memorization in piano playing

It is painful for me to play the piano in memory. I have neither absolute pitch to assist music memorization. While it is a custom to perform in memory, I have to spend much time to memorize the score. But still my memory is not always reliable and long lasting.

Books about music memory usually cover four methods: muscular, visual, aural memory and by analysis. I modify some of them to fit my ability. The followings are my tips on memorization in piano playing:

1. muscular memory
It is the fastest way to get memory of “playing”, only if you use consistent and efficient fingering with appropriate posture and body movement. But when I get nervious, I lose this type of memory easily. So it is not so reliable.

2. visual memory
It is something like scanning scores into your brain. But I find difficulty in memorizing notes purely as visual symbols (notations). I think visual memory is rather as an end product of your musical understanding and patient practice of the piece.

Memory of keyboard geography is also a kind of visual memory. This type of memory with the sense of relative pitch can help you locating notes on keyboard quickly even if you don’t have absolute pitch.

3. aural memory
It is not difficult to memorize music as sound. But I can’t find the way to realize sound in my brain into piano playing. Later I find that I lack the skill “play by ear”. The skill “play by ear” means learning piano pieces through imitation from sound, not from any forms of written notation . It is instinct for very young kids. But our piano curriculum ignore this skill and praise the development of notation reading instead.

 

Copyright © 2014 Alice Ho — All Rights Reserved

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