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#424887 - 06/25/06 06:26 PM Memorizing
B flat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/06
Posts: 112
I almost always seem to memorize pieces even before I know them and without working on memorizing them. It just happens by practicing them, and sometimes for a very[/b] short time. It's crazy and not always a good thing. For example, I memorized Bach's G major Prelude, WTC book 1, less than a week after I started reading it. It was terrible because I
didn't "know" the piece yet at all. I was just reading it, but I had it memorized. I was able to play it without the music with no memory problems. Is that normal?

How do you memorize music? My memory is quite secure, but I would like to start working on memorizing music the way most people do so that it will be even more secure. I want to actually know the music, if that makes sense.
_________________________
"It's easy to play any instrument: you just have to touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play by itself."
--J.S. Bach

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#424888 - 06/25/06 07:25 PM Re: Memorizing
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
B flat,
Have you tried analyzing the music? Okay, you have it memorized, now take the music and while reading analyze it, meaning know the key it's in, time signature of course, write down the chord progressions, modulations, etc...
Then play it by memory knowing what you are playing, labeling out loud perhaps the chord changes for example.
Also, you say you have it memorized. Do you have it memorized HS? You can challenge your memory in this way. When you get to the Fugue read each voice separately and memorize each voice separately. Analyze the Fugue, again knowing what you are playing: subject, answer, modulating to such and such key, etc... Keeping each voice memorized separately for Bach I think is essential to really knowing his work.

You are lucky to be able to memorize so easily.
Curious, do you memorize in order to play it well? Or does it just naturally happen while you are reading it?
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#424889 - 06/25/06 08:29 PM Re: Memorizing
B flat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/06
Posts: 112
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
Curious, do you memorize in order to play it well? Or does it just naturally happen while you are reading it?[/b]
It just naturally happens from practicing, but I feel like I play better without the music in front of me to "distract" me from playing the music.

Thanks for the advice! I'm going to do it.
_________________________
"It's easy to play any instrument: you just have to touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play by itself."
--J.S. Bach

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#424890 - 06/25/06 10:53 PM Re: Memorizing
Anne Francis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 548
Loc: Toronto, ON
I wonder if others share my experience, which is that I used to almost automatically memorize pieces when I was young and I think it was because I was a poor sightreader. Now that I'm, ahem, OLDer (and with a gap of about 25 years of not studying), I find memorization a major challenge--but I've also become a pretty good sightreader, which pleases me. Interestingly, I find that once I memorize a piece (which takes a lot of work), I can't play it while following the music any more, so if I forget something I'm in trouble.
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#424891 - 06/26/06 02:59 AM Re: Memorizing
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Anne Francis,
Sounds like me. But we need to keep that inner child ability! It is a good one to keep. It is also good that we can sight-read better now. I know what you mean. It is more of a chore to memorize because we have become better at reading the music.
Try doing both. Practicing both skills. They require two different ways of using the brain. And both are very beneficial!
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#424892 - 06/26/06 05:37 PM Re: Memorizing
Contrapunctus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/05
Posts: 808
Loc: Whittier, California
B Flat, you memorize easily because you have perfect pitch. You hear notes, and your brain processes them. Most of us do not know exactly what notes we hear so we have to memorize factually or by looking at the score(for photographic memories only). I don't always have a piece technically down by the time a memorize it because I memorize factually, and it's easy to catch finger patterns and harmonic patterns without being able to put one's fingers on those keys. However, memrizing actually helps me learn the technical aspect of the piece because what I tend to remember is finger patterns aka Kissin.
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#424893 - 06/26/06 07:47 PM Re: Memorizing
B flat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/06
Posts: 112
 Quote:
Originally posted by Contrapunctus
B Flat, you memorize easily because you have perfect pitch. [/b]
:D True. Do you as well?
_________________________
"It's easy to play any instrument: you just have to touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play by itself."
--J.S. Bach

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#424894 - 06/26/06 08:09 PM Re: Memorizing
xyz2004slc Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/05
Posts: 353
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianobuff:
When you get to the Fugue read each voice separately and memorize each voice separately. [/QB]
Out of curiousity, when you practice this way, do you use the fingerings you would use to play the piece with all of the voices, or do you use whatever fingerings you want and THEN change the fingerings when you've gotten all four voices memorized?

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#424895 - 06/26/06 10:00 PM Re: Memorizing
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
I try and use the fingerings for each voice as if I was to put them together. But at times it is difficult to do this technically so if needed I will use a different fingering, being concious that I am.
I think for most of us, including me, reading each voice and practicing each voice is essential, for our ears. I know I suggested to memorize each voice to B flat which can be done and is great if you can manage to do this. I've done this. But if you don't want to memorize each voice (it is rather laborious), but read each voice and then practice memorizing it HT is a very good way to learn it too.
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#424896 - 06/26/06 11:04 PM Re: Memorizing
juliejam Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/06
Posts: 36
Loc: SW FL
I am wondering if there is any one else on this thread that has perfect pitch besides B-flat?

Not trying to be off-topic, Just curious...

--------------
good luck to you...
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#424897 - 06/26/06 11:34 PM Re: Memorizing
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
B-flat,

When you are memorizing, are you analyzing the music, or are only your fingers remembering the music? If it's your fingers only, then this is known as finger-memory, and this is unstable when it comes to performing because if you make one mistake, your music will fall apart.

As others have said here, you need to learn the structure of the music as well, and practice the music in your mind. The reason for this is if your make a mistake, your brain memory will know the music well enough to recover for you.

John
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#424898 - 06/26/06 11:38 PM Re: Memorizing
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
I do not have perfect pitch, but I can memorize at an extremely rapid rate. Studying a piece and memorizing the notes are two very different things. Memorization helps, not hinders, the learning of a piece. When climbing a mountain with several plateaus, the first plateau is essential to reach the summit, but just because you reach it in one day while others take seven does not mean there aren't other plateaus to reach. ;\)
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#424899 - 06/27/06 12:37 AM Re: Memorizing
juliejam Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/06
Posts: 36
Loc: SW FL
"I do not have perfect pitch, but I can memorize at an extremely rapid rate."[/b]

I don't know why, but I never made the connection between memorizing and perfect pitch. Although I can see how it might help. It certainly wouldn't hurt!

Aren't they 2 different things? (a memory for tones, and the ability to memorize quickly)

I memorize piano repertoire very quickly. I have perfect pitch. But I also play gigs, where I am singing ALOT. I have some 200 songs, and I have all the WORDS memorized. I never use cheat sheets for the words. hmmmm....I have always thought of that as memorizing TEXT.

I guess I have always thought that memorizing and tonal memory are 2 different things, like using different parts of the brain...although, that's just an assumption on my part, because I am really bad at science! and come to think of it, math scares me too!

just my 2 cents
------------------
good luck to you...
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#424900 - 06/27/06 01:17 AM Re: Memorizing
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
If you have perfect pitch, you know the next note is an "A". If you have relative pitch, you know the next note is an "A" because the note you just played was a "G". If you don't have either of these, you're "in the ballpark." So, if you have the first, and you know the music, memorization is as easy as the music. If you have the second, memorization is as easy as the music plus the chords. If you have neither, you'll have to memorize every note. ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#424901 - 06/27/06 11:30 AM Re: Memorizing
MeLuvMusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/06
Posts: 94
Loc: Brunei
I only memorized the piece when i sight-read, play and listen to it. I don't usually analyse the piece maybe because i haven't get to Grade 6,7,8 Theory yet. And understanding of analysing scores is not a part of me yet.
Therefore, i only used to memorized a piece by playing or practicing it many times in order to master that piece. It will just come in through a lot of practice.
So, when Bflat said he memorized then play the music. It shocked me. Wow!!! I haven't try that yet. Maybe i should try it! Awesome.
I can rate myself as a moderate sight reader but my teacher once said i'm a fast reader and i began to wonder am i that good???
But i still think there are more ways to tackle a piece. Sight-reading is very important for me especially when i play pop songs. I don't memorise pop songs all these while i'm with the piano...unless i am determined and tell myself ok!..i'm memorising this one. I think that's odd O.o?? and even i have played many songs at home...when friends asked me can you play a song for me then i began to confused and oh no! what should i play??? I got confused with all the songs..

So, why does this happen to me?? Can anyone solve my queries?? =(
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#424902 - 06/27/06 12:10 PM Re: Memorizing
Pedro PR Silva Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/24/06
Posts: 125
Loc: Lisbon, Portugal
I too memorize pieces very fast, meaning after reading one or two times, my head already knows what notes to play ( fingers catching up with the head is another story \:\) ). Sometimes i fell it´s a bad thing cause i look at page but get distracted by hearing the music in my head wich means i am not realy folowing the page.

Now, like Juliejam i dont wanna stray to the perfect pitch topic, but i feel there is conection to whats being discussed here and so i would like your views (perfect and relative pitch folks) about my ear status.

I wonder if i have perfect pitch, i´m 23 and i´ve benn studying music formaly and piano for about 6 months, early on my teacher said i migh had perfect pitch, but that it had been hindered by not studying music as a child.

Like i said i memorize music very easy, and altough i cannot ear a note and just say it´s name, i can remember music, sometimes music that i dont listen for a long time, play it in my head first and then check the real thing and find i virtualy always imagine the music in it´s right key.

It´s kind of a contradiction to me and bugs me alot, what do you all make of it?
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#424903 - 06/27/06 12:42 PM Re: Memorizing
Chobussy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 175
Loc: Buffalo, NY
Memorizing piano music comes VERY easy for me. I also play the clarinet, and I NEVER memorize music for that... or very rarely. In fact, I don't even have to tell myself to memorize a piano song and it naturally happens.

The reason is as follows. All of your fingers and thumbs constantly play different keys on the piano... but in my case, on the clarinet, each individual finger and thumb has an assigned key to cover... and that's really all that finger ever does. Therefore, with the clarinet, there is no need to look at your fingers to play and you can completely focus on the sheet music. Piano on the other hand, you need to watch the movement of your fingers and thumbs because they're going everywhere. And this naturally leads to a need and ease to memorize.
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#424904 - 06/27/06 02:37 PM Re: Memorizing
lol_nl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/21/06
Posts: 918
Loc: Ede, Netherlands
I memorize before learning a piece, which is, I think, a much more secure method of memorizing.

I use a few types of memory:
-Visible memory (Seeing the score while playing, without score).
-Audible memory (although I don't have very perfect pitch).
-Muscle memory.
-Theoratical memory (sp?) (I memorize a C scale as a C scale, not as C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C seperately).

And maybe a few other ways.
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#424905 - 06/27/06 03:24 PM Re: Memorizing
Rick Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/01
Posts: 559
Loc: Chicago
Gheez you guys are good. This is hardly a place for amateurs like me! I can play most pieces forever and still not memorize in the truest sense. I mean there's a lot of movements and sounds that are memorized, but I still have to have the music up there (except for a few blocks here and there). I will say that I seem to be much better memorizing fast parts - like the middle page or two of Chopin's op. 27, no1. Or even the Revolutionary - I seem to be memorizing that whether I like it or not!

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#424906 - 06/27/06 04:22 PM Re: Memorizing
Contrapunctus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/05
Posts: 808
Loc: Whittier, California
Rick, you'll catch on. You sound like me a couple years ago. You have to factually remember finger poistions and harmonic patterns. Certain notes tend to go together.
No, b flat, I do not have perfect pitch at all! I am far from that!
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#424907 - 06/27/06 05:17 PM Re: Memorizing
grisha Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/31/06
Posts: 25
 Quote:
Originally posted by B flat:
I almost always seem to memorize pieces even before I know them and without working on memorizing them. [/b]
I remember reading in Arthur Rubenstein's book "My Young Years" that he had a similar ability, except that I think he actually remembered music for a long time. He also mentioned that he could clearly remember events from very early childhood, e.g. before age 3.

Grisha

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#424908 - 06/27/06 10:53 PM Re: Memorizing
Seth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 38
Loc: Centerville, Ohio
I do the same thing and it sometimes catches me in a bad spot. I think that I got this from having to memorize so much in marching band. WE memorize it before we perfect it, and then work to perfect it afterwards. I usually memorize by muscle memory and hearing. I have an excellent ear, and once my piano teacher plays the piece before i start to work on it, i nearly have the sounds of the piece memorized. Why this catches my off guard - I will end up practicing the smae mistakes over and over and to correct them, I will have to go back to beginning tempo and relearn that section. I know someone who memorizes by photographic memory, but it always sounds like she is sightreading, even at concerts.
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#424909 - 06/28/06 04:00 AM Re: Memorizing
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
For whatever it's worth, I wrote up my own comments about memorizing music on another forum (different website) in response to a teacher who had a student who couldn't seem to memorize music at all. I used to have a terrible time memorizing music. I'm taking the liberty of copying it here (with some minor edits). I would only add, now that I read it over, that I'm sorry I made it sound like this is the *only* right way to memorize - there are apparently people who are blessed with such good "natural" memories, that they seem to be able to memorize without much analysis. Perhaps it is that their minds register, or analyize, so automatically that it is subconscious?:

Quote:
I consider myself something of an expert on memorizing music because it used to be my achilles' heel for much of my life until I uncovered the truth about its origin and the solution. Memorizing music used to be next to impossible for me, and even worse, when I did memorize music, it was always a completely tenuous thing - I never felt really secure, and the slightest mishap would easily derail me completely. It kept me from performing almost my entire life.

Here's what I finally came to understand after years of living with this problem and struggling to find a solution:

First of all, in classical piano pedagogy there is an almost complete disconnect between music theory and playing the piano. Sure, music theory is sometimes/often taught, but usually as an adjunct to learning pieces - an adjunct that is SEPARATE from the pieces being learned. Often it goes only as far as doing written theory/harmony exercises in a special theory book. "Theory Papers" were what my teachers gave me in the 60s and 70s. In my own education, having studied with MANY MANY teachers, not once did any teacher EVER analyze a piece of music I was working on together with me, nor ask me to do it myself.

When it comes to learning pieces, this is the typical procedure: The student learns a piece by reading the score. He or she practices the music with the score for days or weeks until it can be played up to speed and hopefully musically. Then comes the task of memorizing.

This whole procedure is completely backwards in my opinion for so many reasons. For one thing, at no point has the student analyzed a single note of the piece. If a piece of music is made up of 2,374 notes, then the student sees 2,374 notes - random notes that he or she has to memorize. What a daunting task! Then there's the problem that since the student has already learned to play the piece, memorization will always be CONTAMINATED by the WEAKEST types of memory: tactile and aural (depending on how good an ear the player has). In my opinion, and in my own experience, the best, strongest type of memory is ANALYTICAL. It is the difference between being taught how to pronounce the words to a poem in a language you do not understand a word of, and then being told to memorize it, versus memorizing a poem in your own language where you know the meaning of each word and recognize the sentence structures and meanings.

When I say "analytical" I mean VERY DETAILED analysis.

Here's what I do and what I recommend:

First, each piece your student plays must be analyzed NOT after it's been learned, but BEFORE. This is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL.

As step one, the student needs to be able to identify each and every single chord in the piece. When I was looking for the solution to the memorization problem, I stopped here. I identified each chord I was playing and then memorized my pieces, reciting each chord as I played. It was an improvement, but not the entire solution. Why? Because I substituted the 2,374 notes with 385 UNRELATED chords. Yes - fewer "things" to memorize, but still "random!"

That brings me to step three: ROMAN NUMERAL ANALYSIS.
Roman numeral analysis is what will turn those 385 chords into 385 RELATED chords. They are NOT random. They are gloriously logical and not only that, they're logic is what makes the piece "tick." Their relatedness (and unrelatedness) ARE the piece. And it doesn't even stop there. There are many, many progressions of chords that are COMMONLY REOCCURING in piece after piece. Whole chunks of chord progressions will, after time, become instantly identifiable and therefore immensly easier to learn and MEMORIZE.

So, yes. Step three - Roman Numeral Analysis. It needs to be done NOT in some exercise, but in each and EVERY piece your student plays. It needs to be done as STEP ONE - BEFORE the student learns to play the piece! It needs to be written in in the score. Not the names of each chord, but the Roman numerals.

In addition to the Roman Numeral Analysis, there are other things that need to be analysed IN DETAIL, like the FORM of the piece - they need to all be labeled (ie. A,A,B,A), and themes need to be identified and labeled. Also, chord tones and non-chord tones in the melody - I like to circle all non-chord tones, but in some cases it may be better to do the opposite. This will reveal the true identity of the melody notes - most are just chord tones that are embellished. Finally, the actual progression of chords needs to be analyzed. Cadences need to be identified. And by the way, Roman numeral anlysis requires identifying when key areas change. When the key areas change, they should be marked, ie. Gm: ii vi V i. How exciting - we are revealing the words and sentences of the music!

NOW it's time to learn to play the piece - and here's another key: The piece needs to be learned one phrase at a time, or less if it is complicated - even a measure at a time - MEMORIZING EACH SMALL SECTION RIGHT AWAY. Most importantly, the learning/memorizing must be based on the ANALYSIS. Here blocking is an excellent method of learning and memorizing. Sometimes it is helpful to play and block hands separately, sometimes together.

The wonderful thing about all this is that by the time all this analysis is done, learning and memorization are 10 times easier. The poem has been translated into a language that is a native tongue - or at least it will become more and more "native" as time goes on. And, as a bonus, your interpretation of the piece will be based on true understanding of its construction.

Now, I know that many teachers would say "Sure, do Roman numeral analysis with my 5 year old - why not just explain to them how horrible it is to play the piano and let them quit right away?" I say phooey. First of all, it is up to the teacher to reveal the compositional tools used in a piece of music in an EXCITING way. It IS exciting. It doesn't have to be thought of as a chore, but rather as an exciting, fun, and rewarding task - much like working out the solution to a puzzle. The reward? Learning to play and memorize a piece of music with a feeling of security that your students could never have dreamed possible. Also, just the revelation that what appeared so complicated at first sight is really relatively simple after being analyzed is rewarding and enlightening.

The only thing I have to add is that two other areas of piano pedagogy that are almost entirely ignored, and that would be enormously helpful to this process, are composition and improvisation. If, in addition to analyzing the music a student is playing, he or she is at the same time learning to compose music, all the better. It will contribute to making music a native language.

Finally - A word about vocabulary. Music theory is full of very complicated vocabulary, and certainly I would not expect my very beginner students to learn Roman numeral analysis. So, don't start with Roman numeral analysis. [Actually, I've been thinking about this, and I'm not so sure I agree with that. Why not introduce it right away? It is so basic to the language of music - maybe it *should* be introduced in the very beginning stages.] Start by creating a vocabulary to anlayze whatever music they're playing that is on their level. You can identify the notes that make up their piece by just saying (AND WRITING DOWN) "This piece is made up of these 5 notes: C,D,E,F,G." "This measure is made up of the first 4 of the 5 notes in steps going up" "This measure is made up of 1-3-5 of the five notes," etc., etc. Be creative. It almost doesn't matter what level you analyze on. The key, in my mind, is to get at the "relatedness" of the notes. How do they relate to the scale that the piece is written in? How do they relate to the chords built on those scale degrees? How do the melody notes relate to the chords? Which melody notes are chord notes, which aren't? Which notes are not even in the scale, and why/how are they being used? The point is to analyze at whatever level you can - and to WRITE IT DOWN and use it to learn and memorize the music. [Other ideas I have would be to 1) have the student re-write the piece in block form 2) have them re-write it as written but leaving out all non-chord tones 3) have them re-write it as written, using whole notes for all the chord tones, and stemless black notes for all the non-chord tones (disregarding rhythmic values entirely - it's just a way to notate and visualize the chord tones and non-chord tones). When re-writing don't rule out the possibility of using more than two staves if it will clarify what's going on in the piece. 4) have them write out a fake book style "lead sheet" using Roman numerals and then improvise from it, ie. left hand alone playing just chords (at first let them play all chords in root position, but RNA should always include inversion indications - have them also play the chords in the inversions in which they are actually used in the piece - great opportunity to discuss voice leading - doesn't that *SOUND* better?). Also have them play the chords in various accompaniment figures - Alberti, arpeggiated, waltz, tango, march, you name it. Finally, have them play the right hand alone making up melodies made up only of chord tones, later introducing non-chord tones, then put left and right together - hey we're improvising! We're speaking music!]

With your student I would stop working on their current repertoire and go back to much earlier grade music (pieces he never played) and start all over again, using the analysis method I outline above on music that is much easier. While it may be easier for him to read and play this music, the analysis will be new to him - you want to introduce the vocabulary of analysis slowly and always well within the capabilities of the student. Learning to play easier pieces this way should instill and restore confidence.

Oh - just thought of one more thing. Polyphonic music needs to be analyzed diffferently from homophonic. There you need to identify subjects, countersubjects, canonic sections, episodic sections, sequential sections, cadential sections, etc. You can also do roman numeral analysis on polyphonic music, just that some sections will be more chordal than others - too much to go into here.

PS - Ask a Jazz pianist if he or she has memory problems. They will probably look at you like you're from Mars. That's because learning to play jazz is all about learning the language of music and speaking it as a native language, including recognizing chord progressions that are as common as dandelions. They wouldn't dream of playing music and not knowing what chords they are playing!

PPS - you might ask, is it really possible to think of the Roman numerals as you play a piece up to speed. The answer is, ironically, no! Some sections, yes - those with more common chord progressions, certainly most cadences, which are usually some form of IV-V-I with variations/embellishments. Usually as a piece becomes more familiar, I naturally, gradually shift from being cognizant of Roman numerals to just cognizant of the chord names, but it doesn't seem to matter. What seems to matter most is how the piece was learned originally, and by that time the piece is well memorized.
END QUOTE

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#424910 - 07/08/06 09:01 PM Re: Memorizing
B flat Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/06
Posts: 112
 Quote:
Originally posted by John Citron
When you are memorizing, are you analyzing the music, or are only your fingers remembering the music? If it's your fingers only, then this is known as finger-memory, and this is unstable when it comes to performing because if you make one mistake, your music will fall apart.[/b]
Well, I think some of it is finger memory, but not all of it. For example, several years after I learn a piece, I can often play it by memory. Rough the first time, but then it all comes back after playing through it a couple of times.

Every one who has said that I should analyze my music is right. \:\) I will do it.
_________________________
"It's easy to play any instrument: you just have to touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play by itself."
--J.S. Bach

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#424911 - 07/08/06 10:23 PM Re: Memorizing
Rae-Garrett Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/06/06
Posts: 5
Loc: Washington State
I learned how to play the piano only by way of my own creations. I was 14 when I begged my mother to buy a piano. She scraped up her pennies and got me a little Ivers and Pond. I had played for several years before deciding to take a lesson. But trying to learn to sight-read piano music at that point was a painstaking undertaking. I think it really retarded my ability to sight-read after I was already able to play the instrument. So I quickly took to memorizing sheet music. They say that typically a person can only play a piece 10% better than they can sight-read it. I don't know that I believe that statistic. By memorizing I can play fairly difficult stuff, but I still can't sight-read worth a damn. It's a handicap for sure. I've never considered myself a musician or even a pianist because I can hardly sight-read. And as far as composing, it's an additional handicap. Fast at creating, paralyzed at writing it down. But it's hard to avoid memorizing if that's what is easist for your brain to do. Your brain won't choose to torture itself unless it is absolutely necessary.

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#424912 - 07/08/06 11:38 PM Re: Memorizing
ignorant kid Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/03
Posts: 333
Loc: Poquoson, Virginia
JerryS88, thank you for posting. Your method of memorizing seems well worth a try. I'm pretty good at music theory and I'm very into classical music, but I have never gone as far as analyzing classical repertoire. I think you're on to something- I'll see if I can't learn a piece that way this summer.
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-Carl

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#424913 - 07/09/06 11:59 PM Re: Memorizing
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3915
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by JerryS88:
...First, each piece your student plays must be analyzed NOT after it's been learned, but BEFORE. This is ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL....[/b]
This was what Karl Leimer, Gieseking's teacher, advocated. I would tend to disagree, however, unless you want to play as well as Gieseking did. ;\)
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#424914 - 07/10/06 12:31 AM Re: Memorizing
psychopianoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/05
Posts: 608
Loc: Oklahoma
I like what JerryS88 stated. That is some genius recommendations.

I started using the numbering system awhile back and some did not understand. Once you start seeing the patterns that occure in music it is alot easier to play and memorize because you understand where the music is going.

I play alot of gospel and the numbers just keep repeating from one song to the next and with numbering it corresponds to all keys. I also play alot of music by David Nevue and though it is 4,5,or six pages long it is not bad when you follow the patterns and numbers.

I will say untill I started that I had trouble getting stuck in the middle of a song if I goofed. It was like my hands just got lost and my brain had no idea where to tell the hands to go. That has mostly stopped since I started analyzing the music. Now it just depends on how nervous I am.
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pianolessonaddicts.com

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#424915 - 07/10/06 05:00 PM Re: Memorizing
gabytu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/05
Posts: 1522
Loc: Portland, Or.
Thanks Jerry. I am convinced that your "method" is helpful, not only in learning to memorize,but is essental in learning a composition, whether or not it is going to be memorized. Even when playing with the notes in front of me, having analized it thoroughly, and understanding the chord progressions, and their relationship to the piece,I find that I am thinking ahead, and almost subconsciously anticipating what comes next. This in turn mentally prepares the hands and fingers for what is to come, and my playing has become much smoother, and more expressive, mainly because I have penetrated to the very heart of the music.

I tend to learn much as you recommend---however,I don't use the Roman numeral system, but rather think of the names of the chords-- their relationship to one another, and their function in the compostion, noting any non-harmonic tones, and how they are resolved, etc.

For me, verbalizing what is going on in the music is an important part of the learning process. It becomes concrete, rather than abstract.

This method works for me--mostly because I have had College level theory classes, which included considerable harmonic analysis. Once I learned to apply what I learned in theory classes to what I was doing at the keyboard, learning new compostions became much easier.

Interestingly enough, not one of my piano professors ever suggested that I apply what I was learning in theory classes to what I was doing at the keyboard. There was a complete disconnect between what was going on in the theory classes, and what when on in the piano sessions. The result was that I struggled with the piano, note for note, and chord for chord without any awareness of their relationships to each. Needless to say, my progress was painfully slow.

It wasn't until after years of "mindless" playing that I finally began to apply what I learned in theory classes to the music I was attempting to learn. I lost a lot of ground, by not learning this valuable lesson earlier.
Thanks Jerry for posting in such detail the entire process. Gaby Tu

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#424916 - 07/10/06 06:36 PM Re: Memorizing
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
I started using the numbering system awhile back....[/b]
Don't know what numbering system you're talking about, but this is one of the things that severely hinders many pianists. "Ooh, hey...I'm playing a third. That's three. But, I'm playing it with my fifth finger. Ah, and it's on beat two. No, wait...two-and-A[/b]."

So, to play the note, you have to remember: 3, 5, 2-and-A[/b] (or worse, 2-2-3-4[/b]). That's a lot of confusing signals crossing. ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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