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  • Hello everybody, I would like to ask a question regarding the memorization of hymns. It seems that as I keep learning hymns, I start confusing some hymns for others. For example, in the beginning of the hymn Cemoti (around ero where you have to go really high for that part), I started to confuse that part with a similar, if not exact, part in the hymn hos erof. I was wondering if someone could have tips on how to keep all the hymns I know in order and not mess up. I mean if cantors such as Ayad and Gad know a ton more than me and don't mess up, then they must have some way not messing up.

    Thank you and God bless.
  • [quote author=mshenouda link=topic=12220.msg143860#msg143860 date=1314640106]
    Hello everybody, I would like to ask a question regarding the memorization of hymns. It seems that as I keep learning hymns, I start confusing some hymns for others. For example, in the beginning of the hymn Cemoti (around ero where you have to go really high for that part), I started to confuse that part with a similar, if not exact, part in the hymn hos erof. I was wondering if someone could have tips on how to keep all the hymns I know in order and not mess up. I mean if cantors such as Ayad and Gad know a ton more than me and don't mess up, then they must have some way not messing up.

    Thank you and God bless.
    [/quote]
    Just keep listening to that hymn and it should stick. Or try to sing with someone else and don't sing loud around that part. Once you sing the hymn a lot, it will be easier to not mix hymns up. I had the same problem and it went away after I sang in the background of a larger group of people. You can also try using a hazzat sheet
  • Tip #1: Don't compare yourself to Ibrahim Ayad or Gad Lewis. They have a God-given talent. They have spent a lifetime training and using their memories for hymns. Developmental or Gifted psychologists would probably consider them a whole different ballgame.

    Tip #2: Practice, practice, practice. Practice to the point where you don't notice the two hymns are getting mixed up. Practice to the point where you can pick up a note out of a hat and tell which line of which word it belongs to without thinking about it. It's like learning a language. You have to spend years practicing to read and write to the point where you know the difference between words like "steel" and "steal".

    Tip #3: Learn hymns in longer sections. We get so hung up on one note, forcing it into our long term memory. This reduction musical training is harder than simply fine-tuning your ear and mind. Sometimes breaking or reducing a section into multiple parts requires more cognitive effort. Learn a long section and the hymn flows easier (and becomes easier to learn) than note by note. Do you learn to read a language letter by letter or do you internalize longer words.

    Tip #4: Don't use a hazzat sheet forever. These are meant as a helping tool for beginners. They are not meant to replace internalization of the hymn. The problem with hazzat sheets is that we are going back to reduction memorization; breaking it up into 10 million notes, rather than 5 or 6 long sections. Hazzat reduction takes more effort. Not only are you spending mental energy to map 10 million notes, but now you're also using an external map to visually sort it out. More effort takes away from internalization and praying the hymn. If you're so focused on looking at a hymn (which uses mental energy), you'll have to work harder than a person who closes his eyes and sees the entire section in his mind. Look at what actors do. Does an actor learns his section by reading letter by letter, or does he visualize an entire section without reading it? And after a while, he does even need to see the long sections. The whole thing just comes out. The same with music. Music becomes the language.

    Tip #5: Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send you a mentor. Learning hymns, like learning anything from any spiritual guide, is an exercise in humility. Once you learn how to pray with humility, your prayers are a sweet fragrance repaying the Lord for the mentor he gave you. On the other hand, people who learn hymns without any effort because of their God-given talent can easily become the servant of pride and arrogance. I actually thank God it's hard for me to learn and sing hymns and sound musically esthetic. And I thank God for the mentors he has given me over the years.
  • [quote author=Remnkemi link=topic=12220.msg143869#msg143869 date=1314657385]
    Tip #1: Don't compare yourself to Ibrahim Ayad or Gad Lewis. They have a God-given talent. They have spent a lifetime training and using their memories for hymns. Developmental or Gifted psychologists would probably consider them a whole different ballgame.

    Tip #2: Practice, practice, practice. Practice to the point where you don't notice the two hymns are getting mixed up. Practice to the point where you can pick up a note out of a hat and tell which line of which word it belongs to without thinking about it. It's like learning a language. You have to spend years practicing to read and write to the point where you know the difference between words like "steel" and "steal".

    Tip #3: Learn hymns in longer sections. We get so hung up on one note, forcing it into our long term memory. This reduction musical training is harder than simply fine-tuning your ear and mind. Sometimes breaking or reducing a section into multiple parts requires more cognitive effort. Learn a long section and the hymn flows easier (and becomes easier to learn) than note by note. Do you learn to read a language letter by letter or do you internalize longer words.

    Tip #4: Don't use a hazzat sheet forever. These are meant as a helping tool for beginners. They are not meant to replace internalization of the hymn. The problem with hazzat sheets is that we are going back to reduction memorization; breaking it up into 10 million notes, rather than 5 or 6 long sections. Hazzat reduction takes more effort. Not only are you spending mental energy to map 10 million notes, but now you're also using an external map to visually sort it out. More effort takes away from internalization and praying the hymn. If you're so focused on looking at a hymn (which uses mental energy), you'll have to work harder than a person who closes his eyes and sees the entire section in his mind. Look at what actors do. Does an actor learns his section by reading letter by letter, or does he visualize an entire section without reading it? And after a while, he does even need to see the long sections. The whole thing just comes out. The same with music. Music becomes the language.

    Tip #5: Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send you a mentor. Learning hymns, like learning anything from any spiritual guide, is an exercise in humility. Once you learn how to pray with humility, your prayers are a sweet fragrance repaying the Lord for the mentor he gave you. On the other hand, people who learn hymns without any effort because of their God-given talent can easily become the servant of pride and arrogance. I actually thank God it's hard for me to learn and sing hymns and sound musically esthetic. And I thank God for the mentors he has given me over the years.
    [/quote]

    Two things: I never meant to compare myself to such great cantors that I probably will never be like them. Second I have never ever ever used a hazzat sheet/website. I have never written one for any hymn or anything relating to hazzats. I actually hate that stuff; it confuses me too much. Other than that, thanks for all the advice given from all replies.
  • [quote author=Remnkemi link=topic=12220.msg143869#msg143869 date=1314657385]
    Tip #1: Don't compare yourself to Ibrahim Ayad or Gad Lewis. They have a God-given talent. They have spent a lifetime training and using their memories for hymns. Developmental or Gifted psychologists would probably consider them a whole different ballgame.
    [/quote]

    I am going to have to disagree with you Remenkemi. Comparing yourself to the best in any field is the best way to improve myself. If I am going to say that I will never be like Ibrahim Ayad or Gad Lewis, then might as well not learn at all since I won't be good at hymns. Christ Himself even said "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:47). We strive to look for the best example, in this case, Christ Himself, so we can never slack off and always strive to improve ourselves.
  • [quote author=kmeka001 link=topic=12220.msg143885#msg143885 date=1314676238]
    [quote author=Remnkemi link=topic=12220.msg143869#msg143869 date=1314657385]
    Tip #1: Don't compare yourself to Ibrahim Ayad or Gad Lewis. They have a God-given talent. They have spent a lifetime training and using their memories for hymns. Developmental or Gifted psychologists would probably consider them a whole different ballgame.
    [/quote]

    I am going to have to disagree with you Remenkemi. Comparing yourself to the best in any field is the best way to improve myself. If I am going to say that I will never be like Ibrahim Ayad or Gad Lewis, then might as well not learn at all since I won't be good at hymns. Christ Himself even said "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:47). We strive to look for the best example, in this case, Christ Himself, so we can never slack off and always strive to improve ourselves.
    [/quote]
    i don't think George is encouraging "slacking off" but he is being realistic. We should try to reach perfection but sometimes that is not necessarily needed in the means to reach ultimate perfection. hymns are not a necessity. it's a mean to get perfection in Christ Jesus. this reminds me of the story of the monk who loved prayer so much and was 'perfect' at it that he disobeyed his father of confession when he told him to work more and pray less that he may balance his life. When he did not, he was deceived by a demon and thank god repented in his last hours.
    if you improve yourself in hymns (or anything else) to reach an extent seen in someone human or something else other than Jesus Christ, than you are not worthy of Him--you are doing all in vain. you yourself just said that the best example is Christ Himself....than why do you need Ibrahim Ayad to replace Him. Ibrahim Ayad or Gad  Lowis are just people/teachers/mentors he help us get to a specific point in our way to God.
  • [quote author=kmeka001 link=topic=12220.msg143885#msg143885 date=1314676238]
    [I am going to have to disagree with you Remenkemi. Comparing yourself to the best in any field is the best way to improve myself. If I am going to say that I will never be like Ibrahim Ayad or Gad Lewis, then might as well not learn at all since I won't be good at hymns. Christ Himself even said "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:47). We strive to look for the best example, in this case, Christ Himself, so we can never slack off and always strive to improve ourselves.
    [/quote]

    Don't misunderstand me. I'm taking this point from gifted psychology. I can study 24/7 for 365 days for the SAT's and I'm going to get the best score I can get. I know a person from my church who didn't study for the SAT's and got a 2100. This wasn't enough for her. So she took it again and study "a little more" according to her and got a 2400. I can strive to be like his girl but the reality is she is operating at a different level. The brain mechanism is not the same for her and I. I don't slack in my study, but I can't expect to be her. Even Christ didn't expect us to be 100% perfect in nature like He is. He told us to be perfect but still accepted 20, 60 or 100%. I would like nothing more in the world if every Copt in the world learned hymns like Ibrahim Ayad, Gad Lewis, Albair Ayoub, Wagdi Bishara and others. But God doesn't creat us all like that. The potter has chosen to fashion the pot whatever way he wants.

    This sort of reminds me of the story of St John the Short (Colobos). He told his brother that he wants to be perfect like the angels. So he left his brother (who was also a monk) and lived in the far desert without eating for 1 week. He returned to his brother and his brother would not let him in the cell. His brother said, "I don't know you. My brother is no longer a human. He is an angel." The story illustrates that there are levels of perfection. While we may want to be in the ultimate level of perfection, we are not all created to be so.

    I hope this makes sense.
    George
  • [quote author=kshenoud link=topic=12220.msg143877#msg143877 date=1314669721]
    Second I have never ever ever used a hazzat sheet/website. I have never written one for any hymn or anything relating to hazzats. I actually hate that stuff; it confuses me too much.[/quote]
    I think I was a little too harsh on the hazzat sheet. Fady at hazzat.com does a great job and a great service. He has shown his love for hymns and Coptic musicology by spending all this time creating a font and creating the maps. I didn't mean to belittle his service. I think it is useful. I wasn't really talking about his site or his maps. I was talking about novice deacons whom I feel are too attached to this mnemonic musical ethnography tool. As long as people want to learn hymnography, I shouldn't discourage any method. But the standard of memorization should not stop there. At some point in time, everyone needs to learn to memorize and internalize the hymns without the hazzat and learn the music language differently.

    If I offended Fady or anyone else who uses hazzat, I apologize.
    George


Memorial for HH Pope Shenouda

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