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Memorizing lyrics to songs is one of those things that either happens without you realizing it or doesn’t happen at all – and is all the more frustrating because of the first case. Somehow, you’re able to remember countless lyrics and earworms, but the lyrics for a specific song you need to remember for a performance elude you. If this sounds familiar, have no fear, as these tips will have you memorizing lyrics in no time.

Sing Along

This sounds as simple and obvious as it is. Singing along with a song naturally helps you remember it better, as your brain connects the music, lyrics, and the act of you actually singing it, reinforcing your memory and knowledge of the song several times over.

Learn the Music First

That said, if you have to play an instrument while singing, it’s best that you learn the music before trying to learn the lyrics. It’s a lot easier for most people to have their memory of the tune reinforce their memory of the lyrics rather than the other way around.

Learn the Lyrics First

Stage actors often try to learn the first lines of monologues and then the lines right before and after. This gives them their “cue” and then the next line or two after to help build momentum. Instead of trying to remember the whole song in one go, creating smaller chains of memorizable bits like this can help you make the whole process easier.

Remember the Rhymes

Few things help us remember something like a rhyme, hence why earworms can be so catchy. This can also be your secret to memorizing a song. Once you have memorized those first lines and your cue, try and remember the words that rhyme. This can help you remember the flow of the song, linking one rhyming line with the next. Memorizing the music first can also help make it easier to remember these rhyming lines.

Take these tips to heart, and you’ll be much better at memorizing a song before your next performance.