It doesn’t matter whether you a beginner or an advanced player, chances are you find memorising tunes difficult, right?
This is something we all struggle with but there are ways to overcome it and improve your memory.
Inside Sax School we talk a lot about preparing for performing and improving your memory is a bit part of this.
To get even more advice though, I had a chat this week with the amazing Fred Vigdor from iconic Scottish pop band Average White Band.
I asked Fred Vigdor from Average White Band…
If you haven’t seen them play, you really ought to. AWB are constantly on tour around the world and their show is amazing.
Also, no music on stage!
Fred’s secrets to memorising music.
So how does Freddy V approach learning music by memory and what tactics does he use in his practice to develop his “memory muscle”.
Fred had two main tactics that he uses all the time. In fact, these are the tactics he used to memorise all the music for AWB when he first joined them 18 years ago.
Step 1: Transcribe
The interesting thing here is Fred isn’t suggesting you sit down with a pencil and manuscript to “write” out a solo.
Instead, Fred says the best approach is to learn a solo or phrase by ear.
This way we internalise the music more, which in turn makes memorising the phrase or melody much quicker and more permanent.
The best part though is every time you learn something by ear, you are flexing your “memory muscle”.
Why Gospel Musicians have great musical memory.
Fred explained how in his home town of Atlanta he works with a lot of musicians from the Gospel scene. These are great musicians, but they play EVERYTHING by ear.
That means, each week they have to quickly learn a complete show of tunes, then perform them WITHOUT MUSIC.
Can you imagine how much “memory muscle” flexing is going on there!
Consequently, most Gospel Musicians have fantastic memories.
What is the lesson we can learn from this?
Every time you work on transcribing a new phrase, solo or melody by ear, you are also improving your memory muscle, so be sure to fit it in EVERY practice session!
Fred’s second tip – Listen!
Along with regular “ear” transcribing, Fred says we need to get a recording of what we are working on, and listen, listen, listen!
In the car, when you’re cooking, when you’re walking – anytime. Listen to that melody so you know it inside out and can easily sing along.
This is an important part of developing your “memory muscle”. The more you do it, the easier and quicker the process will become.
In the rest of the Guest Session we recorded for Sax School, Fred shared loads of tips and advice on building technique, creating emotion in your solos and overcoming nerves on stage.
Want to see the full “Guest Session” with Freddy V?
As a Sax School member you’ll have access to the full hour long session with Freddy V and other Guest Sessions with iconic players from around the world.
Plus, you’ll have unlimited access to the huge library of courses and lessons used by thousands of sax players every day.
Latest posts by Nigel McGill (see all)
- Janet Davies is our Student of the Week! - March 22, 2019
- March Q&A Session - March 20, 2019
- Tim Hall from Alaska is Saxophone Student of the Week! - March 15, 2019