1. Brute repetition.
Speak the text repeatedly. Sing the text repeatedly.
2. The rule
of three: Work a long phrase until you can repeat it perfectly from
memory three times consecutively. Do the next phrase the same way. Combine
the phrases and work them as one longer phrase. Build by phrases until
you sing perfectly from memory an entire section of the aria/song three
times consecutively. Build by sections until you have memorized the
the text without the music. In other words, memorize it as a poem, rather
than as a song. Then put it with the music.
the rhythm. Sing the rhythm, on one pitch.
5. Try memorizing
while lying on your back. Studies have shown that actors memorize roles
faster while working on memorizing in a supine position.
the song backwards. Memorize the last section first, then the next-to-last
section, working your way forward.
Reward yourself with each song memorized. Get a frozen yogurt or goody
that you really like. Don't get it until you've sung the piece successfully
in the presence of others (in other words, performed it from memory
the words on paper while repeating the song from memory.
9. If you
visualize the words in order to memorize, visualize the words in the
upper left quadrant of your vision. I read this in a book on Neuro-Linguistic
Programming. Oddly enough, it seems to settle in the memory quicker
and more deeply by using the upper left quadrant.
10. Try to
"hear the piece in your head," and to "listen" to it, preferably right
before you go to sleep -- or to "hear" it while you are listening to
Gratification: When working on an entire role (opera, musical, or song
cycle), memorize your favorite piece last. Memorize the most difficult
music first. Memorize ensembles before solos. In other words, delay
the gratification of memorizing your favorite parts until the other
sections are memorized.
12. Try working
on memorization while doing some mindless chore. Repeat phrases over
and over again while cleaning up or washing dishes or sweeping. Refer
to the score when necessary, then return to the mindless task and work
13. Get a
friend to "repetiteur" for you, playing the piano accompaniment over
and over again while you sing, in order to memorize. Don't try to make
the song technically perfect while doing this kind of drill; you may
even "mark" the voice. Just repeat the music many, many times in order
to drill it into your mind.