By Sophie McLeod
Both performers and parents of performers know the stress of memorization! It can be so difficult to get even a few easy lines down, especially on a deadline. If you have an audition coming up or your off-book day is creeping up fast and you are struggling to memorize your part, here are five tips to help you lock-down your lines.
1. Get Into the Story
First, read through the script like it is a story. In other words, don’t run through it counting your lines; instead, read the full script so you can understand the larger narrative and the significance of the part your character plays in it. The better you understand the story, the more logical your lines will become. And the more something makes sense, the easier it is to remember!
2. Take It Line by Line
Next, break up your part into small sections and start memorizing line by line. Trying to memorize the whole script on the first try is much harder than simply focusing on mastering the first line. Once you’ve got the first line down, move on to the next one until you have completed the first scene. Focus on one scene at a time, and slowly work your way through the script, conquering each part without worrying about the next one.
3. Immerse Yourself in the Material
Listening to the material will help your mind absorb it more completely. If you are memorizing a song, download the album to your phone or iPad, make it your ring tone, or set it as the song that wakes you up in the morning. You could even create a CD of it to listen to in the car. If you are memorizing dialogue, record yourself running through it and listen to it as you walk to school. The more you immerse yourself in the material, the easier it will be for your mind to absorb.
4. Get on Your Feet
Work on your lines while standing up and moving around. The movement not only creates helpful blood and oxygen flow, but since your mind is a muscle, connecting tactile movements to your lines actually creates muscle memory. The more parts of your body that are engaged, the more they can help your mind remember what it needs to do and say next! Also, if you learn a scene sitting down, it will be harder to put the pieces together once you start the staging process. If you need to take some time to focus on the words, go for it, but make sure you then get up and say them while you are on your feet as well as with the music and choreography. Remember, a high-energy performance requires high-energy practicing.
5. Schedule a Trial Performance
Schedule a trial performance for your family or friends. This gives you an intermediate deadline and will ensure you are ready ahead of schedule. The trial performance can be formal (like on a stage) or informal (like in your living room). Or, if you are too scared to perform in front of someone real, film it. This will allow you to run through your performance in a situation where you are not able to check your lines or give up and start over. You will have to push through just like in a real performance. This will help you to see how well you know your lines so you know how much more practicing you have to do before it counts!
Memorizing lines and lyrics can be a challenging part of performing, but breaking it down into the right steps makes it manageable and fun. Remember, the better you are at learning your lines, the easier it will be to focus on giving a winning performance instead of remembering the words!
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