My Process: Memorizing

I’m starting to work on my virtual concert. I have already done some planning and scheduling and coordinating. And today, I started memorizing.

How I memorize

Usually when I have something-lets say a song- to memorize, my steps are as follows:

  • Memorize the English translation
    • I studied opera so sometimes my music is in Italian, German, French or another language. Knowing what you’re saying or singing matters, memorize the translation word for word. Same can apply to English pieces sometimes.
  • Memorize the lyrics
    • Memorize just the words without rhythm or melody.
    • I memorize one line at a time, starting at the end. So if there are 5 lines I recite line 5; then lines 4 and 5; then lines 3, 4, and 5; then lines 2, 3, 4, and 5; then line 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
  • Learn the melody with the words
    • Memorize the melodic lines either starting at the end, or starting with what’s most difficult.

How I re-memorize

For the virtual concert I’m preparing for, I am memorizing songs I’ve performed before. So I can adjust my process.

  • Write out the lyrics
    • I create a document that has just the lyrics
  • Create chunks
    • I organize the lines into logical verses or thoughts
  • Order the chunks
    • From longest to shortest, OR
    • Hardest to easiest, OR
    • last to first
  • Memorize one chunk at a time
    • Instead of working line by line from the end, for songs I’ve memorized before, I can memorize a whole chunk at once. It comes back pretty quickly.
  • Memorize the chunks in the order they come in the song
  • Learn the melody as above
    • Line by line from the end, OR
    • hardest sections to easiest sections.

How it looks on paper

The image is a little blurry and hard to see, but each stanza is labeled with a number and a name. For example, the fourth stanza is labeled “Chunk 1: The Car.” So, it’s the first stanza I will memorize, because it’s the longest. I call it “The car” to jog my memory about the topic.

Then, on the bottom right, there’s a list of goals:

25 Jan Goal

  • Memorize Chunk 1 lyrics
  • Memorize Chunk 2 lyrics
  • Memorize¬† Chunk 3 lyrics
  • Memorize Chunk 4 lyrics

26 Jan Goal

  • Memorize 5 and 6
  • Review 1-6
  • Memorize in order

27 Jan

  • Review 1-6
  • Memorize 7 rhythm and melody
  • Review all in order

And so on!


Do you have a process for memorizing? Does it even come up in your life?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: