#1
I'd really like to improve my ability to memorize songs - obviously, some are way more difficult than others, but surely some of you guys have some methods that you use. Obviously, you break it into pieces and play along with the recording, but does anyone do anything special?

I was inspired to make this thread after learning Round and Round by Ratt and realizing that it was taking forever...that song has a double-stop heavy riff that's easy to forget. One of my greatest fears regarding guitar is going onstage and forgetting my part, although that probably won't happen if we've had several practices beforehand.
#2
Listen to the song a lot. You'll never memorize a song you've heard once, so get the sound into your head. That, and (as you said) practicing bite-sized pieces of the song until you've got it. The muscle memory can take over even if you can't hear the song in your head. I've had times where I'll be playing a song and realize thirty or forty seconds later that I just played a section of the song and didn't even notice because I was thinking about what I wanted for dinner.

Build your muscle memory with practice and reinforce that with listening to the song a lot. A lot. A lot. A lot.
#3
I play through it a million times, not just listen. Sometimes memorize things like the chord progression.
#4
Learn about chords, keys and scales. If you are familiar with keys, you will know what chords belong in them and what they sound like. With this knowledge you can figure out how to play songs without even having a guitar on you.

Familiarity with the song is a necessity, but if you understand it in terms of keys, chords and scales rather than random patterns on the fretboard you'll be able to memorize the piece better while improving your own playing and understanding of the instrument.
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#5
Yeah as mentioned before, listen to it, play it atleast 100000 times. When I usually start learning songs, chances are that I already listened to the song a gajillion times so it's easy to remember.
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#6
Well playing it a lot is obvious. I was looking for some more efficient approaches. =P

Lemme give an example...I understand that there are memory techniques that can be applied in every day life - stuff like visualizing whatever you want to remember as a huge mansion with a symbol for each memory inside it, which you can then organize spacially in separate rooms or whatever, and all your memories are easily retrievable based on where they are relative to all the others. Then there are all the ways people count cards in Vegas or whatever. I was wondering whether there was any kind of advanced memory trick to learning songs quickly like those two. I guess that thinking of it in terms of scales/notes in the key is part of it.

Sorry that I suck pretty hard at phrasing my question. You guys are right, that listening to it all the time helps immensely.
#7
i like to take a piece of the song play it for 30 minutestake a 30 min break go back play the same few parts do thay at until i get it perfect w/o looking at the tabs i an usually get a full song in a few hours like that. u take a break let the stuff sink in think about it do something else u'll get it w/o getting burnt out imo best way to learn anything
#8
Quote by dysonsphere
Well playing it a lot is obvious. I was looking for some more efficient approaches. =P


I don't think that was the main part of my post. The most efficient way is to understand the music theory behind it.
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#9
Quote by AlanHB
I don't think that was the main part of my post. The most efficient way is to understand the music theory behind it.

I could study all the music theory I wanted but it's not going to teach me a song let alone memorize one for me. In the end you'll still have to listen to the song many, many times and learn it bit by bit.
#10
Quote by Ssargentslayer
I could study all the music theory I wanted but it's not going to teach me a song let alone memorize one for me. In the end you'll still have to listen to the song many, many times and learn it bit by bit.


Actually it's quite the opposite. That's how session musicians can play perfectly the first time they hear a song without seeing the music. They don't see it as random patterns on the fretboard, they understand how and why certain notes relate to each other.

You can choose to ignore music theory if you wish, but it helps with all areas, including memorizing and learning songs.

I can give you a quick run-down on how I'd memorise that Ratt song if you want to see how I use music theory to memorize it.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#11
Quote by xXBoneYardsXx
i like to take a piece of the song play it for 30 minutestake a 30 min break go back play the same few parts do thay at until i get it perfect w/o looking at the tabs i an usually get a full song in a few hours like that. u take a break let the stuff sink in think about it do something else u'll get it w/o getting burnt out imo best way to learn anything


i find that works great but during hte breaks im always listen to that song to drill that part in even more
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#12
Never really thought about it, I never really 'try' to memorize a song.... while I'm practicing it I memorize it I guess.
#13
Quote by fngrstylgtr
Never really thought about it, I never really 'try' to memorize a song.... while I'm practicing it I memorize it I guess.

same
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#14
if i have to learn lyrics in a short space of time i do picture associations where i make up a nonsense story using key words/images in each line. Helps loads.
#16
Quote by dysonsphere
I'd really like to improve my ability to memorize songs - obviously, some are way more difficult than others, but surely some of you guys have some methods that you use. Obviously, you break it into pieces and play along with the recording, but does anyone do anything special?

I was inspired to make this thread after learning Round and Round by Ratt and realizing that it was taking forever...that song has a double-stop heavy riff that's easy to forget. One of my greatest fears regarding guitar is going onstage and forgetting my part, although that probably won't happen if we've had several practices beforehand.


I'll just learn a song.... and then play it/enjoy it. If I play it often, I remember it.

I wouldn't obsess over it.

Quote by fngrstylgtr
Never really thought about it, I never really 'try' to memorize a song.... while I'm practicing it I memorize it I guess.


+1 you play it/enjoy it.... and guess what.... you've just memorized it as well.
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 3, 2009,
#17
Quote by AlanHB
Actually it's quite the opposite. That's how session musicians can play perfectly the first time they hear a song without seeing the music. They don't see it as random patterns on the fretboard, they understand how and why certain notes relate to each other.

You can choose to ignore music theory if you wish, but it helps with all areas, including memorizing and learning songs.

I can give you a quick run-down on how I'd memorise that Ratt song if you want to see how I use music theory to memorize it.


That would be pretty cool. The run-down, I mean. I've gotten the song down pretty well now, but I'd like to see your method and how it differs from mine.
#18
Usually by the time I decide to start learning to play a song, I can hum every note just by thinking about it.

That's the starting point. The next thing you need to do is sit down with a tab and learn it, piece by piece, start to finish. During the actual learning process, take the time to learn why everything is where it is and what works and doesn't work (in a word - theory). That way, if you do mess up, you can wing it and keep from looking like a complete idiot.
#19
Practice slowly... usually helps as you start to think about it instead of just reading off of the thing. Looking at your fret board might help. Listening to the song... or w/e I usually just play it t'ill I get it!
#20
I just do it really. It sort of just happens. As soon as I know it well enough I just leave the music or guitarpro and I know it. If I don't remember any sections I just go back to it.
#21
this is about my only natural talent that's applicable to guitar, good memory. I visualise things a lot and use lots of imagery, I sort of imagine some sort of borders between certain areas of the fretboard, and remember which 'areas' are used in a song, there's no point me describing this too much though coz it's just something I can't help not something you practice to learn. the guy that talked about visualising it as a huge mansion with rooms has the same idea. I guess you could use the same kind of method you might use for learning a speech, do one sentence at a time over and over, then put 2 together, then 3 together, till you've put together 50 or 100 or however many. A riff, fill or part of a solo would be like a sentence
#22
Really you just play it over and over.

I mostly transcribe songs. Once you've gone through that you remember what to play really easily, especially after transcribing solos.

Of course transcribing takes time and in the beginning it is very very frustrating (I'm just past that... but I always stumble upon new things that frustrate me xD). Anyways, it's a skill well worth acquiring.

So that's my method: Transcribing the song (that includes playing parts over and over and over and over and over and over).

Also, the more you like a song the easier it is to play/remember it

Stating the obvious.. but hey, maybe it helped Rock on!
#23
I try to play the whole song in my mind, if I can do that, then I can do it on guitar.
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#24
Break them into parts (like a few measures), write them on paper to play from while playing. Them piece the parts together.
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