Saturday, October 31, 2009

Memorization and pitch

Here's an interesting experience from lessons this week...

I had a student memorize the beginning of a standard solo. He devoted a fair amount of time to it and returned with it (mostly) memorized. Here's the interesting part..

His intonation was better.

So let's think this through:
  • Learning from memory means listening to determine if you're playing the right notes.
  • Your focus of attention turns away from the print on the page to the sound in your head.
  • Boom, instead of focusing on the mechanics, perhaps you are now focusing on sound.

What if I sent each incoming freshman a simple recording (mp3) with accompaniment and asked them to learn it by ear to play in that first lesson?

In other words: Give lessons on a piece where no printed music is involved.

Might be an interesting start to the semester.