For those that want to learn songs faster

veecharlie

Senior Member
I started doing a new serie on my channel where I share tips in under a 2 minutes timer. I'll try my best to keep this going every second tuesday but I won't be publishing them all here. (I don't want to be a spam)
This week's video is focused for those that want to learn songs faster, last moment or more efficiently.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfgAm1ZJGoc

Some time ago, I got called to gig along for a short european tour, I had to learn 21 songs + a new unpublished demo album (12 songs) in under a month and had no idea where to start honestly. That's when I started realizing I could make this a lot more efficient. Unfortunately short before the first rehearsal I was let known I was not guaranteed a contract neither a pay, so I declined the offer. (As my time is worth money, as well as the gear I'd have to invest into to make this possible like drumsticks, drum heads, etc.)
Nevertheless was a great experience. I gained a lot of knowledge into the "touring world" and also gained a couple of tricks like this one, call it hack or reverse egineering. lol

I hope this can be useful to at least one person!
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Some great tips, and repeated listening is definitely important! Complete memorization should always be the goal, but sometimes that's not possible due to the time allowed to learn them. In those cases, a set list with helper notes, specific notation, or even basic charts are required. I've had a couple of fairly immediate subbing gigs come up, where I had to learn a lot of songs that I didn't know.

Recently, I had to learn 44 songs on a week's notice. Mostly originals, and the few covers were different arrangements and styles than the 'hit' versions I know, so I was learning those from scratch as well. I made my own set list with references to each song's style, any cues and stops to watch for, ritards, and other particulars. In some cases where everyone was hitting a specific rhythm and I needed to be with them, I'd write out those bars and insert into the list. I would the listen to the songs while looking at my notes, to associate what I'd written with the songs.

I did the same for another band where I had to learn about 50 songs in 3 days... given to me on cassettes! :O Same thing - notes and rough charts got me through that subbing situation, and they actually hired me after that (I'm still with them almost 14 years later!)

The notes I make are probably not helpful to anyone else. I use words and references that I know what they're supposed to mean, but someone else wouldn't be able to easily follow. It's not intentionally cryptic, it's just whatever wording is helpful remembering the parts. Below is one set from a gig, and I wouldn't expect another drummer to walk in cold and make sense of much of it. But it doesn't take long before the songs are familiar enough and I don't need to refer to my notes.

One other helpful thing on short-notice gigs is to make sure one player - guitar, bass, whoever - gives cues as needed. I always tell them "just cue me when I'm supposed to something different than I'm already doing" and that seems to work. It's not a substitute for learning the song, but it's helpful to make things go smoothly until I do have it memorized.

Bermuda
 

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veecharlie

Senior Member
Some great tips, and repeated listening is definitely important! Complete memorization should always be the goal, but sometimes that's not possible due to the time allowed to learn them. In those cases, a set list with helper notes, specific notation, or even basic charts are required. I've had a couple of fairly immediate subbing gigs come up, where I had to learn a lot of songs that I didn't know.

Recently, I had to learn 44 songs on a week's notice. Mostly originals, and the few covers were different arrangements and styles than the 'hit' versions I know, so I was learning those from scratch as well. I made my own set list with references to each song's style, any cues and stops to watch for, ritards, and other particulars. In some cases where everyone was hitting a specific rhythm and I needed to be with them, I'd write out those bars and insert into the list. I would the listen to the songs while looking at my notes, to associate what I'd written with the songs.

I did the same for another band where I had to learn about 50 songs in 3 days... given to me on cassettes! :O Same thing - notes and rough charts got me through that subbing situation, and they actually hired me after that (I'm still with them almost 14 years later!)

The notes I make are probably not helpful to anyone else. I use words and references that I know what they're supposed to mean, but someone else wouldn't be able to easily follow. It's not intentionally cryptic, it's just whatever wording is helpful remembering the parts. Below is one set from a gig, and I wouldn't expect another drummer to walk in cold and make sense of much of it. But it doesn't take long before the songs are familiar enough and I don't need to refer to my notes.

One other helpful thing on short-notice gigs is to make sure one player - guitar, bass, whoever - gives cues as needed. I always tell them "just cue me when I'm supposed to something different than I'm already doing" and that seems to work. It's not a substitute for learning the song, but it's helpful to make things go smoothly until I do have it memorized.

Bermuda
This is great! I never had the opportunity to have to learn songs that fast as you,
bur definitively así have my own way of marking stuff. I normally try to stay out of drum notation as much as possible, I’m not a very fast sheet reader. Something I should definitely work on.
I also find cues the most useful, the whole communication in a performance for me is very important. The performance itself ends up always a lot better in general and it’s not “5 bedroom players on a stage and a player trying to communicate” kind of situation (have had that many times...I’m sure you too).
 
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