Author: Tony Joett

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Joett is a vocal coach, singer & songwriter whose

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How to Memorize 13 Songs in 8 Days By Tony Joett

  in Self Help | Published 2012-03-22 09:00:17 | 213 Reads | Unrated


When I received an invitation to perform at a Beaujolais event celebrating French wine, I decided on a jazz repertoire But wait a minute

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When I received an invitation to perform at a Beaujolais event celebrating French wine, I decided on a jazz repertoire. But wait a minute. I had to memorize enough songs to give a one-hour concert. Daunting? Indeed, and I only had a few weeks to rehearse. But I knew I could do it. And so I set about selecting all the jazz classics by all the greats I’ve always wanted to perform (but hadn’t)…Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Shirley Bassey, Nat King Cole, Luther Vandross, George Benson, Julie London, Dionne Warrick to name but a few. If you’ve struggled with memorizing son
gs – whatever your circumstances –this article will show you how it is possible to memorize thirteen songs in eight days. I did it. And so can you.

I run a vocal coaching business, which meant for most of the day, I am teaching. The only solution to this problem was to close down my studio for a week so that I was able to rehearse all day long from Sunday to Sunday without interruption. Eight days in rehearsal! I started at around 11am and didn’t stop till midnight. Well, I took the occasional breaks AND a nap in the afternoons to recharge my batteries, but other than that I just kept going. Now let me show you how to do this (my way).

Most importantly, read the lyrics as you sing along to the original songs. Don’t attempt to commit ANYTHING to memory from the outset. READ everything. Rehearse only a couple of songs a day. Don’t overload yourself with too many songs. On subsequent days, ALWAYS move on to the next batch of songs. Don’t look back. When the eight days are up, take a rest. I reopened my studio for another week, during which I didn’t touch ANY of the songs. And then I closed down my studio AGAIN for eleven days in the run up to the concert date.

Remember, I had already memorized the songs (pretty much) during the first eight days. What I was doing now – in phase two – was to make sure I didn’t have to think. It had to all fall in place naturally. This is the time when I started to work with the backing tracks to all the songs I had been rehearsing. I sang along to the original songs and immediately stepped into the backing track—I was able to do this by sequentially recording the tracks on a CDR labeled “rehearsals”. In addition, I sang the songs ‘a cappella’ – without the music—and without the lyric sheet in front of me. This helps you memorize the song in its proper order and structure—further committing it to memory as it should sound. Memorizing songs can be hard work, especially when you tend to forget the next line. Does that happen to you? Well, here’s a clever way around that. I use a system called queuing. This is where I queue the next line (in my mind) before the time comes to sing it. It helps you stay focused. And once you’ve done it enough times, it comes naturally. Queue every line before you hit it. Play the songs you’re struggling with whilst you sleep at night. Have it play in the background, on low volume. While your mind is resting in the alpha and delta levels, your subconscious mind soaks up all the lyrics in their exact order. You will be amazed how much easier it becomes to sing your song the next day without referring to the lyric sheet.

In Summary: Memorizing a large batch of songs – especially – may seem next to impossible, but with a good system in place it is very much achievable. You’ll want to stop everything you’re doing to focus. I closed down my studio and stopped working altogether. There was no other way for me. I don’t know what YOUR circumstances are, but please do bear this in mind. You will need TIME to focus…with minimal interruption. Read the lyrics as you sing along to the original songs. Repetition makes perfect. Play the songs you’re struggling with overnight whilst you sleep; remember to rest at some point during the day; and after several days of rehearsal, take a few days off to allow the brain to decipher all of this information you’ve been feeding it. The brain will remember if you give it time. Never push or force yourself to remember. Just feed the brain, and let it take care of the rest. That’s how I memorized thirteen songs in eight days.


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About the Author

Joett is a vocal coach, singer & songwriter whose music (available for download on iTunes and Amazon MP3) can be heard on Internet radio Jango. He teaches voice five times a week and has a growing list of students from around the world. In 2011 he is set to release a voice training CD Learn to Sing with Joett; and his debut album Vintage In Color. For regular updates, please visit his blog at: