I've been trying to commit more of my repertoire to memory than I did in the past. I'm not very good at this, and it wasn't something that any of my teachers ever emphasized when I was a student. However, I find that having a piece memorized helps me feel more confident when performing and helps to quell anxiety. Knowing a piece by heart also enables me to practice in my head when I have a spare moment but do not have my instrument or the music available. So I press on.
I have gotten to the point where I have the bowings and fingerings--that is, the notes--for several movements of the Bach suites committed to memory. I can play the pieces from beginning to end without getting stuck or tangled up. If someone said "play something" on the spot, I could do it without completely embarrassing myself.
And I think I execute major dynamic markings--fortes, pianos, and big crescendo's. But, it's kind of weird, I'm not *sure* I do, because I can't remember afterwards. I'll look at the music afterwards and say "oh, there was a mp there" or some other subtle marking, and I'll have no idea if I did it or not. The only recorder I have is my digital camera, and it's not very good with dynamics.
But that's not exactly the problem. I can get a better recorder, the problem is really how to use it. What type of memory do you invoke in order to remember dynamic markings? For example, I say something silently to myself in my head to remember the notes: it's some combination of the note name and the fingering. A C with a flavor that tells me it's the third finger on the G-string.
I'm not really sure how I remember the bowings. Sometimes I do get messed up and slur too many (or too few) notes and then find myself on the wrong bow direction, or at least at the wrong end of the bow. I think that when I do get it right, it's a kinesthetic memory I'm tapping into, and that's true for dynamics too. But that approach seems kind of limited to me, and faulty. I don't really know how to enhance it or make it better/more consistent.
This may sound all a**-backwards to you if you have a good auditory memory. But if you're reading this and are tempted to write something like, "just listen!" or "just use your ears!" I'd appreciate it if you could break that down a bit and be more specific. What am I listening for? And what happens when I try to listen but don't remember?
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