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Dennis Loomis
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1943 - 2013
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Harry is absolutely right. I've read a lot of threads on the Café where someone makes statements akin to "Menmonics doesn't work for me... I just use rote memory." Well, I am willing to concede that people do vary a lot, but I can't help thinking that they really didn't carefully study one of Harry's books and don't really understand what you are supposed to do. Because most people that do that have little trouble memorizing most anything and the process is even fun. I have never understood why they don't teach mnemonics in the schools. In most public school systems you have to make it as far as medical school before the concept is brought up! This is crazy. Using mnemonic codes makes remembering dates in history, Chemical valences, names of Presidents, State Capitols, etc so much easier than just trying to get it through rote memory. How can a teacher even pretend to be an educator when they neglect to teach you the BEST way to learn anything? A history professor tells you to read a certain chapter or group of chapters in a book and says: you will be responsible for everything in that chapter on your next test.

I like Simon a lot, and he does teach you the mnemonics underlying the memorization of his stack, he does, as Harry says, make it sound pretty hard and pretty time consuming. And if your attitude going in is that this is going to be difficult that attitude is going to make it difficult for you.

Dennis Loomis
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Harry Lorayne
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Good on you, Dennis. Incidentally, many private schools do teach my trained-memory systems. And, I'm told that many teachers teach it to their students in many public schools.
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Dennis Loomis
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Yes, Harry, I've talked to a few individual teachers that teach it... but it needs to be a part of the regular program.

Mr. Lorayne, I have a question for you. How old do you think kids should be in order to begin introducing them to menmonics?

Dennis Loomis
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Harry Lorayne
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Difficult question to answer, Dennis. People have told me that they've started to teach it to their children before they could even read. It's up to the individual child, so there's no definite answer. But there's nothing wrong with starting real young. Actually easier for children because their imaginations wheels are still spinning rapidly. HARRY L.
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BMF
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Quote:
On 2009-12-22 14:48, Turk wrote:
You've got me interested in trying the peg system. I did learn the Aronson Stack by rote memory but, I'm afraid that if I don't constantly "practice" it, I'll lose it.

....

Anyway, I'm going to again attempt the peg system. Part of my hangup is convincing myself that it will be worth it in the end. Your comments in this regard are encouraging.


You should definitely look into one of the Lorayne memory books. I spent about $7.50 US at a book store, and now can memorize a deck of cards in an hour or two. I never forget names, dates, or phone numbers. That's after having only read the book, and not having really practiced the system. If I were to actually dedicate a weekend to working on the system, I have no doubts that I would be able to learn a new memdeck in less than five minutes. Regardless of any differences in opinion somebody may have with Mr. Lorayne, there's simply no denying that his memory work is absolutely incredible. Do yourself a favor - go buy a Harry Lorayne memory book.

I realize that this comes off as a pure advertisement, but there's no other way to discuss his memory books. Try one. You'll agree.
Bobby Forbes
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Quote:
On 2009-12-23 20:01, Dennis Loomis wrote:
Yes, Harry, I've talked to a few individual teachers that teach it... but it needs to be a part of the regular program.

Mr. Lorayne, I have a question for you. How old do you think kids should be in order to begin introducing them to menmonics?

Dennis Loomis


My daughter is working with it now and she is only 8. She loves showing off. We give her the grocery list before shopping and she memorizes it for us.. very cool. She is pretty good with the peg system now, but it does take her a little time to change numbers to pictures. She is getting faster everyday though
Dennis Loomis
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To Bobby Forbes,
I assume, when you talk about changing numbers to pictures that you are talking about the phonetic alphabet? That strikes me as a little hard for an 8 year old. Please let me know how she is doing. I am probably going to be teaching mnemonics to kids next summer and I'm trying to get a handle on the grade/age levels and what they can handle. Thanks.

Dennis Loomis
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MemDeck329
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Dennis, as long as it comes in small portions and is interesting and/or fun, there is really no age limit. The obverse is also true. One summer my son rode with me 20 miles, twice a day, to the baby sitter. I thought it would be fun to learn the U. S. State Capitals together. Years later, he confessed that he HATED doing that! The twice a week miniature golf excursions created a lasting GOOD memory.
MemDeck329
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Hello again Dennis. In "Zufall's Memory Trix", the author states: "I recently taught a nine-year-old nephew to memorize the list by the same means in less than an hour".

The "list" is U.S. States and Capitals.
david blown
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Memorizing a deck is easy for everyone. Just have one deck in memorized order, write the numbers on the face of the cards and then use this deck and play around with it, also when watching tele or whatever and you will learn it within few hours or at max days without even noticing that you are learning!

just my advice...

memdeck stuff is just really cool and fun!

best, David
StuartNolan
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Kids can memorize huge amounts of information about stuff that interests them. I remember when my nephew was into Pokemon cards he had a huge stack of them and had instant recall of all the info on the cards as well as the order of the cards.
"One should always be a little improbable." - Oscar Wilde
pnielan
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I really enjoy these posts and this discussion.

I'll start with a premise: for a memorized deck to be useful in the performance of magic (e.g. to competently do the types of effects published by Aronson, Tamariz, Close, Mead and others), MASTERY of card to position and position to card relationships must occur.

The definition of mastery is what is at issue here; one way to quantify it is how long it takes (on average over the whole deck) to recall the position for each card.

As stated above by many, it is fairly easy to get to the point where this recall average is 2-3 seconds. Mnemonics is one way to do this. It works. But during the period you are relying on it, it limits you to the 2-3 second timeframe per card. You must recall the tangible item related to the card, recall the link from that item to the peg for the position, and convert the peg to a number. But the advantage of getting here quickly is that you can now start to drill the memorized deck order anywhere with no written props. You CAN get to this stage in a few hours or a few weeks. But being at this stage is NOT fast enough for the convincing performance of magic.

The next step is to get from the 2-3 second recall average to a timeframe of about 0.5 seconds. It takes much longer to transition to this stage and much more practice. As several point out in other posts, this is where the mnemonics drop away. This is where you become really familiar with the organization of the deck. The mnemonics drop away because you've used them (mentally) so many times as you practice. This takes time. I do not believe you can get to this stage in a few hours or a day or even (in most cases) a few weeks. So, in my opinion, if you are aiming for this level of mastery, it doesn't really matter how you get to the 2-3 second stage of mastery (mnemonics, Tamariz organic right-brain method, rote, personal hybrid)---because the time spent on that stage will be small in the overall journey to mastery.

By the way, one measurable test of your mastery is how long it takes you to start with a shuffled deck and convert it to your stack order, entirely in your hands. If you rely on mnemonic associations, this will take quite awhile. The time you are striving for is the time it takes you to start with a shuffled deck and put it in new deck order.
oscarf
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Quote:
On 2009-12-23 15:28, Dennis Loomis wrote:
... In most public school systems you have to make it as far as medical school before the concept is brought up! ...


I was never taught any mnemonics in medical school, except for the occasional politically incorrect acronyms that I'm guessing are seldom spoken out loud in this day and age - there are probably new and less memorable ones now. Smile

I am stunned by the effectiveness of certain memory systems, though, and still wow people with Harry's Magic Square (from Reputation Makers? maybe ...)

In medicine and other fields, you build your own mnemonic scaffolding around the subject matter itself. In the end, you need to build a model in your head, and hope that it reflects reality pretty well. This may be why mnemonics are not utilized in much of teaching, since the bigger picture can serve as its own mnemonic device, if you know what I mean.

I find mnemonic systems fascinating, but most useful for memorizing random elements with reliability. I am working on that now for the Tamariz stack, which is new to me, and I love it. And, Harry, yes, I did order from you the other day, thanks to a long history of benefitting from your knowledge. Smile

I think in the information age, we have less need for memorization than ever before. I don't even know anyone's phone number any more! But, use it or lose it - I want to be able to function, just in case all my devices go down ... so to speak ... Smile
Shrubsole
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Hi I'm very new to this and have just started experimenting with the BCS and I really like the look of that, but obviously, if I could memorise the deck, that would cut out all that calculation.

I would prefer not to use memory pegging and would just like to hard learn the deck (I'm sure you have a better term for it than that).

Now if I learn say 4 cards a day: Which way should I do that?

1. Take the cards in order and start at the beginning and carry on till the end?
or
2. Learn the 4 Aces then the twos etc...?

My way of thinking would be option two as it requires bolting an out of sequence number to a card. The other way, I might start remembering things by sequence and so when given say "27!" I might start getting into saying in my head "Well I know 25 is the 5D, and after that it goes AD, 6H... So 27 must be 6H!" but that way I may as well calculate the bloody thing!

So is random sequence learning better as you don't start marring up sequences in your head? You hard learn a card and it's number that can then be accessed directly on it's own. Of course, as you also know all the other numbers you can instantly know what the next card in the sequence is by its number.

Any and all opinions welcome.
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edh
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Shrubsole FWIW, I used your number 2 way of memorizing for the exact reason as you state. I did not want to rely on sequence.

It didn't take as long as I thought it would to memorize.
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Shrubsole
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Quote:
On 2010-02-06 18:03, edh wrote:
Shrubsole FWIW, I used your number 2 way of memorizing for the exact reason as you state. I did not want to rely on sequence.

It didn't take as long as I thought it would to memorize.


Oh good, nice to hear from someone who has done it that way.

It will take me a bit longer as I'm not a spring chicken any more, but I can use the calculation way until I have memorized them, so it can take as long as it takes. No rush.

Also, if I ever had a problem with the memorizing I could always resort back to the calculating. But this way I end up with the best of all worlds: A nice random looking stack with fast recall and a complete memorized deck to do cards at a certain number type tricks.

A very powerful tool in the end. (Now watch watch some **** shuffle it! Smile )
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Cohiba
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Whichever way you memorize it, you want to make sure you know it very well sequentially.
Dennis Loomis
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You guys are focusing only on learning the stack numbers and being able to call the card at a stack number, or to give the stack number when any card is called.

This is only half of the story. For many effects, you need to know the card which comes before and after another card. It will slow you down a great deal if you have to go through this process: The card is number 16 in the stack, so the card after it is card number 17... what is the card at number 17?

You need to also memorize the sequence so that you know, for example, that the card which precedes the Five of Spades is the Seven of Spades, and the card which come after the Five of Spades is the Queen of Diamonds. You should recall this without any thought of stack numbers at all.

On my web site (in the sig file below) is a section on Memorized Deck articles. Go to the article on Mem-Deck Mastery for a few more details.

If you are on top of this, it gives you the "back-up" that some people talk about wanting when working with a mem-deck. For example, you need to know what the card is at position 45. But you block on that. Relax, ask yourself what the card is at position 46. You will probably not block on that as well. So, you recall that 46 is the 8H (in Aronson). Okay, now just think of the card which precedes the 8H. You will probably easily recall that it's the 4C. You recall that, because it's a different (admittedly related, but different) memory than what card is stack number 45.

Doug Henning said that most magicians stop practicing too soon. It's the same with mem-deck drilling. Getting really fast and reliable with a mem deck will require some work... but so does mastering the Zarrow Shuffle, a good Pass, etc.

Dennis Loomis
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<BR>http://www.loomismagic.com
Shrubsole
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Obviously the ultimate goal is to know it forwards, backwards and sideways and that will come with time.

But even if you have only got so far as the cards match to a number and you have to say "3H on the bottom that's 16 and so 17 is the JS, that is still easier than the calculation of a next card in BCS.
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edh
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Shrubsole, if it's any consolation I'm no spring chicken either. It took me one week to memorize. Then about a month to get it cold. I still do a run through every day. I have flash cards with the stack numbers on the back. I relate the stack number to the card, then shuffle the deck, turn face up and relate the card to the stack number.

This is a fantastic tool to have in your arsenal.

Good luck.
edh

P.S. Take a look at Dennis' site above. Fantastic stuff their.
Magic is a vanishing art.
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