learning’ not ‘memorizing’, an important distinction which is covered in the video.

    Bruce Forman - Learning Tunes for Jazz Guitar - My Music Masterclass

  38. #37

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    I saw this vid recently. Pretty strict, but I bet it works.


  39. #38

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    I just bundle a few things here that can help. A few can be rather obvious but maybe not all of those. A bit of extra help and fun perhaps? But don't expect to become a grand jazzmaster by tomorrow night..

    Harmony: figure out the functions. Make sure that what you plant in your bones is not already a way too modernized version that will hide strange surprises for fellow musicians. Check your chords against the original melody even if you got the music from trusted source.

    And a few ways to give pondering pleasure for your musical brain:
    Play the chords, sing the melody
    Play the bass notes, sing the melody (its harder..weirdly)
    Play the melody, sing the bass notes
    Play the chords, sing an improvised solo (doesn't have to be breakthrough or brilliant, just alright)
    Play the bass notes, sing a solo
    Play/hold the bass notes, play the melody with your free fingers
    Play the chords, play the melody (goes to the chord melody territory. even if it sucks at first, the wisdom boost is rather significant)
    Sing the bass notes, play an improvised solo while minding the patterns of the scales and whatnot- so damn difficult
    Sing the melody and solo, use a backing track (can record one yourself). Good for a long drive.
    Play a solo completely by ear, use a backing track. - for me, it was the hardest thing ever to even get it to not sound disgusting . Turns out it's doable with not too much previous experience. Takes a lot.. looot of time though.
    Sing the bass notes, play the improvised solo completely by ear, not minding any theory&pattern&scale aids. - hm... can't do it myself yet

    --------------
    This was just a little extra you could do when having too much time to spend

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    I got Bruce Forman’s video on this subject, it’s very useful. Note it’s about ‘learning’ not ‘memorizing’, an important distinction which is covered in the video.

    Bruce Forman - Learning Tunes for Jazz Guitar - My Music Masterclass
    Bruce: "Hear your way through the song".

    That's a great way to say it.

    Here's something I have found about that. At home, playing alone, rubato, I can do it fairly well for a tune I can hum but don't automatically know the changes. But, in a loud group at full tempo, I find it a good deal more difficult. Part of it is that some of the rubato solo guitar tricks don't work. For example, I can't slide a bass note into a chord, because I won't be able to hear the slide. There's no time to reflect (prehear something in your mind's ear) on the sound. Other players are doing different and sometimes unexpected things with the harmony, which can confuse the ear. Often, I'm struggling to hear myself clearly and playing louder will screw up the band.

    Instead, you have to instantly know the next change, pretty much without thinking. Just as Bruce said. You have to hear your way through the tune.

    I have trouble believing that anybody who knows hundreds of tunes is really using bandstand shorthand ("starts on a iim7b5 251, then to the key of the VII" or whatever). Maybe there are people who can keep that sort of thing straight for hundreds of tunes. I hope somebody will speak up if they do it that way.

    From watching players do it at functions like weddings where a guest starts a tune in a random key -- and the guitar player doesn't even change the bored expression on his face, I'm pretty sure his hands know where to go. It's like his hand thinks "I'm here and from prehearing the sound of the next chord change, I have to go there". Right from sound to hand movement.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Bruce: "Hear your way through the song".

    That's a great way to say it.

    Here's something I have found about that. At home, playing alone, rubato, I can do it fairly well for a tune I can hum but don't automatically know the changes. But, in a loud group at full tempo, I find it a good deal more difficult. Part of it is that some of the rubato solo guitar tricks don't work. For example, I can't slide a bass note into a chord, because I won't be able to hear the slide. There's no time to reflect (prehear something in your mind's ear) on the sound. Other players are doing different and sometimes unexpected things with the harmony, which can confuse the ear. Often, I'm struggling to hear myself clearly and playing louder will screw up the band.

    Instead, you have to instantly know the next change, pretty much without thinking. Just as Bruce said. You have to hear your way through the tune.

    I have trouble believing that anybody who knows hundreds of tunes is really using bandstand shorthand ("starts on a iim7b5 251, then to the key of the VII" or whatever). Maybe there are people who can keep that sort of thing straight for hundreds of tunes. I hope somebody will speak up if they do it that way.

    From watching players do it at functions like weddings where a guest starts a tune in a random key -- and the guitar player doesn't even change the bored expression on his face, I'm pretty sure his hands know where to go. It's like his hand thinks "I'm here and from prehearing the sound of the next chord change, I have to go there". Right from sound to hand movement.
    Yes this is how I think most of us do it. I do it for standards I know.

    I'm often amazed at what my fingers and ears remember. 'Can you sing a bit? oh yeah, cool'

    You just got a learn a ton of tunes. But melodies... I find them harder to recall.

    Some stuff is harder than others. It's harder to remember Wayne Shorter tunes.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    The science of memorization is about repetition.
    Worthy of.....repeating. Can you actually memorize anything without repetition?

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I saw this vid recently. Pretty strict, but I bet it works.

    I should think it would. Might try this with some examples from the "Patterns for Jazz" book before starting the exercise with a tune.

  44. #43

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    On Learning Music by Howard Roberts
    On Learning Music by Howard roberts

  45. #44

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    Yeah. Rubato is awesome for a lot of cases. The brain likes to think deep if we just let it do that. Playing/practicing on tempo all the time is like the sayn' "all work and no play made...". Need to be clear what's the current objective. If figuring something out, inventing, checking out new good sounding things - probably maybe rubato then is a better choice. Been thinking about this for a while - really hearing carefully and kinda all-in-focus - can't do that well when the tempo is even slightly above certain threshold (where most music actually works).

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu
    Yeah. Rubato is awesome for a lot of cases.
    Do you really mean rubato? Katie Thiroux starts off slowly and one bite at a time, but she’s obviously not practicing rubato since she’s using a metronome.

    I nearly always practice in time. I might drop time for a few moments to work through problems with fingering mechanics, but once I’ve figured how the mechanics should work, I go back to playing in time. I’m not as disciplined as Katie in following an unforgiving 10x rule. I’m sure I’d play much more cleanly if I did. If a passage is difficult, I’ll often loop on it with a metronome, backing track or foot tap. I tend to focus on one phrase at a time, not one measure at a time.

    I’d like to learn to play more compellingly in rubato, but I think it’s best to learn to play the tune in time before spending much time playing it rubato. I most enjoy rubato playing when there is still a sense of time feel, even though the tempo is varying.

  47. #46

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    [QUOTE=KirkP;969196]
    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu
    Yeah. Rubato is awesome for a lot of cases.]
    Do you really mean rubato? Katie Thiroux starts off slowly and one bite at a time, but she’s obviously not rubato since she’s using a metronome.

    I nearly always practice in time. I might drop time for a few moments to work through problems with fingering mechanics, but once I’ve decided how the mechanics should work, I go back to playing in time.

    I’ll admit that I’d like to learn to play compellingly in rubato, but I think it’s best to learn to play the tune in time before spending much time playing it rubato.
    Oh,I meant the real rubato for special cases. But agreed, it's off topic when talking about learning new tunes.

    edit: on the other hand.. the list I put there a few posts back - I dare you to do those on tempo from the start
    Last edited by emanresu; 07-29-2019 at 03:07 PM.

  48. #47

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    Lot's of good feedback, thanks.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I saw this vid recently. Pretty strict, but I bet it works.

    Back to this. For guitarists who would try this, instead of using coins, Jazz III picks work well. Not only are they small, they're bright red, so they're easy to find on a dark music stand. ;o)

  50. #49

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    First thing for me, don't learn the tune from a chart to begin with. Learn the melody well, easiest way is to listen to a version with a singer. Work on hearing what every melody note is in relation to the underlying chord, so you can begin to find the chords as well. Simple chords, bass 3 and 7 only.

    Consult a chart if need be, but don't rely on it, just memorize things. Then try to play the tune in different keys. Eventually this way you don't need to memorize, but only to know the melody of a tune, and you can figure out the rest.

  51. #50

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    For me, the most important stage in learning a tune is being able to hum (or sing or whistle) the melody. If I’ve internalized the melody well enough to hum it and have a chord chart as a safety net I can usually fake it at a casual jam.

    I try to learn the changes well enough to play without looking at the chord chart. I usually play more fluidly when I’m not peeking, but it’s nice to have a chart there in case I get off track.

    The more I play without looking at the chord chart, the more I find my ear guiding me through the changes instead of my eyes. Of course, a good bass player can also help hear the changes.