January 30, 2013

Simple Pleasure of the Day: Learning song lyrics

What Mandy Thinks: "Simple Pleasure of the Day" post
Give me any song and I'll memorize it in 20 minutes, given that written correct lyrics are included and my definition of "memorizing" is for lyric memorization only.  This way I can sing along badly to it from memory and amaze my friends who think most of my brain consists of song lyrics.  For this SPOTD, I scanned through my most recently purchased songs for a mood matching song (and yes I am one of those rare breads who purchase instead of torrent out of nobility and fear I'd get caught) to learn some song lyrics yet to be downloaded to my brain with my fancy song memorization technique.

My fancy song memorization technique has been confidential until now and as follows:

1.  Listen to the song in its entirety with your eyes closed, mouth shut, and nose hum-less.  Focus on the words you hear but be completely still and silent.  I like to picture a person's mouth saying the words I hear but not on what the words are he/she is saying per se.

2. Look up the lyrics online or wherever lyrics to the song are available.  Listen to the song in its entirety completely silent, but you can read along if you wish.  Focus on the words you see.

3.  This step is exactly like Step 1 but try mouthing the words to match the song as its played for a third time in its entirety while still be completely silent.  Stop mouthing when you stumble and pick it back up when you can get back to mouth-matching with accuracy.  Keep the lyrics in front of you for the stumbling moments only, so avoid looking at them unless absolutely necessary.

4. Play the song in its entirety for the fourth time with mouth-matching, but now add humming or any other audible sounds to melody-match but NOT VOCALLY (aka don't speak the words yet).  No need to be mouth-match-perfect at this point, just let yourself stumble if you don't know a certain part but focus on the notes of the song and how they change with the words.  It's up to you if you want your eyes closed or the lyrics in front of you from here on out.

5. This one is up to you depending on how long and/or repetitive the song is:
a) Try the entire song one more time but with singing along with words coming out of your mouth matching the melody.  If you find yourself stumbling too much, then...
b) Try breaking up the song in chunks or verses.  Play the first verse with vocally saying or singing along in key (to the best of your ability melody-wise).  If that's good for you, go to the next verse.  Then the next.  Bridges, choruses, all the verse chunkness you can muster.  If a particular chunk is harder than the rest repeat that one more than the others.  Sometimes in between the pauses of chunks I'll read the lyrics like I'm reading the paper, with no notes just a normal voice then move on to the next chunk.

6. At this point it could be at least 20 minutes since you first played the song (accounting for the average time a song being 3.5 minutes, but step 5 could take longer if the song is wayyyy longer or lyric-heavy).  Go ahead and play the song in its entirety and be amazed as to how much you've learned!  Or how much you suck at memorizing a song, so start my steps back from the beginning.  Repeating step 1 after 6 is highly recommended because you may find yourself mouthing the words you didn't realize you retained and can now put to vocal use.

WOW this post is longer than my usual SPOTD posts.  Hope you got through it, but hey this one had some esplain' to do.  Let me know what you think!  Did this technique work for you?  Are there any suggestions I didn't list that you think work better or would make this list better?

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