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(@hyperborea)
Prominent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 833
 

I think I mentioned this on here before but many years ago when I was an undergrad I took a studying workshop on campus (I was always a bad studier and needed all the help I could get). What they taught us for optimally remembering was to refresh the things we wanted to remember on increasing intervals just about the time that you would forget it. So, for the school case it was to review the notes you took in class: 1) that evening; 2) at the end of the week; 3) at the end of the month; 4) at the end of the semester.

For longer term memory retention you'd probably want to review it again at some longer intervals. You could maybe add reviews to the schedule above at another 3 months, 6 months, and then a year. Every time you recall it you are strengthening the memory and making it easier to recall the next time.

Writing things out is also another good way to strengthen the memory. When learning Japanese it was far better for me to write my own flashcards than to buy pre-printed ones. Writing out the flashcards actually helped my memory of the items. For remembering the song you could copy it out at first (in tab or notation - whichever one you know and are using) and then on later review sessions try writing it out from memory.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


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(@jwmartin)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1437
 

Writing things out is also another good way to strengthen the memory. When learning Japanese it was far better for me to write my own flashcards than to buy pre-printed ones. Writing out the flashcards actually helped my memory of the items. For remembering the song you could copy it out at first (in tab or notation - whichever one you know and are using) and then on later review sessions try writing it out from memory.

That's a great point. I noticed the songs I've figured out by ear and written out myself stick better than ones I just find tab for.

Bass player for Undercover


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(@blueline)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1705
Topic starter  

Well, I do feel better now. Although it is still frustrating. Thank all of you for your input. I will try the things that you have offered for better retention. What's frustrating is forgetting songs that you know - you "know". Songs like Hotel California. I mean, if it came on the radio, anyone would be able to sing along and would know each guitar phrase, each rest, etc. I learned it. I've played it. Ask me what the first chord is now... ( Bm...I think)

I guess repetition is the way to go. Alas. Time is a precious thing. Oh well, it''l take more time to get better at guitar. I knew I should have been born good looking instead .

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

Well being good looking only goes so far..ha...Actaully this is how my whole musical journey has been. when I first started I could barely remember the 4 chord progression I was playing and thought there would be no way I could ever remember a song in it's entirety let alone 30 -40 for a gig.

But once I got that down and forgot it several times it started getting easier. Fast forward about 5 years and I've learned well over 150 songs but probably only really retain about 20 -25 and have another 20 - 25 that I could play with a quick glance or a quick run through.

There are a few I don't think I'll ever forget now they seem to be ingrained in me but the ones that don't get played often or are not personal favorites tend to get less work and remembered less.

As I'm trying to learn more and more solo's I'm kind of back at square one in terms of memory. The short simple ones I tend to remember but the long ones still give me trouble.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@anonymous)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 8306
 

i have a pretty good memory. if i learn a song, i generally retain it, but sometimes i can't remember the chorus or a line unless i start from the beginning and play until i get there. this is more true with modern music with lyrics than with sheet music. i can barely piece together 2 songs that i learned when i took classical guitar lessons, can butcher one for half a verse, and have no memory of the others.


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(@jwmartin)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1437
 

At our last gig, I forgot the chords to a 3 chord song that we've played at least 50 times, if not 100. It was the first song we played together as a band and it's our go-to cover song. For whatever reason, I played half the song as E-B-Db instead of E-C-D .

Bass player for Undercover


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(@blueline)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1705
Topic starter  

At our last gig, I forgot the chords to a 3 chord song that we've played at least 50 times, if not 100. It was the first song we played together as a band and it's our go-to cover song. For whatever reason, I played half the song as E-B-Db instead of E-C-D .

Now THAT'S what I'm talkin about!

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


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(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 7850
 

That's called jazz.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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(@notes_norton)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1497
 

I'm jumping in late, and don't have time to read all the posts (gig today) so sorry if I duplicate something.

Six months is a long time. You need to play them more often.

I have an advantage, I'm a gigging musician, so many of the songs we play are done a few times per week. These are the ultimate "crowd pleasers", guaranteed to fill the dance floor and/or get a big round of applause.

But we have a "book" of over 500 songs, and some of them don't get played for months. For those we have "cheat sheets" which we display on a laptop on stage (we used to have a tree-ware book, but this is easier).

The cheat sheet can be musical notation (head chart), words with chord symbols, the first few notes the solo starts on (once I get started with the solo, the rest comes along for the ride), or anything else to jog the memory.

Most of the time I'll call up the cheat sheet anyway, even if the song is so memorized I don't need it and don't look at it. But if someone comes up in the middle of a song and requests something else, that might be enough distraction for me to to get out of "the zone" and a peek at the cheat sheet might be all I need to get back in.

Insights and incites by Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<


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(@blueline)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1705
Topic starter  

That's called jazz.

"Jazz is not dead. It just smells funny." - Frank Zappa

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 10340
 

I've found that remembering chords, fills and runs, and riffs is not a problem for me when I've played a song a few times - but it seems the more I learn about guitar, the more my memory refuses to hold lyrics. First noticed this about 5 years ago - came to play Bad Moon Rising in the pub, and my mind went an absolute blank. I've known and loved that song since I was a kid, but those lyrics had gone! Had to write them down and play it a few times before they stuck again. I've noticed it with quite a few songs since...again, I have to write the lyrics down myself and play & sing the song.

I'm worst of all on my own songs....out of the 130+ songs I've written around SSG assignments, I bet I could remember the chords for every single one I've put music to; but I'd also be willing to bet I couldn't remember the lyrics to more than about 5-6 of them!

Is there anything worse than not being able to remember your own songs?

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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(@blueline)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1705
Topic starter  

Go figure. You post it and it happens to me. Was sitting around watching the tele last night while playing guitar. Started to play a song I wrote but couldn't remember the chord progression. DUH... I feel ya borther! Although, I can remember a colossal melt down many years ago while trying to sing ...(War Pigs, I think). Got through the first verse and then...nothing. Nada. Ziltch. SO, um...What were we talking about just now?

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


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(@staffan)
Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 125
 

Really funny thread! Just to hear about all the little mis-haps that people have experienced, even while playing live, but also to hear that (almost) everyone seem to experience the same difficulties with remembering songs you haven´t played in a long time, so that´s kind of reassuring I think.

I also agree with previous posts in that you have to keep playing the stuff you want to remember. I try to run through about 15-30 songs as part of my daily practise routine just to keep them in memory. But, the problem I´m experiencing is that - because of this repetition and the time it takes - it´s getting harder to find the time to learn new material. So I´m kind of stuck in keeping up with the old numbers and therefore not learning anything new. I think I have to cut back on the repetition thing to a couple of times a week and use the other days to learn new stuff!

AAAFNRAA
- Electric Don Quixote -


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(@notes_norton)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1497
 

I had been playing a song on the sax, Harlem Nocturne for many years. Playing it almost nightly. There is a part of the song where the band stops and the sax plays a run of about 20 notes as it slows the tempo down (and it's a slow song to begin with). I played this song ever since I was in Junior High school and the run had become so automatic that for years I've used nothing but muscle memory to play it.

One night on stage I was distracted by someone coming up to the stage and talking while I was playing (why do they do that, i've got a sax in my mouth, do they expect me to answer???). It was right before that descending run so I did the worst thing I could have done under the circumstances, I thought about the notes instead of relying on my body. Well that screwed up the entire run, I had forgotten what notes they were, it had been so many years since I thought about them. I couldn't play the run, my hands didn't go to the notes at all. So I improvised something in the key and went on. Fortunately I've had enough experience to cover up most of my mistakes so the audience doesn't know I'm screwing up.

The other band members teased me about it after the gig.

The worst thing is, I tried to play it the next day before the gig, and still couldn't remember it. I was on the road at the time and didn't have the music with me, in fact, I never had the music for this one as I learned it by ear from a Viscounts recording.

So we didn't play it for a week, and then I got the horn out, and played it at home again without thinking about the fingerings, and it went off just fine. I've been playing it ever since with no problem, and I know not to think about the notes.

IMHO the best music is played without thinking about the technical part of the song. The technical parts get memorized. That's what practice is for, so that you can forget about the notes, words, fingerings, or whatever and pour your emotion out in the song -- get into the so-called "right brain".

But it's nice to have a reference sheet or computer display in front of you for those rare times when your "right brain" needs a little help getting started.

Insights and incites by Notes ♫

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<


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(@dogsbody)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 726
 

I find all the time that if I'm hearing a song on the radio or CD and I know and love it, I'm always right there with the next line but doing it all on your own is a different kettle of fish.

So I've decided through bitter open mic experiences that there is no shame in playing in front of your audience with a music stand holding crib sheets for lyrics or chords or whatever you need to jog those little grey cells.

The thing is you are out there having a go and having fun and thats what it's all about. Quite often nobody notices if you fudge the lyrics, repeat chorus lines or even miss out the odd chord. They tend to appreciate the fact that you have the nerve to even be out there.

Good thread LOL

Chris

The guitar is all right John but you'll never make a living out of it! (John Lennon's Aunt Mimi)


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