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Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could look at a piece of music once, instantly memorize the notes and then immediately start drilling it into muscle memory? The time you’d save using music mnemonics would be immense, and you’d experience much more pleasure learning music as a result.
Here’s the thing:
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You Can Memorize Music!
But there’s a catch.
What I’m about to share is largely untested. I’ve completed some promising experiments, but haven’t completed the full Memory Palace for any single instrument. That means I haven’t used the approach I’ll describe for you to its fullest potential.
UPDATE: Since originally writing this post, I have made great strides. Here’s a run down of where things currently stand with how to memorize notes on a guitar:
I’ve also finally gotten around to sharing how I memorized the circle of fifths.
I will continue exploring every nook and cranny of using mnemonics to remember music.
And when I’m satisfied, I’ll make a course about how you can use the method too.
In the meantime, the concepts are far too exciting not to share. They’re also so logical, coherent and mnemonically beautiful. It will be impossible for you not to grow in memory and mind if you choose to tinker with them.
And who knows? You might come up with a cool variation that winds up in the forthcoming book and video course.
For now, here are the most important things to consider if you want to learn music using memory techniques.
Music Mnemonics: The Ground Rules
First off, we need to establish some ground rules and guiding principles for music mnemonics. When talking about memorizing music, we need to be specific about what kind of music and for what instrument.
Or, we need to focus on particular parts of music theory. To just throw around the term “music mnemonics” risks confusing everyone.
If we’re talking about musical terminology, that’s easy. Just treat the terms like you would any professional material, like you would using the second edition of How to Learn and Memorize Legal Terminology. Since numbers might be involved, go in prepared with the Major Method.
If you want to memorize notes on the staff, there are already well-established mnemonics for that. I don’t have much to add when it comes to Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge for the treble stave and FACE for the notes between the lines. You can find lots more mnemonics for music like these all over the net, but in truth …
You’re Always Better Coming Up
With Your Own Music Mnemonics
Why does this matter?
Because you’re on the Magnetic Memory Method website to master music mnemonics and other memory techniques. Not goof around with yet another crutch of limited, short-term value. You’re here to learn skills that will serve you for life and that means learning to make music mnemonics of your own.
Here’s how a thorough reading and re-reading of this material will help:
What I’m going to cover in this post is the memorization of the notes on the fretboard of stringed instruments like the guitar and the keys of a piano. This material is a demonstration of what is possible if you combine a number of Magnetic Memory Method elements and see your instrument as its own kind of Memory Palace.
To accomplish this, we need to know how to use instruments like guitars and pianos in terms of what note falls on which spatial position. I’ll make a few suggestions about chords, but beyond that, I cannot currently say much. There are a lot of aspects to music and what I’ve got for you is just a piece of the puzzle.
But Oh What A Piece!
Let’s look at guitar first. For some much earlier writing I put out on the topic, you might want to start with Memorize Bach On Bass. Or, just dive in.
The fretboard of the guitar is a field that can be expressed using coordinates. In this way, the fretboard shares characteristics with the chess board (something I believe this approach will also help with when it comes to memorizing chess moves).
For example, E appears several times in the fretboard.
A string, 7th fret
D string, 2nd fret
E string, 12th fret
There are several more appearances, including the open string noted and 12th fret positions on the E strings themselves. If we say that each open note is represented by 0, as it is in guitar tablature, then we can agree that each note has a numerically expressible geographical coordinates.
This May Be The Simplest Unused
Technique In All Of Music Learning
Next, let’s try and make each string more concrete.
For example, I play primarily 5-string bass, so my strings all have an associated character:
B = Bob (Played by Bill Murray in What About Bob?)
E = Ernie from Sesame Street
A = Al Pacino
D = Dracula (As played by Bela Lugosi)
G = Grover from Sesame Street
Coming up with these figures took approximately 2 minutes. Probably less, but I didn’t have a timer running. If you play any stringed instrument, be it a 4-stringed violin or a 21-string sitar, I recommend you name each string. It makes for great mental exercise.
Next, since you’re a clever fan of the Magnetic Memory Method, you already know the Major Method. You’re set to get started.
You’d Be Crazy Not To Have This Math
Memory Weapon In Your Arsenal
In case you don’t know the Major Method, here’s a simplified primer:
The idea is to link consonants with numbers. Like this:
0 = soft c or s
1 = d or t
2 = n
3 = m
4 = r
5 = l
6 = ch, g, j, sh
7 = k
8 = f or v
9 = b or p
From this point, you can make words when you pair two numbers together by inserting a vowel. The vowel you use is largely arbitrary, but the trick is to find a word that represents a concrete person or object that exists in the world.
For example, we know that E appears in the 7th fret of the A string. Since 7 is a solo number, let’s call it 07. That gives us “s” and “k” using the Major Method.
The first thing that came to mind for me is the word “sack.”
Since the A string itself is represented by Al Pacino, having him do something with a sack tells us instantly that our target information is located on the 7th fret of the A string.
All we need now is a sign to tell us that the note on that fret is E.
Since we’ve already established that open E is Ernie, we can use him in the image. Therefore, the image of Al Pacino placing a bag over Ernie’s head to strangle him let’s us instantly decode the following information:
The 7th fret in the A string is E.
To take another quick example, E on the 12th fret of the E string itself could have the image of Ernie getting a “tan” from a “ton” of “tuna.” It’s bizarre and makes no sense, but is easy to remember. I’m compounding 3 words that have “t” and “n” to create words that mean 12 in the Major Method.
E on the 2nd fret of the D string is 02, which lets us imagine Dracula pushing the “sun” into Ernie’s face, again using the corresponding number-sound associations from the Major Method to create this word.
In sum, where E appears on the fretboard, we can instantly know where it is by having a predetermined system that links:
A string Bridging Figure with a note Bridging Figure to a sound-number spatial co-ordinate.
If for some reason you needed to play E in these three positions and wanted to instantly remember that order, all you’d need to do is experience either visually or conceptually a story in your mind:
Al Pacino pops a sack over Ernie’s head, but he escaped to get tanned by a ton of tuna before Dracula shoves the sun in his face.
It’s A Mouthful To Explain …
But This Technique Sure Packs A Punch!
If you had a character for each note, a character for each string and the Major Method, you could memorize the sequence of any riff, solo, scale or notes in a chord.
But There’s A Problem!
What if your instrument isn’t tuned in E or you change tunings often?
I’ll admit that I don’t have a solution for this, but I’m working on it. If you’re set in C, B, or any other note, then you can create this system using the core principles you’ve just learned.
When it comes to changing tunings ranging from a single string to placing them all in different tunings (in The Outside we played in C#), you at least have fixed relations to rely upon.
For example, if your E string is in C#, the first fret on that string will be D. You can name your string Bridging Figures and still use the Major Method and your objects or actions accordingly relative to the position of the notes in the tuning environment.
Another music mnemonics idea I’m developing involves the frets as columns.
For example, we’ve seen the 7th fret involve a sack, the 12th tanning and tuna by the ton, and the 2nd the sun.
What if these fret Bridging Figures represented those frets for each string? The 2nd fret A note on the G string also involves the sun (Grover pulling the sun out of Al Pacino’s nose.) The D on the 7th fret of the G also includes a sack (Grover putting a sack over Dracula’s head).
By operating in this way, you drastically cut down on the number of images and actions you would need to create music mnemonics for the entire fretboard. You also create a lot of repetition that could initially create confusion, however. You just need to dive in, experiment and see what works best for you.
How To Apply The Major Method To Memorizing Piano
In a similar vein, to get a similar spatial representation on the piano keyboard, you need only give each key a number. To make a word for each, simply assign a zero to each single digit, giving you nine words that start with s. Mine are:
01 = Sad tragedy face
02 = Sun
03 = Sammich (White trash pronunciation of “sandwich”)
04 = Sartre (the French existentialist philosopher)
05 = Sal (character from Dog Day Afternoon)
06 = Sash
07 = Sack
08 = Savi (friend from university)
09 = Saab car covered in Maple Syrup
I haven’t done all the keys on the piano keyboard, but assuming I owned an 88 hammer Grand Piano, the 88th key might be the singer of Voivod or a Volvo. In each case, there’s an extra consonant, but this would never lead to confusion because the piano I own would never have more than 88 keys.
The cool thing here is that you’ll always know not just where Middle C is, but also its number. And you’ll be able to create a story to memorize any chord, which can also be used to help remember scales and useful for many other applications.
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The One Step With Music Mnemonics Nearly Everyone Forgets
The tools you’ve just learned are exciting and will be game-changing for any musician who wants to learn them. You just need to sit down and do the preparatory assigning of the notes and numbers.
However, in order to get the fullest possible benefit, you need to also rehearse the assignments you make in your mind with the instrument in hand. Then, when you look at sheet music and make up a story, you can quickly “translate” that story into practice.
Following these steps will get the notes into long-term memory the fastest. In fact, you should not expect to or even desire to play music from the Memory Palace you’ve made of your instrument.
The sole purpose of this music mnemonics technique?
It’s a tool. You can use it for drilling the scales, music theory material and song passages into long-term memory for performance.
It’s a tool for making any piece of music part of you in ways that go beyond just recall and music muscle memory.
This should be your goal for language learning too, which I mention because language learning and music learning share many similarities. That’s true even if you use something like Gabriel Wyner’s Fluent Forever App.
When it comes to spoken fluency, the number one mistake people make: is thinking that they need to go into their Memory Palaces to find imagery and decode words on the fly during conversations.
This is not the case at all!
Rather, you use the Magnetic Memory Method learning process for Recall Rehearsal.
Recall Rehearsal means mentally revisiting the information a sufficient number of times to get the information into long-term memory.
So whether it’s foreign language words in a sentence or notes and chords in a musical phrase, use the mnemonics to drill the sequences into the muscle memory of your tongue or fingers. Even speed card memory pros take a long time reading the sequences they’ve memorized in their mind, far longer than it took to memorize the cards themselves.
When it comes to music, you’ve got to play it in real-time according to an established construct of time. The tools you’ve just learned will help, but must be used in the service of placing the music so it ultimately comes from your body an soul with minimal involvement of your memory and your mind.
Moving forward, I’ve ordered Dean Vaughn’s Vaughn Cube for Music Theory.
I’m a fan of Vaughn’s book, How to Remember Anything: The Proven Total Memory Retention System. However, after using his fixed, 10-station Memory Palace approach a few dozen times, I don’t find it as clean or practical as his work suggests and continue to prefer the flexibility of the Magnetic Memory Method. It’s possible, however, that his approach to music mnemonics will give me insight into:
* Better incorporating sharps and flats in the current method I’m developing. At the moment, I don’t see this as a pressing need because I already know a sufficient amount about music. But it would be helpful for others to have music mnemonics and other strategies for memorizing which notes take sharps and flats and where they reside on the fret and keyboards.
* Memorizing relative and minor keys quickly and permanently.
* Recall triads in major, minor, diminished and augmented forms for any note at will.
* Handle chord permutations with ease.
* Complete mastery of all the scales in every key.
* And much, much more!
In the meantime, are you ready to give the current state of this exciting new branch of the Magnetic Memory Method a whirl?
If so – Awesome! I’m excited to hear what you think about this approach to music mnemonics and look forward to your feedback on this preliminary description.
P.S. Gracious acknowledgment is due to John McPhedrine with whom I’ve had many discussions about this approach to remembering different aspects of music using music mnemonics.
Hello Anthony. Interesting approach.
Disclaimer: I’m not a musician or learning specialist, but I used to play a few instruments (keyboard and guitar) and sing.
I don’t have an absolute pitch (perfect pitch), just to clarify things.
The way I remember music (and this is also the basis of my language learning) is through somewhat recording sounds in my memory. It comes either with the kinestethic memory of how my fingers are put on the guitar staff, piano keyboard, or how my voice apparatus should be put.
It is ‘recorded’ (stored) as a chunk. And it is ‘decoded’ as a chunk.
Many musicians I’ve spoken to over the years do it similarly.
I can imagine this method may be quite prevalent among musicians (no evidence though), because chunking is one of the most effective ways of learning anything.
I think your method may work for guitar or flute, where the music (notes) record is only one line. I can’t see it working on anything that’s recorded on two lines (like piano or organs) – there is just too many operations to process at the same time.
I may be completely wrong though.
It would be interesting if you could test it on a group of people.
I’m curious to see what evolves. Best of luck!
Thanks for these thoughts and reflections, Joanna!
Certainly small passages are the bread and butter of dedicated practice, which can also be applied to rote learning vocabulary and phrases. One will wind up learning and refining a piece in parts at some level anyway in order to get it fluid.
Primarily, the technique I’m describing is for memorizing phrases, as you’ve suggested. However, it can also be used to memorize the components of chords (which are essentially all the notes of a particular family sounded at the same time).
In terms of actual performance, rhythm and the like, I don’t propose any memory tools for that … yet. But just as in language learning, cadence comes from practice. You cannot truly perform the practice of expression unless you’ve got the material memorized. Sure, you can perform from sheet music and many do it well, but it’s just not quite the same. And except for the safety of reference (which is really no safety at all), there’s no need for sheet music.
Quick question for curiosity’s sake: If you were to think about playing a song, would you be able to see in your mind where the piece begins and name the opening notes? 🙂
Hi Anthony. Another great podcast. Thank you. I love music, and I particularly love chess.
In fact, I had recently been wondering about the chess board as a memory palace since there are 64 squares and the chess players use Algebraic notation: from A1 to A8 to H1 to H8.
I thought perhaps I could use it to memorize a deck of cards, but the squares as memory stations are kind of similar, so I feel a better way to do it for me is my local bus (number 52 for my purposes), and cards get on at each location. If a card did not get on it missed the bus and is not in the deck. 😉
As for chess memory itself I could see it very well for memorizing openings or end games, or opening variations, traps etc.: a bit more difficult for middle games. But you have given me great ideas to work with there.
Mel Torme, the Velvet Fog, what a great image for a mnemonic Major method 35, singing Mellifluously. Mel comes from Latin for honey, so you could have Mel humming & buzzing around a hive or Night Court dripping with honey etc.. I think of many of his Christmas classics, so sound would add to the effect (especially for music fans).
Also, the vibrant images are so vivid it would help memorize so much.
The idea of the fret board as a mnemonic grid is very cool; it reminds me of a sort of SKIPNUM or SEM cubed grid, but on a smaller scale. I have made a SKIPNUM grid and want to apply it to card memory or date memory, and SEM cubed could work for a massive text book.
Well you always inspire me so thank you once again!
Thanks for this, Alex!
I like your thinking with the bus. It sounds like an idea worth trying. Will you actually imagine a bus traveling along the route (which could be a an image that slows your progress), or just zoom from station to station without imagining the space between stations?
It’s great that you know Mel Tormé. One of the great challenges of sharing mnemonic examples with people is that we are all so different. It’s so rare that personal mythologies match up. By the same token, we all have such a tremendous wealth of characters in our minds. There’s a lot of untapped value that could be accomplishing so much for each of us.
I’m glad that this post inspired you and can’t wait to hear more about what you’re doing with the grid you’ve described. Talk soon! 🙂
Anthony – Memory Magician and Now Rock Star! Your Band sound great man, I’m really looking forward to applying these memory techniques to my own Guitar playing 🙂
BTW, do you guys have any gigs planned in the U.K?
Thanks for this, Matt!
Actually, I haven’t been playing with The Outside since 2013. But I am working on a solo album – very slowly. The Magnetic Memory Method theme song at the end of each podcast episode is part of that album. Please stay tuned for that and thanks again for stopping by to comment. Please let me know how your music mnemonics experiments go! 🙂
Thankfully, imagination is dynamic where notions of space time and action are uninhibited by physical constraints.
In my journey I am the driver and collect the fares (a moment to recognize the passenger card to be able to remember its place). I need to stop momentarily to anchor the station.
If I wanted to speed up the process I suppose I could double or quadruple the passengers at each bus stop (26 stations for two; 13 stations for four). However, why rush? I want all my passengers to enjoy the trip! ?♥️♠️♦️♣️
Mel Tormé, Frank Zappa, Alice Cooper, Gilligan, 6 Million Dollar Man are all cultural icons in the same way as Roman senators, actors, poets, mythological figures and beasts were in Quintillan’s or Cicero’s day or Simonides and Hesiod’s
We will all find our own markers; whether it be Homer Simpson, constellations, geographical landmarks, or breadcrumbs (for Hansel & Gretel.)!
As for the grid methods, Self Contained Instant Phonetic Number Memory grid (as described by Tony Buzan) is a method designed by American polymath and activist Heinz Norden. The concept is to encode simple peg words according to vowel sounds (0 to 9) and consonants 00 to 99, Simple but effective.
However I think the more versatile method is the Major because once you apply it you’re on your way.
SEM cubed is a Buzan invention that can supercharge the Major system and can help you remember numbers past 1000. Applications for history, math, science abound.
Compound this with mind palaces and other (magnetic) memory methods and LOTS of practice and own vast amounts of knowledge and wisdom.
The only way to do something is to do something. You get better with time and dedication.
Well thanks again for your work and your forum Anthony!
You’re definitely right that the only way to do something is to dive in and do it.
I’ve been meaning to try SEM cubed, but in truth, I can’t think of anything where I want to learn that much information outside of language learning. And it’s hard for me to see how to add phrases to a system like that after significant amounts have been filled. But again, there’s really nothing to know without trying it.
That said, one funny thing I’ve read in the many responses to SEM is that many feel it’s only theoretical and has never been used. Even if this is true, theoretical mnemonics can still be powerful. As Harry Lorayne once told me on a call we had, even just thinking through mnemonics and their implications without ever using them can be powerful exercise for your mind.
I hadn’t heard the name Heinz Norden before and looking him up I find only references to him in Buzan books and a Wiki page on a person with that name who may or may not be the same guy. It would be great if you have any more specific info.
Thanks again for your great comments and I look forward to more very soon! 🙂
I was thinking of using Sem3 as a means to study for an upcoming IT certification, but I will possibly opt rather for many interconnected mind palaces (using my public-transit paradigm). It seems quicker that way to load a lot
of stuff into memory
A SEM3 construct might be applicable to someone who wishes to a acquire knowledge of all the bills a parliament has passed or all Supreme Court rulings or those 500 books you had to read for your dissertation! ?
As for Mr Norden I think it’s the same man. NYC tenants’ rights activist and prolific translator.
Well Anthony, please keep up the splendid work! A plethora of budding mnemonists very much appreciate your generosity!
Thanks for expanding on these points. And I’m so glad to hear that this site and the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast is reaching people who appreciate it! 🙂
Hello Anthony ! this application seems amazing ! you’re taking memorisation and incorporating it into more physical and practical habilities, which multiplies its power. I find it genius, thank you!
Glad to hear that you like this, Santiago. I’m also glad that you picked up on the relationship here between the mental and the physical. It’s always been present in the mnemonics for language learning, which get the muscles of the mouth and the mechanisms of the ears and eyes involved, but some other things we learn, less so.
Soon, I hope to work on some memory techniques for memorizing movements, which is something I’m also asked about frequently. I’m not yet sure to what extent mnemonics as I’ve explored them will apply, but I’m sure there will be some great discoveries to be made – ones that can also be related to remembering where to put your fingers to form chords on an instrument.
Thanks for stopping by to comment today. I hope to read more from you in our discussion areas soon! 🙂
This is brilliant. I go into the whole mind palace thing recently and this is an immense help for learning scales etc. Thank you and greetings from Germany.
Thanks for taking a moment to comment, Tilman. It is indeed a great help for scales and I look forward to hearing how you fare with it.
In the meantime, I send you many greets aus Deutschland too. I live in Berlin. 🙂
Another wonderfully useful and practical post. Thank you.
As a musician and language lover like yourself, I’m always very excited to pick up tips for improving either or both pursuits.
As regards naming guitar strings, do you suggest having different names for each of the E strings for example?
Thanks for this, Cathal.
I’m working on 5-string bass, so having two E-strings isn’t an issue for me. But John, whom I’m developing this with has suggested that you can probably mirror the second E string.
Likewise, you could experiment with mirroring all frets above the 12th the original set, i.e. the 13th fret has all the same figures as the 1st.
I don’t think this is a winning strategy, however. At the end of the day, it makes sense to bite the bullet and have imagery for each and every fret. That would suggest having a unique image for the 2nd E.
I’d love to hear what you decide to do as you proceed. 🙂
Thanks for sharing those insights. To be honest I find really hard to turn those tips into practice, regarding solos. Maybe it can serve as a remembering the starting point for some riffs. From these initial notes I think kinestethic memory would do the job quicker. But, to create a memory palace for the chords (characters) of many songs sound a really nice way to remember many songs. I never heard about these tecniques been applied by any musician yet. If you know post for us. I think I will try. Cheers!
Yes, this works great even just as a trigger to remember where certain phrases begin.
And if you know how to form chords with your hands and their names, there’s no problem remembering long sequences of them if each chord has a character associated with it.
Definitely the best thing is to get in there and give these techniques a try. You’ll discover so much once you’re in about both memory and music – you’ll wonder why you waited. It’s so much fun!
Thanks for stopping by to comment today. I look forward to your next post! 🙂
I read your article about memorising music but in practice, it isn’t going to work. You wont be able to “decode” all of the crazy images fast enough to apply them to a musical instrument!
Thanks for your feedback, Paul. I appreciate it.
However, decoding is not something that takes place during performance. As when learning a foreign language, we use the Magnetic Memory Method and the Big Five of Learning to get the information into long term memory so we don’t have to access the mnemonics during recall.
When you use it in accordance with these principles, it works great.
In addition, please check out this podcast with John McPhedrine. He’s done a lot with mnemonics for music and experience great advantages for soling and improvisation.
In fact, I believe he’s putting together a course on his discoveries and processes. They are different than what I’ve used on bass, and absolutely fantastic for deeper musical knowledge fast.
Enjoy the additional resources and we look forward to hearing from you again soon! 🙂
The benefits I found using mnemonics when learning notes and the triads all over the the guitar fret-board, was that I didn’t need charts or diagrams to remember these things.
Once I had my mnemonics in the place, I owned that info.
However, it still took drilling in order to solidify the info in my minds eye.
Eg, once I had everything in my palace to remember the notes of the fret-board, I would imagine the fret-board at different frets and match the images from my palace to know the notes.
This was a drill and not performance, but after a week or so I could name the notes on any fret without the mnemonic images.
Now, I can use the information faster than I can navigate the palace. However, without the palace to start, I would never have been able to get to the point of not needing it. Believe me I tried for years.
I like the language analogy best with music. I find there’re three areas to learning;
Understanding, Memorization and Practice/Performance
Mnemonics help with the memorization, but first you need to know why you need to memorize something. That ‘something’ (for me anyhow) comes form problems I want to solve in performance.
In the podcast you link to, where I explain the palace for my German Moods, Tenses, and Voices, I had a problem with performance, i.e. using the words I already knew in German to fully express myself.
From there I realized that my biggest issue was not knowing Moods, Tenses, and Voices properly, so I studied up and learned the concepts behind them (Understanding).
Now, there was lots I knew but couldn’t remember, so I created the memory palace to do so.
At this point (at the time of the podcast) I had a tool for remembering the information I needed without books, but it still took speaking practice to solidify the skills in practice (Performance).
Again, as with the fret-board, I can use these things fluently in German without needing the mnemonics, however, without them I wouldn’t have learned them as well, or if I did, I don’t think my understanding of these grammar mechanics would be so solid.
Hope that makes sense
Great explanation of the process and thanks for stopping by to share it. That all makes sense and supports the notion of music as a language, language as a kind of musical learning experience. They truly are related.
Your new site looks killer, by the way! Brilliant tagline too – shred on!
IS there a way to memorise music & scales & stuff using the memory systems touted on this ‘site?
I can do the PEG SYSTEM quite well but not sure how to apply it in a ‘Real World’ situation…
Is there anyone who’s heard of Memory Techniques being used in this way, please?
Thanks for this question and congrats on mastering the Peg System.
The answer to your question is yes, there are, and more than a few possibilities, some of which are instrument specific. John McPhedran discuss some of the memory techniques for music on this episode of the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast.
He and I have slightly different approaches, and he’ll be laying out his in a more formal course soon.
For the time being, I have some tutorials on using mnemonics for guitar, bass and a few notes on piano in the Masterclass. For general music theory mnemonics, Dean Vaughn has interesting ideas that John has used. I intend to do a full review of the Vaughn Cube for different purposes, including music, in the future, likely as an exclusive for my print Magnetic Memory Method Newsletter subscribers.
Thanks kindly again for your question and look forward to your next post!
Thanks for taking the time & letting me know!
I really REALLY want to play Saxophone BUT all I am doing is playing other people’s music from a book…
I’d really like to be able to recall a SCALE instantly but I’m not sure that the Peg System is the best thing for that?
I’ve scoured the web but to no avail
A peg system could work for this purpose, but I would treat the instrument as a Memory Palace first and foremost.
I’m interested in sax myself and will eventually get one. Until that time, I’d have to do a bit of research, rent one and then put something together for the FAQ of the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass.
I once studied flute back in the day, which has similarities, but I’d still want one in my hands before making any suggestions.
In the meantime, there are some trainings about music for instruments I have used memory techniques for, namely the guitar and piano.
But to be clear: Any mnemonic approach would help you establish the ability to scale at will and perform on an improv basis. But you wouldn’t want to be tied to it forever. As with language learning, it’s a stepping stone toward fluency, but serves more like training wheels on a bike. They will fall away eventually, ideally as quickly as possible as you reach for higher plateaus of skill.
That’s great please let me know if you have a Sax method going
I’ll try to find the Scales article you mentioned too
I have nothing for sax yet, but as I recall from when I studied the flute, everything taught in the Masterclass for guitar and piano should work for any instrument with keys.
There is no link to the FAQ section, as it is in the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass. If after learning these techniques and studying the tutorials on music in this section you still have questions, just let me know. We enjoy creating specific tutorials for our dedicated students.
so is this a different course than would be available for those, like myself, who have registered an email address?
Is there a cost & if so will it be a ‘one-off’ payment or a regular subscription?
I’m very keen on any Memory method that lets me recall Scales in a non-muscle memory type of way
Happy Easter, by the way!
Thanks for this question.
If you’ve registered for my free course, then that would have arrived in your inbox over a number of days. It will give you the basics of the Memory Palace and some of the techniques used within it.
For your needs, you’re going to want that basic understanding plus the Major Method plus muscle memory – unless you’re just learning music in your mind with no need for performance (which is perfectly valid). Otherwise, music memorization always involves muscle memory in the same way that learning a language always involves the muscle memory of both the mouth and the ears.
Since it is not the express purpose of the Masterclass to teach music memorization and I’ve included tutorials on it by request, it is perhaps not the right training at this time. I may in the future create a full music memory training, but cannot say when.
In the meantime, Happy Easter to you as well and feel free to learn more about the trainings available on the Magnetic Memory Method products page.
Hope this helps and talk soon! 🙂
It is for performance, yes.
Looking at your site & listening I believe it IS the Major Method & NOT the Peg System I’m familiar with.
Thanks for getting back to me so soon.
I think the Sax will have to be envisioned as a ‘vertical surface’, as it were, & different ‘levels’ be assigned for each note &/or the Solfege/Do-Re-Mi should be ‘encoded’ using memory techniques.
I’m just at a loss as to how to go about this -as is everyone else on the ‘Net!
I think that the fact that the Saxophone is a monophonic instrument means that it lends itself to a scale type of approach so pretty much ANY way of effectively memorising Scales will get a player 80% there
As you continue to explore these techniques, you’ll discover that there are no systems – except for the ones you create for yourself. That’s why I call it the Major Method, not the Major System (its common title). Words and their meanings matter.
When that is understood and one fully submits to memory training and takes command of their progress, hope isn’t necessary.
Enjoy the journey and look forward to hearing from you further. 🙂
Well it’s been awhile and I just don’t see any way to construct a memory method for learning the Saxophone
– I’m STILL confident that someone will discover a way but I’m afraid that it’s not me!
If you, or anybody else on here, think of ant pointers in the meantime I’d love to hear them… 😉
You will likely not “see” a way. The direct path to turning this instrument into a Memory Palace and memorizing notes is to learn mnemonics yourself and apply them to the instrument.
I studied flute several years ago and only stopped due to shoulder and neck issues. Based on my memory of the instrument, it’s clear to me how it can be done. It would be clear to anyone who learns the Major and is well-versed in the Memory Palace technique – as we’ve already discussed so far.
I strongly encourage you to learn how to do this by diving in and figuring it out. There are no “pointers” that will make any sense until you have the fundamentals mastered. When you have the fundamentals mastered, the need for tips will disappear.