Last week we looked at five of the twelve tips. Here are seven more to kick our chart-habit.
6. Learn the end first.
This is a technique I used when I was studying classical guitar. I found that I learned the first half of the song really well. Why? I kept playing that part on the way to the parts I hadn’t learned. Finally a wise teacher guided me to learn the end first. So I started with the final four bars, and would work my way backwards through the piece, four bars at a time. That way, the ending wasn’t neglected.
This can be especially helpful learning more complex pieces, like the chord changes to a traditional hymn. Or follow the spirit of this technique and memorize the second verse first. Because admit it – that’s the one we all flub up.
7. Practice without your music (sooner than you think you should).
You might be surprised at what you know. And you won’t have to guess at what parts need the most work.
8. Write your own chart.
Before band/team rehearsal, write out the lyrics and/or create your own chord chart by memory. I’ve found writing things out to be a powerful memorization tool. It may not be as effective for you, but give it a try.
9. Repetition. Playing a song over and over (and over) is one of those inescapable requirements of internalizing a song.
10. Use Nashville Numbers.
This one is for the band: Use Nashville Numbers (or traditional music theory chord numbers) to analyze the chord progressions of each section. If you don’t know Nashville numbers (or the Roman numeral equivalent), it’s a good way to learn theory. If you already know theory, analyzing the chords in this way can help you remember the pattern of progressions. It will help you transpose if the key ever gets changed.
11. Don’t use your charts during rehearsal.
Keep them handy for a quick reference and/or marking changes, dynamics, etc.
12. Repetition. This one’s worth repeating.
So there are the twelve tips. If you’ve got other ones, or adaptations of these, put those in comments section. I’d love to hear them.
And the last thing – part of helping your team memorize songs is providing a great system for charts and mp3s for them. On January 9, there’s a free online seminar that can help you create, maintain and distribute your charts and mp3s. Check it out Chart Smart.