Home » Arts and Entertainment » Music

Piano Playing Tips - Improving Musical Memory

Sep 15, 2008
Many piano players have not developed their memory because they never try to play without the printed score in front of them! Musical memory can be improved with practice, here are some tips musicians can use.

Pick an easy piece that you can play through effortlessly. Divide the first part of the piece into a short 8-16 bar section. Try to make a section that can be looped, either with both hands together or just one hand at a time. Make sure the loop makes musical sense, don't use a cut off phrase fragment.

Play through the first looping section a few times reading the music as you play. Slowly start looking away from the music as you play, see how far you can go. When you can play through the first short section five times without looking at the music, move on to the next short section.

Gradually add each short section, playing through until you have reached a musical section end. Once you have a whole section memorized, make sure you play that section through daily without the music. Try to play it through "cold", before you play anything else or look at the music! If possible, play through the memorized section just before going to bed. This will help reinforce your musical memory, your mind will process the music as you sleep.

Some pieces are easier to memorize, but even easy pieces have parts that need extra work. Here are a few suggestions to help with difficult sections:

- Avoid memorizing phrase fragments. It is easier to memorize a musical phrase than note fragments. Your playing will be more musical and musical memory quicker if you always think in musical phrases, not individual notes.

- Often it is necessary to memorize a specific pattern, which can be a set of notes, chords, melodies, rhythms, harmonies, anything to help to make sense of the piece. When you find a stumbling block, analyze it to see what would help. Often I will use a specific guide such as '..here is that F#' or '...G7 here' to help get through a section.

- Create Guideposts throughout the piece and practice starting from them. These can give you a feeling of security, knowing that if you stumble, you can jump a few bars to the next Guidepost. Every musical section needs to be a Guidepost, and you need to practice starting from each one.

- Sometimes there will be a section or bar of music that needs a huge amount of work just to play it through without tripping. Difficult sections often need to be memorized before they can be played through.
I have found that even when learning a short fragment, it helps to create a musical loop that can be repeated many times. Playing with strong rhythm with the help of the metronome will help with accuracy.

As you gain confidence with your musical memory, you will find that memorizing a piece becomes one of the first parts of learning a new piece. Many sections of music, need to be memorized just to get through the notes accurately.

Once a piece is memorized, the notes become sound. Then the real music making starts!
About the Author
PianoJournal.com is a resource site for piano players, with articles and videos of piano playing tips.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 136
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources