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Old 18-11-06, 03:27 PM   #1
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Default Memorizing Music

Good Day Forumites,

Question for you all. When given a bunch of music (for fun lets say 20 tunes) how do you go about memorizing them? Do you focus on one tune at a time until you've got it completely memorized, or do you play them all randomly until they come together, or something completely different?

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Old 18-11-06, 03:32 PM   #2
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Hey Reid,

For example, if I have a medley to learn....I just play the whole thing together over and over and over then eventuallly it seems to stick. That way, everthing gets memorized at the same time.

If it's a whole bunch of solo tunes, then I play the first tune once...making sure its perfect, then move on to the next one and everything. Then when I get to the end of my tunes, I go back to the first one and repeat the whole cycle until it sticks.
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Old 18-11-06, 03:58 PM   #3
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I make a point of learning each individual tune. Not memorizing, learning. I generally use the Captain's method to find the beats, then use the metronome VERY slowly and play and play and play (oh yeah, and play) until I get both finger memory and brain memory.....suddenly out of no where the tunes are in my brain...........
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Old 18-11-06, 07:10 PM   #4
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I just play them. As soon as I can get by without the music I try and play them from memory. When you do that you find the bits that you stick on. Then I get the music out and practice those tricky bits. It works for me. Sort of.

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Old 18-11-06, 08:16 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input guys. If I get a few pieces of music here and there I pick things up pretty quick. It's when you get I get a stack of music that I sometimes find it a challenge. I better never change bands or I might be lost for good. Thanks for the help.

Ciao for now,

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Old 18-11-06, 10:01 PM   #6
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I am probably the slowest learner here in that I truly have medically verified brain damage -- not like the rest of you who are just plain dain bramaged. Because of this, I have become the Mistress of Learning Tools.

First, keep in mind that I am a side drummer for the most part.

Second, I make a couple of photocopies of the music so I can mark it up as I improve. When marking it up, I make all the dots REALLY big so they imprint on my brain. Then I make all the flams red, all the accents orange, stuff like that. I also look at the whole of the tune for patterns where measures or phrases are repeated, and I use different colored highlighters so that each repetition is in the same color highlighter. Yes, it makes for very colorful music before I've even played a note. I have to get a mental image of how this looks.

1. I get someone to play the tune for me on pipes preferably, if not, then on their chanter. I TAPE IT ON MY HANDY AUDIO RECORDING THING.

2. I get the Drum Sergeant to play the setting through slowly as many times as I can bribe him into doing it. I TAPE IT ON MY HANDY AUDIO RECORDING THING.

3. I get the DS and our PS to play it together ... AND TAPE IT ON MY HANDY AUDIO RECORDING THING. I also buy them beer because the more beer I buy... and dole out sparingly... the more I can Pavlov them into playing it at least four times sober.

4. Then I listen to the tune over and over until I can hum it in my head with it's natural signature and swing and so I can feel the meta beat under the tune.

Sometimes I look at the music when I am doing this but I am sometimes just listening to these over and over while driving, typing to you, sitting in the bath. I make sure I have a physically and brainally humable tune and know where the meta beats are.

5. When I start working on actual practice, I may count everything out and note it with a pencil so I can say it verbally as I play it. I think every drummer has a personal language like pipers do -- buzz-de-trip-a-let-2-and-uh-three-and-four-flam. And sometimes I use plain language first: 1 e & uh, 2 & uh, 3 e &, 4. I do that especially if it's a complicated piece. Mostly it's so my brain can visually pattern it.

6. I use the metronome without fail. I just like the sound of a metronome. It's very soothing. I know I'm a good hypnotic subject and I think the metronome and rhythms are similarly soothing. I have three tempos: Learning, Practice, Parade. Each one is a bit faster than the other. I also play it until it smokes just to press myself after I get the thing learned.

7. Then I practice for a million hours by myself. I break out the colored phrases and use them for rudiment practice. I play them over and over until they are smooth or popping, depending upon how they are supposed to sound. I play them over until I look at the particular phrase and see it, feel it, play it as if it's one note.

8. Then I tape the whole band playing the tune in the practice circle. Hopefully, the PM doesn't make us halt too many times. It's not very good to practice with, but I tape it and use it anyway. If we've gotten off on a wrong start early, I just erase that and start over. When we are playing this as a whole band, I get as many repetitions as possible recorded. Afterall, it's a band which is a four-letter word just like t-e-a-m. That means I am not good at what I'm doing unless I'm playing exactly the same notes exactly at the same time all the other sides. So I end up getting more full-band practice than most people.

9. I practice with and without music and even after I have learned a tune, I go back and practice with it. There is more expression in sides than some pipers realize and by looking at the music and going over it, listening to the tune, trying to feel what the composer was after, then I play with greater expression and fullness.

10. I know when I have a tune in me when I can tap dance it. I started tap dancing when I was three. I joined the USO when I was six. I started playing drums with my feet. My mother thought if my feet were tapping at scheduled times, then I would stop my unladylike fiddling with my hands. I practice tap more than any other kid. I LOVED to practice. I still love tap.

I truly, deeply, sincerely know I own a tune when I am drifting off to sleep and I can hear the melody in my head and Chuck rolls over and says, "WILL YOU STOP DRUMMING ON THE FOOTBOARD!! I'M TRYING TO SLEEP!!"

Then that's it. I own that tune as if I am the one who had written it.
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Old 19-11-06, 01:06 AM   #7
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Wow Cat, I'll try and memorise that

He he!

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Old 19-11-06, 02:06 AM   #8
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20 tunes holy crap batman! I think I would fire the PM first.

I teach my students one tune at a time until they get it just right. They will work on other tunes but only the tunes in the set. But I would focus on one tune at a time to memorize and then work on others but continue to work on perfection of each tune.

Apparently Cat likes to write books.
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Old 19-11-06, 02:21 AM   #9
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Oh, yeah. I forgot about that part.

We have an "A" list and a "B" list. There are about 15-18 tunes on each list. Since we are not a competition band and a performance band, we have to have a pretty big A list at any given time. It kind of rotates and when things rotate out, they usually go to the B list until someone offers to retype the lists and then dumps all the tunes he/she doesn't like. Then the B list finally gets a little shorter.

I play the tunes for the next gig everyday before the gig and after the previous gig. Actually I ususally play them more since I try to do MBs and everything on the A list at least once a day or every other day.

For parades, we usually play three sets -- medleys. The drumline plays a cadence in between each tune so the old geezers can get their breath. I try to practice the way we are going to play it: Medley 1 > Cadence > Medley 2 > Cadence > Medley 3. If the geezers can't get their wind back in time for the next medley, the PM circles his hand and we all keep playing the cadence a second round. He does that until all the pipers are breathing again.

If we're in a parade and the DM recognizes that we're going to hit the reviewing stand (and cameras) with only the cadence, he may signal us to double the cadence or drop it so we will not be on television again where the talking head with the big hair and red lipstick says, "Here's the entire history of the Los Gatos Police Pipes and Drums..." And she gives her monologue, the viewer can hear us beautifully behind her. Then she says, "And now, let's listen to the Pipeband" whereupon we have just finished a long medley and we are marching to the cadence while the purple pipers are gasping for air, and all is documented on national television.

Sometimes when I practice, I get what I call the "Grateful Dead Syndrome," or GDS for short. It's when I have practiced or played something so much that even with the music in front of me, no matter how hard I try, I can't play the thing right! It's terrible! I know that I know the tune which makes me even crazier and so I try even harder to play it which makes things even WORSE. That's why it's called the Grateful Dead Syndrome. The longer I look at it, is it Grateful Dead or Greatful Dead? And after looking at both of them, neither of them looks right.
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Old 19-11-06, 02:23 AM   #10
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Itchy.... memorize what...?
I forgot what topic we're on.

PoR: I have a very little and linear mind. And my fingers only have two settings: off and on. Did I mention that sometimes they get stuck at off, and other times they get stuck at on?

Truth is, now that the dogs are dead, I have no one to talk to except you guys.
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