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Question on memory

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Question on memory Empty Question on memory

Post by jytte on Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:26 pm

I have a question on memory of piano pieces (muscle as well as brain I guess).

I learn and practice a piece till it's well learned, and I can play it the way I want, no mistakes. Then It's usually a favorite for a while (just by the virtue of being new, and being one I can play) and gets played daily. Then of course you move on to other pieces. I try to keep playing regularly the "older" pieces, but as time goes by, the list of pieces learned gets longer, and one can only play so many tunes in a day, especially since most of my time goes into learning new songs.

Lately, sadly, I've found that when I "dig up" an older piece to play, not having played it in a while, it takes at least a few tries till I can play it again. That sucks. I have no problem, for instance, remembering songs I sang 30-40 years ago (yea, I'm old), and I mean word for word. Also poems, language learned and so on (so, I'm no THAT old). But of course, that is strictly "brain memory", not involving "muscle memory".

Will the ability to retain and recollect a piece of music learned improve as I get better at this??? Or is one forever limited to a certain number of pieces practiced often? I would like to hear what Andrew, or some of you really experienced people out there, have to say on this.



jytte
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Post by Rickard on Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:36 pm

I suggest you check a book called: The Fundamentals of Piano Practice. It has alot of information about lots of different piano practicing methods including how to memorize and alot of other stuff. Check it out here:
http://www.pianofundamentals.com/
To be more specific, there's alot of information about memory and memorizing here:
http://www.pianofundamentals.com/book/en/1.III.6.1

Just click on next page to continue reading.There's alot of "pages" to read about just the memorizing. You can also find the book in .pdf format here:
http://c0431582.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/book.pdf

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Post by jytte on Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:42 pm

Thanks for the link, looks like good reading. And read I will Smile

Update: Awesome book! Still reading (and will for some time to come I guess).
Thanks a bunch !
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Post by Kelly on Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:10 am

If you developed memory to know songs and literary texts by heart, any other mind-exercise will develop just the same. If you know well how to read your sheet music, once you place your eyes on a piece you thought you forgot, you'll play it easy by reading it; just like a song lyric.

Reading sheet music is just like reading words, almost like learning a different language, once you master your reading and techniques you'll be able to understand it.
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Post by jytte on Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:58 am

Thanks Kelly. I try to do just that, and the excellent book on pianofundamentals is a great help at that. Unfortunately I also found the answer to my question: My experience of not retaining music as well, is just how it is at my age (56). I should've known, it's just common sense.
At your age you can learn something and remember it all you life, at my age we learn slower and forget faster.

On the other hand, so what? I have no need of a huge repertoire, I have no intention of becoming an entertainer, let alone a pianist. I just want to be able to play the piano and enjoy "making music". And that I do! I truly treasure every moment I spend by the piano (keyboard as it was), and there's no feeling like now being able to easily play a piece of music that just a few days ago was "impossible". I am constantly learning, and I keep getting better at this, so I will always have a range of "favorites of the moment" to enjoy, and the sense of accomplishment I get from learning a new piece is great.

This all brings me to ask: Are there any other "seniors" in here??
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Post by Rayman on Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:47 am

Hi Jytte,

You're a few years ahead of me, but I'm afraid I'm heading into the seniors bracket pretty fast. So you're not alone...

Cool
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Post by jytte on Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:42 pm

Hello Rayman, nice to meet you.

And I should add to my ramblings: Getting older is not all bad news, what we loose in speed, we gain in experience and wisdom Very Happy

I have probably heard more music (from classical to more modern) in my years than the "young'ones" can even imagine. A lot of music, that is new territory to them, is already old hat to me. And already knowing a piece by heart makes it a lot easier to learn to play it.
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Post by Kelly on Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:21 pm

It's nice the way you look at it, jytte. Smile Enjoying every god-given moment is all everyone should do, no matter the age, if you asked me. There's already enough youngsters wasting time on stuff you wish you never knew. Keeping things clean and enjoyable are only for the clever ones, good thing we sure know how that works. Wink

Great work with the website, you're effort is hugely appreciated.
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Post by Matthieu Stepec on Sat Sep 18, 2010 9:46 am

Hello!

Actually, nobody can retain piano pieces all their life unless they practice them constantly. I'm a student in music, which means that my technical flaws tend to be considerably reduced; yet when I try to play old pieces, I still need to practice them again to make them perfect. The patterns of movement that are required to play pieces just go away over time. Even the text: if you play small pieces of, say, 1 to 6 pages, with not too complicated harmonies, you might remember the whole text forever, and so if you have a very good technique you'll be able to play it whatever happens. But if you start learning more complicated pieces (30, 60 pages long, atonal, very virtuoso) there is no chance that it stays in mind forever without practicing.

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Post by Kelly on Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:43 pm

Matthieu Stepec wrote:Even the text: if you play small pieces of, say, 1 to 6 pages, with not too complicated harmonies, you might remember the whole text forever, and so if you have a very good technique you'll be able to play it whatever happens. But if you start learning more complicated pieces (30, 60 pages long, atonal, very virtuoso) there is no chance that it stays in mind forever without practicing.

Obviously. But the thing is, how much practice you'll need to remember the piece; and unfortunately age is a huge deal when it comes to remembering.
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