I’m always learning new music, whether it’s for a music therapy session, voice student, performance or gig. Many times I might have the words or lead sheet with chords in front of me, but not necessarily the melody line — which means I need to have it down pretty well.
My go-to method for learning new tunes is to either download the song or record it (if I wrote the song myself) and then make a playlist that goes everywhere with me. Spotify has come in very handy for this purpose, since I have the app downloaded on my laptop, iPad, and iPhone. I listen to the songs in my car, while I get ready for my day, at the gym, or while I’m doing mindless tasks at the computer.
This method works well enough, since it allows me to multitask. But I always wonder if there is a better way…now more than ever, because I have a gig coming up in less than a month that requires me to learn about two hours’ worth of new music!
So I’m curious: how do YOU go about not only learning new melodies, but getting them to stick? Please share your own method in the comments!
I listen to recordings, too, but the problem I have is hearing (and singing) the song a hundred times in a different key than I want to sing/play in. Maybe I should start recording myself in my preferred key. I’m curious to see what others do.
Like you, I find that *lots* of listening helps new music stick in my ears. I also like to spend quality time looking at the music while I listen, especially for those more difficult instrumental pieces. Humming along helps for those situations where you can’t just bust out in song. :-)
Great post Rachel! I use similar resources for learning new songs (ie: spotify, youtube, downloads, musicnotes.com if I really need the score). However, I try to stay away from listening to recordings (even of myself) over and over because 1) I internalize the lyrics and accompaniment better if I practice it myself and 2) I will, no joke, have trouble sleeping if I listen to a song too much! =) Kinda funny, I know…but this method ensures me a more restful night and a better musical product in the end! Good luck to you in your upcoming performance!