I have a system for learning texts for works of music. I’m continually trying to make improvements to it, and to make myself actually follow the process. My process is a little bit different for concert/recital works vs. stage works, but it goes something like this:
- Find the text – preferably in a form I can cut/paste
- Translate the text – if not in English (or if in archaic English!)
- Dramatic intention – Paraphrase the text, work out a subtext
- Work the diction – make IPA notes/transcriptions, listen to recordings of native speakers singing or reciting the text
- Memorization – listen to the text, speak the text in monologue/dialogue/rhythm
- Review & Reinforce – this is the time when you’re in rehearsals and think you’re off-book, but keep flubbing little lines in the recits, etc., so it’s about finding ways to drill and kill…
In the next few posts, I’ll discuss some of the tech tools and online resources I use to get things done when I’m learning texts.