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It has always been difficult for me to learn music by heart
Repetition is the key. You have to play it over and over until it is fully internalized. And, most important of all, get away from the written page asap. I've found it almost impossible to memorize a piece of music by simply reading it; best to learn it by ear or read it only briefly, then continue working on it by ear. This may not be true for everyone, but I think it is for most. Probably because as long as you are reading the notes, you are relying on a visual cue, a 'crutch' so to speak, and it doesn't get fully internalized in your ear/mind. That's my hypothesis anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

p.s. Just realized I said something similar earlier in this thread over a year ago...but it still stands.
 

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I learn songs by listening, singing the parts and then reproducing what I sang. Charts are great for big bands and formal groups but
in small venues the stand separates you from the audience.
 

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Yani SC-800 & TS-900u, YAS-62
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Hello,

what is your method of choice, if you have to learn a large chunk of sheet music (not chord changes but actual written out parts) by heart? An example would be written parts for a sax quartets or similar groups with 2h+ repertoire. These are usually well paying gigs (company events), but as a sub it is often on short notice, so it means very few rehearsals, a lot of sheet music to internalize and no or only a few reference recordings.
Coming from piano background and having to memorise classical music, I found out that I am very visual and see memorised music as either piano keys or written music-not the whole sheet, just bits and pieces. Knowing intervals helps too, especially if switching between alto and tenor. See if you are a visual learner and maybe try to "spotlight" bits and pieces(especially in bed before going to bed-great way to fall asleep, too). Maybe you are an audial learner-then hearing the pitch and memorising the melody would be more helpful. If you are analytical player-then sure, learn the chord progression(which I also sometimes see as letters in my head). If you are kinaesthetic learner-then, just play it over and over. But usually the combination of the above helps. The problem with the sax(clarinet and such) is that the music stand is on the way of the sound. Not so much for flute or trumpet. You will develop your technique for memorising, it'd just like a muscle which can be developed to a degree. Good luck!
 

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Yani SC-800 & TS-900u, YAS-62
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Ah, also, I read somewhere that the first time you learn something, your brain dismisses it as irrelevant, so you need to repeat it after about one hour. I can't find the charts I liked, but it's something like this:
Font Terrestrial plant Screenshot Parallel Electric blue
Font Terrestrial plant Screenshot Parallel Electric blue
Font Terrestrial plant Screenshot Parallel Electric blue
 

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Ah, also, I read somewhere that the first time you learn something, your brain dismisses it as irrelevant, so you need to repeat it after about one hour. I can't find the charts I liked, but it's something like this: View attachment 110978
I think there's definitely value in repeating something on a semi-regular basis over a relatively long period of time. But following those charts exactly wouldn't work very well for memorizing music. Except for the simplest, most basic phrases (and probably even with some of them), I'd need way more than 4 or 5 repetitions over a 2 or 3 month period to fully internalize the music. I mean, I will repeat a 2 or 4 bar phrase that I am trying to learn at least a dozen times or more right up front and another dozen times the next hour or the next day until I can play it perfectly without thinking about it. Whatever it takes to reach that point. Then maybe revisit it again over a longer period of time just so I don't forget it.

One technique is to keep repeating a musical phrase until you can play it 3 times in a row flawlessly, then move on. Also, play it slowly at first, if necessary, then gradually bring it up to the tempo you want to play it.

I've heard it put this way: "Play it until you can't get it wrong"
 

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Reading from sheet music has definitely hampered my ability to memorize for the sax. For so many years and even to this day I rely on the written note to trigger my fingers for the corresponding key, much like touch-typing.

However, for keyboard - and now violin - I’ve always looked at the sheet music only to get me started on a few bars and from that point on I rely on the sheet music less and less. It’s actually so much easier to memorize the music in this manner.
 

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I used to memorize music pretty readily. Repeated readings of the piece and it would "just happen". Now I very definitely do not experience this. As we age we have to work at engaging the memory process. One way to do this, according to Stanford's Andrew Huberman, is to fail and be uncomfortable. I've found that practicing sequences faster, so that there are occasional mistakes, increases my focus and retention. Of course the trick is not to practice the mistakes.
 

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Yani SC-800 & TS-900u, YAS-62
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Reading from sheet music has definitely hampered my ability to memorize for the sax. For so many years and even to this day I rely on the written note to trigger my fingers for the corresponding key, much like touch-typing.

However, for keyboard - and now violin - I've always looked at the sheet music only to get me started on a few bars and from that point on I rely on the sheet music less and less. It's actually so much easier to memorize the music in this manner.
yeah, and then you decide to remove the sheet music thinking you know it all by heard and you get screwed half way through the piece ?
 

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yeah, and then you decide to remove the sheet music thinking you know it all by heard and you get screwed half way through the piece 😅
Only when I have an audience. 😺 Play it 100 times perfectly at home. Total disaster playing when out with others.
 
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