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#1971161 - 10/10/12 04:23 AM Mental Practice - Learning/Memorizing Pieces
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
It's most undoubtedly a result of lack of musical maturity (being able to auralize written music, notice less-obvious patterns, etc.), but I had previously only thought of approaching memorization, as well as [for the most part] learning a piece of music in general, physically at the piano... until just now blush



Glenn Gould was quoted as claiming to do more mental than actual physical practice. I think this was something pianopractice.org was trying to get across as well, albeit in a much more wordy and less clear manner.

I'd love to hear what you all think of this. Though I'm not familiar with the Austrian national anthem or the transcription that Paul Barton learned in his new video, I found his demonstration impressive. Is this something you yourselves regularly practice? If so, when and how in learning a piece?

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#1971169 - 10/10/12 05:01 AM Re: Mental Practice - Learning/Memorizing Pieces [Re: Bobpickle]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5277
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Glenn Gould was quoted as claiming to do more mental than actual physical practice.

That's the smart way to do it.

If you look at music as a language, wouldn't it make more sense to learn what is being 'said' than to memorize it 'phonetically'?
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#1971330 - 10/10/12 01:40 PM Re: Mental Practice - Learning/Memorizing Pieces [Re: Bobpickle]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18131
Loc: Victoria, BC
After learning a piece and having memorized it, I often try to play it in my mind away from the piano without the score. Having thought a piece was memorized, because I can play it at the piano, It sometimes surprises me - although I'm becoming more and more accustomed to it - how many "micro-moments" in a piece are blank in my mind during this process : How does that passage start? what inversion of that chord do I play? etc.

These are obvious spots where I may initially have relied on "finger memory" rather than solid analyses, so this exercise helps me focus on those problem areas and learn them more thoroughly.

Regards,
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#1971382 - 10/10/12 03:18 PM Re: Mental Practice - Learning/Memorizing Pieces [Re: Bobpickle]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19450
Loc: New York City
What applies or is most helpful for Gould is not necessarily the best for ordinary mortals. If you had Gould's technique wouldn't shorten your practice at the piano?


Edited by pianoloverus (10/10/12 03:19 PM)

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#1971388 - 10/10/12 03:35 PM Re: Mental Practice - Learning/Memorizing Pieces [Re: Bobpickle]
Vid Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 848
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
While none of us are Glenn Gould I don't think it hurts to put another method in our toolbox. There are a few approaches to memorizing music and often the least secure (and most often relied on) is muscle memory so I think this method could be of benefit.

What else would be best for ordinary mortals?
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#1971499 - 10/10/12 07:13 PM Re: Mental Practice - Learning/Memorizing Pieces [Re: Vid]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19450
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Vid
While none of us are Glenn Gould I don't think it hurts to put another method in our toolbox. There are a few approaches to memorizing music and often the least secure (and most often relied on) is muscle memory so I think this method could be of benefit.

What else would be best for ordinary mortals?
I was talking about the "more mental than physical part" not being appropriate for most people I think. I didn't mean to imply that all practicing has to be done at the piano.

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#2329822 - 09/21/14 11:39 PM Re: Mental Practice - Learning/Memorizing Pieces [Re: Bobpickle]
bjorn of brekkukot Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 5
Here is one thing that has troubled me recently. When I practice mentally, what exactly should I be visualizing? Assuming I have memorized the piece, should I see in my mind's eye the actual notes on the score, or should I see my fingers pressing down the keys? Or some combination of both? Any advice from experienced mental rehearsers is very welcome.

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#2329833 - 09/22/14 01:47 AM Re: Mental Practice - Learning/Memorizing Pieces [Re: bjorn of brekkukot]
LetOff Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/17/10
Posts: 18
Originally Posted By: bjorn of brekkukot
Here is one thing that has troubled me recently. When I practice mentally, what exactly should I be visualizing? Assuming I have memorized the piece, should I see in my mind's eye the actual notes on the score, or should I see my fingers pressing down the keys? Or some combination of both? Any advice from experienced mental rehearsers is very welcome.


pianopractice.org mentioned above has good information about mental play, but I don't recall it answering this question specifically.

I think the answer is that it depends on how you memorize. If you memorize mostly visually (memorizing the score), that's how you would most likely visualize it. If you memorize mostly using keyboard memory, that's how you'd visualize it. And if you memorize mostly aurally, that's how you'd visualize it.

I've only practiced MP a few times so far, but for me, it's mostly keyboard memory and aural memory, and a little visual memory.

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#2330092 - 09/22/14 08:25 PM Re: Mental Practice - Learning/Memorizing Pieces [Re: LetOff]
Tim R Stinnett Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/21/14
Posts: 9
Loc: Louisiana
Walter Gieseking in his book, Piano Technique, describes this method in frightening detail. I know, another virtuoso, with a remarkable memory. His description scared me away as too complicated: I can't do that!

What is really helpful about Paul's video is he suggests taking simple pieces to try memorizing in this manner first. Don't start with the most difficult or complex piece in your current practice repertoire.

Thanks to Paul. I have found so many of his videos extremely helpful.

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#2330099 - 09/22/14 08:59 PM Re: Mental Practice - Learning/Memorizing Pieces [Re: Bobpickle]
hreichgott Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1090
Loc: western MA, USA
Mentally hearing every note without piano and without score works well for me. I really discover where my blank spots are.
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Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sometimes a bagatelle is just a bagatelle. Beethoven Op. 33
Daily 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 2, Pischna
Loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
Always a fan of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2330146 - 09/23/14 02:03 AM Re: Mental Practice - Learning/Memorizing Pieces [Re: Bobpickle]
Michael Sayers Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 1146
Loc: Stockholms län, Sverige
In studying music away from the piano the mind is freed up to really focus in on the details and interconnections of the music, usually this becomes interpretively revealing.

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