you may be asking, "Why should I bother memorizing a song
when the words are shown for you right there on the screen?"
used to think that it would look like I was "showing off"
if I wasnt looking at the screen when I sung. But, then
I realized that I never had that impression when someone else
your songs can be very advantageous for several reasons. First
of all, knowing your song inside and out will give you a tremendous
amount of confidence on stage. Secondly, it provides you with
great flexibility for your performance. You are now free from
actions that the monitor previously hindered you from doing.
You can move around, focus your eyes where you want to, adlib
if desired, and concentrate more on body gestures. Plus, memorization
is almost mandatory for faster songs, it looks more
professional, and it help you improve your timing.
begin. Have you ever remembered a song title but couldnt
remember how the song went, but when you heard the music it
all came back to you? Or how about when friend cited a verse,
and then you found that you could easily join in on the rest?
What happened? Well, before you had nothing to associate the
song with. After you heard a couple of bars or the start of
a verse, you were then able to fill in the rest of the song.
That is a perfect example of how memory association works. Now,
lets apply that same concept to memorizing the lyrics
to a song.
step is to get a copy of the lyrics to the song you wish to
memorize. There are many resources available to find the true
accurate lyrics, but for now I will assume you can manage to
find them on your own. The most important thing is to make sure
you have the correct lyrics before you start, since it will
be difficult to readjust yourself if you discover something
was inaccurate later on.
would recommend trying to figure out the underlying meaning
of the song and each verse. It will help you tremendously when
you can form mental images and attach feelings behind the verses,
instead of just memorizing each specific word. Next, study the
song structure. How many verses, choruses, and musical breaks
does it have? Which words rhyme with one another? Knowing the
rhyming words and patterns used will cut down the amount of
memorization needed since its relatively easy to recall
upcoming rhyming word in the next sentence.
do a little exercise. Think of one of your favorite songs and
recite the first verse. Now, this might seem easy to do at first,
difficult if you have no music or other words to associate it
to. Therefore, I found it extremely beneficial to fully memorize
the starting word of your song. Find a way to mentally associate
the song title with that first word.
the most time consuming part of memorizing a song - listening
repeatedly while following along with your lyric sheet. By doing
this, you are visually and audibly feeding the words into your
brain. Everybody has a photographic memory to some degree and
sometimes while youre on stage, you can visualize that
lyric sheet you studied for so long (or at least parts of it).
On average, it takes me about five hours to fully memorize a
If you have
problems remembering the beginning of a specific verse or lines
within that verse, look for ways to link it with words you do
know or create a "mini-sentence." For example, I had
difficulty memorizing Duran Durans "Hungry Like The
Wolf". The verses didnt relate too well with one
another, and the chorus would slightly change throughout the
song. I had to create little mini-sentences to help me. For
example, for the first verse Id think of the phrase "Dark
steam woman catch". Each word in that mini-sentence is
part of the beginning of each sentence for that verse. With
that in mind, its very easy to recall the entire verse
since I have the beginning word of each sentence memorized.
also difficult to recall the next verse following an instrumental
break. Therefore, look for ways to link it up the last word
of the verse
prior to the break, a musical instrument during the break, or
any background singer lyrics. Ive found that its
also difficult to memorize the order of words in a series. For
example, take the lyric line "gangsters, thugs, and smugglers".
For this case, I create an acronym of the phrase such as "GTS"
that I can quickly recall when that part comes up. Look for
words that run in alphabetical sequence (either forward or backward)
to also help you remember these types of acronyms.
think you have your song memorized, test yourself by trying
to sing along to the original song without looking at your lyric
sheet. Or better yet, if you have the karaoke CDG, try to sing
along with that for a true test.
you have it. Hopefully I revealed some insights that can help
you as you work on mastering your songs. Grab a cordless mic
and have fun!
with the kind permission of
Richard Baisner a.k.a.