Magic Choral Trick #47 Memorization- backwards

This trick works whether it’s the brain or the voice that’s trying to memorize the music.

In the case of an eighth or sixteenth note run (as in a number of Messiah choruses), it’s really the voice that needs to learn its way around the passage. I know I’ve watched notes go by in runs – even when I was staring at the music – because neither my brain nor my voice could process what I was seeing fast enough. This will fix the problem.

Sing the last 4 notes of the run until they are really well learned and sitting easily in the voice.

Then back up and learn the second last group of four notes the same way.

Once the second last group is really known, attach it to the last group of four notes.

Then learn the third last group of four notes, and follow the same procedure.

I find that when a run is learned this way it becomes ‘imprinted’ on the voice, and almost sings itself.

The same principle works well for a song that you’re trying to memorize. Actually, it works even better if you write out the words.

Start with the last phrase and memorize just that phrase. Then memorize the second last phrase, and when you’ve got it, attach it to the last phrase. Keep backing up and working the previous phrase – then attaching it to what you’ve already memorized.

The beauty of this technique is that you’ll always be singing towards a part that you know even better – because you’ve sung each subsequent phrase more often than the one before.


About janetkidd

I've been waving my arms in front of choirs now for more than 35 years - and these are descriptions of all the very best things I've learned. I direct a Women's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Men's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Med School choir, and for a few weeks each year - Big Choir (about 100 voices) - which performs at an annual fundraising concert. Hope at least some of these Choral Magic Tricks will be useful to you - and thanks for reading. Janet

Posted on January 3, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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