Memorizing notes, techniques, etc

Nearing the end of the course, and I’ve decided to pick a song to memorize/play in it’s entirety. I wanted something challenging, but attainable.

I started with “man on the moon” by REM. No idea why actually, it was just in my head, so I went for it.

The bass line is relatively simple, but I definitely struggle to memorize some of the random riffs.

I found a loop app for YouTube that lets me loop sections of videos, slower speeds, etc. That seem so to work OKAY, but what is everyone else doing?

Just looking for advice on how to break up songs, and a good system for memorization. Any thoughts or advice appreciated. Thank you!!

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I solved one case of this a few days ago. Most of the track is 3 note melody around first five frets, but in break there’s combination of playing with drum fill and then short part of following the main synth melody and final extremely difficult fill on the end.

After trying to play it as one piece I always absolutely messed up the break part. So after a while I simply quickly learned the regular easy verse, chorus parts. And then “muscle memory practiced” the sh*t out of that part.

So when I was trying to go for a good take afterwards … I played regular easy part with a lot fun and groove, enjoyment. But as soon as the break/fill part was approaching I was like “ok, automatic routine engaged in 3 2 1” and I simply let the practice and muscle/neuro memory do the trick. I am not musical genius, so I cannot simply play whatever I want, and sometime there’s simply a lot of hard work and repetition in a decent piece of music.

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In my career in magazine publishing, I often had to memorize long slide presentations (narrate without looking at the slides), or sales presentations to groups of potential advertisers. I did the memorization in chunks. Fortunately, my brain got a lot of exercise in memorization before I retired.
When I memorize a song I also do it in chunks at a time. I start out with the intro, and break that down into manageable pieces. The more complex the song, the smaller the pieces might be. Sometime the song is so complex, I spend a great deal of time just learning the first couple of measures.
I put the score on my stand and just start playing while reading the sheet. Then, I start playing from recall, I have to do it over and over until I can do it without thinking. Then I move onto the next chunk and memorize it. Once I’ve got that chunk memorized, I play it from the top. Then move onto the next chunk.
The nice thing is, in most songs, once you get past the intro, it’s a matter of memorizing the first verse and chorus. The rest of the verses and choruses are usually identical or close to identical. The outro is usually very similar to the intro.
Some songs have bridges and interludes also, which closely resemble the verses and choruses.
All in all, if I can nail the first 30 seconds of most songs, the rest is cake.

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That’s what I do and just memorize the chord progressions for each.
Just watch out for key signature changes.
This is where the knowing the Nashville Numbering System can help a lot.

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I’ve only had one song with a key signature change, and that was just the intro; the rest of the song stayed the same. I know there are songs out there that change key during the song, but I haven’t had to deal with one yet.

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I have seen key signature changes in the chorus and verses from time to time.

There again if the first chorus has say 1 4 5 progression, if the second chorus changes key all you will probably need is to know the 1 4 5 chords of the new key signature. Easy peasy :+1:

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Great advice. Do you a play along with music as you memorize? I thought maybe metronome you keep in time. Listening to bits of the song over and over drives me insane haha

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I memorize it dry first, then with the backing track. I turn up the volume on the drum track and turn down the volume on the vocals and instrumentation track. The loud drum track helps me nail the rhythm and also keeps me from getting burned out from hearing the song over and over LOL

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I do. I usually get a cover off You Tube, EQ the Bass out of it as much as possible without killing the drums.

These days I never use a metronome. I use either a song backing track as illustrated above or just a simple drum loop to noodle over.

But if you want to memorize a song that’s what it takes.
No way around it you gotta put in the work. :slightly_smiling_face:

To be fair though I have to say, that at jams, I use lead sheets with chords and words all the time.

One of my favorite songs is Ghost Riders In the Sky. I have memorized it BUT if I wait a couple of weeks before playing it again chances are I will need to re-memorize it.

It’s all good fun though. :+1:

There are a lot of good songs in the 50 Song Challenge.
And you can get the backing tracks less the Bass line plus the music score, with Bass tab, at the BassBuzz chordify site. Here is link to the forum topic for this

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This has always been a big issue for me. I learned Sweet Child of Mine on drums before I was ready for it, and it took way too long. By the time I finished I ended up hating the song. This is why I’m not going anywhere near anything GnR related (or any other songs I actually like) on bass until I reach a decent level where I can learn those songs in a couple of days, or a week at most.

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I do this to help…
After playing through a few times.
Look away from the page and play sections/riffs/etc, small bites, until you know each one.
Don’t cheat and look at the page, find the note(s).
Play until you know that section.
Then do another section.
Then put the two together.
Then another, then put with the other two, etc.
Until the end.

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That’s exactly what I do @John_E , and I stated so a few comments above, just used different words. GMTA!

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I am a super beginner. So I will only add that, for me, music notation (reading the actual pentagram) makes a lot of difference.

If I understand what I am doing (this is a chromatic passage to go from Degree X to degree Y, this is an arpeggio of the chord etc…) I find that the notes have a meaning and I can hope to learn them.

Otherwise they are a sequence that is difficult to follow (like if they were meaningless sequence of words). A bit like reading a language that you don’t know, Vs having a dictionary.

Unfortunately I didn’t begin to play when I was a kid so it’s definitely not a second nature to me…

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It took me at least 70 hours but I can now play Shine on you crazy from memory

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Good for you. It’s a good feeling in the end, but some people just don’t get that you have to put in the time to accomplish memorizing a complete song. Too used to instant gratification in modern times I guess :slightly_smiling_face:

The thing I have discovered is unless you play that song on a regular basis you will lose the memory for it, to some extent. The good news is that it is quite easy to get it back :+1:

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For reference, it’s taken me less than 40 hrs to get to level 9 (the highest level) on Yousician bass :slight_smile:

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Understanding is the key to memorisation. If you know the fretboard well, understand scales and chord tones, have some knowledge of chord progressions and chord theory, know some notation, and are familiar with and can easily count the different rhythms and subdivisions, memorising a song will be a lot easier.

It’s a bit like going from A to B in an unfamiliar city. It’s much easier with a map and a knowledge of the local landmarks.

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