Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Memory tricks

Anyone out there have any advice on how to remember songs more efficiently and effectively? I just realized that when playing a song I can play much faster if I memorize the lines instead of reading them as I go. I guess I never thought about it before and I always enjoyed just playing along with the backing tracks on the program. Now that I’m breaking them down Im finding I can increase my speed dramatically. My eyes apparently couldn’t process what I was seeing as fast as I need them too…I had thought previously that I just couldn’t play faster…I was wrong! I just got to know the material better. Bumps in the road, but a happy journey!


I normally just memorise small sections. or a measure. at a time (by repetition) right from the beginning, and make myself play them together (from memory) as I learn each new one.


Listening helps a lot. If you don’t know the tune predicting chord changes is a lot of fun.

When I am learning a new tune I’ll often work from TAB .TEF files in TablEdit… I spend way more time listening to the TAB than I do reading TAB. This I believe helps me remember tunes. Having said that, age plays a factor, some tunes are easier to remember than others.

Lot’s of Wood shedding. Once I learn the tune I set TablEdit on repeat and play along with the TAB over and over adjusting speed as I get more proficient. As I said at the beginning "listening helps with the learning/ memorising process


I second both above recommendations. Here’s my program that I’m currently using to learn Ben’s advanced mando Old Joe Clark:

1 - Listen to Ben’s version over and over. I was on the road a lot yesterday, so I put it on my phone and looped it. This part is important because once you start to learn the song, you’re doing more than just learning one song. You’re actually training your brain to learn where on the neck certain notes are.

2 - Watch the lesson videos or pull up the tab (which ever way you learn better.) Commit one measure to memory, then the second, then first and second, then third, the first, second, and third… you get it.

3 - If you’re learning from the tab and you find a spot that seems particularly tough, reference the video to see how Ben plays it. More often than not, I’m just making tough parts more difficult than they need to be.

And that’s it!

Sat down tonight and put pick to strings. Using the above method I had the song committed to memory and playing at about 50% speed in 2 hours. Now time for bed to let my brain integrate the lesson. (I’m constantly amazed by the integration process.) Then back at it tomorrow and hopefully record for the contest entry Tuesday night.


I do exactly what Fiddlewood does. Learning sections at a time makes it much easier to memorize and it also helps you nail the actual playing of the tune as well.

This same process also works well with memorizing Bible verses and passages!



I also use the Fiddlewood method. Although I’ve read in other threads, taking pencil to paper and writing down the lyrics is a very helpful memory hack. Have fun!!!

Butch B.

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Hey, I’m only a beginner but I’ve found that if I listen to and learn the actual song, usually from a YouTube video, I remember the melody a whole lot easier and I already know what comes next… if you already know the song/tune, that’s half the battle!