Annotated Algorithm for Memorizing A Song


10 easy steps

Time: 20-30 minutes

1. Pick a song.

(This includes one you may have written. They don’t memorize themselves.)

2. Listen to it several times at one sitting, alone, with no distractions.

(This includes cats climbing curtains or mates manhandling the remote.)

3. Take the printed lyrics and sing them aloud all the way through, reading from the page.

(This is not cheating. You have some lines in your head but you don’t know them cold yet.)

4. Repeat, focusing on the first word of each stanza and the end-rhymes.

(This is the trick to jogging memory.)

5. Put the lyrics on a nearby table, and start singing the first verse without looking at the words.

(Nearby, so you can refer to it, but far enough away so that seeing them is a conscious step.)

6. Where you hesitate, peek at the words once, then start over.

7. Repeat, until you have the first verse down cold.

8. Do the same from verse to verse, starting over from the beginning each time.

9. Isolate the verses not quite committed to memory and sing them by themselves a few times.

10. Sing it!

4 thoughts on “Annotated Algorithm for Memorizing A Song

  1. This is such fun and exactly how I teach my students to memorize scripts…especially the, starting over from the top part. If they mess up a line they have to start from the tip until they can make it all the way through, knowing all the lines.

    The only one I didn’t quite get was #2 when you say…read through it alone and then say: This includes cats climbing curtains or mates manhandling the remote…if your mates are there, you are not alone, right? I would except the cat being there and still considering yourself alone..but I assume mates refers to friend and if they are there, watching TV you will never get through the song….especially if GLEE is on. 🙂

  2. Tag, Awesome! Listened as well, it rocks!

    Plus “just use caution and know that love ain’t nothing but a loss of control” is right where I’m at in my life today! This really hit home….

    Plus the song is a mashup with “Traces.” Can you believe this was one of the first songs I learned on the guitar? back when I was 10…

  3. I like this how-to. It takes something people like doing and puts presents it in a fun and engaging style. It’s a win-win. I’ve actually done these exact steps before. I like to do it to verses that go to fast for me to decipher. I did it for the first verse to the song “Love Ain’t.” It’s one of my favorite verses ever and I think you might like it. Here is the verse (it’s even better if you listen to Tonedeff do it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YebR5J4nqxE).

    Love ain’t for the faint of heart
    Start training, this game is hard
    And arduous, you’re gonna play in the dark like when it rains in the park
    You’re hardly conscious of the stains and scars, enabling your partly clouded logic
    To pay to impart bliss with arrangements of chocolates
    Now, you’re working yourself out the same as when you strain with a nautilus
    And you’re willing to embrace pain facing sustained negative consequence
    If nothing you say when in love is embedded with common sense
    Then, do you really regret when you’ve shredded your promises?
    Now, I’ve tested the waters, kid. Sipped it; rippled the pond a bit
    Visits have been abolished, and this shit’s killing my confidence
    Is this filling your conscience when distance is an accomplishment?
    If you miss chicks when they’re around, the phrase “Let’s quit” isn’t an option
    You best fix whatever’s wrong and just move on and get on with it
    Cause, you’ll catch bigger fish in the sea if you manage not to drown in it
    It’s sad, but proud or not, most your standards go down a notch
    When loneliness drinks at the bar you set too high
    Cause, it isn’t really my time, is it? Shit…I just found the watch
    But hearing the bell toll for me twice a day, has me fearing my grandfather clock
    And I can’t die without trying. My hands tied in knots
    Knowing that I’ll never learn to brave the waves if I stand by the docks
    Love is hampered by thought, if you can handle the prospect of death
    It’s as massive a shock. And to intellects, it’s a fuckin’ smack in the crotch
    It’s a cancer that rots your soul, tosses demons off of the road
    Just use caution and know, that, love ain’t nothing but a loss of control
    Off then, we go.

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