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Question: # How to MEMORIZE a piece - 0, Zilch, NO ERRORS # JUST PRACTICE? OR Practice S-L-O---W-L-Y
memorize or - 0 (0%)
slow practice - 1 (100%)
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Author Topic: How to memorize a piece, no errors - just practice?  (Read 636 times)
pianoplayerstar
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« on: August 31, 2016, 10:34:05 PM »

Members:

How can we memorize a piece so that we have it completed conquered and patented down.. like Lang Lang or others?

You watch them play, and you're sometimes afraid they'll make a mistake, but they just won't break; 0 mistakes.. and even if they do, they know how to cover it up so well even seasoned players and listeners.. even adjudicators can't tell whether it is (1) ARTISTIC IMPROVISATION or (2) a REAL MISTAKE !

Is there a secret other than just practicing?

We all know that slow practice is always helpful, but what's the pychological brain neuron-based rationale for this?  Does slow practice help with TECHNIQUE or does it HELP US NOT FORGET OUR PIECES / IE. MEMORIZE?

We've got an anticipated performance coming up and we don't want to make any mistakes.. zilch, none, 'nada', ZEEEEEERRRRROOOO.

I need some of your secrets and tips, JUST IN CASE.
Thanks.
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visitor
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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2016, 11:25:23 PM »

Slow practice is not always the case. Actually at my last piano lesson while working on a very slow piece, part of the coaching session and practice strategy was to play it about 2x fast to gey a better grasp on phrasing structure and rhythm. Slow works are many times more difficult than fast.  Thin textures make it all the more precarious.

Slow practice is sometimes helpful. But not neccessarily the best for fast works. Fast practice is typicially needed to play fast well.

I have found the best approach is to practice performing.  You must create performance conditions and opportunities similar to or as best approximating those you will encounter on said exam recital etc.

Time, you must spend enough time w the music for a lot of the playing to be fairlu automatic, this learning cannot be rushed. My old professor in music school used to tell me to practice it both correctly and enough and over enough time that you cannot play it wrong.  You can learn a piece so well that it is easier to play it well/flawlessly than it is to mess up.

Errors are either weakness in prep on the music, not enough performance practice or both
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quantum
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2016, 04:33:29 AM »

Pros make mistakes all the time and sometimes they have off days too.  What they have is a strategy in place to deal with them.  Practicing accurately is only part of the job as mistakes can happen anytime.  One needs to develop composure, to resist the urge to panic when something does happen.  The mistake is usually magnified to the performer while insignificant to the listener.  The idea is to keep the event insignificant - you know it happened, maybe some listeners know it happened, so move forward because you can't change the past. 

One of my teachers worked a lot with me on developing the ability to fluidly jump around in a piece, back or forward.  It could have been a few measures or a few pages, but the point was that it was fluid and without break in the music, regardless of how ridiculous some transitions may sound. 

It also recalls to mind a musicianship exercise that was required for an exam.  We needed to sight transpose a simple piano piece into several keys.  The test was not to play the piece multiple times in different keys.  The aim was to play the piece once, while at random points the examiner would say a new key and the student had to immediately shift key mid phrase - like someone was riding the transpose button on a keyboard. 

Awareness is also critical in forming a strategy to deal with mistakes.  Some flubs actually sound like certain musical motifs or chord progressions, so a performer can take advantage of this an improvise their way back on track. 

It is also important to know when to do a full stop.  It may feel embarrassing but it also shows composure and that the performer is able to deal with the situation.  An example is a piece that doesn't get off to a good start and seems like it is heading downhill.  It is a lot less stressful to stop and restart then to keep going. 
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Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach
visitor
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2016, 03:20:55 PM »

Pros make mistakes all the time and sometimes they have off days too.  What they have is a strategy in place to deal with them.  Practicing accurately is only part of the job as mistakes can happen anytime.  One needs to develop composure, to resist the urge to panic when something does happen.  The mistake is usually magnified to the performer while insignificant to the listener.  The idea is to keep the event insignificant - you know it happened, maybe some listeners know it happened, so move forward because you can't change the past. 

One of my teachers worked a lot with me on developing the ability to fluidly jump around in a piece, back or forward.  It could have been a few measures or a few pages, but the point was that it was fluid and without break in the music, regardless of how ridiculous some transitions may sound. 

It also recalls to mind a musicianship exercise that was required for an exam.  We needed to sight transpose a simple piano piece into several keys.  The test was not to play the piece multiple times in different keys.  The aim was to play the piece once, while at random points the examiner would say a new key and the student had to immediately shift key mid phrase - like someone was riding the transpose button on a keyboard. 

Awareness is also critical in forming a strategy to deal with mistakes.  Some flubs actually sound like certain musical motifs or chord progressions, so a performer can take advantage of this an improvise their way back on track. 

It is also important to know when to do a full stop.  It may feel embarrassing but it also shows composure and that the performer is able to deal with the situation.  An example is a piece that doesn't get off to a good start and seems like it is heading downhill.  It is a lot less stressful to stop and restart then to keep going. 

yes. I am glad you unpacked this. I believe this is one of the skills that comes from 'performance practice' I mentioned before, in addition to helping minimize a crash an burn scenario or common errors, it can help with on the fly correction and counter measures to keep the performance going. It also allows for composure training so you can feel ok to stop. and start over or stop and skip fwd or back to predetermined memory/station, what I like to call piano 'save points'
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pianoplayerstar
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2016, 09:00:41 PM »

.. but did you ever notice, when you don't think, you play better... the moment you picture an audience, or 'dream' that you're a star.. you begin to mess up.

not trying is the best way of trying
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dcstudio
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2016, 09:33:37 PM »

.. but did you ever notice, when you don't think, you play better... the moment you picture an audience, or 'dream' that you're a start or anything out side of your playing.. you begin to mess up.

not trying is the best way of trying

Don't think  just do. I tell my students that all the time

When an amateur hits a bad key it sticks out like sore thumb.  When a pro makes a mistake it's played with the same texture and at the same velocity as the correct key. A pro also doesn't lay awake at night stressing over the bad elements of the performance.  This nocturnal habit puts serious pressure on future performances as well as removing every ounce of joy from your heart.

We all make mistakes and I don't know of any method of practice that guarantees this result.  
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keypeg
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2016, 07:50:19 PM »

Some good advice dcpiano.  And WELCOME BACK!! You were missed.   Smiley
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pianoplayerstar
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« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2016, 05:05:27 PM »

i often thought that if you practiced a piece slowly, and also by the 'loci' method somewhere mentioned previously, would be a wondeful way to memorize.

FAST MEMORIZATION - .. by association

MEMORIZATION BY OSMOSIS - .. just practice and practice, and then chuck the sheet music and let your mind and fingers flyyyyyy! [this actually works, but it requires a lot of SELF-TRUST .. you just have to trust the practice you've put into the piece].

i was just wondering if there were some kind of METHODICAL METHOD of a SURE-THING way of memorizing something (STEP BY STEP, GUARANTEED METHOD)... kinda like a TEST... "if you can play the music backwards, then you've got it down..."-- something like this.



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themeandvariation
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« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2016, 08:19:21 PM »

 star!
you say: "kinda like a TEST... "if you can play the music backwards, then you've got it down..."-- something like this."

You're close.  It's really, "Say it backwards, then you can shut down --  all meaningful conversation"… but i suppose you are quite already aware. 

portrait of a current personality:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3WuQxnA7Hg#t=64
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4'33"
pianoplayerstar
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« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2016, 11:17:25 PM »

but is there such a test? to feel finally you've now memorized it.. or should have at least
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dcstudio
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« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2016, 02:42:34 AM »

but is there such a test? to feel finally you've now memorized it.. or should have at least

Sure it's  called shut the book and see if you can play it. 

So are you ever going to actually study the piano?  The more you post the more we realize that you likely have zero experience
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pianoplayerstar
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« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2016, 06:41:57 PM »

"dcstudio", you sound like you're very well versed in the piano; do you teach online as well?

I've noticed the best way to memorize a piece is just that: shut the book and try.. that's the only way.
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dcstudio
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« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2016, 10:42:40 PM »

You asked if there was a test to see if you had memorized it. That was my reply.

I don't teach online...yet.  I am old school and I am used to sitting next to my students. I am working on setting up Skype lessons though.
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