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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
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I used to have a lot of trouble with memorizing licks, until I found out I should not expect it to "stick" by playing it a lot but I should to try to actively learn stuff.

It's going a lot better now but I'm not sure if I'm doing enough.

For example: I'm currently practicing 2 of greg fishman's etudes (elston avenue and stony island avenue form jazz etudes part 3), Elston avenue is particularly hard(208 bpm) so I'm playing it a lot anyway.

Should I try to memorize all of it? I want to "train" my memory to memorize stuff more easily

How long does it take you to learn a lick in twelve keys?

Thank you!
It depends. One lick one chord? Most of the time I can smoothly play it around the cycle in about 5 minutes or less. Unless it is has a lot of accidentals, then it might take me 7. If it's a 4 bar phrase I can get there in about 10 minutes. Technical exercises (and transposition) like this are pretty easy for me and I think it's one of my strong suits. My trouble is using it spontaneously in a musical (not contrived way).

I have been practicing this kind of thing for years and make it part of my daily warm up routine. Most of the time it's just licks, I have taken bebop heads around the cycle too. I put the lick in the context of the key or the chord and understand the numbers. I, IV, Vs...and 1, 2, 3s. Once I have this understanding, putting it in another key is actually easy.

How simple is "Mary had a Little Lamb?" I bet you could do that in all keys once you realized it's just Mi Re Do Re Mi Mi Mi; 3212333. So, my suggestion is to start short, start small, start simple, but start.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
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Depends on what you call really memorize but I can play all major and minor keys up down across the range and in 3rds and fourths (5ths 6ths and 7ths is harder but possible). I know my dim and whole tone scales. But for me scales are just technical exercises.
Yes, playing scales is a technical exercise. But musical ideas (licks) are often based on scales. If you know (cold) the intervallic structure of the common scales (which it sounds like you do) then you will be able to relate it to a musical passage.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
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4,881 Posts
Yes I memorized them, The problem for me with the nr thing is that it doesn't work when you have a lick with a lot of chromatics.
Yes, accidentals/chromatics are tougher, but the chromatic note is either just above or just below the chord tone or diatonic note. Remembering one of two things can't be that difficult can it?

Start simpler if it seems like too much. Try the first four bars of "Take the A Train". Then the second four.... Invest small, then you will start seeing the benefits of compound interest.
 
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