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Muscle memory vs memorizing #1086023
08/31/05 06:31 AM
08/31/05 06:31 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,024
Canada
SAMoore Offline OP
2000 Post Club Member
SAMoore  Offline OP
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,024
Canada
I read something last night that I haven't been doing. Now and again play your memorized pieces SUPER, SUPER slowly. This kills muscle memory and requires brain memory. Anyone else already doing this?


It's the journey not the destination..
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Re: Muscle memory vs memorizing #1086024
08/31/05 08:30 AM
08/31/05 08:30 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,044
not in Japan anymore
ShiroKuro Offline
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ShiroKuro  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,044
not in Japan anymore
Oh, defintely! I also try to do this as often as I can force myself. Esp when I suddenly find myself messing up a rep piece. I'll play through really slowly (which is actually very difficult to do) and make that slow-play the last play of the day for that piece. This tends to really correct any memory-lapses.

I sometimes do this with a piece in progress, after working on a section for the day, I make the last run through be at a very slow tempo. It's also important to keep this slow-play flawless (or for me, as flawless as possible) because otherwise all that happens is the mistakes are etched into the memory.


Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

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Re: Muscle memory vs memorizing #1086025
08/31/05 08:38 AM
08/31/05 08:38 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,024
Canada
SAMoore Offline OP
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SAMoore  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,024
Canada
I've done it for sections of new pieces and for my scales and arpeggios but not for "completed" pieces...I will play them a little below tempo but not Super Duper slowly.... better start doing that.... :rolleyes:


It's the journey not the destination..
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Re: Muscle memory vs memorizing #1086026
08/31/05 11:35 AM
08/31/05 11:35 AM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,990
Haverhill, Massachusetts
J
John Citron Offline
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John Citron  Offline
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J

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,990
Haverhill, Massachusetts
This is the RIGHT way to memorize! This makes the brain work and hardwires the music into it. When memorizing by rote, and relying on muscle memory, things can get confused easily because the music is not really there. What happens is there are little memory slips here and there, and then everything crumbles apart. Combining the really slow method with sections marked by symbols, you can recover easily from memory slips and the audience would almost never know.

One of my best teachers had me memorize quite a few pieces this way a very long time ago (20-plus years or so now). I worked on these things a single line at a time very very S L O W L Y. Once I had a section or two wired correctly, she would then have me play from that section that was marked with a symbol. We had circles, squares, and anything else we could attempt to draw.

She also had me play complete pieces backwards measure by measure and also very slowly. The thing is, I memorized other things later on, but not using this method. I can still remember the things I worked on with her, but the others are covered in brain dust.

John


Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.
Re: Muscle memory vs memorizing #1086027
08/31/05 02:39 PM
08/31/05 02:39 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,918
idaho
T
teachum Offline
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teachum  Offline
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T

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,918
idaho
Cool - another thing I discovered on my own. I was having difficulty on a Mendelssohn piece section that I realized I was playing from muscle memory. I started playing it very slowly and it improved rapidly. Took me years to become convinced that muscle memory was the least reliable. It's fine as long as you have real memory backing you up.


You will be 10 years older, ten years from now, no matter what you do - so go for it!

Estonia #6141 in Satin Mahogany
Re: Muscle memory vs memorizing #1086028
08/31/05 06:49 PM
08/31/05 06:49 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,044
not in Japan anymore
ShiroKuro Offline
4000 Post Club Member
ShiroKuro  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 4,044
not in Japan anymore
I have found that it's not very difficult to use this method effectively on pieces that are more uptempo. But with a slower piece, then I have to drop the tempo down so much that I lose track of the melody. it's as if I dont have enough patience or something, and this is when I feel like slow play is ridiculously difficult. Though I realize its benefits...

How sad: I can't play fast or slow.


Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

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Re: Muscle memory vs memorizing #1086029
08/31/05 08:24 PM
08/31/05 08:24 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,024
Canada
SAMoore Offline OP
2000 Post Club Member
SAMoore  Offline OP
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,024
Canada
When I end my practice sessions with SLOW practice I see a definite difference at my next session but I often forget (or don't have the patience) to play everything slow before I finish (and I don't think I play slow enough) and when I practice lunchtime....well an hour goes by soooo fast!! likewise....at night.. oops! I've been here for nearly 2 hours... must stop and go to bed.... Maybe I should get a timer to ensure I leave time to end with REALLY SLOW practice.....


It's the journey not the destination..
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Re: Muscle memory vs memorizing #1086030
08/31/05 08:47 PM
08/31/05 08:47 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member
signa  Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
sure, it's true. i tried it many times myself. if you want to really test your memory of a piece, playing it really really slow and suddenly you don't even remember what notes to play next...

Re: Muscle memory vs memorizing #1086031
09/01/05 04:16 PM
09/01/05 04:16 PM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 584
Ski Country of Colorado
CHAS Offline
500 Post Club Member
CHAS  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 584
Ski Country of Colorado
Thanks, I needed to know all of this. Have discovered some of this since my instructor told me to play slowly, but did not explain why.
This validates my thoughts.


Kawai GX-2
Re: Muscle memory vs memorizing #1086032
09/01/05 08:24 PM
09/01/05 08:24 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,990
Haverhill, Massachusetts
J
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member
John Citron  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,990
Haverhill, Massachusetts
Quote
Originally posted by teachum:
Cool - another thing I discovered on my own. I was having difficulty on a Mendelssohn piece section that I realized I was playing from muscle memory. I started playing it very slowly and it improved rapidly. Took me years to become convinced that muscle memory was the least reliable. It's fine as long as you have real memory backing you up.
Now my problem is to keep the music in my memory once I've learned it hehe...

I noticed something about music, and life in general. We go about our time usually finding the most difficult ways of doing things. Someone else comes along and shows us and easier way. We are profoundly thankful, and deem them a genius. In reality all that is happened is they have more experience, and know when to duck when something is thrown at them.

The slow practice definitely helps. The biggest problem I find is keeping up the discipline long enough to keep at it before I get bored, or frustration sets in. I think that comes from working on my own because I don't have anyone else to please except for myself. If a teacher was around, I would have to work more diligently to keep from making a fool of myself at my lessons. I set the goals high, sometimes too high, and then get discouraged when I can't meet them. If I could find a decent local teacher I would be so happy.

John


Current works in progress:

Beethoven Sonata Op. 10 No. 2 in F, Haydn Sonata Hoboken XVI:41, Bach French Suite No. 5 in G BWV 816

Current instruments: Schimmel-Vogel 177T grand, Roland LX-17 digital, and John Lyon unfretted Saxon clavichord.

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