Wednesday, June 27, 2007

hEARing, part 1

I arise from my summer daze for a rare blog...
I've been working on memorizing Peaslee's Arrows of Time. Normally I don't bother to memorize music. Why? I've always felt you should do whatever produces the best performance. If I hesitate because of a little memory slip, the piece suffers.

I must admit, however, as I work to memorize some of the funkier intervals of that piece, I find that I must truly learn them. I find that I play them better because, since I had to memorize them, they are clearer in my ear.

So here's an equation to consider...

Memorizing = Better Inner Hearing = Better Performance

I'm not totally sold on memorizing yet but I have to admit, this is something new to consider.

You never stop learning.


Alex Manley said...

That's it Doc, come over to the dark side. Muahaha.

Andrew said...


besides the obvious one measure at a time memorizing methods, are there any secrets that help with this. My memory is pretty good, and once i know the piece i can almost play it by ear anyway. but the creston is giving me some real difficulties memorizing everything, possibly because the accidentals we are not used to seeing much...your help would be gladly appreciated.

GroupsAlias4930 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GroupsAlias4930 said...

Remembering all the string players and pianists, a good many of them practice more than most brass players (excepting those brass players on the audition circuit), and often play recitals memorized. So, I tell my students that you can tell that you’ve practiced a section enough if you can play it memorized. I suppose you can say, that for works that are fresh to you, memorizing well is a tool to help you reach more quickly the instinctive understanding of a work that you would have if you had performed the piece many times.

You’ve probably heard all the arguments for and against performing memorized. My personal opinion is that it's a great practice tool, but not always the best performance tool. Then again, if you practice a piece a great deal, and perform it many times (think of excerpts), memorization becomes more comfortable and natural than the Berg Three Pieces Eb and E.