Damien from Ireland asked about my mental process when learning a tune.

    • The short answer: I try to just hear the tune.
    • Instead of remembering information like fingerings, the key, counting, I try to internally “hear” the tune.
    • This process is called audiation. 
    • Singing is a learning step that leads to audiation.
      • Of course, it’s an amazing practice in its own right.
      • Any string player should practice singing what they play and playing what they sing.
      • This will help you to play in tune and remember melodies. It also helps you to visualize music and improvise.
    • As usual, I suggest starting with a small step.
      • Take the first quarter of a tune. 
        • Memorize it. 
        • Loop on that small bit until you can play it naturally without thinking too hard about it.
        • Transpose that little bit to a different strain. This will help you to learn and remember the melody.
      • Then internalize it more deeply by singing (or humming or whistling) it.
      • See if you can hear that little piece in your head.

    If you think about it, a melody has a lot of information, there’s a lot of things to remember. But if you clearly hear it in your head, then you just have one thing to remember. All that information is compressed into a single piece of information (the melody).

    Again, you can actively practice with singing and audiation.

Further learning


Singing and playing practice 


Joy of to the world of transposition

This micro-lesson is an excerpt from an office hours webinar I gave on December 16, 2020. View the entire live-stream with indexed questions here.

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