The Spacing Effect

The Spacing Effect is a technique you can use to memorize almost anything.

In this lesson: https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/the-spacing-effect-bg-2001

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I can feel a lot of space here because of the…

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I’m interested in anything that will help me memorise stuff.

Where is it? :grinning:

Very cool, just googled it and read a brief summary. I guess it makes sense why I find songs relatively easy to memorize as I’m only memorizing one at a time and I memorize it while I’m learning it so the effort is spaced out.

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There are a few very interesting concepts in this lesson. I often find myself guilty of overdoing, like if I get 3 or 4 bars right at each repetition I go slow enough to check both hands fingerings, and the more I get it right the more I want to keep on practicing until I reach a point where I say to myself “I’m overdoing now , this is not useful anymore…well maybe just once more!” I’m going tochange this and work more on the 5minutes blocks. I think that the dragging out from memory without the musicsheet is really crucial; I spend a lot of time on this because it’s the moment when I feel I’m building a real connection with the guitar and even if it might be a bit challenging it’s very fulfilling. The only problem with the spacing up is that when you learn something really really nice then you don’t want to leave it “unplayed” for so long :slight_smile: Thanks for the lesson.

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I think this is a very good point and why so many people need apps or tabs sheet to play.
You need to practice from memory to play from memory but some people just stare at the music book or app and never develop their memory.

It’s also good for your brain and long term memory. Keep doing what your doing and you’ll have a sharp memory when you’re 90

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God I’m a patient one and I go slow with my learning…but I actually was hoping for some shorter term results :sweat_smile::joy::older_woman:

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Fully agree. When I first learned to play I was glued to my song sheets and thought it was just too hard to learn to play from memory. A friend at our music club nudged me one time to learn from memory and I figured I had nothing to lose. What surprised me was while it was a challenge at first, before long it became quite easy. And once you master it, it’s just great being able to spontaneously play multiple songs.

Just as I never ever regretted finally picking up the guitar and learning to play, I’ve never ever regretted learning to play from memory.

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That’s good to hear Tony. For me, memorising anything takes repetition. The older I get, the more repetition it takes. And then I need to review it periodically, as it tends to fall out! Do you have some sort of technique for helping get the music into your memory? Or is it just something that gets easier as your playing improves? I.e. the less brain power you have to dedicate to playing, the more brain power you can devote to memorising?

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I’m 64 years old now. I do a bit of walking as my daily exercise. Often I’ll take the lyrics of a song with me. I memorize a verse at a time. (well, typically 4 lines / phrases as some verses are really long). When I have the first verse seemingly memorized, then I either verbalize or sing the first verse followed by the first line of the second verse, then on to the second line as well and on it goes.

I do need to review periodically. Songs that I’ve memorized and that have fallen out of my playing rotation have to be re-memorized which often is only playing them a time or two while referring to the song sheet (actually it’s onsong on either my ipad or iphone). Then as long as I play it fairly regularly for a short while, it’s back into memory.

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Thanks for the reply. But how do you remember the chords? I have a good memory for lyrics, but I struggle to remember chord progressions. Maybe I should be a singer? :smile:

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Great question. Sorry I didn’t talk about that. For me learning to sing and memorizing songs just made the chords come along for the ride. Hope that makes sense.

For many songs it’s an easy 4 chord progression that repeats, often with just minor changes.

I remember before I learned sing I was playing Cohen’s Hallelujah. Anything but an easy 4 chord song and i struggled to remember the sequence as the C chord in my arrangement is followed by either an Am, a G or an F.

Once I started signing, the lyrics guided me as to what chords were expected next.

I think what it may be for me (rereading that still sounds vague,) is that I learn the chords first before I memorize the lyrics and it just sort of happens as part of the learning process. Thankfully the chords are almost always the same for each verse.

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@jacksprat this is something that is working for me too and something that took my playing to a new amazing level of enjoyment. If you don’t sing just hum and you’ll find your chords by ear. It doesn’t come overnight, a bit of practice is needed as this is a skill itself to develop, but the good news is that it actually doesn’t take long either! :blush:

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OK, that’s an interesting approach. All of the songs I want to learn to play on guitar are songs I’ve been singing along to for many years (decades in some cases), so I have the lyrics down pat. For me it’s a case of joining the chords to the words. One positive is it is VERY obvious if I’ve played the wrong chord, so I can stop and check my sheet music.

That depends on who else is around. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Just a quick one from me.
When I have learned the lyrics I use that to identify the chord changes. Should say at that point I have already memorised the chord sequence.
Michael

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I saw this mentioned in an earlier session, so I’ve started applying it to some of the ‘campfire’ songs I learned previously. One question: Say I’m revising something after 1one month. If I find I have to refer to my notes (albeit briefly), should I check it again after another month, or more frequently (a week say). or still leave it for three months?

Playing the wrong chord is a very good learning opportunity! Don’t look at the musicsheet, just try and play one of the chords of the song, your ear will tell you which one is the correct one! In this way you’ll really memorize things :blush:

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@JGAdmin Hey Justin, perfect lesson for right now! I have been doing some open mics - and been told that the songs where I am not looking at the chords / words sound so much better. Yet memorising them can be a bit tough.

This might be a dumb question - can you stack the practice eg 5 minutes one song, break, 5 minutes another, break etc - or have you found you really need to concentrate on one? Thanks so much :slight_smile: