Play it 25 X method

  1. Ed McGarrigle
    Ed McGarrigle
    In another thread on memorizing tunes and elsewhere I have come across the idea of learning to play a tune 25 times without a mistake as a means of cementing a tune.
    Iím wondering about others experience with it as I think Iím going to give it a try. Now, I donít think I play a tune by memory more than 2-3 times without flubbing it.
    Most of my mistakes happen at the last bar of A and B sections especially playing it the second time. I lose my focus. I think if I purposely try to do it 25 X s I will pay more attention and be more in the moment and focused. Also, when you employ this method do you do it over multiple sittings or one? I donít know that I can often devote that much time to a tune in one sitting but maybe thatís what I need to do?
    I am playing exclusively Irish tunes so they are short but I might be playing the Lilting Banshee until June.
    Any adherents to this methodology?
    Ed McG
  2. HonketyHank
    Ed, my experience is very similar to what you describe. I can play a new tune (like a tune of the month) until I am thoroughly sick of it and still screw up. And often on the last measure or two when I say to myself "Hey, you finally got through it!".

    One of the pros said that you should first be able to play the tune, then play it over and over again until you CAN'T make a mistake. I am still working on part A of that prescription.
  3. Ed McGarrigle
    Ed McGarrigle
    So, Hank and others out there , how do you decide when it’s time to move on to the next tune?
  4. HonketyHank
    Me? When the next tune of the month rolls around, Sorry, I couldn't help it. Fact is, I need a little refresher practice on just about all the tunes of the month I have worked on. Me, as an old toot with not a lot of time left, no aspirations toward stardom, and no reason to grind until I "got it", just say "that was fun --- now, what is next month's tune?" But there has to be more helpful answers than mine.
  5. Ellsdemon
    I play something like that, I keep playing it and playing it forever it seems like. What I will do is after I've memorized it, I'll start playing with it, adding double stops, slides, etc..., That keeps it interesting for me and it's easier for me to remember it once I've moved on to something else and would like to play it again. Same as Hank, I'm not going to be in a band or anything so I'm not overly concerned about keeping it available on the spot, but I'll remember something I did it that tune and then I'll use it for the thing I'm working on at that time.

    You can also, fake it to you make it, while you're trying to remember the exact tune. This is why I'm learning why it's so important to know the scales and notes by ear, you've really got to get away from reading TAB and start learning by ear. I'll use TAB to learn the song very shortly, but once I've gotten the notes learned, I practice by ear and recognize that I've screwed up something by my ear alone, It's really helped me to remember songs more and keep them available once I've moved on from it.
  6. FredK
    I run into this problem, too. The 2nd or 3rd round makes it hard to keep focus, especially near the end. First, I take anything I consistently mess up on and play that section over and over - slowly at first, getting it right - then picking up the speed while keeping the notes clean. It may just be a measure or two. For me, that builds the muscle memory so that section no longer causes me problems. Then, I go back and start putting all back together again. Mike Marshall is a proponent of this technique, as well. (Not putting myself anywhere near his ability and musicality - just stating what I've learned.)

    Focus can be a little tricky. As I get better, I start adding some double-stops, or slides, or hammer on/off to see how they sound. Making each A and B section a little different the 2nd and 3rd time around helps keep the mind from wandering away.
  7. Ed McGarrigle
    Ed McGarrigle
    It’s got me thinking. Maybe if I play something , say 3 times without messing up, I should play something else, then return to the piece I’m working on to keep it “fresh” in my mind
  8. Sue Rieter
    Sue Rieter
    I can pretty much play "Arkansas Traveler" all the way through from memory, but when I tried playing with my brother on guitar, forget it. What I am going to do is go back to MandoLessons and play with Baron's guitar part. When I can do that (25 times maybe), I believe I will be ready to try it with my bro again.
  9. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Speaking as the amateur that I am, I don’t think it’s a terrible thing to make mistakes when playing with others. If I get everything right on the rare occasion, that’s a bonus. Often when I’m working on a piece I’ll play it dozens of times trying to get the right feel and to improve what I can. Unfortunately, when recording or playing with others, the best I can do is get through it and enjoy it without destroying it. Playing it perfectly doesn’t work for me.
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