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Internalising Music 1




WHEN IT COMES TO learning tunes there is something of a debate between learning by ear and learning by written notation. In my opinion the issue isn't about where you start, it's where you end up. You want to be able to access a number of tunes from your memory and play them with relative ease. Some people find that if they learn tunes using notation, often they can't remember the tunes without the notation in front of them. "Internalisation" is the process of getting to know a tune so well that the need for thinking about it diminishes and you can spend the time more valuably adding technique, tone, quality, and, well, soul to it. You want to practise over and over until your left brain is so bored with what you're doing that it moves over into your right brain. At that point, you can do it without consciously thinking about it. We'll try some techniques as tasters. Let's think of one tune in particular, Soldier's Joy:

Soldier's Joy

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1) First let's imagine you've got the tune on a cassette. You would listen to the tune over and over, and hum or sing or whistle along with it, until you have it in your head and can hum, sing, or whistle it from memory without reference. Then try it on the mandolin, singing or humming it at the same time. This will reinforce the ear/hand neural links. 2) Now play the tune again, but don't use any open strings. You'll have to substitute 7th fret notes with your pinky. 7th fret on the D string is the A note, and so on. Continue to hum while you're playing. This is actually a good pinky exercise as well, and it'll help you ”up the neck•, although you probably won't like it much! If you're struggling with it, see the tab below to get you started.


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