Memorization seems to come easily to some people, where it is much more hard-won for others.
Technically, anyone who can hum a tune has "memorized" music, but I'm talking about a slightly more difficult task: memorizing how to play a piece of music on the violin, viola, cello or any other instrument. That involves quite a few skills.
One important step - which is the same if you simply want to hum a tune - is to listen to the music and get it in your head, so it's banging around your brain as an earworm. I've seen people actually try to skip this step, but it's actually a very enjoyable part of the journey and the easiest "shortcut" for learning something by memory!
But memorizing how to play a piece of music involves more than that: you also have to memorize all the physical skills involved in playing the piece. That means you have to memorize fingerings, bowings, patterns, shifts, dynamics, rhythm, pacing, and more. Whew!
So it's not surprising that the task of memorizing how to play a piece can be very challenging, especially if it's not a skill that is instilled from the very beginning. It's easier to memorize a big, long piece if you have memorized shorter pieces and absorbed those patterns into a kind of memorized vocabulary on the instrument. ("Chunking," as some teachers call it.)
In fact, if you do struggle with memorizing and wish to improve, one way is to simply start memorizing very easy, short pieces.
Where do you stand, when it comes to memorizing? Does it take a lot of work for you to memorize a piece at your playing level? Does it come easily? Or is it pretty difficult? Or maybe you have not yet tried memorizing a piece? Please answer the poll with whatever seems closest to your situation, and then share your thoughts about memorizing. Is it a skill you have had to work on? Do you have suggestions for good ways to memorize a piece? What is most helpful to you, when you are memorizing something?
You might also like:
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.