memorization dos and don'ts - followup

April 30, 2018, 2:32 PM · Apologies for starting a new thread - the original post has been archived so I can't comment on it. My recital was yesterday and I wanted to follow up.

Anyway, the memorization process went a lot better than I thought it would; I completely stopped referring to the music (except for very occasional dynamics reminders) a few weeks ago. I played the piece through completely cold nearly every day, and several times a day after warming up a bit. I played for my dogs, a former teacher (twice), and my husband. I played in different locations with different acoustics. The piece seemed so ingrained that yesterday at the recital I worried I would somehow draw a complete blank and forget everything. Happily, that didn't happen. Which is not to say I played my best (I didn't), but I did manage to play from memory. Thanks to everyone who offered advice.

Now, if only I could banish performance nerves completely... :-)

Replies (1)

Edited: May 21, 2018, 6:49 AM · Congrats on a successful recital!

Do you care to share what worked the best for you for memory retention?

I have noticed tunes I memorized 6 months ago can get rusty if I don't come back for a "maintenance" play every now and then. I try to play the tunes I know at least once a week.

What we think is embedded in our memory seems to get lost if we don't continue to play the tunes. For me this might be a partial mental block which comes back if I play the tune. If I'm in a group playing the same parts something I haven't played for awhile the tune will come to me part way through.

This could simply be my less than stellar memory.Some might have full recall two years later.I wonder how many could pick up and play a tune several years later to perfection?

Simple tunes maybe. The more complex ones probably not so much.

I think it's fun to play a string of tunes in a row I've memorized.My group usually connects three compatible tunes together.
I find it's easier to lead into the next tune if you practice a set of two or three in the same order each time.

Memory requires concentration. In order to concentrate I think it's important to find ways to cope with outside distraction. Minimize it the best you can. Some people can "draw into themselves" better than others.
I can't think about the woman glaring at me in the odd hat or the person who is talking while I play. There will always be the person who isn't listening. Too much thinking about any of that and before you know it your technique is beginning to slip (what little I have). Even though music is intended to connect with the listeners, I find I need to have a mental disassociation with them while I play. Looking at an audience can be an intimidating thing. Most people look like they've been sucking on lemons without realizing it.


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