How To Memorize a Song in No Time Flat

•October 13, 2012 • Leave a Comment

There are several strategies for aiding the memorization process.  While many singers just sing through their songs over and over again until they know them, and this certainly gets results, it is not the most efficient way.

I suggest you not even think about memorization until you have mastered the musical elements of the piece, so that you can sing the pitches and rhythms accurately and expressively, with good breaths and appropriate dynamics.  Once that is secure, focus on the text.  Our brains attach musical pitches and rhythms to words easily, so once the words are memorized, it is very likely the pitches and rhythms will come along with them (provided you learned the pitches/rhythms thoroughly first).

The first step is to take out your music and copy down the text in your own handwriting.  Doing this with paper and pencil is important, as it has been shown in countless studies that physical writing leads to greater retention than typing.  When you write you engage yourself kinesthetically (physically) by moving the pencil, visually by seeing the words form from your hand, and aurally because it is impossible for humans to read and write words without hearing them inside our heads.  This is the process of ‘audiation’ that I often bring up in discussing solfege and music reading.

Use your own handwritten copy to refer to as you rewrite the text as least 3 times.

The second step will seem odd but this is where you will start to really make progress memorizing.  Take your handwritten copy of the text and on a new sheet of paper copy down just the first word or two of each phrase or sentence of the text.  Once you’ve finished copying only the first word of each phrase, flip over the full text and try to fill in each phrase by memory.  This should be harder than step one but much easier than remembering the full text on your own.  More often than not, it is the first word of a new phrase that trips us up, and once we get that word we can get the entire phrase with little to no problem.  This is a trait singers share with actors, as you’ll often find forgetful actors saying “line” and once they get the cue of the first word, they will rattle off a monologue of several pages.

Now that you’ve seen the power those first words of a phrase hold, again copy down just the first words of each phrase.  Now repeat just these first words out loud, in order.  Do this several times, until you can easily and effortlessly recite the first words of each phrase of your piece one after the other.

Congratulations!  Now that you’ve memorized the start of each phrase, you have likely memorized the entire text.  Grab a blank sheet of paper and test yourself.  If there are still areas of difficulty return to reading aloud to polish those sections.

You are now ready to return to the music and attempt to sing the song from memory.  I caution against going to this step too early, as many singers rely on the music to remind them of the text.  If you don’t learn the text separate from the music, it is likely that with the butterflies in your stomach and the stage lights on your face you will blank on one or more words throughout your performance.  Put the time in to learn your text and you will feel incredibly confident going forward.


Save Time by Figuring out “Who You Are”

•October 10, 2012 • Leave a Comment


“I have to go to class, work, take care of the kids, clean the house, and find time to sleep don’t have TIME to figure out ‘who I am'”

One of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself is work on your identity.

Dr. Joyce Brothers says that “you cannot consistently behave in a way that is inconsistant with how you see yourself”

What this means: if you see yourself as a “fat person” you will not be able to consistently exercise and eat healthily.  Those behaviors will only become consistent as a result of seeing yourself as the kind of person who behaves that way.  Will power alone is not enough.

What would it mean to you to be able to save hours every day and years of your life in the long run to spend on whatever you choose?

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Why Many Professional Musicians Discount Solfege

•October 7, 2012 • 1 Comment

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“All those weird words just get in the way, just look at the notes and sing them!”

It is very common in discussions of ear training and music teaching to find professional musicians who feel that all forms of sight singing training relying a syllables (solfege, numbers, letter names, etc.) is a waste of time or even detrimental.

There is a reason for this.

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Why The Dedicated Always Win Out In The End

•October 5, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“I’m just not as talented as he is”

In the first weeks, months, and even years of competition between peers in any field, the advantage goes to the ‘naturally gifted’, the ‘talented’, the ‘gifted’.

We’ve all seen it: the highschooler who gets every lead in the musicals, the young salesman that consistently outsells his coworkers, the kid on track team that no one can seem to keep pace with.

But what happens 10, or 5, or even 2 years down the road?

Continue reading ‘Why The Dedicated Always Win Out In The End’

How To Have More Energy Than a Nuclear Reactor

•October 2, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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“I’m pretty introverted and low-key, but once I get to know you, I start to come out of my shell”

This line always gets a laugh.

I use it in every interview, and often use it when meeting new people, it’s a crowd pleaser.


Because I’m the highest energy person you will ever meet in your life (including 5 year olds, I wear them OUT)

I constantly hear from friends and colleagues: “How can you be so full of energy!?”

What would it mean to you to achieve a consistently high level of energy?  What could you accomplish?

Continue reading ‘How To Have More Energy Than a Nuclear Reactor’

The Power of “Sleeping On It”

•September 26, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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“Let me sleep on it”

It’s the bane of salesmen everywhere, because they realize it is a thinly veiled replacement for “I don’t want your services but I don’t want to make you feel bad by saying no”

Let’s look at it in a new context though.

Brain research at major universities shows that we tend to retain what we study in the half hour before we go to sleep.

This is because the brain will fixate and work on anything we put before it in those moments before slumber.

What do most people do with these valuable learning moments?

Continue reading ‘The Power of “Sleeping On It”’

Finding the Music in You

•September 20, 2012 • Leave a Comment

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“I’d love to sing, play the piano, write a novel, paint, dance but it’s too late to learn”

There was a time when the average human lifespan was 35, in those days, your late 20s may have been too late to start something so ambitious and be truly great.

but if you are under 40, you still have (on average) about half your life left.

If there are people your age doing amazing things, you have as much time as they’ve taken to become great to become great yourself.

And if you’re older, you have so much more experience and knowledge and resources to bring to bear on what you want to achieve.  An 84 year old man recently climbed Everest, what are you doing lately?

The thing is, technique, the actual physical mechanics of doing whatever it is you want to do, is not that complicated in any field.

Even the most complex fields can be mastered technically in a matter of a few years.

The trick is the art.

The “music” of whatever you do.

Einstein wasn’t great because he was better at math and physics than his peers, but because he had a vision for beauty and art in what he did, and while many were searching for complex explanations of natural phenomena, old Al saw that the universe was beautiful, and any explanations must be beautiful as well, he knew that a solution wasn’t quite right until it was beautiful in it’s simplicity and form.

Find your beauty.

Find in your eye and ear and heart that unique perspective on the world.

Then find the medium to express it in.

We need to see what you see, hear what you hear, share in your beauty and art.

We need your music.