Memorizing Lyrics

Originally published: 02/2012 by J Wynia

I’ve now been taking the song classes at The Center for Irish Music for a couple of years. One of the challenges issued by every instructor there is to genuinely memorize a song and make it our own. And, every time I hear that, the challenge resonates with me, but I never seem to get anywhere on it.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve decided to set myself some modest goals to completely memorize the lyrics to 5 songs per semester.

When I was a kid in elementary school (a Christian school), memorization was a key part of my education. I was required to memorize not only Bible verses galore, but poems and other texts as well. Among the only childhood ribbons I have (never participated in childhood organized sports) are for competitions reciting poetry.

So, I know I can memorize plenty well, if I put my mind to it. However, I believe there are more effective techniques than the brute force methods I used as a kid.

As I thought about this and reflected on what I’ve read about memorization, I realized that what I really wanted was a web-based tool where I could enter the lyrics and have it blank out words to be supplied by the memorizer.

Obviously, if such a tool could adjust how many words should be dropped out, starting with just a few and gradually reaching the point where all of the words are missing. If you are able to fill in all of the blanks, you’ve got it memorized.

That, combined with writing the whole thing out a few times and I think I’d be on my way to learning songs quickly and thoroughly.

So, last night, while watching TV (when all my prototyping seems to happen), I put together a quick app to do the random word dropping. I called it “Text Memorizer” and you can try it out at that link. It’s REALLY simple. No saving or keeping track of “scoring”. It just highlights the box in green if you get the word correct.

We’ll see if it accomplishes the goal. Regardless, it was fun to put it together and a nice distraction from the database-heavy work I’ve been doing lately.

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