Is it necessary to memorize the pieces you are studying or playing?
Of course, many factors can contribute to whether or not you memorize a piece. But at the core of this matter, teachers and players do hold fundamental views. A number of revered teachers -- Aaron Rosand comes to mind -- insist that memorization is absolutely essential; that anything one plays in public should be memorized, even things like sonatas, which are traditionally played with music. Mastery is memorization, and vice-versa.
Rosand is a teacher of students at the highest levels, but on the beginning side of things is Suzuki, a method that involves a lot of playing by memory. Suzuki students start playing by rote, that is, without any sheet music. Suzuki group classes generally involve little or no sheet music. Once Suzuki students do learn to music (and they do), they tend to still memorize their pieces. So a Suzuki teacher, or one who grew up in that atmosphere, would likely be more comfortable memorizing pieces.
But this is not everyone's philosophy or mode of operation. Obviously reading music is essential to the violinist, especially for orchestra and chamber music. Sometimes memorizing a piece is very difficult for someone unaccustomed to it, and that requirement to memorize before moving on can get in the way of forward progress. Is memorizing necessary for one who does not aspire to be a professional player? Some would argue that it is not. Some would argue that memorizing actually gets in the way of learning to read music.
What are your views about memorizing, in an overall sense? Is it essential to learn music to the point where it is memorized? Or is memorization not really necessary to still have progress, enjoyment and excellence in music-making?
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