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Thread: Memory Playing

  1. #1
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    Abt the memory thing... I dunno whether this will work for everyone, but I used this method for a full hour recital, so should be ok. Do u guys have any ways to memory playing?:
    1. Memorise as usual, but do not only by the shape, mechanical order of the fingers esp. 20th century, baroque pcs )...but most importantly by sound.
    Doing by sound helps u to get the picture as a whole, as the sole purpose of memorising is to ensure a better flow/ more expressive performance of the music. And doing by sound helps u to pick up wherever u`re left off, esp. so when u play wrong notes during a recital.
    Ie : Sometimes I played wrong notes in either hands, but as long as one of my hands`s still playing the main melody, then by hook or by crook, the other hand`ll join in soon. There`ll not be a big gap of silence without knowing how to continue from ur mistake...that`s when you`ll feel really awkard. So, let yr ears help u.
    2. Memorising also means the ability to start anywhere as u like. It doesn`t mean that u can only start from a particular portion or section of the piece. If so, this only means that u`re only familiar with the main sections, not the piece as a whole.
    3. Always practice running through the whole programme when yr done memorising the small parts. Alot of people only work on parts that they think are not so good...There`s nothing wrong with that, but if yr preparing to play infront of any `audience`/exam...it`s always essential to run through the whole actual programme daily. And dun try to correct your mistakes...just go on. This will make sure that u dun get blank outs during the occassion that u do play wrong notes in an exam. Remember! Playing wrongly doesn`t mean that u have to stop. If u have this bad habbit of stopping, then u must run through the whole programme consistently to change this bad habbit.
    4. Try playing with the radio or Tv on. This is the best method I`ve tried so far. Bcaz though I`m quite used to memorising . but unfortunately, I`ve a very short concentration span. This will help u to stay focus, esp. for longer programmes like sonatas,suites or even concertos.
    5. And perhaps this's the most important strategy. Just like 'studying' itself... You're always told to study smart by preparing for the last subject first and so on.... So I always believe it's important to rehearse/practice the last programme first during the actual day of the concert. Why? So that u get to do yr first item last! And u're left with the 'freshest' finger memory for that nerve-wrecking first item. If u manage to pull off that first one, the rest will fall nicely in place.
    So, remember. Reherse the other way round. B)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    A good topic, DW.

    I think memory playing is very important. You learn structures, problems and hidden motifs or counterpoints and the best thing, i think its the only way to play a piece really good. Because you musn't concentrate on the notes but only the music.

    @ 2.: Very true! If you can't do that, you haven't the piece in your memory correct. If you only played it in the standard order it might be a danger, when you change some habbits like, when you usually close your eyes during playing a part, and then in a concert, you open them suddenly, it might shock you, you see your fingers...and you fail. What i want to say: its very important to know every note and place just to can play it everywhere.

    @3.: I usually run through the whole program...maybe i work too less on small parts, hehehehe. My teachers must be patient with me :unsure:

    @4.: I like playing with CDs :P But the tuning is sometimes a problem.

    @5.: Must try that.

    Do you memorize scores fast? Or do you need more time. For myself i think i am a good "memorizer", but to make it fix for months, i need more time.

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    I don't memorize well...even the few easy pieces I do have memorized, I need to run through them a couple of times before I try and play without mistakes...

    ...ticks me off to no end...

    ...I was trying out some more expensive violins the other day ( because I was in an actual String Shop) and thought I could impress whoever was paying attention with my fiddling...(bad mistake)...LOL...next time I'll bring the sheet music...
    <span style='color:green'><span style='font-family:Optima'>Music is what feelings sound like...Anon</span>.</span>

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    Originally posted by DW@Jul 19 2004, 01:16 PM
    Abt the memory thing... I dunno whether this will work for everyone, but I used this method for a full hour recital, so should be ok. Do u guys have any ways to memory playing?:
    1. Memorise as usual, but do not only by the shape, mechanical order of the fingers esp. 20th century, baroque pcs )...but most importantly by sound.
    Doing by sound helps u to get the picture as a whole, as the sole purpose of memorising is to ensure a better flow/ more expressive performance of the music. And doing by sound helps u to pick up wherever u`re left off, esp. so when u play wrong notes during a recital.
    Ie : Sometimes I played wrong notes in either hands, but as long as one of my hands`s still playing the main melody, then by hook or by crook, the other hand`ll join in soon. There`ll not be a big gap of silence without knowing how to continue from ur mistake...that`s when you`ll feel really awkard. So, let yr ears help u.
    2. Memorising also means the ability to start anywhere as u like. It doesn`t mean that u can only start from a particular portion or section of the piece. If so, this only means that u`re only familiar with the main sections, not the piece as a whole.
    3. Always practice running through the whole programme when yr done memorising the small parts. Alot of people only work on parts that they think are not so good...There`s nothing wrong with that, but if yr preparing to play infront of any `audience`/exam...it`s always essential to run through the whole actual programme daily. And dun try to correct your mistakes...just go on. This will make sure that u dun get blank outs during the occassion that u do play wrong notes in an exam. Remember&#33; Playing wrongly doesn`t mean that u have to stop. If u have this bad habbit of stopping, then u must run through the whole programme consistently to change this bad habbit.
    4. Try playing with the radio or Tv on. This is the best method I`ve tried so far. Bcaz though I`m quite used to memorising . but unfortunately, I`ve a very short concentration span. This will help u to stay focus, esp. for longer programmes like sonatas,suites or even concertos.
    5. And perhaps this&#39;s the most important strategy. Just like &#39;studying&#39; itself... You&#39;re always told to study smart by preparing for the last subject first and so on.... So I always believe it&#39;s important to rehearse/practice the last programme first during the actual day of the concert. Why? So that u get to do yr first item last&#33; And u&#39;re left with the &#39;freshest&#39; finger memory for that nerve-wrecking first item. If u manage to pull off that first one, the rest will fall nicely in place.
    So, remember. Reherse the other way round. B)
    [snapback]68[/snapback]
    During these first 5 years of piano learning I didn&#39;t know other way of learning my pieces than to memorize them through finger memory -I didn&#39;t have good teachers, you see. From the beginning it arose the problem that the playing of the pieces so learned, get gradually damaged, in spite of playing them often. Whenever a finger failed, I was unable to continue, and had to stop and start from the beginning. Also I lost familiarity with the score, so I was unable to recognize in it the passage I was playing. Another parallel problem was that in playing a piece my fingers did it the work alone, mechanically, while my mind was traveling in another universe.
    Only recently through my own searching I learned that fingers memory is strong but dangerous and unreliable, since the subconcious mind assumes the command. That&#39;s why the concious mind felt free to travel far away.
    So I go currently in the opposite direction, that is no memorizing, and trying to train myself to become a competent sight-reader. This should reinforce the familiarity with the score and must keep active the concious mind. I hope this be the solution to my problems. It&#39;s difficult for me, and the progress still very slow, and the habit of memorizing is strong and interferes continuosly.

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    Only recently through my own searching I learned that fingers memory is strong but dangerous and unreliable, since the subconcious mind assumes the command. That&#39;s why the concious mind felt free to travel far away.
    So I go currently in the opposite direction, that is no memorizing, and trying to train myself to become a competent sight-reader. This should reinforce the familiarity with the score and must keep active the concious mind. I hope this be the solution to my problems. It&#39;s difficult for me, and the progress still very slow, and the habit of memorizing is strong and interferes continuosly.
    Yes, pure finger memory is very, :angry: very dangerous. That&#39;s why it&#39;s always advisable to memorise by sound when preparing for a concert.
    Note-reading is of utmost importance also. But I recently went for a workshop that re-confirms my thoughts about note-reading. It is important, but should not over-ride music enjoyment. I&#39;ll post this as a new thread.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Quaverion's Avatar
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    I love to memorize pieces&#33; I never even use the sheet music any more after I memorize it. At concerts or auditions, I just play from memory and bring the sheet music along for the ride just in case someone wants to see it. I think concentrating on what is on the paper distracts you from the feel of the music, thus damaging your playing.
    It is our imperfections that make us who we are.

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by Quaverion2@Aug 1 2004, 10:36 PM
    I love to memorize pieces&#33; I never even use the sheet music any more after I memorize it.
    [snapback]1008[/snapback]
    Me too&#33;&#33;&#33; I play from memory most of the time. The best thing about that is that it doesn&#39;t matter if you are stuck without your sheet music. B) Some people think memory playing is amazing, but I am not so sure. What I think is amazing is when people can sight read a difficult piece right the first time around&#33;

  8. #8
    Senior Member Quaverion's Avatar
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    Originally posted by baroque flute@Aug 1 2004, 06:51 PM
    What I think is amazing is when people can sight read a difficult piece right the first time around&#33;
    [snapback]1012[/snapback]
    Me too&#33; If I try to sight read something w/o listening to it first a few times, I would probably play a completely different song. My orchestra teacher sight read in front of me a few times. She got it almost perfect.
    It is our imperfections that make us who we are.

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