I love having my students perform by memory. It’s scary and so empowering for them to be able to not only perform in front of others and overcome their stage fright, but to also do it by memory! Playing by memory eliminates the robotic, mechanical, and visual component of playing your instrument. If you take the music away, you are generally able to play with much more feeling than you would be able to with the music. The key that I emphasize to my students is to always be listening to their songs as they are learning their music (if there is a CD that goes along with their songs), and to be singing their songs as they learn. Singing and listening are amazing ways to engage your mind in the process of both learning your piece and memorizing. If you can sing your song by memory, you can almost surely play the song by memory, too.
A former colleague of mine talks about memorization in a wonderful way. She told me once, “I believe in comfort increasing with experience.“ I think this is a very helpful way to talk about memorization. It’s scary and uncomfortable at first. It feels impossible, especially when memorizing multiple pieces. But, it is possible. And it will get more comfortable. Below are some resources for you to look through this week, or in following weeks, that I hope will aid you in your memorizing process!
- How I Memorize Music (The Practice Notebook) (For older students)
- Memorize New Pieces in 3 Easy Steps (Plucky Violin Teacher)
“The key to successful fool-prof memorization is engagement. My job as the teacher is to encourage my student to focus on exactly what they are doing. Tactile memory is not enough, the thinking mind must be absorbed in the task at hand. ” -The Plucky Violin Teacher