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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » Are Mnemonic Methods Necessary? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Herr Brian Tabor
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I just started using a stack, and chose the Aronson. (Though I'm considering creating my own tailored for my effects.) I found that I have no problem memorizing the stack and positions, but I see a lot of people on here talking about using the Mnemonic system to memorize. Is this necessary or just a tool for people to use who have trouble?
Josh Chaikin
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Some people are able to memorize stacks by rote without any mnemonic system. I found that using them as pegs helped me memorize a stack much faster.
the dealer
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It's certainly not necessary. It's a helpful tool.
Herr Brian Tabor
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That's what I thought, just wanted to make sure. I appreciate your answers!
Scott Cram
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If you're looking for a particular approach, here's my No-Mnemonic Stack Memorization method.
Mary Mowder
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You can just remember the stack. I did, but I'm not sure that's the best way. That's just how I happened to do it.

- Mary Mowder
MagicJuggler
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Whatever works is fine. Though the advantage of using mnemonics is that if your memory gets the hiccups in the middle of the performance you can revert to the mnemonic to aid in memory. Though with mnemonics, some people have difficulty moving from the mnemonic memory hooks to just a straight recall of stack numbers, which can slow things up a little. I had trouble with that until I made up my own version of solitare where I would play using the stack numbers instead of card values. In just a short time I had the stack absolutely cold.
Matthew Olsen

www.mattolsenmagic.com




I heard from a friend that anecdotal evidence is actually quite reliable.
Mary Mowder
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Dear MagicJuggler,

I used the solitaire method too. It really does work. It takes a while to wrap your head around it but once your brain makes the conversion it gets better fast.

- Mary Mowder
AlexanderY
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As a psychology undergrad, I can safely say that using mnemonics will help you get the order of the cards into your memory faster than the brute force memorization method.

Also, once you have it down, it will be etched in your memory longer than the brute force method.
churken
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I used the mnemonics when I was learning and wish I hadn't. Not that it's not good - it is. I just later thought that instead of memorizing a stack of cards and their positions, I had to learn all the mnemonics and the keys and then the stack and the positions. I ended up with a good memorization of the stack (but for a long time the stack position was difficult for me), but felt it took longer than if I would've just used rote memorization.

This is just me and my thoughts. If I had to do it over, I would memorize it by just doing ten cards a day for a week. Each day I would review the previous cards and add ten new ones.

Ultimately, I believe that the key is not in the method used to learn the stack, but the actual use of it. Like a foreign language, if you let it lie dormant, you lose it. So, my suggestion is to learn the stack first in cyclical format. Then add a couple of tricks that will encourage you to use the stack that way. As you are doing this, work on the stack positions and as you feel comfortable with them (maybe just before you feel absolutely comfortable) add an effect that relies on the position of the individual cards. (The Trick with No Explanation is great for this) And then use the stack often. The more often you use it in performance, the more confident you will become with it.

Try to figure out ways to retain the stack while doing some of your non stack effects. This is a great tool and will throw people off the idea that a stack might be in play.

Bottom line though is use whatever method you are comfortable with to learn the stack, but then use it all the time so you retain your effort and reap the rewards.

Paul
Herr Brian Tabor
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Personally, I have a remarkable memory. I haven't had any trouble so far, and I've always done well in school because of my memory too. It's also how I learn German! I can see the advantage of reverting to Mnemonic if you have that mental hiccup, though. And Mary, I'm going to try that solitaire trick too!
Mary Mowder
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Dear Herr Brian Tabor,

I play like normal but add cards to the top or bottom of any stack since you would have half the opportunities to place a specific card as with red/black system. The top/bottom placement evens that up. I also add to both edges of the Aces at the top because I really want to end up with the cards in Aronson and that makes it more likely. When I get to the 9D or JS I just keep going in the bracelet. Why not? The point is to become conversant in Aronson.

I haven't really played in a while. I wonder if I've still got it.

- Mary Mowder
Herr Brian Tabor
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Sounds like a good mental exercise!
Bad Conjuror
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In Juan Tamariz's Mnemonica, he teaches a couple of ways to memorize a stack. I recommend his visual method. It's not so much mnemonics as it is pairing cards with their corresponding numbers visually. I memorized it almost five years ago, and used it heavily until two years ago. I've since not really went back to it. But a couple of weeks ago, I was talking with a few magicians, and Tamariz's stack came up and I was surprised that I still remember.
Although the two stacks are different, I'm sure you can still use similar methods to memorizing Tamariz's stack to memorize Aronson's.

Here's another helpful tool introduced to me by Mark Phillips. It's a computer program called Stack View. You can find it here: http://www.stackview.com

It's got many stacks built in and will help you review the stack of your choice.
Dennis Loomis
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1943 - 2013
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The thing about mnemonics is that you get past any fears you have of learning the systems you will find that it is a great tool for learning many, many things.

I have long wished that there was a different word for the memory training discipline. That initial silent m makes the word hard to spell and pronounce and suggests that the discipline itself is difficult. It's not at all difficult.

If you are still a student, it's amazing how much easier you can learn dates in history, chemical valences, formulas and equations in Algebra, Chemistry, and Physics, and so much more. I was an English major and took a whole year of Shakespeare. I memorized all of the plays in order, and the names of the major characters. In dramatic arts, I learned lines for scenes or plays I was acting in.

As a performer I do some memory stunts upon occasion and audiences are always impressed. In 1961 I memorized the 64 squares in order on a chess board so that I could do the Knight's Tour Demonstration with no need to consult a crib. For my own Wicked Book Test, two of the built in effects require access to quite a bit of information. The instructions give you instructions on several different crib systems you can use, but they also give my mnemonic formulas for just learning it. I have it memorized and so need no outside source of information to do the effect.

After a while, mnemonics ceases to be difficult (if it ever was) and actually gets to be fun! I urge anyone that is going to memorize a deck to give mnemonics a try. Before you start on playing cards, get one of Harry Lorayne's books (I recommend How to Develop a Super Power Memory) and read it and get a basic understanding of the subject. If nothing else, learn the phonetic alphabet. With Harry's instructions this shouldn't take you more than an hour and you can use it the rest of your life.

Dennis Loomis
Itinerant Montebank
<BR>http://www.loomismagic.com
Harry Lorayne
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Hey Dennis: I got a couple of good laughs out of this thread until I read yours above. It's interesting - I've written 17 books on the subject, and I DO NOT use the word "mnemonics" or "eidetic imagery" or "sine waves" or the "hippocampus" or "amygdala" and on and on. They're all such b**l..., unless you're writing a thesis that HELPS nobody. I'm too result oriented. Anyway, I do get a couple of laughs (plus surges of amazement)- when I read suggestions by people who have no idea, no sense, of the subject. My opinion, of course. Best - HARRY L.
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

http://www.harrylorayne.com
http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
Josh Chaikin
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I agree, Harry. When I took chemistry in college, we were given a list of valence and covalent electrons we had to memorize, which made most of the class nervous. One of my classmates at the table I was at commented, "If anyone knows of an easy way to memorize these, let the class know." I explained, briefly, about your methods, them demonstrated how I already had the majority of them memorized already (I omitted the fact that an explanation for the electrons is given in Super Memory, Super Student and that I had already learned them before class...no harm done though Smile).

I was given a blank stare until the same student broke the silence and said "Well, I just use flash cards." One of us got an A in the class, the other an F. I won't say who got what, but I'm sure you can guess.
mrehula
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I looked at Simon's system in Bound to Please, and immediately chose to learn by rote instead. It looked rather complicated. Plus, something that helped me was SEEING the position of the royal flush within the stack, SEEING the three tens four cards apart, and so on. It helped me feel more 'intimate' with the stack while I was memorizing.
Dennis Loomis
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To mrehula,
It's guys like you I'm talking to. You "...immediately chose to learn by rote instead." And because you didn't take the time to try mnemonics, you assumed that it was complicated. And you missed an opportunity to learn how to train your memory to learn almost anything you will ever need to know quickly, efficiently, and using a system that is actually FUN.
Dennis Loomis
Itinerant Montebank
<BR>http://www.loomismagic.com
JohnWells
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I use mnemonics all the time, but I got into mem-deck work quite by accident. I was learning BCS and couldn't add in my head with any spped, so I just memorised the order. It took about an hour. Later on, I used the loci method to learn the stack positions. The stack is stuck in my head now.
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