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#1021319 - 01/13/09 10:57 AM Re: Is memorizing pieces a bad thing?
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by John Frank:
I wonder why playing a piece "at a tediously slow tempo" (as you say) is "a good exercise for a memorized piece" (if by "exercise" you mean perhaps "test")?[/b]
I do mean test. I think it's just another way of changing the "pattern" (as Peyton says) which we have committed to muscle memory. It sure seems to be true for me that when I change the tempo dramatically from what I've learned to play for performance things just don't flow with my muscle memory anymore and I have to think about the next notes or the next chords much more consciously.
_________________________
Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718

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#1021320 - 01/14/09 12:20 AM Re: Is memorizing pieces a bad thing?
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
Oops.
_________________________
Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718

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#1021321 - 01/15/09 09:57 PM Re: Is memorizing pieces a bad thing?
Wye Mun Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/09
Posts: 32
Loc: Singapore
Wow - I would LOVE to be able to play from memory. I can do that for only ONE piece I learnt in childhood, nothing else since.

Given that advanced compositions are very complex and long (and thus very difficult to sight play 'cold' or without a page turner!) wouldn't the ability to memorize a piece accurately (without killing the freedom to express it personally) and quickly simply add to the pleasure of playing the piano?

Why emphasize sight-reading over memorization in the earlier stages of learning?

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#1021322 - 01/16/09 02:36 AM Re: Is memorizing pieces a bad thing?
cruiser Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 1171
Loc: Cornwall, England
 Quote:
Originally posted by packa:
... So, my rule is to ALWAYS practice with the music in front of me and to make myself really LOOK at the music to try to see everything that's there and not just the notes. This doesn't stop me from memorizing quickly but it helps to keep double-checking with the actual score. [/b]
thanks packa ...that's very good advice I think, and I'm going to try it. btw, I neither memorize nor read very well \:\( I try to memorize evrything I learn (such as the pieces in my signature), but it takes ages and a great deal of effort. One reason I do this is to try and keep my 58-year-old brain cells active! I would dearly love to be able to improve both my sight-reading and memorizing abilities.

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#1021323 - 01/16/09 04:17 PM Re: Is memorizing pieces a bad thing?
caracantabile Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 65
Loc: USA
I don't think it's a bad thing, but when done carelessly it will cost you a good performance imo. When I was much younger I would memorize pieces as quickly as possible but then found out that I had missed a dynamic mark here and there, and misremembered the exact rhythm here and there, and the list goes on...

Now that I'm older (and duller) I take longer to memorize a piece and even after I've memorized it I usually have the sheet music up to refer to in case I've "slipped".

Of course this doesn't apply to a performance piece, but the same principle goes --- if I can't see the music as it's written when I close my eyes when I'm playing it then I haven't studied the score enough.

Maybe a little too neurotic? :p
_________________________
- C.C. -
"It is dreadful when something weighs on your mind, not to have a soul to unburden yourself to. You know what I mean. I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Chopin

Currently memorizing for class: Debussy Prelude #8

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#1021324 - 01/16/09 04:29 PM Re: Is memorizing pieces a bad thing?
caracantabile Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 65
Loc: USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Wye Mun:
Wow - I would LOVE to be able to play from memory. I can do that for only ONE piece I learnt in childhood, nothing else since.

Given that advanced compositions are very complex and long (and thus very difficult to sight play 'cold' or without a page turner!) wouldn't the ability to memorize a piece accurately (without killing the freedom to express it personally) and quickly simply add to the pleasure of playing the piano?

Why emphasize sight-reading over memorization in the earlier stages of learning? [/b]
(Please note, in the reply when I say you, I mean "you" as in a general populace, and not the OP in particular \:\) )

Well, does one have to be emphasized over the other? The thing is, it's so easy for a lot of people to memorize music by ear. How many people can actually say it was so easy to learn how to read music fast and accurately?

It seems the trouble a lot of poor readers have is that they memorize things quickly -- that works great when you're learning one, two page pieces but when you're studying longer pieces it's going to hurt you in the end.

I am a very poor reader. It's hurt my ability to learn the more advanced pieces because I read so slowly (very frustrating). It's very tempting to just memorize these hard pieces by ear because it's so much easier, but in the end it'll also be less accurate -- unless you have an amazing sense of rhythm and a very good ear you're not going to be playing something marked as how the arranger or composed has made it.

Yes, you don't want to lose spontaneity, you don't want to lose your own individual style, but you must also respect the intent of the composer, yes?

It's too easy to rationalize not learning to read well (I know this and rue this all too well). My instructor has mentioned that it is very difficult for her to get students to learn arpeggios and other "dull" things because they just want to learn fun pieces and play those. This seems as if it's in the same vein --- I don't think you can ever read music *too well*.

If you have a bad memory, that is a different and unrelated issue to being a good reader -- since when has a good reader of books ever blamed the reading for an inability to memorize a poem or passage?
_________________________
- C.C. -
"It is dreadful when something weighs on your mind, not to have a soul to unburden yourself to. You know what I mean. I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Chopin

Currently memorizing for class: Debussy Prelude #8

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