The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #106314   Message #2195346
Posted By: Marje
16-Nov-07 - 12:05 PM
Thread Name: Do you sing from Memory?
Subject: RE: Do you sing from Memory?
It's all very well advocating the use of crib sheets, but I'm finding that the eyesight is deteriorating at about the same rate as the memory - bummer, innit?

But seriously, I do think that it's important that a singer takes the trouble to learn the song. There's really no excuse for singing it all from a book or word-sheet, it just comes over as lazy and half-hearted, and puts a barrier between you and the audience.

But having some kind of prompt nearby for a song that you really know and might just momentarily go blank on - that's another matter and can be done quite discreetly.

My method (I've probably said this here before) is this: for each song, I take a piece of card, about the size of a credit card, and write the title and the key on one side. On the other side I write a few words (often the first words of each verse) to remind me of them. I include any other problem areas, such as easily confused lines, and things like place-names that tend to slip my mind.

The process of making the cards is part of the learning process - it's helpful in pointing up the tricky parts of each song. You'll find if you try it that you probably actually know about 90 percent of the song, it's just a few key words and lines that you get stuck on.

I check out the cards before I go out to sing or even just before I sing, just to refresh my mind and remind me of the bits I might forget. If I feel uncertain I may even clutch the card in my hand while I sing, but I don't think I've ever had to use one at this stage. (I have, of course, sung impromptu at times without using the card, and occasionally got totally stuck. It happens.)

If you really can't be bothered to learn the song and work out some way of getting it right, you're unlikely to be able to engage your listeners. Well, this listener anyway.