Monday, 27 June 2016

Weird and Wonderful Memory Techniques

I teach a couple of adult ukulele groups as well as going into schools and teaching on a one-to-one basis. A couple of weeks ago I set one person the task of learning the chord sequence for Pachelbel's Canon. One week later they had learned it. Unfortunately he couldn't remember the first chord.

You can see the chord sequence and the tab for a few ukulele variation at!pachelbels-canon/tt3oq
It isn't too difficult to learn eight chords but it takes some effort and even when you know it you might forget  the first chord. So it was then that I set about using memory techniques for chord sequences. We spent five minutes talking about a weird and wonderful story, so bear with me.

You are lying in the sea, the sun is blazing down and the there is a calmness to the waters, but you are in the sea. Your first chord is C. A giraffe is walking on the water towards you and a giraffe begins with g so the next chord is G. There is a jockey on the giraffe but it is a actually a miner, and you can tell because they are dressed like a miner complete with miner's lamp. The next chord is Am. The miner doesn't need to hold on to reins but can eat a full English breakfast, in particular he is eating one egg which is a minor part of the breakfast. Egg minor means the next chord is Em. He is thinking about his favourite football club (FC) and their ground (FG).

The chord sequence is C G Am Em F C F G and in the space of five minutes I have had classes of primary school children playing the chord sequence for Pachelbel's Canon, and you can hear lots of other tunes there including Streets of London. There is a nice riff to Marguerita Time by Status Quo and you can transfer a lot of your new-found memory skills to play this riff. I'll put this music on my website in the near future and you'll see the pattern.

The best moments for me in the last couple of weeks have been when someone has come in and not heard any of the story but they see someone playing the chord sequence that they couldn't play five minutes earlier.