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#401821 - 01/06/08 01:31 AM Away from piano short term memory exercise
Age_of_Anxiety Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/07
Posts: 273
Loc: home
Got any suggestions on how to improve your short term musical memory away from the piano? I mean the kind of stuff that would help you read ahead when sight-reading. Like, reading in groups.

What do you think about copying scores by hand and trying to look at the original score less in less?

Thanks

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#401822 - 01/06/08 09:38 AM Re: Away from piano short term memory exercise
GlennGouldGirl Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 12
Loc: Granby,MA
sing and conduct the piece when away from the piano (in a glenn gould fashion almost). I fancy executing this tactic during my solitary nature walks. own the piece in your head and away from the tangible score.
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#401823 - 01/06/08 10:10 AM Re: Away from piano short term memory exercise
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11180
Loc: Canada
I think two things are getting mixed up. You seem to be writing about memory - "copying scores by hand and trying to look at the original score less in less" for example. There are ways of memorizing music, seeing patterns for example, and then rehearsing them during nature walks like GGG suggests. To memorize I sometimes have the score perched on the music stand and memorize chunks of it while I'm cooking supper or doing chores.

However, your goal is sight reading?

 Quote:
I mean the kind of stuff that would help you read ahead when sight-reading.
Memorizing would be the antithesis of sight reading. In sight reading you are looking at a score you have never seen before. I'm not too well versed on how it's supposed to be done. You should be aware of the key signature ahead of time, where you place your hands, and I think you develop the facility of reading a little bit ahead of what you are playing so that you can anticipate where the notes are going. You can also see patterns: If you see a run then it's like playing a scale that starts "here" and ends "there". Skips, and you may have a broken chord, common chord patterns. Does anyone have strategies for sight reading on the piano, besides - keep practicing it?

 Quote:
What do you think about copying scores by hand ...
Written theory work did help me sight read, because I became more aware of note value, the value of rests, what the notes were etc. I wrote out one score by hand because the original spaced the notes so badly that it was throwing me. I don't think it helped me to sight read in terms of memory, though.

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#401824 - 01/06/08 10:43 AM Re: Away from piano short term memory exercise
Age_of_Anxiety Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/07
Posts: 273
Loc: home
Yes. That's why I meant short-term memory. Like...1-3 second memory. I'm looking for more strategy.

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#401825 - 01/06/08 07:06 PM Re: Away from piano short term memory exercise
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
close your eyes as you play short phrases repeatedly

really the only thing that works for me.
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love and peace, ├Ľun (apple in Estonian)

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#401826 - 01/06/08 11:14 PM Re: Away from piano short term memory exercise
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
i remember reading that some people try to memorize music from score directly, which is extremely hard mental exercise. i could only try to memorize a bar or two perhaps this way.

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#401827 - 01/06/08 11:39 PM Re: Away from piano short term memory exercise
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Age_of_Anxiety:
I mean the kind of stuff that would help you read ahead when sight-reading. Like, reading in groups.
[/b]
I don't really think of this as memory work at all. The sort of reading ahead you do when sightreading is better described as "grasping quickly" rather than memorising, in my opinion. You hold them in your memory for a minute amount of time whilst reading. And the best way to work on this, and sightreading generally, is to do it. The more you practise reading chords/note groups/patterns etc, the better you will get. Of course there's no harm in identifying chords etc from the score, away from the piano. This may help you be able to grasp them more quickly, over time. But this is the crucial thing. Over time. There's no magic short cut, in my opinion.
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#401828 - 01/06/08 11:45 PM Re: Away from piano short term memory exercise
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
Memorizing would be the antithesis of sight reading. [/b]
Actually, memorization is very important for sightreading. As you are going along, you need to memorize and remember:

[1] the key signature
[2] the time signature
[3] any accidentals that carry through a measure
[4] melodies that return later in the piece
[5] harmonic progressions that repeat or return later
[6] rhythms that repeat or return later
[7] stylistic details that will help "predict" what comes next
[8] any changes in key signature (and the old one, in the likely event it returns later)
[9] any changes in time signature (and the old one, in the likely event it returns later)
[10] any change in key that is not notated with a new key signature


etc.

If you're in the habit of reading ahead, then of course you have to remember what you just read in order to be able to play it as you keep looking ahead. The farther ahead you read as you play, the more you have to memorize/remember.
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#401829 - 01/06/08 11:47 PM Re: Away from piano short term memory exercise
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Also, keep in mind that reading a new score is only half of sight-reading. The other half is actually playing it. Even if someone were to completely memorize the notes away from the keyboard, then later playing it for the first time would still be, in a sense, "sight-reading", since he's never played it before.
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Sam

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#401830 - 01/07/08 01:08 AM Re: Away from piano short term memory exercise
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
I don't disagree with you, pj - I just thought that to call the process "memorisation" was a bit confusing, as was in fact the original post. I'm still in fact not quite sure what he's asking.
Can you explain why I'm a very good sightreader, but I can't remember where I put my keys 2 minutes ago? \:D
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Du holde Kunst...

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#401831 - 01/07/08 04:01 AM Re: Away from piano short term memory exercise
Age_of_Anxiety Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/25/07
Posts: 273
Loc: home
Well, the thing is, I've done about an average of 2hr/day of sight reading for the past year. Then I couldn't sight read anything, like not even single staff stuff, now I can have a decent go at easy sonatinas, Schubert waltzes, and ragtime? Is that reasonable progress for that amount of time?

I guess what I meant is practicing "grasping."

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#401832 - 01/07/08 04:38 AM Re: Away from piano short term memory exercise
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by Age_of_Anxiety:
Well, the thing is, I've done about an average of 2hr/day of sight reading for the past year. Then I couldn't sight read anything, like not even single staff stuff, now I can have a decent go at easy sonatinas, Schubert waltzes, and ragtime? Is that reasonable progress for that amount of time?
I guess what I meant is practicing "grasping." [/b]
I think that's excellent progress, A-of-A! I admire the amount of effort you've put in. I sightread all the time as part of what I do (accompanying) but I also practise it every day. Sometimes the hardest part is just making yourself start, especially if it looks tricky.
To answer what I now understand your question to be, I think a bit of theory helps, so that you can recognise chords. Developing your "inner" ear is very valuable as well - so you read something away from the piano, then play it to check how close you were. Recognising the sound of various intervals is part of this. Pattern recognition becomes easier when you play a lot of music - eg Mozart is easier to read if you've played a lot of Mozart.
The "reading ahead" bit is interesting. I have analysed what in fact I do, and it's more like a quick flick of the eyes over the following bar and back, sometimes both staves at once, sometimes one at a time. Some people talk of it like it's very rigid - play bar 1 while reading bar 2, play bar 2 while reading bar 3, somewhat like circular breathing - but for me it's more like constant awareness of what's around, like being aware of the traffic when you're driving. But all the time you're keeping the pulse going.
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Du holde Kunst...

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#401833 - 01/07/08 11:49 AM Re: Away from piano short term memory exercise
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by currawong:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Age_of_Anxiety:
Well, the thing is, I've done about an average of 2hr/day of sight reading for the past year. Then I couldn't sight read anything, like not even single staff stuff, now I can have a decent go at easy sonatinas, Schubert waltzes, and ragtime? Is that reasonable progress for that amount of time?
I guess what I meant is practicing "grasping." [/b]
I think that's excellent progress, A-of-A! I admire the amount of effort you've put in. I sightread all the time as part of what I do (accompanying) but I also practise it every day. Sometimes the hardest part is just making yourself start, especially if it looks tricky.
To answer what I now understand your question to be, I think a bit of theory helps, so that you can recognise chords. Developing your "inner" ear is very valuable as well - so you read something away from the piano, then play it to check how close you were. Recognising the sound of various intervals is part of this. Pattern recognition becomes easier when you play a lot of music - eg Mozart is easier to read if you've played a lot of Mozart.
The "reading ahead" bit is interesting. I have analysed what in fact I do, and it's more like a quick flick of the eyes over the following bar and back, sometimes both staves at once, sometimes one at a time. Some people talk of it like it's very rigid - play bar 1 while reading bar 2, play bar 2 while reading bar 3, somewhat like circular breathing - but for me it's more like constant awareness of what's around, like being aware of the traffic when you're driving. But all the time you're keeping the pulse going. [/b]
That's a great analogy. Like driving, but only while not using a cell phone at the same time. ;\)

But seriously, as a excellent sight reader, I do the same thing, depending upon the tempo. In some cases I use the quick I flick, but in others I can really read ahead and enjoy the music.

I think that having an aural sense of what the music will sound like helps. I have the ability to read a piece of music, even if I've never heard it before, and be able to hear it in my head. With this ability, I can actually play with dynamics and phrasing along with just the notes.

John
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