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Memory slips (Read 1421 times)

Offline abigailky

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Memory slips
« on: March 10, 2016, 12:01:46 AM »
Hi, I am playing a few pieces off by heart in a recital in a few days time. I feel prepared - memorised the pieces well and have gotten past all the technicalities - yet I am worried I will forget the notes during my performance. This is not just a mere worry of mine but a common tendency.. I find it difficult to recall a performance of mine where I did not have a memory slip. But my biggest fear of all is not being able to recover from the slip. Does anyone out there have any advice? I have tried focusing solely on the music, I have practised in many different ways and I have read countless books on performance anxiety, but nothing seems to help.
Would really appreciate if anyone could help me  ::)

~ Abi
To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time. - Leonard Bernstein

Offline briansaddleback

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Re: Memory slips
«Reply #1 on: March 10, 2016, 12:08:35 AM »
This is the hard thing, but having multiple spots where you can start from immediately will help.
I used to have only top of the page of each piece as a starting point, and  I would crash and burn by stopping and returning to the top of the page or advance forward to next.


I still dont have a lot of spots to start from but I am working w discipline to know intimately the starting points of perhaps every other measure or even every measure.

Also know the difficult sections hand separate. As if you can whip them out as a separate mini piece all by your just one hand.
Work in progress:

Rondo Alla Turca

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: Memory slips
«Reply #2 on: March 10, 2016, 02:42:47 AM »
When it comes to piano, there's like three types of memory.

1.  Muscle memory

2.  Memorizing how it sounds

3.  Memorizing the score

4.  Memorizing the form and harmonies

5.  Memorizing how your hands actually look when you're playing.

I know I said 3 but I was on a roll.

ANYWAYS, when you're nervous, the first thing to go is your muscle memory.  And if that's all you got, well then you're out of luck.  I think that's the most common reason why people have memory slips.  They commit everything to muscle memory.  The second most important thing I think is to have a good theoretical knowledge of the piece.

When you're practicing try saying the harmonies out loud while you're playing.  I swear to god once you KNOW all the harmonies you will feel WAY more confident about your performance. 

Also you should practice being able to start anywhere in the piece.  Mark a few starting points on the score and memorize them.
Live large, die large.  Leave a giant coffin.

Online outin

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Re: Memory slips
«Reply #3 on: March 10, 2016, 04:54:21 AM »
At this stage you should focus on your ability to recover from the memory slips and try not to think about them too much so that you lose the right feel when performing. The more you worry the more probable it is you will get them.

Some people are prone to memory issues no matter how well prepared. Time (and work such as explained in the previous post) only will tell if you are one of them or if it's just a matter of practice and getitng over the nervousness. Pieces you have learned recently are more risky. When you return to something over and over they will become more secure.
Pieces under work now: Franck op 18, Bach Sinfonia nr 9 and P&F a minor book 2.
Wait...no Scarlatti? Must add something soon...

Offline mjames

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Re: Memory slips
«Reply #4 on: March 10, 2016, 06:10:37 AM »

I know I said 3 but I was on a roll.

pls post more, I love your sense of humor.
Composing/improvising

Chopin's 4th ballade and 3rd sonata.
Scriabin Op. 42 no. 1, 2, and 3.
Bach Partita No.4

Offline xdjuicebox

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Re: Memory slips
«Reply #5 on: March 10, 2016, 06:36:52 PM »
When it comes to piano, there's like three types of memory.

1.  Muscle memory

2.  Memorizing how it sounds

3.  Memorizing the score

4.  Memorizing the form and harmonies

5.  Memorizing how your hands actually look when you're playing.

I know I said 3 but I was on a roll.

ANYWAYS, when you're nervous, the first thing to go is your muscle memory.  And if that's all you got, well then you're out of luck.  I think that's the most common reason why people have memory slips.  They commit everything to muscle memory.  The second most important thing I think is to have a good theoretical knowledge of the piece.

When you're practicing try saying the harmonies out loud while you're playing.  I swear to god once you KNOW all the harmonies you will feel WAY more confident about your performance. 

Also you should practice being able to start anywhere in the piece.  Mark a few starting points on the score and memorize them.

Yeah those are the five types of memory essentially. Except "what your hands look like," don't forget "what notes you're playing" XD

If you can write the score from memory (get some manuscript paper and practice this) with all of the markings correct and everything, at the fastest speed yo ucan write with no hesitation, then you should be fine. If you can play it in your head front to back without stopping without making a single mistake (and go through it backwards and be able to start anywhere you want), then you're good. Focus on that!
I am trying to become Franz Liszt. Trying. And failing.