4 ways to memorize lyrics without a lyric sheet

Duh I forgot something 52-4Well gang, not even a month after our last big Family & Friends musical for the sanctuary choir, we are back at it again preparing our junior choir for their own annual Family & Friends musical. This year I decided to eliminate lyric sheets for reasons I spelled out in great detail in my article Why you should stop using lyric sheets to learn songs ASAP .

So today I thought I’d offer a handful of tips I use to help memorize lyrics with no lyric sheets have been made available.

Break It Into Sections

This is actually one of the very first things I do when I’m studying a song to prepare myself to teach it. Breaking a song into sections gives you a smaller amount to have to memorize all at once. Try memorizing, for example, just the 1st verse. Then moving on to to the next section. Each time you’ve memorized a new section though, it’s important to go back and sing through from the beginning to the end of the last section you just memorized.

 Look For The Rhyming Words

The lyrics in most songs rhyme at some point. Paying attention to where those rhyming words happen in each line or stanza can help you remember lines. Using this method you know which words will have words in the next line that rhyme with them. This can be very effective at helping you remember the next line.

Connect With The Message/Story

Spend some time really internalizing the song’s message.  It is one thing, for example, to try to memorize a block of text. However when that block of text tells a story or make a point you can identify with from your heart, it’s a lot easier to remember it because now it you have an emotional and/or spiritual connection to it.

Use The Natural Rhythm And Cadence Of  The Lyrics

Every song’s lyric has a rhythmic flow. Places where it locks into the beat of the music, places where there are natural pauses, etc. These can be very instrumental (pun intended, lol) in helping you memorize song lyrics. For example, the following stanza would take you longer to remember if you approached it this way:

I believe the storm will soon be over. I believe the rain is gone away. I believe that we can make it through it. Oh, I believe it’s already done.

But watch how the pattern jumps out at you when you pay attention to the natural pauses and repeats as they are delivered in the song:

I believe

The storm will soon be over

I believe

The storm is gone away

I believe

That we can make it through it

Oh, I believe

It’s already done

Even though the lyric “looks” longer this way, you can see how much more natural and rhythmic it is. It stands out even more when you’re actually listening to the song.  These for tips are by no means an all-inclusive list of all the methods available out there, but they’re a good start. During my research for this article though, I came across a fantastic article that includes a much more exhaustive list of tips. I definitely recommend taking a look if this is something you struggle with. You can find that article here.

 

 

 

 

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6 Responses to 4 ways to memorize lyrics without a lyric sheet

  1. miracle says:

    awesome

  2. Claudia Looi says:

    Great suggestions Ron. We could also use hand motions.

  3. Jenny Shain says:

    Hey, great ideas on breaking up a song! Performance goes much more smoothly when things are memorized. Good post.
    I’ve always thought that the lyric powerpoint overheads at church should be written in the cadence, not the sentence, like you have posted above.
    Wish I could hear your next concert!

  4. Olga Hermans says:

    I did Toastmasters for several months and that is how they recommended to break down a speech and of course it also works with a song. Great advice Ron, I almost would love to be in a choir again….:)

  5. What a great suggestion. I’ve never thought of braking a song up in this way, but I can see how it would work.
    I’ve normally a poor memory when it comes to lyrics but this looks worth a try!

  6. Isn’t it interesting how rhythm can be used like that?? Great article….

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