Posted by: Glenelg Guitar Studio | April 24, 2017

No more CRAFT days

Recently I was talking to Ian, a mature age student, about the need to memorise certain sections of a piece he was learning and we discussed the different methods that people use. Ian decided to put some ideas to paper in his effort to work out his best way to memorise music. Have a read of his jottings and see if they suit you.

Memorising is a major step in your musical progression and one that needs constant attention, however the benefits are huge.

I look forward to hearing any of your ideas on memorising, or maybe you have some thoughts on another guitar learning subject that you want to contribute. Please feel free to email them to me.


“Some days I seem to be able to remember pieces of music better than others; but why ?

I am now at the stage of my very slow learning of the guitar where I need to be able to memorise certain more involved sections. Some days are not so bad but others can only be classified as CRAFT DAYS (Cant Remember A Flippin’ Thing DAYS). Being a mature age student it’s not so easy to teach this dog new tricks so I tried to analyse how I best solve the problem of memorising.

A Psychologist friend said that at my age it is hard to keep more than 6 things in my “working memory”, that part that lets you multiply numbers in your head etc. Try multiplying 267 by 27 in your head !!.

After a lengthy discussion with him I arrived back at the things that Leigh is always going on about.

You can move things from your “working memory” to your “long term memory” in a number of ways.

Here’s the ones’ I’m using now.

Rehearsal. Make sure you know the music.
First analyse the whole piece looking for repeated bars, notes and rhythms and mark them on the music. My music books are now full of scratchings, arrows and circles and I know of some people who use various highlighters to mark repeats. I don’t try to memorise until I know where the music is going, although I do break it down into sections so I can start the process before I finish learning the whole piece.

Break it down. Start at the first bar.
Don’t try to learn too much at a time. 1 or 2 bars is enough for me.

Look for the repeated notes, rhythms and bars in the piece.
Mark them on the sheet music or maybe highlight them.

Hide the sheet music.
Play the bar/bars then turn away and see if you can play correctly.

Visualise the music.
I play whilst looking at my left hand so that I can later visualize the notes.

Try humming the bar/bars so that you get the rhythm.

See if you can now visualize the notes on the sheet music.
Some people think about what string and fret but I think about the note by its’ name.

Record and listen to the music
Listen to a recording of the piece if it’s on CD or get Leigh to record it for you at the speed you can play at.

Regular practice
Try to practice it daily. Remember that a short practice between other things is better than none at all”.

Ian is a mature age student at Glenelg Guitar Studio having decided that learning a musical instrument would be a good idea to keep his “mind alert”. He enjoys the challenge of guitar especially as he had absolutely no prior musical background. He keeps physically healthy with kayaking and bike riding and mentally fit with the Guitar. You can find his other jottings at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: