#1
Okay so bear with me here as I try to awkwardly explain this. So Basically I have one major difficulty with learning new material which is remembering it. I will practice a song 100s of times over and be able to play it note for note perfectly with the music in front of me. However if I am to pick up my guitar and just try to play the song I will struggle to play even three notes sometimes. As you all can probably imagine this is rather frustrating and makes it feel like I have nothing to show for my effort. So... Does anyone out there have any advice or even have experienced this themselves? Any feedback would be much appreciated.
Cheers.
#2
Do you mean when when the music is playing, or the sheet music is front of you?
#3
From what I understand, you are able to play the music looking at the sheet music, but not without it?

I do not think I could be of much help on that one because I do not read music. If I could assume though, it might be because you are not very musically organized on your instrument as you are on paper.

What I have learned from my musical experiences is that music can be explained and thought of as HIGHLY, HIGHLY structured. So, you may just need to find some structure on your instrument.

This goes as with anything in music...you have a problem? Solution...you need to find structure. It really is that simple.
Last edited by Unreal T at Aug 26, 2014,
#4
That's probably because you're sight reading-ish, so basically when you're playing, you tend to concentrate on reading the music. This doesn't translate into playing by itself as when you concentrate on reading, you forget about the music and/or when you read, you go note by note without really looking at the whole song as you play. It's kinda like reading where you reading out the words without actually understanding what you're reading. I would suggest either you start playing by ear so it becomes more like singing rather than reading, you replicating what you hear you you know what comes next or split the song into sections so instead of playing note by note, you're playing phrase by phrase. So it's more like reading sentences instead of words.

So when you read music, it goes sight->hands->ear whereas playing from memory goes sound(memory)->hands. So without the visual aspect, you're suddenly at a loss. So the solution is to probably change how you learn/practice songs such that you start with a sound stimulus?

I'm not sure anymore if I even make sense but I understand what your problem. So I think my main point is to relate the mechanical part of playing to the song playing in your head rather than to remembering the music score/sheet/tab.
#5
I agree with arron, as I had a similiar problem. I fixed it by breaking it into segments and only focusing on the mechanics of those parts until I could remember it. From there add on another chunk until I could play those from memory and so on until it's a whole song. Hope that helps.
#6
When I learn stuff I'll practice individual sections once or twice, and then play along (while basically reading directly off of the page) a bunch. Then I'll go back and practice some of the sections that I feel the least comfortable with, play through one more time, then finally do my best not to look. It might be a weird process, but it works for me!
#7
Hey everyone. Really appreciate all the feedback it has given me some great insight into how to make some progress. I saw there was a lesson up recently about training your ears so I might focus on that for a while and restructure how I go about practicing. I look forward to see how this helps me progress and hopefully I can see some improvement come from this.
Thanks.
#8
That's because you aren't actually memorizing the piece, you are just learning to read and play the notes. Listen to a recording of the song you want to learn to play. That will help you memorize the melodies and structure. Try to memorize the melody so that you can sing it. You don't need to look at the sheet music to do this. Just listen to the song.

I would also suggest learning by ear. Notes are good if you want to learn to play a song fast or can't figure it out by ear. But I would also try learning as much with ear as possible. That way you'll memorize the song a lot easier because you actually need to memorize it to be able to play it. When you have the sheet in front of you all the time, you don't need to memorize the song.

When I learn from sheet music, learning to play the song is different from memorizing it. When I play the trumpet, I rarely memorize songs because I don't have to - I can have the sheet music in front of me almost all the time. And when I have to, I need to focus on memorizing the piece which doesn't happen automatically (it does get easier as your ear improves).

So if you want to memorize a piece, you need to practice it differently. But you'll learn to do it by doing it a lot.
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#9
Quote by Fearful_Reaper
Okay so bear with me here as I try to awkwardly explain this. So Basically I have one major difficulty with learning new material which is remembering it. I will practice a song 100s of times over and be able to play it note for note perfectly with the music in front of me. However if I am to pick up my guitar and just try to play the song I will struggle to play even three notes sometimes. As you all can probably imagine this is rather frustrating and makes it feel like I have nothing to show for my effort. So... Does anyone out there have any advice or even have experienced this themselves? Any feedback would be much appreciated.


I would guess that your ear isn't that great, right?

Trying to remember music with a poor ear is very very hard. You end up trying to remember what your fingers are supposed to be doing, but we don't experience music as a series of finger movements. It's like trying to memorize how to spell words in a language you don't speak.

As my ear improved, I realized that I was having a much easier time remembering music, because I no longer had to remember how my fingers went ... I just had to remember how the song sounded. And you can probably do this anyway - eg, with songs you know well, if I changed some chords, or carried a verse for an extra measure, etc, you'd probably notice, right?
#11
LOL, I have it the other way around. I can easily memorize, but I can't read fast enough to sight-read (yet).

Like others have said, it probably has to do with the possibility that your ear isn't that great. You should try learning things by ear as well.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Aug 27, 2014,
#12
Okay can someone give me a starting point for learning to play by ear because it sounds like some of you folk are pretty knowledgeable on that. I never studied music or had any lessons so I never learnt how and have tried many times with no success.

Its quite annoying having the technical ability to play but having no songs i can remember to actually play.
#13
Just pick a song you want to learn but haven't yet and try to learn it by ear. It'll probably start off as more trial and error rather than play by ear but keep at it and you'll eventually improve. Try some easier sounding songs first and slowly ramp up the difficulty. There'll also drills/practices you can do to improve your ear but simply learning songs is a great place to start.
#14
Quote by Fearful_Reaper
Okay so bear with me here as I try to awkwardly explain this. So Basically I have one major difficulty with learning new material which is remembering it. I will practice a song 100s of times over and be able to play it note for note perfectly with the music in front of me. However if I am to pick up my guitar and just try to play the song I will struggle to play even three notes sometimes. As you all can probably imagine this is rather frustrating and makes it feel like I have nothing to show for my effort. So... Does anyone out there have any advice or even have experienced this themselves? Any feedback would be much appreciated.
Cheers.


The issue when playing alone is that you don't have all the context which helps you remember when parts change etc. By that, I'm mainly referring to the vocal, which guides through the parts, but also drums, bass etc. It's perfectly natural for it to be more difficult to remember how to play an entire "band" song when playing solo. My advice - start learning the lyrics and sing along ( in your head at least).
#15
Quote by Fearful_Reaper
Okay can someone give me a starting point for learning to play by ear because it sounds like some of you folk are pretty knowledgeable on that. I never studied music or had any lessons so I never learnt how and have tried many times with no success.

Its quite annoying having the technical ability to play but having no songs i can remember to actually play.


Okay, the first thing to remember is that ear training will be really hard at first. Try to do it for 10-15 minutes a day multiple days a week. That's been shown to get the best results.

Start by transcribing simple melodies. Sit at your guitar, and play the MELODY of a song you know by heart. Nursery rhymes, christmas carols, and movie themes work well. You may be frustrated by how hard this is at first - after all, you know those songs by heart! - that's okay.

While doing this, I would get the functional ear trainer, which is a free download at miles.be. It made a huge difference with my ear, far more so than the interval training many people recommend.

Lastly, once you've been doing both of those things for a little while, get a book on ear training. I recommend "ear training for the contemporary musician," by Wyatt et al, which is a structured series of transcription exercises.

Also understand that your ear isn't an on/off switch. It's not like one day you're jsut going to "get it." Rather, your ability to hear music will constantly grow and change as you work at it, for the rest of your life. But you will likely have surprising jumps, where suddenly you find yourself able to do things that you couldn't before.

But dedicated ear training is a part of every single music degree program there is for a reason. So start today!