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How can you increase the length of aural memory? (Read 1756 times)

Offline falala

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How can you increase the length of aural memory?
« on: May 08, 2016, 08:10:57 PM »
My daughter is 10 and I've been teaching her piano since she was little. We don't generally follow exam syllabuses but she has done two exams, the last one being ABRSM grade 5 a couple of years ago. She's also done loads of Kodaly and general musicianship work so her aural & harmony skill are very strong.

She's now ready to do grade 7, but there is the ABRSM rule that to do that, she has to pass grade 5 in either theory or practical musicianship first. Given her strong general musicianship background and the hassle of learning that much arcane theory at a young age, I decided to opt for the practical musicianship option, most of which is going fine.

The only question she's struggling with, surprisingly, is the singing and playing from memory. The problem has nothing to do with her ability to sing in tune or to know what she's hearing/singing so she can play it - both of these are excellent so long at the material is only one 2-bar phrase. But for the exam, she has to do it with a 4-bar passage and she always forgets some part of it. Either she gets the beginning right but then loses the last two bars, or in trying to get those, she forgets the beginning. Most often the worst part is about bar three, the beginning of the second phrase.

So how do you develop specifically LENGTH OF MEMORY in this, when the other skills are all there? I'm rather lost what to do other than starting with short tests, doing loads of them and gradually lengthening them. Is there anything she can consciously learn here to help the process along?
 

Offline adodd81802

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Re: How can you increase the length of aural memory?
«Reply #1 on: May 09, 2016, 08:30:10 AM »
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Offline falala

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Re: How can you increase the length of aural memory?
«Reply #2 on: May 10, 2016, 12:02:53 AM »
Thanks for the reply. I am in the UK but prefer the ABRSM syllabus to Trinity for various reasons. I don't see the grade 5 musicianship requirement as a big problem or barrier - like I said she's great at most of it and I'm sure she'll do fine. I just want to address this little problem area so she can do her very best.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: How can you increase the length of aural memory?
«Reply #3 on: May 11, 2016, 02:24:12 AM »
Try practicing many examples of two bars and end it with an extra half a measure at the end and build from there. Just a matter of practice for little ones more often than not.
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Offline musiclessonsanywhere

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Re: How can you increase the length of aural memory?
«Reply #4 on: May 11, 2016, 01:41:56 PM »
I suggest the same as the above, start with two bars, then keep adding on half a measure, this slow and steady practise will improve aural memory. The aural ABRSM memory singing tests for Grade 4, 5 and 6 (Grade 6 is 2 part, but you could just use the upper part) would come in handy, I could email them to you, send me a message with your email.

Offline quantum

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Re: How can you increase the length of aural memory?
«Reply #5 on: May 19, 2016, 06:06:44 PM »
A few suggestions:

Work on sight singing passages.  Longer 8 and 16 bar phrases.  Not specifically for memorization, but get the voice and brain accustomed to vocal writing.  When one is familiar with tendencies in melodic lines, one can make educated guesses to where the line is going.  Even if one forgets a note here and there, one can usually make up an elegant solution without getting stuck in the middle. 

Work on melodic dictation.  There are techniques in dictation that would help out in organizing one's thought when trying to memorize the 4 bar phrase.  One of these is to lay out a skeleton of important pitches before one works out the details of note-by-note melodic contour - connect the dots, so to speak.  By doing so, one is not aiming bind if one forgets a note.  One has a sense of where to go. 

Work on the memorized 4 bar phrase backwards.  If you know where to go, you will get there.  Play the phrase normally. Then ask your daughter: sing final note, sing penultimate note and final note, sing bar 4, sing bar 3-4, sing bar 2-3-4.  sing bar 1-2-3-4.
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