Happy Fall KCRB students and families!

   This month, I want to talk about MEMORIZING MUSIC.  For some musicians, having to memorize music can cause a panic attack! For others is seems to come easily. How I go about it has evolved over the years, anddifferent musicians approach the task in different ways. 

            I am a very visual learner, so I’ve had good success making a “map” on paper of the song form I need memorized, especially when I’m memorizing a drum part.  In it’s most basic form, it looks something like the picture on the right. —>

Having a visual map of the song’s form helps it stick in my brain—I recall what I wrote out as I play. V1= Verse 1;  CH = Chorus;  BR = Bridge.

If it’s lyrics I need to memorize, I try to think of how they fit in a story, or if there’s any repetition that I can grab on to.  I’m singing Miranda Lambert’s “Kerosene” with my country band, and I had a hard time remembering what order the lyrics came in for each section.  I found a pattern that helped—the first two sections start with the word “I”, as the singer talks about hersituation.  But sections 3 and 4 are about otherpeople. Little patterns like that help me keep straight what comes next. 

Other musicians I know use listening repetition to help them memorize—every time they are in a car, they turn on their playlist of songs to memorize.  It might get old for their passengers, but they get their work done!

I asked Matt how he memorizes, and he likes to use aural (hearing/listening) practice to memorize. He encourages students to sing their part along with a recording.  Guitarists could choose one note of the chord to sing, bass players sing their lines, etc. Repeat the song over and over until you can get through the whole thing.  Getting your ear to know what’s coming next helps your hands know where to go.

I’ve also had success memorizing by going measure by measure—play measure one looking at the music, then turn away and try to play it.  Next, play measures one and two looking at the music, then look away and try to play both from memory.  See how far in the piece you get at each practice, just adding on one measure at a time. You can also do this starting at the last measure, and adding one to the beginning!

Last bit of advice for memorizing—JUST DO IT!  No, really, you probably have more of it memorized than you believe and if you’ll just put the music away and try it without, you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Keep at it and if you have any questions about these methods, don’t hesitate to ask me or our other KCRB teachers!

Laura Lee Crandall
Owner, KC Rock Band & Guitar School of Music

Student of the Month – Dolan Knoblauch

Dolan and his KCRB teacher, Josh Talley

  Congratulations to Dolan for being September’s Student of the Month!  Dolan has been taking guitar lessons at KCRB for a little over a year and is studying with Josh Talley.  Dolan has a great attitude and works hard at guitar!  Here’s a little about him:

Age and School:  9 years old, Mission Trail Elementary

Why did you choose guitar?

 I’ve wanted to play guitar since I received a dog shaped electric guitar for my 3rd Christmas.  Ever since then, I was hooked.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve learned so far at KCRB?

I’m a huge fan of the Beatle’s Eleanor Rigby and Zombie by the Cranberries.  So probably those songs.

What another song you want to learn?

Maybe “Boy in the Bubble” by Alec Benjamin.

What are your other hobbies?

Baseball, hockey, soccer, swim team, and I just started violin at school.

Memorizing Music