[Menvi-discuss] Thoughts on Memorization

Carol Sexton sunshinepa at verizon.net
Mon Apr 15 21:11:50 EDT 2019

Hey I absolutely agree with you. If you know the structure of the piece, if 
you are aware of what the melody is doing and you have a good knowledge of 
harmony and chords, this is how it works for me. I am a little bit off 
course here but lately since sstarting to practice Hannan exercises, I have 
been experiencing some wrist pain. I have had to stop the exercises for a 
couple of days. Today when I practiced some exercises, I didn't experience 
as much pain. If any of you ever experience this, it is best to stop playing 
until you don't experience the pain. I have found exercises and I have 
started doing them religiously. One thing I learned is that it is important 
to have a limber wrist. Wow I want this to go away. My friend has 
experienced this and she said that after doing these exercises for a few 
weeks her wrist pain went away.

If anyone has any suggestions about what I can do then let me know and 
thanks much.


-----Original Message----- 
From: Karen Gearreald via Menvi-discuss
Sent: Monday, April 15, 2019 6:40 PM
To: This is for discussing music and braille literacy
Cc: Karen Gearreald
Subject: [Menvi-discuss] Thoughts on Memorization

Kathleen Cantrell is right: we should not compare ourselves with other
musicians regarding any skill or talent, such as speed or comfort in
memorization.  Each of us has unique strengths and weaknesses, and the
demands of various types of music also influence our learning.  The melody
and words of standard popular songs readily go together for me, but the
contrapuntal voices of a Bach invention are not so easy.  For contrapuntal
music I rely heavily on muscle memory.  For contemporary Christian pieces,
in which the melody and tempo and style may vary from soloist to soloist, I
focus on chord structures so that the soloist and I can stay together
regardless of melodic differences.

I also agree that the time of day makes a huge difference.  I'm definitely a
morning memorizer.  In addition, I memorize most effectively if I can clear
way any mental or emotional or physical distractions that may be hindering
the process.  Another factor is the sheer enjoyment of the music.  It's hard
to memorize a piece that doesn't appeal to me.

As much as possible, I like to be able to hear the music in my mind.  This
is a necessary skill when, for example, I'm accompanying the congregation in
a medley of hymns at church.  When nearing the end of a song, I need to
think ahead to the one that is coming next.  In advance I think through the
process so that I can logically introduce the song--by playing the last four
measures, for example.  For security I practice such transitions at home
before I come to church.  This is just one instance of the complexity of
memorization.  Memorization works best, I think, if we know why and when and
how we'll probably be performing the piece, whether at a lesson or in
public.  In preparation for a lesson, it may not be necessary to memorize a
whole piece, such as an entire sonata:  one movement or section or even a
few measures may suffice, according to the goals of the teacher and student.

Karen Gearreald


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