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Advice for memorizing?

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Ok people, I'd like your best advice for memorizing lyrics and vocal lines. I have a LOT of new songs to memorize, and I have to know my lyrics and vocal lines before we start rehearsing in march. So any good advice would be appreciated.

Right now I'm down to these four:

- Repetition, listening to the songs over and over, singing it over and over

- Taking it step by step, not trying to cram everything in at once

- Trying to see the logic in a lyric, most have some kind of plot

- Adding movement to memorize lyrics (for lyrics with less logic and more random words)

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I'm your man on this brother. I constantly have to learn new tunes (including a LOT of rap/hip hop.) I get, "How the hell can you memorize all those lyrics" all the time(I wish people commented on my damn voice as much they do my memorization :) )

The best method for me is to write the lyrics out. I know it's a pain in the ass, but seriously, break it down into 2-4 lines at a time.

Let's say the 1st verse is 16 lines:

1-4 x 10

5-8 x 10

9-12 x 10

13-16 x 10

Once you've finished, go back to the first 4 lines and see how much you remember. If you forget ANY words(you will)...do the lines 10 times again. Work your way through all verses the same way. Once you get through whole song, go back to the beginning and write out the whole tune. Any time you forget a line...stop and do it 10 times.

This method is tedious but FOOL PROOF. I would alternate writing out the lyrics(15 minutes) with listening to the song 5 times. This combo should really help tie the melody and rhythm with lyric line.

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I've had to do a lot of research into some of this recently as part of my Ph.d. research. One statement that stood out to me was that effective memory is visual memory. When we read written passages and attempt to memorize text, prose or poetry, our minds create a mental picture. The more vivid and detailed it is the more memorable. The text itself does not have to be incredibly detailed, but often we create the details.

What is interesting is that our mental pictures often include things that are not actually in the text - and that is good. That active participation in mental image creation enhances our ability to remember. It doesn't matter that it's not in the text.

I haven't tried to learn any new material since I've done this research, but what I intend to do when I learn a new song is to create a mental video in my mind of the song to help in memorizing it. You can recall the video and hopefully the words will come along for the ride.

It would be an interesting experiment. Get three people, give one just text, one text and audio, and have the third watch a real video (MTV style), and see which one retains the information better. Probably has been done already. :)

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great thing keoladonagy. I never had problems memorizing text, i always have an image of it in my mind. It's like if i was reading it. The only problem is that i can't just remember, for example, the second phrase of the second verse, i have to start on the first to catch the second phrase. And as you say, i sometimes replace words by another.

When i try to memorize some lyrics i never try to learn all. I'm listening 3 or 4 time max the beginning of the song, reading at the same time, end then start to sing it with the guitar or backing track, to put the words in their context. It works quite well for me.

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Visual memory is the best. The Dale Carnegie program - which concentrates on effective speaking - has a lot of excellent techniques on memorization. I've applied these techniques to singing - it is just like giving a speech. If you can paint scenes in your mind which lead one phrase to the next... The most effective way to burn those memories in you brain forever is to visualize strange scenes - really out there.. weird impossible scenes or objects. The stranger the better. It is important to connect the objects or scenes in the right sequence. Of course each object or scene would correspond to a verse or whatever. You can stack things on top of each other - like your hand holding a Ship, and on top of the mast is the moon...while looking at the moon you notice a giant beetle which is eating the moon... you get the idea.

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Thanks people, great advice! I've got about 5 hours of material to memorize in four weeks, and it's less than two weeks left now. I think I'm doing pretty fine. I don't sing lead every minute, it's a show with one guy and four girls in every show team, but it's still lots of lyrics and vocal lines to memorize in pretty short time (I think). :)

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