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Memorization practice ideas from Christine Kissack

I obtained these ideas from Christine Kissack, Piano Learning Center (piano teacher in Falmouth, Maine):

LEARNING IN LAYERS: TO REINFORCE MUSIC MEMORY

  1. ANYTIME – think through the score away from the instrument
  2. BEFORE YOU START – develop a “relationship” with the key(s), i.e. scales, cadences, arpeggios
  3. CHOOSE A PHRASE
    1. Apply a variety of rhythmic distortions (shifting accents)
    2. Create a new articulation plan
    3. Create a new melody over the given accompaniment
    4. Discover musical syllables (handings)
    5. Find chord tones and recognize non-chord tones
    6. Notice black/white (topographical) patterns within each hand
    7. Reverse the articulation
    8. Sing the melody in Solfege symbols as you play with both hands
    9. Speak the chord names as you play, i.e. “C Major, a minor”
    10. Speak the finger numbers (chunking) while playing LH alone
    11. Speak the finger numbers (chunking) while playing RH alone
    12. Speak the interval movement of the melody (spatial)
    13. Speak the letter names (clustering)
    14. Speak the scale degrees as you play, i.e. “tonic, dominant”
    15. Study the movement of the hand and alignment of the body
    16. Switch registers
    17. Transpose to the parallel key
    18. Transpose to the relative key
  4. DRILL A SECTION
    1. Alter the dynamics
    2. Alternate playing and singing a sequence of phrases
    3. Apply different emotions
    4. Create and sing lyrics as you play
    5. Notice the geographical layout of the section
    6. Play HT then drop LH for one measure then return to HT
    7. Play HT then drop RH for one measure then return to HT
    8. Play LH while RH pantomimes
    9. Play RH while LH pantomimes
    10. Reverse the dynamics
    11. Reverse the mood
    12. Speak scale degrees as you play
    13. Watch only the melody hand while you play both hands
  5. FIDDLE WITH FORM
    1. “Shuffle the deck” – Play random sections by memory
    2. Create a story
    3. Create and mark memory check points
    4. Drill memory check points
    5. Play the piece in sections starting with the last
  6. FROM THE END – Play the last measure, then the next to last measure and the last, etc.
  7. FROM THE TOP
    1. Count out loud as you play
    2. Play unrecognizably slow with extreme concentration
    3. Play with your eyes closed
    4. Write the score from memory
  8. PRACTICE PERFORMING
    1. For a small group of friends
    2. Play with surprise noises in the background
    3. Play at a church service or for a nursing home

{ 1 } Comments

  1. Peter Tarsio | 22 September 2010 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Excellent suggestions and I copied it out for reference and things to keep in mind for my students. Thank you Christine.

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