Memorization plays a vital role in many fields of studies. However when it comes to music, its importance cannot be ignored. Not only beginners but advance level musicians no matter which instrument they are playing can gain benefit from various memorization techniques during the process of learning, practices as well as for their performances.
Memorization is a skill that is integral to playing piano. Memorizing a piece can be helpful in your musical journey especially during performances. Out of many benefits that memorization offers, here are some reasons why memorization is so important.
- It makes playing difficult passages easier as pianist play recalling from his memory.
- Memorizing makes learning to play new pieces easier and there will be less chances of you to drop that piece because of difficulty.
- It develops your brain and reduces the effects of aging on weakening of memory.
- It improves the capacity of your brain to memorize.
- It improves confidence and self-esteem of a pianist.
- It enhances your level of IQ.
There are many other benefits of different memorization techniques that we will be discussing throughout this page in various aspects.
Types of Memorization Techniques:
Memorization techniques purely depend upon different types of memories. In general, there are four main types of memories
- Muscle Memorization: This kind of memorization is developed as you work over a piece repetitively and your fingers automatically learn the feeling of a piece and memorize it. This memorization enables you to effectively and fluently play a musical piece.
- Visual Memorization: This memorizing technique needs you to remember the notes and keys of music just by looking at the music sheet. Visual memorization with focus enables you to remember the look of keys and notes as you play them and later you will be able retrieve their positioning without need of music sheet.
- Aural Memorization: This is an important type of memorization for piano players. This technique works as you practice and listen to various musical pieces recordings. Many advance level pianists who are an expert at tonality usually depend upon aural memorization for their performances.
- Intellectual Memorization: This technique is often termed as cognitive memorization. Your cognitive memory is developed in various ways. One way is to use your hands separately as you try to memorize a passage or piece. With practicing and trying to memorize using one hand at a time, your brain gets more involved in cognitive thinking. This method often let pianists feel good about memorizing certain passages.
Another technique that works with more involvement of your intellect is pickup points.
For this type of memorization, you just need to set some pickup points for a passage. With certain pickup points set throughout the tune, you will be able to memorize well. At the time of performance, you will just have to think about those points and how the pattern continues from that point if in case anything slips from your mind.
Different techniques can be used in a combination to memorize piano music pieces. Some may find sight memorization better than aural memorization and some may find cognitive method better than other three. There isn’t any one memorization technique that could be working perfectly for everyone. With your individual interests and skills, you can choose whichever method fits your technique well.
How to Memorize Piano Pieces?
Step 1: Start from beginning: Your aim should be memorizing the piece in order to gain complete fluency. Thus first you have to set your goal to memorize the piece rather than learning it. As you will prepare your mind for memorization, you will begin on memorizing much quicker. Changing your mind for practice would enable you to practice with more focus and concentration. You will be more conscious throughout the session about all the details related to a certain piece. Begin early from the start and begin with complete focus.
Step 2: Mistakes should be identified and rectified soon: One common mistake that most pianists make is that they don’t fix any errors right away and this increases the probability that they make same mistake again. Once you identify an error, correct it immediately. You would have to keep your mind and ears alert as they will be the ones identifying any errors made. Correcting the error right away will reduce the chances that it would recur.
Correcting mistakes would be hard. One fine method is to have your pieces divided in to different sections and that way you will be able to understand where you are making mistake and it would be easier to rectify as you would be making changes to a certain section not the entire piece.
Step 3: Relaxation is important: Memorization without any doubt will be a tiring technique and you might get exhausted and frustrated if you continue doing it without any break or relaxation at piano. Do not overdo it. Many people get so much involved in memorization that they forget to rest. Various researches have shown that your memory of whatever you have learned throughout the day solidifies and would retain well if you take proper sleep at night. When you do so, you will be able to recall all that you have learned very well the next day as you begin with a fresh start.
It is important to give time to memorizing but overdoing it would only result in fatigue and stress. You should be energized and fresh to memorize and practice each day.
Tips for Memorization:
- It is important to use correct and same fingering each time you put efforts for learning and memorizing a piece. If every time you will be using different fingers it will become difficult for you to memorize it.
- It is important to memorize all the dynamics of a piece as you work for getting fluency over that part. But make sure that you memorize the notes correctly as it may later become difficult to correct once you have memorized it.
- During the process of memorizing piano pieces, you should try to avoid looking at the music sheet for playing the piece. Only sneak a little on it at places where you think you might slip or may have forgotten some notes.
- Keep your eyes on your fingers as you practice to memorize a piano music piece. Doing so would enable you to memorize the pattern of keys played on the keyboard for that piece.
- Divide the piece into smaller sections in order to memorize it. This way it would be easier and you will get an idea on how much you have memorized and how much is left.
- As you practice for memorization, tempo must be slow. As you play fast, you will only be working for improvement on muscle memorization whereas as you practice slowly, your other memorization skills would be enhanced too including sight, hearing and intellectual memory.
- Have some practice time away from the piano You can just try to memorize the tune of a piece while sitting at the couch in your mind. You can even visualize a keyboard and play the tune in your mind. This will show that you have memorized the piece very well in your mind. You can even turn the lights off and play in the dark on piano and playing correct would indicate that you know the piece well.
- Some passages from the piece may be troublesome for you. Work for them and make some additional efforts for memorizing those parts really well.
- Practice and more practice would enable you to win the game. Repetition is the key to success. Do not get demotivated if you cannot memorize or play a piece well. Try next day and work over memorization. Each time you practice the piece and try to memorize it, it will begin to solidify and soon you will get fluency at it.
- Your beginning should be perfect. If you think that you may suffer from on stage or performance fear that most of the pianists face, having complete grasp over beginning would give you confidence of dealing with that fear.
- Ending should be perfect too. There can be some notes missed in between that may get ignored but a perfect ending would be something that your audiences will walk with and it will retain in their memories for a longer period of time.
Above all it is important to trust your skills and abilities to memorize and work ahead for a piano piece over your musical instrument. You just need to make yourself completely prepared before a recital or performance and this would only happen with more and more practice. Don’t worry about how audiences will feel if you miss on something during the performance. Have complete trust and play with complete conviction. Complete knowledge of musical theory and knowing inside out of the musical piece that you will be playing over piano will give you complete confidence and you will end up playing that piece in front of all the audiences with an artistic veracity and complete articulacy with the aid of memorization technique.