Memorizing sets with limited time.

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by amstrtatnut, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. amstrtatnut

    amstrtatnut Member

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    I have 3 gigs coming up with 3 different bands.

    I find that when I practice one set of songs I begin to forget another.

    It doesnt happen that often but I wonder how people can rattle off a a huge bunch of tunes without taking a lot of liberties with details.

    I know the answer is practice but, my bands have setlists we cant hit all songs all the time, and I have trouble hitting all tunes at home too.

    Gonna have to write (rewrite) out charts I know.
     
  2. metropolis_4

    metropolis_4 Member

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    I think the best way to do it is to go by ear and only look at a chart if absolutely necessary. The more you look at charts the longer it takes to memorize something. It always seems to help to step back and take a more macro look at everything. Look for themes, patterns, those type of things that can provide a framework to organize the information. This will help you recall when you're in the performance.
     
  3. sanrico

    sanrico Member

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    I used to make charts that had little symbols in them to help me memorize. After a while, I could see the charts in my head when I was on stage.
     
  4. guitarstar2005

    guitarstar2005 Member

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  5. ferrell

    ferrell Member

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    the key for me has always been listening to the songs-over and over.fall asleep with headphones on or what ever.then when its time to sit down with the tunes and your guitar (or whatever your playing),your not goin in cold.its always easier to learn and retain tunes your familiar with.
     
  6. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    Yeah, the sooner you get off-book, the sooner you learn the tunes.

    That said, everyone's got a limit to how much material they can hold in their head at one time, and for a lot of people, it's going to be less than 50 tunes.
     
  7. cosmic_ape

    cosmic_ape Supporting Member

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    Have those tunes be the only music you listen to in the days before the gig. That helps a LOT when cramming lots of music in the noggin!
     
  8. amstrtatnut

    amstrtatnut Member

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    Its about 75 or so songs. Many Ive played before and many I play all the time. Its just hard to remember all the arrangements and details.

    Im thinking about charting or recharting to get a better grip on the arrangments.
     
  9. cosmic_ape

    cosmic_ape Supporting Member

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    Sometimes the act of charting it down will help me remember, even if I end up not using the charts at all.
     
  10. metropolis_4

    metropolis_4 Member

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    Yeah, I think actually writing charts could help a lot. Sometimes I write lyrics over and over (without looking) to help memorize them. BUT, once you write the charts, try not to actually use them. Also, as you write them, try to write only from memory.
     
  11. GottaPracticeMore

    GottaPracticeMore Member

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    I generally write charts to learn the song, and then try to wean myself from them by the 3rd rehearsal. But it's easy to forget everything again after a few weeks. :huh
     
  12. Dajbro

    Dajbro Member

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    I love making playlists for these kinds of situations. Make one for each band/gig on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play or whatever you use and listen to them as much as you possibly can. First thing in the morning while getting ready for the day, driving around in the car, on a walk, while eating dinner, etc. Getting the songs in my ears so I can internalize the song form, dynamics, key parts, etc is important for me whether I'm using charts or not. Listen to either the set you're least familiar with the most or the gig that is coming up first. Not sure how much time you have between gigs to isolate them much, if at all.

    And, like you said, practice, practice, practice.
     
  13. jerrycasemusic

    jerrycasemusic Member

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    I always chart everything - but it's more for a security blanket than anything. I have an iPad on my mic stand that I leave in sleep mode - if I need to peek, it is a tap away. Just having it there gives me the confidence to think more clearly.

    Absolutely the key is listening to the songs. Endlessly. For me knowing the key is all I usually need. I just think in terms of things like "solo starts in minor then moves to major pentatonic" - By recalling these little theoretical observations, my ears can usually take me the rest of the way to a respectable rendition.
     
  14. amstrtatnut

    amstrtatnut Member

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    Thanks guys.

    I guess Ill switch off the Dead show and switch on Dwight Yokam! :)
     
  15. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    Yup, I'll sing the same tune. I play in so many situations where there are rarely reherasals. Charting and even using charts at the gigs is about the only way I can keep it all straight. Like others have said, writing the charts helps to commit at least the structure to memory. The more I play, the more I don't need the charts. But I still need some of them. If it's been I while since I've played a gig with the group, I'll sit down the night bofore (or the day of) and go through as many of the riffs/licks as I can. With and/or without the charts.

    Good luck!
     
  16. CRBMoA

    CRBMoA Member

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    I have had to learn a TON of new material since the beginning of the year. The band I joined as the back up bassist (my first gig with them was the last week in January) has about 30 originals, 100 covers, and we are the house band for a gig this weekend where we are backing an artist on 20 of her songs.

    We rehearsed those last night, and someone provided us with Nashville charts, which were for the most part dead on.

    I have probably absorbed more material listening to my iPod as I fall asleep every night than actually hammering it out in the practice room.

    One thing that has helped me trying to learn 150 songs in 2 months is to try and think of genres or cliches for the songs.

    I.E., I may not be able to remember the title and words to all of the songs, but after we play them as a band, I just blurt out what the song makes me think of.

    That way, when the band leader calls the song and I have a blank look on my face, the utility guy can look at me and say, "the song you called a '70s screw tune.".

    Works every time!
     
  17. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    put the songs on a playlist. hit repeat
     

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