Rote Learning Vs. The Memory Palace Of Your Heart

memory palace for musicDear Memorizers,

The Musikmesse in Frankfurt is an incredible wonder to behold and I had the chance to talk to many musicians about memorization while testing countless amazing bass guitars.

As it happened, one of the best interviews I conducted was with the drummer of my own band. He was talking about how so many musicians practice by playing with a recording or with a metronome instead of actually performing the song from memory. Actually, as he put it, real musicians play music from the “memory of the heart.”

This instantly reminded me of Memory Palaces and the temptation to fall back on rote learning. There is a difference between playing the foreign language words and terminology we’ve learned from the strength of our associations as opposed to with the crutches of rote learning.

Yes, testing our memorizations is important. For those of you who haven’t seen it, I’ve created a video about an effective way to do this using Excel files here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMPMuOyfke4

But ultimately, the real magic happens when you can “play” the foreign language words you’ve memorized from the memory of your heart. What this means in terms of using a Memory Palace is that you are “playing” the associations in order to play the music of the words you are looking for. This is, in effect, the crux (but not the crutch) of my video course on learning and memorizing foreign language vocabulary.

A mystical way of looking at it? Perhaps, but I do think it is a lovely metaphor.

Until next time, make sure to teach someone what you have learned about memorization. It’s the best way to deepen your own understanding and to help make the world a better – and more memorable – place. The more we remember, the more we can remember, and the more we learn, the more we can learn.

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