How to memorize your performance material!
Have you ever had this experience:
You perform and you forget a word or an entrance you never had trouble with before.
Not at home and not in rehearsal. That can be frustrating to say the least. You don't know how to make your memory a reliable ally because you feel all was well prepared and still you forgot.
The good news is, there is a way to work your song or monologue into your muscle
memory that will make you rock solid. It will speak the words for you even
if you don't remember them in the moment. You will more likely be able to sing even if you have a cold or don't feel well. You will not forget over time. That is the power of working your material
into muscle memory.
How? Slow motion! Slow motion will enhance all the sensations your body feels when you move
your tongue or jaw while enunciating. This will then go much deeper into your memory.
You could think of it as a roadmap in your brain it records the muscle action from syllable to syllable.
How to work:
Consonants are very important. Your tongue needs to move to make them sound or vibrate,
pop or hiss and this we will work into your memory.
For example the word: MILK
When you break down the enunciation motions for the word milk you will realize that
you have a lip consonant (M) followed by a consonant that leaves your tip of tongue
standing up midway inside your mouth (L) followed by the the touch of the back
of the tongue on the palate far back in the mouth (K).
So now say the word 3 times very slowly and feel the movements of your lips and tongue as you
go through those 3 different positions. Do it another 3 times slower than the first time.
When you repeat it think always ahead to the next position, the next syllable.
This way you create the habit of thinking ahead and your muscles will be prepared.
When you go through the positions make sure ONLY the muscles you really need
are moving. The slowing down helps you to detect any added tension or restriction in the throat or any additional muscles in the back of the tongue that try to "help".
If you feel that you cannot isolate the movements of your tongue then lie down on the floor and relax your whole mouth and lip and neck area.
Then with that very lazy feeling mumble through the positions, again in slow motion, but
this time you will have a real chance to work only with those muscles that you really need.
This will make your singing so much easier and will make you feel a flow that you might
have never felt before. Don't go looking for all the heavy sensations you might associate
with your singing. Keep true to creating a roadmap of the positions of your tongue and lips
for every single word in your song. Memorize the motion and see what that does
to your singing and security of performance. There is much more to this than what I could
write in one blog. But this is a concrete and hopefully clear approach that can make a big
difference. Look for further posts if you are interested in more details on how to work
a song or text into your memory for good.
To create a clear memory you need to work with clarity. Don't multi task or let yourself be interrupted. It is very helpful to create an atmosphere of well being when you practice. Maybe a cup of tea by your side or a candle will help you feel relaxed and open.
Protect yourself from interruptions they water down your efforts.
Also be aware of how long you truly can stay focused. Take breaks when you need them.
Do your favorite yoga exercise, listen to a great singer and get inspired or take your dog for a walk. Then come back to your work. If you feel good when you practice you will feel good when you perform.