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Minimizing Music Mistakes Maximizes Memory

Apr 23, 2008
How painful everyday memory failings in an average, healthy person can be. Consider the following painful life situations:

"I can't remember my lines. Oh my goodness. The play's on in five minutes and stupid me... I can't remember my lines. MY LINES..."

"No matter how hard I try, I can't memorize music. Just when I think my piano performance is going well, in pops the mistakes. If I don't stop popping mistakes, I'm going to pop someone in the head with my fist. Hopefully, I break a finger so that I don't have to torture myself with my idiotic piano memory."

How does my good friend Googenstall memorize all of those math formulas? I think he has a memory chip implanted in his head. As for me, I need additional memory implants for the open space between my ears. How many more math tests am I going to fail? When does the pain cease?"

My keys... Why do I always lose them? That's easy. Somebody keeps putting them somewhere and laughing at me. They're not laughing with me. They're laughing at me... They always have, and apparently they always will. I'm so angry that when I find those keys, I'm going to chew on them until I chip a tooth."

The above people are in deep emotional and psychological pain. How has memory become such an issue? Let's examine some of the above situations and see if analyzing them can create some solutions to absentmindedness and carelessness.

For starters, forgetting lines in a play or notes in a music performance is often, but not always, a case of carelessly learned material. In the case of a musician, practicing passages incorrectly creates a scenario whereby a performer is actually practicing mistakes. Imagine that... practicing mistakes. No wonder memory is a problem in this situation. So much of a musician's memory relies on touch (tactile) processing. If a musician repeatedly plays wrong notes in practice, his or her hands do not have a consistent memory path to follow.

Of course, stage fright could also be a contributing factor in an actor's or musician's memory failings. In this case, knowing how to focus on stage is of extreme importance. If your mind wavers from your technique, the intent of the composer/author, and projecting your unique personality, then stage fright or other distractions could very well seep in. Nothing is more excruciating then having your mind inundated with images of an unfriendly audience that, in your mind, is enjoying your agonizing memory failings on stage.

Study habits also rely on focus and concentration. Repeating information in one's head accurately and with comprehension is a necessity in memory aid. As for losing one's keys, the mistake here is inconsistent behavior. Keys should be placed in the same spot as soon as you get home. Throwing them down in the first convenient crevice or relatively flat surface insures two immediate possibilities:

1. You may not remember the spot where the keys land. In fact, they may not even land in the spot where you are aiming for.

2. Someone may take your keys from your unorthodox spot and place them elsewhere, either out of the goodness of their heart or with mischievous intent.

Memory needs careful and conscientious consistency, either through practice or habitual behavior. Now all that you have to do is remember that.
About the Author
Come and join Daniel E. Friedman at www.pianolessons101.com for assistance in music education and comprehension.
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