10 Tricks to Remember Lyrics Easily

10 Tricks to Remember Lyrics Easily

Do you have trouble memorizing lyrics?

I feel your pain.

Memorizing song lyrics can be a big obstacle for singers.

So many students have come to me and asked: “How can I memorize music fast?” It’s not always easy, is it?

I myself have been struck by the inability to remember song lyrics, sometimes at the worst possible times!

Hey, even seasoned professionals can forget the lyrics to their own songs.

If Beyonce and Demi Lovato can forget lyrics, you can too.

Exclusive Bonus: Download the FREE Memorize Lyrics Cheat Sheet and memorize lyrics twice as fast!

But if you have trouble memorizing lyrics, or have been wondering how to memorize lyrics quickly and effectively, don’t worry.

Famous Singers Forgetting Lyrics on Stage Compilation HD

Anyone can learn how to memorize lyrics really fast with these 10 tricks.

How to Memorize Lyrics Fast:

  1. Learn the Music and Lyrics Separately
  2. Surround Yourself with the Song
  3. Sing Along
  4. Memorize the First Lines of Each Section
  5. Stack the Phrases
  6. Remember the Rhyme
  7. Create a Story
  8. Research the Song Meaning
  9. Connect Emotionally with the Song
  10. Write the Lyrics Down

How long does it take to memorize a song?

Obviously, this varies from person to person, and from song to song.

However, if you’re wondering how to memorize lyrics easily, and retain those lyrics for a long time to come, read on.

Trick #1: Learn the Music and Lyrics Separately

If you have to play an instrument and sing simultaneously, do yourself a favor and learn to play the music first.

It’s already hard enough to play and sing at the same time.

Learning a new song and the lyrics means doing two hard things at once.

So, how do you memorize music quickly? By dividing the labor!

Learn the music first, then focus on the lyrics.

So go easy on yourself and get the chords/melody/rhythm memorized before you tackle the lyrics.

Trick #2: Surround Yourself with the Song

When you’re learning the lyrics to a new song, your brain is constantly sorting the musical information into patterns.

Much of this is subconscious.

Think about it.

You don’t listen to Time of Your Life and think: “Ah that’s a I – IV – V progression in G followed by a B part starting on the vi chord.”

Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) [Official Music Video]

No way!

Your mind automatically starts sorting that information for you.

The best way to become familiar with the structure and lyrics of a song is to surround yourself with it.

Have a copy of the song EVERYWHERE!

Play it when you wake up, listen to it on your phone while you cook breakfast, play it on your car stereo.

Just put the song on repeat and you’ll be amazed at how quickly the lyrics become second nature to you.

But be careful not to overplay the song.

You’ll want to keep the song fresh so that you stay motivated.

Trick #3: Sing Along

Now that you’ve learned the music and surrounded yourself with the song, you’ve already begun memorizing the lyrics.

Now, print out a sheet of the lyrics and start singing along.

Remember to surround yourself with the song and sing along everywhere.

In the shower, in the car, taking the dog for a walk.

Many people learn primarily by doing.

Ultimately, you WILL have to sing along so why not get started now?

Trick #4: Memorize the First Lines of Each Section

The mind remembers information by association.

Imagine that you had to recite the Pledge of Allegiance starting from the second line.

It’d be tough!

Starting from “of the United States of America” would be incredibly difficult.

But if you started off with “I pledge allegiance”, your mind would probably jump in to fill in the rest.

That’s because the first line is the one that triggers your memory.

In the case of the song you need to memorize, simply memorize the starting line of each section of music.

Let’s say that you need to memorize Adele’s version of the Bob Dylan song “Make You Feel My Love.”

ADELE - 'Make You Feel My Love'

It’s a beautiful song.

Here are Dylan’s lyrics:

These are lyrics to the song "Make you feel my love" by Bob Dylan

So in this case, start by memorizing the first line of each stanza like this:

“When the rain is blowing in your face”

“When the even shadows and the stars appear”

“I know you haven’t made your mind up yet”

“I’d go hungry, I’d go black and blue”

“The storms are raging on the rolling sea”

and “I could make you happy, make your dreams come true”.

Now you’ve taken a song with 191 words and reduced it to 52.

You just shrank the amount of the song you need to memorize by 73%.

Nice work!

Trick #5: Stack the Phrases

Now that you’ve gotten the first lines of the song memorized, stack the 2nd and 3rd lines on top of it.

Sometimes this happens automatically.

Often if you’ve memorized the starting line, the rest of the lines will naturally follow.

But for those who need lots of practice or have a slightly more complicated song, start by memorizing the first line, then adding on the 2nd line.

Once you’ve got those two lines memorized, stack on the 3rd line and so on.

Let’s use Ed Sheeran’s song “Thinking Out Loud” as an example.

Ed Sheeran - Thinking Out Loud [Official Video]

The lyrics are so beautiful and touching.

So let’s memorize the first verse by stacking the lyrics.

This is a picture of the lyrics to "Thinking out Loud" by Ed Sheeran

Start with the first line:

“When your legs don’t work like they used to before”.

Then stack the 2nd line on top of it:

“When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet”

Then the 3rd line:

“When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love”

Finally the 4th line:

“When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks”

I find that this method works best for students who are more visual since they can visually see each line “stacked” on top of the last one.

Trick #6: Remember the Rhyme

Rhyme has been with us since at least the 10th century BC.

And rhyme has been used by poets and songwriters for millennia because of its amazing ability for memorization.

Many historians believe that rhyming was invented so the stories of that culture could be passed on before there was a written tradition.

So let’s use the power of rhyme to help us memorize our lyrics.

Take a look at Billy Joel’s great song “Only the Good Die Young.”

Billy Joel - Only The Good Die Young (HD)

Here the first verse:

This is a picture of the first verse of the Billy Joel song "Only the Good Die Young"

So if we take a look at the rhyme, we’ll see that 3 out of 4 lines have the same rhyme.

Specifically on “wait”, “late” and “faith” (technically “faith” isn’t a true rhyme but Billy Joel can do what he wants).

That means if you can remember the rhyme in the first line is “wait”, you can probably fill in the rest of the “ay” vowel rhymes.

Then you just have to connect the dots with the rest of the words.

Trick #7: Create a Story

What is a song?

Basically it’s just a story set to music.

In pop music, at least 75% of the lyrics are about love or romantic feelings.

The classic story is: guy meets girl, guy loses girl, guy tries to get girl back.

It’s a lyric formula as old as time.

So, how do singers memorize lyrics?

Easy! They pay attention to the story!

Just look at how Amy Winehouse turns this guy/girl dynamic on its side in “You Know I’m No Good.”

Amy Winehouse - You Know I'm No Good

In this story, she’s the one who loses the guy.

Check out the lyrics:

This is an image of the lyrics to the Amy Winehouse song "You Know I'm No Good"

In the 2nd and 3rd verses, she’s trying to get him back.

But it doesn’t work:

“There’ll be none of him no more

I cried for you on the kitchen floor”.

Whatever the song you have to memorize, try to create a story from it.

You may get lucky and have this classic love and loss formula.

But even if the lyrics are a bit more complicated, try to create a story line from each verse.

I talk about this trick more in depth in this video:

3 Tricks to Remember Lyrics Easily!

Trick #8: Research the Song Meaning

There’s no better way to understand lyrics than knowing exactly what the song is about.

Sometimes you get lucky and the artist actually tells the public what a song is about.

Other times, you have to take a look at the lyrics and create the best interpretation you can.

Take a look at “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” sung by Elton John with lyrics written by Bernie Taupin.

Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Lyrics

Lines like “I should have stayed on the farm” and “You know you can’t hold me forever, I didn’t sign up with you” have always fueled speculation.

Many people think the lyrics are a note from Bernie to Elton about some issues they were having as a songwriting partnership.

And Bernie’s regretting leaving his simple life for the fame and craziness of the road.

Some songs are absolutely packed with meaning!

For example, how do you memorize Hamilton lyrics?

Well, a good first step is to learn something about the historical events depicted in the musical.

The more you understand the lyrics, the more they’ll stick and cohere in your mind.

What’s the inspiration for the song you have to learn?

Take a look at songmeanings.com and see if your song is listed.

Someone has probably already done the work for you.

Trick #9: Connect Emotionally with the Song

Odds are, you sing songs because they mean something to you.

Song choice is one of the most important parts of voice lessons.

Try to connect with the emotion that the song gives you.

This will not only improve your performance, but it will help you remember the lyrics if you can recall the feeling it evokes.

Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue,” a story of two young lovers, has always resonated deeply with people.

Bob Dylan - Tangled Up In Blue (Video)

Feeling sad but better off without the person is a powerful emotion.

Try to find the powerful emotion in the song you have to learn and compare it with a similar situation in your own life.

Trick #10: Write the Lyrics Down

When all else fails, pretend you’re in middle school and write the lyrics down 10 times.

If nothing else, writing the lyrics down repeatedly will get them ingrained in your mind.

The lyrics will also be more familiar to visual learners since they will see it in their own hand.

Typically, I reserve this as the nuclear option.

It tends to work best for lyrics that are so complicated or vague that simply singing through them or creating a story from them won’t help.


With any luck you’ve successfully memorized the lyrics to your new song.

Simply find one of the previous methods that works best for you and apply it to every song you have to learn.

Find the best way to memorize lyrics for you!

Memorizing lyrics does take some time and commitment.

If you’re looking for a magic “how to memorize a song in 5 minutes” silver bullet, sorry but it’s not quite that easy.

However, with these tricks, memorizing songs doesn’t have to be difficult.

Once you’ve gotten a bit of practice at it, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can memorize lyrics.

If you’d like to work on getting your singing voice ready for the stage, consider booking your first lesson at Ramsey Voice Studio.

There are several “Memorize lyrics” apps and “Learn song lyrics” apps available online. Feel free to check those out as well!

How Can I Put This to Use With My Own Voice?

I created a free cheat sheet that you can use to apply the most important info from this post in your own singing.

The cheat sheet contains all 10 tricks for memorizing lyrics, laid out in an easy to print format so you can keep a copy at home.

That way, you can find a method for memorizing lyrics that works for you and you’ll never forget them again.

Now I want to hear from you.

Leave a comment below and let me know which technique worked the best for you and any questions you have.

I respond to every message.

And don’t forget:

Click the big download button for the free memory cheat sheet!


  • by Joe Vivion Posted April 1, 2019 2:09 pm

    Yet another instance of “dylan wrote that *too?!*” (to make you feel my love). Great article. I like the advice “connect emotionally with the song.” coming from doing a minor amount of acting, its like becoming a character. Ie – i’m happy in my current relationship, but i gotta pretend to be “the guy who’s happy he finally got rid of his naggin ol lady” in “when it rains it pours” buy luke combs. who is that guy? what does it “feel” like to be in his shoes? then just deliver the character.

    • by Matt Ramsey Posted April 1, 2019 3:18 pm

      Hey Joe, Exactly like acting out a song! I didn’t want to get too hippy in the article, but basically we’re talking about applying Stanislavski’s System to memorizing lyrics. And yes, Dylan wrote EVERYTHING!

  • by Max Posted August 12, 2019 4:27 pm

    Great article, thank you!

    • by Matt Ramsey Posted August 13, 2019 8:19 am

      Thanks Max! (I corrected the ALL CAPS).

  • by Vv Posted December 17, 2019 10:37 am

    Article: “if all else fails pretend your in middle school and write the lyrics 10 times”
    Me: *is in middle school anyway*

    • by Matt Ramsey Posted December 17, 2019 12:43 pm

      Haha, Vv!

  • by Joanna Pierrot Posted April 10, 2020 1:50 pm


    • by Matt Ramsey Posted April 11, 2020 8:38 am

      You’re so welcome Joanna!

  • by isaiaah Posted June 16, 2020 7:14 pm

    now it is easier to remember lyrics

    • by Matt Ramsey Posted June 22, 2020 9:13 am

      Nice dude!

  • by Evelyn Pullser Posted February 3, 2021 1:51 pm

    hi i am a kid and i trying to rember a song from the greatest show man ad dance ou advice is great tysm

    • by Matt Ramsey Posted March 13, 2021 1:04 pm

      You’re welcome Evelyn!

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