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#947215 - 12/04/03 11:41 AM Memorization
Laura Too Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/03
Posts: 45
I have been collecting methods and ideas to reinforce memorization for competition and performances. Just out of curiosity, does anyone have a formula or strategy they use to reinforce memory - to be followed after the piece is technically correct and initally memorized? Do you put your students through a particular set of exercises - for example, memorize part by part, memorize just the LH, memorize in different rhythm, etc. In any specific order? Or any qualifying criteria you use in a case-by-case basis to design a strategy?

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#947216 - 12/21/03 10:57 AM Re: Memorization
Pyano Teacher Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 13
Loc: California
Laura Too,

Sounds to me that you already answered all your questions.I don’t think there is any specific strategy or formula for memorizing or keeping composition “fresh”, once it has been memorized.

I always have my students memorize each hand separately (they need to know horizontal melody line, first), then they have to memorize each measure, in order to know vertical combination of two different melodies. I also encourage them to practice with their eyes closed as they work on small passages, to be able to focus on finger sensation. If we work on polyphonic composition, they need to memorize each voice separately, then combination of any two voices, hands separately (to know what is exactly going on in each hand, especially if middle voice(s) moves from right to left hand throughout the entire composition), measure by measure, phrase by phrase ….. Once they have everything memorized, they need to keep composition “in shape”, so they basically have to continue with the same practicing routine. I don’t let them play composition all the way through as possible practice idea, because that’s the best way to ruin all previous work(they stop paying attention to details).
Of course, all of this varies from student to student, since they don’t have the same abilities to memorize music.

Best regards

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#947217 - 01/19/04 07:10 PM Re: Memorization
anacrusis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/11/04
Posts: 64
Loc: Connecticut
I agree with having the child work hands alone first, then hands together. When my two are stuck, I have them memorize two hands, phrase by phrase, singing as they go. My kids' piano teacher gives out huge candy bars for every 5 pieces memorized, which she marks in the assignment book. Candy is a pretty good motivator in elementary school! I have asked my children what other prizes they would like to have for memorization and they both said they would like pencils with pictures of pianos on them. Hope this helps.

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#947218 - 01/21/04 10:40 PM Re: Memorization
iteachlifeskills Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 23
Loc: Toronto, ON Canada
Sometimes it's just a matter of time... do something often enough and it becomes a part of your subconcious.

I have a "Student of the Month" scheme that I use at my school. It's part of my "11 Great Reasons to Practice". One of the criteria is Memorized Pieces. Students earn points for each song they maintain by memory.

As well, we do monthly concerts for local Senior's Homes. Students earn extra points for their participation in these concerts and guess what... the songs they play MUST BE MEMORIZED. This keeps the kids from trying out songs that are relatively new and therefore insecure for them in front of an audience.

Of course, at the end of each grade level, there is an exam. Again, several of the prepared examination pieces have to be memorized. Since the students (and their parents) are usually eager to move on to the next grade, they tend to keep their pieces in relatively good shape AND by MEMORY during the course of the year so they don't have to relearn the entire piece over again.

Ditto for the annual music festivals.

I guess the thing I'm getting at here is GIVE YOUR STUDENTS A REASON TO MEMORIZE... they will quickly figure out HOW!

All the best from Toronto,
Russ

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#947219 - 01/21/04 10:41 PM Re: Memorization
iteachlifeskills Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 23
Loc: Toronto, ON Canada
Sometimes it's just a matter of time... do something often enough and it becomes a part of your subconcious.

I have a "Student of the Month" scheme that I use at my school. It's part of my "11 Great Reasons to Practice". One of the criteria is Memorized Pieces. Students earn points for each song they maintain by memory.

As well, we do monthly concerts for local Senior's Homes. Students earn extra points for their participation in these concerts and guess what... the songs they play MUST BE MEMORIZED. This keeps the kids from trying out songs that are relatively new and therefore insecure for them in front of an audience.

Of course, at the end of each grade level, there is an exam. Again, several of the prepared examination pieces have to be memorized. Since the students (and their parents) are usually eager to move on to the next grade, they tend to keep their pieces in relatively good shape AND by MEMORY during the course of the year so they don't have to relearn the entire piece over again.

Ditto for the annual music festivals.

I guess the thing I'm getting at here is GIVE YOUR STUDENTS A REASON TO MEMORIZE... they will quickly figure out HOW!

All the best from Toronto,
Russ

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