Instructables

How to memorize any sheet music

Picture of How to memorize any sheet music
Have you ever had to memorize a piece of music for a recital or contest? Frustrating, isn't it. Here is an easy to follow, step-by-step guide on how to memorize music and keep your sanity!
 
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Step 1: Learn the piece.

Play the piece through like you would normally practice it. Different students have different teachers and different teachers have different methods on how to learn a piece. Play the piece and practice every day until you have it perfectly learned.

Step 2: Line by line.

Picture of Line by line.
Play the first line, and only the first line. Play it 3 times in a row without making any mistakes. Then, cover up the music or put it aside so you can't see it. Try as best as you can to play just the first line. If you're having trouble, go back and play it 5 times in a row, then try without the music again. You can also try it measure by measure instead, if that works for you. If you get frustrated, take a break, walk around. Don't focus so hard on the memorization that you begin to get angry. Repeat until you have the first line memorized.

Step 3: Daily practice.

Depending on how long the piece is and when you need it memorized by, set a goal for yourself. A good goal would be 2 lines a day. If the piece is longer, go 4 or 5.
The next day/session of practice, repeat what you played the day before. Try it without the music first. If it's a little foggy, take a quick glance at the music, then try. Always review your previous practice session before you start something new.
When you have memorized the next 2 lines (or however many you have set for yourself), play it with the first 2, all without the music.
St.Louis3 years ago
Well, I play guitar, and most songs I play, I memorized by first listening to the song a few times so I knew the lyrics, which makes things a whole lot easier. Most lyrics tell some kind of a story, and if you can "link" parts of the music you play to parts of the story that's being sung, things get a whole lot easier to remember. When playing instrumental songs, I kind of make up my own story in my head, and link parts of the music to that story playing in my head. It's kind of tricky, but once you've got the hang of it, it's a great way to memorize a lot of songs, quickly.
cptbuc4 years ago
Another trick I have used in learning music is look for "standards", "repeats" and/or "choruses".... As a 25 year musician (virtually every style of music as either a vocalist, drummer or bass player) most music can be broken down into recognizable "components" and then you can just assemble the piece in your head. RE: uses familiar structures...classical, jazz, blues...etc, many and many times these "components" just repeats themselves. Thus sometime you just step back from the piece and look for the components...learn them only and then just memorize their order in the song and how many times they repeat. Also I agree with those who suggested listing to a recording (either prerecorded or recording of you and/or the group) helps a lot...then you just play what your hear in your head. Hopefully this will help others like it helps me.
i have 3 hours to memorize my music before the concert and i cant even play it with the music and instead of practicing,im on instructables!!!

  i am a failure!!
shinyegg (author)  Zaphod Beeblebrox4 years ago
u can do it!!
if i were u i'd find the song on youtube or someplace where u can listen to it, then just keep practicing and use my tips to memorize! i belieeeeve in u!! ;)
ok sorry i exagerated a bit replace concert with huge test but still its a really big deal thanks!! grat ible it helped a lot but i didnt quite remember i retaking the test tommorow
Whales5 years ago
O_O OH SHAT! This is exactl;y like my instructable, except mine was posted 20 days after yours! I had no idea your was even here, its even the same method!
Logan D5 years ago
I am a section leader in my marching band and this is how we memorize music. Listening to the music over and over is good for percussion, but taking the song in pieces is the only way for wind instruments to learn, unless you are dealing with individuals with great ears. Eventually, the drills breaks everything down again and you just relate the music to the drill.
microman1715 years ago
Make sure you DON'T learn it by playing it over and over... The end is played less than the start, so you get less confident as you go through. I play guitar, and I like to learn the music by learning the major riffs first. Then I listen to the song as much as I can to memorise how the song goes, then I just play along to the track in and out of my head.
sageserver5 years ago
I'm in marching band and we have to memorize our music, i play the quads. An easier way to memorize it is to just record the whole piece and listen to it for a long time(i listen to them on long car rides) when you listen to the recording hum your parts. you'll memorize it in no time.