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Remembering songs


Tman

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Anymore I play once a year for a gig coming up in less than 2 weeks. There are 3 groups of songs I am dealing with: Songs I've played since I was a teenager in the 70's, Songs I've played for the last few years with this band and brand new songs to me.

 

Group one, I can play in my sleep. Group 3 I just have to listen over and over and learn them period. We're all in the same boat and all have agreed to play exactly like the record.

 

Group 2 is giving me some problems. Some I keep making the same stupid mistakes over and over and I'm afraid I may do that at the gig which will sound bad. 38 special Rockin into the night - C-Em-D to G not F. I go to F very time even though I tell myself it's G, it's G. It resolves into F. I find myself at work trying to visualize the chord changes which helps as a refresher.

 

Any tricks? How do you do it with a time crunch?

 

Maybe write the chords in big block letters and place on stage? I've done that before. It works.

 

The real answer is practice, practice, practice, right?

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When I practice on piano I notice some songs that have the same notes but different patterns trip me up because I'll confuse the note pattern and/or rythm. This is why I make sure to practice similar songs in group AFTER I've gotten them down on their own separately. I hope that makes sense, basically I force myself to deal with the weakness.

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You already know the answer... [wink]

You're right. Taking the path of least resistance. (translation, laziness)

 

When I practice on piano I notice some songs that have the same notes but different patterns trip me up because I'll confuse the note pattern and/or rythm. This is why I make sure to practice similar songs in group AFTER I've gotten them down on their own separately. I hope that makes sense, basically I force myself to deal with the weakness.

 

Good suggestion and I should play those songs by themselves then together. I'm freaking myself out a bit because of the time crunch and inability to have enough practice time.

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i will write a few chords down, to a change i seem to have brain farts over, and set it on the corner of the monitor so i can see it but the crowd can't. or maybe the first few words to the 1st line of a song. gimme the first few words and the rest will follow. bu like you said, practice practice practice,

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Well, Cee, Ee, Dee and Gee all sound the same at the end. F doesn't rhyme with the others.

 

Or you could imagine something like Oprah wearing a G String while she's "Rockin Into The Night". [biggrin] That image should get stuck in your head and be a reminder.

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The easy answer is "practice practice etc. and more practice."

 

The problem is one of time when it comes to chords on a "new" song that may have a dozen possible chord changes that may or may not feel entirely "natural" to a given musician.

 

Serously, I'd suggest the big letters on the floor if it's a rush.

 

I've also noticed that among the world's finest "classical" musicians I've known in ensembles, they nearly always have music on stands in front of them.

 

I have a lady friend, for example, who's certainly qualified for about anything with a masters degree from the conservatory in Moscow. She uses a computerized bit of sheet music EVEN FOR material she wrote for herself.

 

I figure not all of us can be a Segovia to memorize a book of some 500 or more pieces ready for performance.

 

But that does not mean most of us cannot manage to perform professionally even with some sort of "music" in front of us, be it a lyric or a chord chart or a tab or a sheet of notation, whatever is more appropriate.

 

Some may suggest I'm lazy but - I've never seen a major orchestra's concert without the sheet music even for the conductor, even if all have played the piece off and on for 50 years. Then again, maybe classical musicians are more lazy than rockers or folkies?

 

m

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I play along songs at home, when I start making the mistake of trying to go to a different chord I simply turn off the music and play the song with no background, only then my brain realizes it does not sound right.

 

Have you tried playing along with songsterr.com, maybe looking at the chords/notes will help.

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Ditto the practice thing. That's a no brainer.

 

But I'm with M. I see no shame in music stands. Especially on 2 weeks notice.

 

Likely the only ones in the crowd that will notice your stand will be musicians.

They will also most likely be the only ones in the crowd to notice a mistake you play.

 

I would go with the stand.

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Another on point... when I was in a mostly country some '50s-60s rock house band trio back in the mid '70s, we technically had a book of some 2-300 songs. The other guys and I all knew the tunes but sheesh, lyrics to that many? So we had a music stand the two "pickers" used and a lighted stand for "cheat sheets." It had the key for the voices and the lyrics. We knew the music and how each other played and the rhythms and...

 

Usually we'd intersperse stuff we knew the usual type of local crowd liked with other material. Sometimes I'd do vocals, sometimes one of the other two guys. Arrangements were pretty much standard but not really a total copy of the better known recording.

 

It worked. We got paid. Crowds came in and ate late suppers and then drank too much and danced - sometimes too closely or too much with somebody else's spouse and we'd turn up the amps. And they came back the next week, even after the fourth-rate fisticuff attempts the week before.

 

Or there are cheat sheets like football players use...

 

In the old folkie days, the up-side of a flattop inevitably had a taped-on songllist and lyric cheat sheet.

 

m

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All the best with the gig Tman - I've seen your clips on here and think you are an excellent guitarist and even if you make a mistake its over in the blink of an eye, the band quickly moves on and the audience don't even notice [thumbup]

 

Weirdly enough when I have that issue something tends to click and it comes out fine at the gig ... of course then I stuff something up that I'd never had a problem with [biggrin] so I can't really offer advice.

 

For some reason I detest stands for Rock bands (even the singer).... don't know why, 'cos I actually admire the way classical musician read the music while they play... I think my brain just computes it as 'not Rock n Roll' [huh] ...go figure..

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Scales...

 

We actually built a "pulpit" for that house band - some of the original cup holders, too, yea those 40 years ago. <grin> Large type on the cheat sheets.

 

Basically the audience saw what almost looked more like a table for an ashtray and drink glasses 'cuz we'd not play by the clock but to keep folks on the dance floor or to otherwise get involved in the gig 'cuz sometimes we could have some decent joke lines between songs.

 

I think you have a point, though, in that a band has gotta feel the gig. I've actually done solo gigs with a table next to a chair for a drink and in the old days, an ashtray. It worked, but it wasn't rock - at least it wasn't rock played off the record.

 

m

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I do have to say that I also am not a fan of music stands in a "rock" setting. I've been in two bands where the singers have used them and they were always flipping through papers between songs. I never made an issue of it within the band, but I felt it looked tacky or cheesy on stage. It would be different for something like a Big Band or Classical music, which is more formal. That's just my opinion.

 

I also know what the OP is talking about though. There were certain songs we did where I always wanted to go to the wrong chord for some reason. I even have a funny video of a jam of "Simple Man" and I keep playing a D chord instead of Amin. #-o

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Milod...

 

heh heh I seem to remember an ACDC video clip with Bon Scott singing from a pulpit - so it can't be an entirely bad thing. [biggrin]

 

Each to their own, but yeah I don't like the stands.... and whilst I have brief control of the soapbox, may I add laptop computers to that statement as well - as than seems to be an emerging trend on stage. [-(

 

Now, Milod - I trust your band didn't have computers on stage back then because I doubt the average stage could have taken the weight of your 1950's IBM nor would there have been an ashtray big enough to make it look natural... [laugh]

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Really great stuff, thanks so much, everyone.

 

Saturn that's how I got through school. Come up with rhymes or mnemonics, typically dirty, to help me remember something. You could have mentioned anyone but Oprah it is. That visual is now it.

 

I think the solution is to have a cheat sheet of some sort. I have had them on the floor but I think Karloff's suggestion of kinda hidden by the amp is good one. I usually have my glass of chard (I'm a Californian) on my amp so I can take a drink between songs and look at my cheat sheet during the song. Nobody will notice and it'll look as rock like as white wine allows.

 

I am by far the shortest guy in the group. Our non guitar player singer puts his music stand right in front of me and it pisses me off because I am totally hidden.

 

I practiced tonight. Hit the G then flubbed the F because I was ecstatic over hitting the G. I have 2 weeks. Must..... find..... water......

 

'Scales thanks for the well wishes and compliment. A week ago I was kinda dreading learning all of this, work has been a bear. Now I'm getting psyched.

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I'm in much the same situation, where a group of us, play 1 time a year,

and about 2-3 hours worth of songs. We try to limit it, to songs

that we all know well, or...songs that are your basic 1,4,5 blues

and country progressions, that we can do extended Jams on, if needed,

to burn up time. We use music stands, with chords and lyrics!

If just for a quick reminder. We're all over 60, so we have our

fair share of CRS (Can't Remember Shhhhtuf!), and since we only

play once a year, and all live not only in different towns, but

different states. It's very difficult, to near impossible to even

rehearse, except a night or two, before the actual gig. We DO rehearse

our own parts, on the agreed on songs, arrangements, and key signatures.

The rest, is providence, or serendipity. [biggrin] Luckily, it's a "Fun"

gig, and not meant to be taken too seriously! Still though, we DO try to

do the best we can, all things considered.

 

CB

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I think to a great extent that remembering songs is an innate skill. I remember how my son would come home from pre-school and sing a song (some with an accompaning physical routine) that he had learned the very same day. It blew my mind! Being a guitarist, singer and songwriter, that skill continues to this day, where his memory for songs, even originals (his and other folks') that he isn't familiar with, is incredible. For us mortals, we have to rely on repetition and "cheat" sheets.

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I do have to say that I also am not a fan of music stands in a "rock" setting.

 

 

 

Each to their own, but yeah I don't like the stands....

 

 

I actually do agree with both of you. They just don't look right in a rock setting. 100%.

 

But dudes only got 2 weeks notice to perform.

 

And it's only a couple tunes he has issues with. Pull the stand out for those and put it away for the rest.

 

But at my age I can barely remember how I get to work in the morning..

I need all the help I can get... lol

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I actually do agree with both of you. They just don't look right in a rock setting. 100%.

 

But dudes only got 2 weeks notice to perform.

 

And it's only a couple tunes he has issues with. Pull the stand out for those and put it away for the rest.

 

But at my age I can barely remember how I get to work in the morning..

I need all the help I can get... lol

 

 

Exactly. And me too!

 

 

 

The songs that I have had problems have been played by us before between 1 and 4 times. Songs I really like or really like playing (Josie) came back with a bit of practice then it's just down to remembering what goes where and for how many times. I played with the other guitarist and the drummer 37 years ago! damn. What's cool is that the same looks that we used to give each other - here comes my lead, don't change yet; one more go round before the break, you really stuffed that, dude, that was awesome, turn the hell down man - are still there. Those, especially the drummer raising his eyebrows meaning here comes the big change, are a major help. That and writing it out.

 

 

To be honest, we didn't say dude in 77.

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Actually my wife was doing a bit of web surfing the other day and came up with a study that suggests that the older you get, assuming a generally healthy person, the reason you have more difficulty remembering specific things by immediate recall is that there's so much more information stored in your brain.

 

It's kinda like a computer hard drive that has to work a bit harder on a text search on the entire drive than it takes for a text search in a small folder or flash drive. The "sort" simply takes longer and semi-conscious search criteria may not be the best mode to find the information.

 

I hope that's true. <grin> I ain't gettin' any younger, anyway.

 

I do know that when it comes to lyrics, I sometimes will mix pieces. And in the folkie side at least, there are so many pieces with lyrics that cross among songs that it's a matter of "which do I usually do in this one?"

 

Ditto at times with songs in the same key. I'm a fingerpicker type and if I'm doing an instrumental of "Old Cape Cod" and "You Belong to Me" (think Jo Stafford or Duprees), I'll sometimes fall into the other's progression. Duh... So I'm starting to work on a different arrangement for one or both that will derail the "problem spot" where there's too much similarity and the muscle memory takes over the music flow.

 

BTW, T- that latter may be part of the mind/body wanting to do something else at that chord change... Got another fingering/fingerboard position maybe?

 

m

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