Top positive review
119 people found this helpful
on August 22, 2007
This book is quite possibly one of the MOST important I have ever read. The book has literally helped change my life in the two areas of intellectual endeavor most important to me: my faith and music.
I am a working jazz musician (no one important that you would know... just a local guy) and music teacher and have long struggled to memorize tunes (an ESSENTIAL skill if one wants to play jazz). For those of you who may not know, if one shows up on the bandstand with tons of "fake books" in tow, one immediately betrays oneself as a poorly informed and uneducated musician. Jazz musicians are expected to know hundreds of tunes, with chord changes and common substitutions, and be able to recall them in the heat of battle as it were: on a bandstand in front of an audience with other informed musicians on the stage with you judging your every move. Jazz musicians are expected to read perfectly as well, especially in the big-band setting. But don't show up at a small group jam session in New York with a fake book. Not if you want to be given respect or a chance to play.
I have also been a student of my faith since reverting/converting about five years ago. I have read voraciously: the Navarre Bible Commentary, The Theology of the Body, the ENTIRE Bible, popular theological works, academic works, and the writings of the saints and mystics. Several people I know consider me an informed Catholic.
People who knew me started coming to me with questions about the faith, because I seemed to know so much. I found myself patting myself on the back because I "knew my faith so well." Then someone asked me a basic question: what's the Fifth Commandment? I came up short. Of course I knew the commandments... didn't I? In order? Well... no. Could I get them all right out of order? Most of the time... maybe.
What about the Beatitudes? What about the Seven Deadly Sins? What about the Four Marks of the Church? What about the Seven Cardinal Virtues? What about the mysteries of the Rosary? What about naming all the books in the Bible? What about memorizing chapter and verse so I could debate my evangelical friends more easily rather than always relying on the standard: "The Bible says somewhere that....."
Well. A couple of weeks ago I happened across a review of this book in a publication. I received it last week and just finished it. It WORKS! I have memorized the faith that is for sure. (At least the portion of the faith covered in this book!) Everything covered by the book I know by HEART. I can recite the mysteries of the Rosary, forward and backward, the 10 Commandments forward and backward. All of it. Memorized!
Does it transfer to other areas? OH YEAH! I transcribed a Lester Young Solo called "Ad Lib Blues" and have been taking it through all twelve keys. I invented little mnemonic devices based on this book to help me remember some of the more complex intervallic relationships so I could get it through the keys more quickly. Yep... it worked.
AABA tunes? How about make them two rooms of the Mnemonic house? Place the II V I progressions in a single location (like the bench), and take the rest of the changes and put them in the other locations in order. Boom.... Cherokee.... memorized. All twelve keys. Done. In 15 minutes. WOW! (This is of course when combined with other musical knowledge and tricks I have acquired over the years)
A MUST BUY book for Catholics, and for ANYONE interested in committing important things to memory. I wish someone taught me this stuff years ago!