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Hannes Minnaar: The Path to Becoming a Concert Pianist

In part two of the three-part special on building a career as a professional pianist, Piano Street's guest writer Alexander Buskermolen spoke with Dutch pianist Hannes Minnaar about his education, vision on personal musical development, and the challenges he faces as an international performer. Read more >>

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Author Topic: (Video): Learn Music Faster with the Memory Byte Technique. (AjLongsPiano)  (Read 444 times)
ajlongspiano
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« on: June 14, 2017, 02:37:28 PM »

I hope you have all been doing well. This is a method of memorizing music that my principal professor over at Crane taught me. Hope you enjoy!



Best,

AJ
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visitor
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2017, 02:22:13 AM »

This is cool!!!
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ajlongspiano
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2017, 04:33:25 PM »

Thanks, visitor! I hope you're doing well.

Best,

AJ
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ronde_des_sylphes
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2017, 05:17:55 PM »

I'm hesitant to comment on such things, which are primarily pedagogical in their remit, when my training has been a peculiar combination of self-taught and external influence.

But: I've heard of similar things and memorisation at this level seems almost decontextualised when done at the half-bar or even by the beat level. I suppose some people might view that as a good thing if the only issue is memory. In any case I wouldn't dream of doing this, but I memorise almost automatically during the process of learning, and I do it very quickly. (This can be quite a BAD thing, because I'm also a good sightreader and I used to drive my teacher up the wall by having done gruesome things like revise the Chopin Fantasy, which I played in my teens, by a combination of dubiously accurate sight-reading and on-the-hoof memorisation, only to bring it to a lesson having spontaneously rewritten bits of it!) It's simply not how I would do it. I probably do the reverse process - this seems to be building up to a mnemonic image of the piece from building blocks, whereas I look at the piece as a whole, perform structural analysis and almost deconstruct it subconsciously as part of my memory process. I'm not saying either way is right or wrong, just that it wouldn't be my approach. I sure hope I don't have any memory lapses next time I play in public  Grin
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mrcreosote
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2017, 06:55:00 AM »

It's effectiveness will depend how your brain is wired.

I've actually tried this myself only to find that I forget the bytes mere minutes after I've memorized them.

Wing Chun moves when practiced are repeated typically 1000 times.  Interestingly, after some dozens of repetitions, I will completely forget the byte.

Sucks being me...

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hardy_practice
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2017, 07:23:47 AM »

So let me get this straight, it takes an 8 minute vid to say learn one bar at a time? Sorry, life's too short.
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B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM
ajlongspiano
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2017, 04:13:36 PM »

Thanks for your comments, everyone. @hardy_practice

   Yes, I could have been more brief. However, this was my first tutorial video so obviously I'll improve the structure of later videos from here. Also, that's quite a reductionistic attitude, isn't it? There's certainly more content to the video than "learn one bar at a time" - You could have at the very least said "learn one beat to one bar at a time." since that's a more accurate portrayal of what I stated in the video. Thanks for the feedback, though!

@ronde_des_sylphes

   Good points! However, keep in mind that the key idea with memory bytes is being able to reproduce a unit of music that you want to learn perfectly by memory instantly and perfectly the first time and every time. This is because the idea is that if you never make a mistake, you'll never have the potential of building a bad habit. We all learn differently, but if you want to learn your music thoroughly without ever "slipping" then it will probably be a good idea to attack very small units of music at a time.

@mrcreosote

   Of course. Everyone is different. No approach is "one size fits all." I hope you have found a practice method that suits you!

Best,

AJ
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hardy_practice
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2017, 04:56:47 PM »

OK, 'Learn (though I thought it was memorize?) one beat to one bar at a time.'  Well, that took up a good lot less of my life.    Cheesy
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keypeg
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2017, 12:14:35 AM »

I don't think the video was meant for finished pianists who teach, so it would indeed be a waste of time for such a person.  We see too often where someone tosses off a one-liner, and the student is left to interpret it who knows how.  If that goes off track, the time wasted is much more than the few minutes of a video.  It's good to picture what the person has in mind in a concrete example, with additional explanations.  It's not a polished tutorial for paying students.  I'd say it's a sharing by an advanced student of what he has learned from his teacher, for further exploration.  I do agree that it's about memorization, not learning.  But people seem to use the two words interchangeably.

Ajs, one thing I have learned to do for working on music - not necessarily memorizing though that might come in - is to work backward.  So you might do beats 3&4 of m. 12, then beats 1&2, bringing it into the 3&4 you've already done; then 3&4 of m. 11, and ditto.  This way you are moving into the familiar,  so that you can fully concentrate on the new thing, and you are also reinforcing what you have just worked on.  I have found this highly effective.

In regards to big picture and small picture, I think we need both: zoom-in, zoom-out.  You want to get in on the details (including physical motions etc.) of your two beats.  You also want to know how this fits into the overall structure of the piece (musical form), where chord progressions and other devices are going, if there are sequences going on that repeat in other keys etc.  That also helps with memory in a different way.  Otherwise you are trying to memorize hundreds of bytes of endless detail with no context.  Rather than either-or, I'd think both.
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