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How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
#1932424 07/25/12 09:27 PM
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leturn Offline OP
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Just learned my first real piece. It's an intermediate version of Danny Boy. It's 1 1/2 pages long. I'm not much of a sight reader at all. I learn a piece measure by measure and after sooooooo much repetition, it's commited to memory. Then it can just flow. So I was wondering, how many pieces do you have commited to memory banks to play wherever you go?


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #1932436 07/25/12 09:54 PM
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At the moment I have about 10 pieces which I could play from memory, which is about an hour of music. As much as I try to work on improving my reading ability I still make less mistakes when playing solely from memory than I do when reading a piece I already know.

Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #1932486 07/26/12 01:10 AM
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Chris ten is impressive. I would imagine that you have to play them often to keep them fresh.


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #1932496 07/26/12 01:49 AM
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I have 2. Weeping Willow and Moonlight Sonata MV1. I'm hoping to get 4 or 5 committed to memory. It takes a long time though!


Piano obsession started November 2010.
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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
Chris G #1932499 07/26/12 02:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris G
At the moment I have about 10 pieces which I could play from memory, which is about an hour of music. As much as I try to work on improving my reading ability I still make less mistakes when playing solely from memory than I do when reading a piece I already know.

If you can keep about an hour of music active in your repertoire, you're doing pretty good.

I don't keep very much active these days, since I haven't touched a real piano in a few years. I'd say I probably only have about 8-10 pieces myself, but I wouldn't play any of them in public, lol.

"I can play two songs. One of them is Clair de Lune. The other one isn't." --Victor Borge



Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #1932521 07/26/12 04:25 AM
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after 7 months of learning, probably only about 5-7 realistically, spanning maybe 10-15 minutes. Some advice: if there were one thing I wished I'd stressed more looking back learning pieces, it's memorization! It's indispensable and really quite conducive to progressing faster as you'll progress learning quicker as well as more efficiently

Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #1932528 07/26/12 04:57 AM
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I have about 14 pieces memorized, wich is about 1h30m of music. I try to play them all in a row at least once per week. Memorization it's not stressful to me; I don't do it on purpose....


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #1932591 07/26/12 09:35 AM
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Playing pieces better than your first attempt involves repetition. Memorising (finger memory) involves repetition. Memorising (knowing it) involves understanding and slow repetition. It makes sense to memorise from the outset.

The difference between playing from memory and playing a practised piece from the score is your recall ability. If you actually struggle with recall (try hard to remember) instead of resorting to the score you will eventually develop a very strong recall ability. This gives confidence in performance where memory lapses just don't occur - except where brought on by nerves at the start of a piece, perhaps.

With a new piece, learn only as much each day as you can play without the score. You will memorise that snippet quicker each day and gradually spend more time on the next section. So each day you relearn or revise the previous material and gradually add a new small section at a time.

Eventually you will remember each section overnight. A few more plays and you will remember it for a week. Play it again at weekends and the memory will last a month. Play it a couple of times once a month and it will soon last six months. Play it a couple of times twice a year and it will be permanent.

If you do forget it after a long spell, resist the urge to go back to the score. The piece will usually return after a few attempts over a number of days or weeks and will be far stronger than if you'd gone back to the score.

Once you've memorised your pieces long enough you don't have to play them very often. That's the benefit of memorising them. Only recently learnt pieces need frequent repetition. If you also practise the pieces slowly and develop mental play (practise away from the piano) you'll also know whether or not you really know the piece and know when you need to practise it again.



Richard
Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #1932611 07/26/12 10:06 AM
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23 solidly memorized.
5 more are VERY close to memorized.
All need to be smoothed out in some bit or piece or overall.

I play them all, daily, to keep them memorized and they are my exercises in memory and movement. Some are classical staples, some are pop, a few jazz, a few from television/movies, some ragtime stuff from 1900 and 2000+ anime/games. The 23 go for about an hour, because many are 1 or 2 page shorties or bagatelles. Some are 6 page songs/pieces.

It takes forever to memorize well. I'd say a 4-page piece takes about 4 months to get down; it takes a while since I play so much stuff--37 pieces daily at this time--which demands attention. Starting out, I play the bits of songs about 10x/day. Once they are half memorized I go to 3x/day. Memorized, even if rough, I play 1x/day until they come together nice, and then I play them every day.

My goal is to have 65 pieces memorized as a personal repertoire by Jan 1, 2015. Starting next year I do only larger pieces, mostly classical/jazz/ragtime.


Currently working on/memorizing...
"It's You" from Robotech
"He's A Pirate"
"Crazy Bone Rag"
"What The World Needs Now"
Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #1932627 07/26/12 10:31 AM
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I've only memorized two pieces, but can also only play through two pieces! : Chopin's Winter Wind (25/11) and Ocean (25/12) etudes. For both I memorized them as I was learning them.

Also memorized Chopin's 10/4 (Torrent) etude but haven't played it in a long while because of hand strain so it has partly or largely faded from my memory. Richard I'll try your suggestion about recalling it without referencing the score. Part of the problem for me with memorizing this piece is that I don't understand the structure (?) of the music. I think it would help a lot.

Recently I've started Rachmaninoff's Prelude 32/12 and it's the first piece I've tried without memorizing since I started back at piano. but I think I will have to memorize this one too. Maybe I should start that process now. It is very hard work for me to memorize!

Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #1932653 07/26/12 11:30 AM
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Well there are the classics that I memorize as written, specific arrangments that I prefer to memorize as written, pop/standard that you learn and can ad lib, original material and perhaps improvising in the moment so it adds up to hours of music. I have lists that I refer to on index cards otherwise it it too hard to recall what I've learned through the years.I am particularly fond of movie music.

rada

Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
Rusty Fortysome #1932658 07/26/12 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by zrtf90

Once you've memorised your pieces long enough you don't have to play them very often. That's the benefit of memorising them. Only recently learnt pieces need frequent repetition. If you also practise the pieces slowly and develop mental play (practise away from the piano) you'll also know whether or not you really know the piece and know when you need to practise it again.

That's a good point thumb

Originally Posted by Rusty Fortysome
(..)It takes forever to memorize well. I'd say a 4-page piece takes about 4 months to get down; (...)

Of course it depends on the complexity of the piece, but in my case, I use to take arround 6 hours of practice to play and memorize a 4-page piece (2 or 3 sessions of 2 hours each).


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
CarlosCC #1932682 07/26/12 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by CarlosCC
Originally Posted by Rusty Fortysome
(..)It takes forever to memorize well. I'd say a 4-page piece takes about 4 months to get down; (...)

Of course it depends on the complexity of the piece, but in my case, I use to take arround 6 hours of practice to play and memorize a 4-page piece (2 or 3 sessions of 2 hours each).


Yeah, I will generally use 10 minutes a day for weeks. When beginning, I was doing an hour or two on a piece for a few days; that approach didn't work in my earliest days of piano study.

A developed player can probably memorize rather quickly. After enough work is memorized, and the hands have played enough moves in enough keys, I'd assume almost all new pieces will seem fairly familiar to a pianist. Thus, rather easy to play and memorized compared to when someone is fairly early on in their piano training.


Currently working on/memorizing...
"It's You" from Robotech
"He's A Pirate"
"Crazy Bone Rag"
"What The World Needs Now"
Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #1932684 07/26/12 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by leturn
Chris ten is impressive. I would imagine that you have to play them often to keep them fresh.


I used to have only a few pieces I could play memorized at any given time. It seemed that no matter how many pieces I learned I only had a few which were current. About a year ago I decided to work on increasing my repertoire by bringing back pieces that I used to play but were starting to fade from memory. I also learned a few new pieces and relearned some that I had previously given up on.

I have a "practice pile" of business cards with the names of pieces I need to practice on the back. I currently have 25 of these cards. I start each practice by taking the top one or two cards off the pile and playing them. The rest of my practice time I work on whatever I feel like, which could be new material or polishing what I already know. The practice pile method seems to work because playing a piece every two weeks has been enough to keep it in memory.

Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #1932955 07/27/12 02:44 AM
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Around a dozen from memory alone. But none of these particularly difficult.


Guitar since 1966. Piano (Kawai DP80) since 2011.
Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #1932983 07/27/12 04:30 AM
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A lot of easy pieces from the book.

Which are no more than 10 bars long.

Probably about 7 1-2 page pieces.

While purely from memory and not from sheet music, 3 maybe 4 Moonlight Sonata Mv1, Truman Sleeps, Everyday Carly Comando.

The last two are pretty repetitive pieces and even though they are 70 bars long because of the repetition its probably closer to 20 bars.


Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
Chris G #1932996 07/27/12 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris G
(...)I have a "practice pile" of business cards with the names of pieces I need to practice on the back. I currently have 25 of these cards. I start each practice by taking the top one or two cards off the pile and playing them. The rest of my practice time I work on whatever I feel like, which could be new material or polishing what I already know. The practice pile method seems to work because playing a piece every two weeks has been enough to keep it in memory.

I've a similar method. In my piano I have a small list with the name of the pieces I've learned, and I play by memory two or three of them each day. Next session I start with the next piece, and so on. It's a kind of a "round trip". Every time I "finish" a piece I put its name at the bottom of the list to be included in the cycle. Once a week I do a complete round from top to bottom.
This method is simple but effective.


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #1933136 07/27/12 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by CarlosCC
Once a week I do a complete round from top to bottom.

I used to use a similar system when I had a small enough repertoire but I find the pieces lose their significance and become trite when they're just played through on a list and larger pieces of more than a couple of minutes (Beethoven's Op. 22 is 23 pages - haven't timed it) just don't fit comfortably in practise time.

Small pieces I can still whip through but I spend a week on them now and also take them very slowly as well as up to tempo as it tests the memory better and increases clarity. This is especially helpful for pieces I learnt when my technique was not as developed as it is now and I may be able to introduce a more accomplished trill for example.

Larger and more significant pieces I break up and spend a whole week on each section and doing a more thorough job. It's usually a few months before I repeat the cycle though I could still play any piece when I want to just play on a Sunday afternoon.

Most of my repertoire is in permanent memory and will last (and has lasted) over ten years without being played. For these pieces I think it's better to leave them a long time and revisit them with fresh insight and new ideas for interpretation.

I can't believe, for example, how well my hand glides over the fiorituras in Chopin's Nocturne Op 9 No. 2 having isolated them for a week. I've been playing the piece since 1980 shortly after starting piano lessons but it's hardly stale.

My best pieces (and the ones I fall back on when I'm asked to play) tend to be those I don't play too often. It also makes playing them a treat for me as well as the audience.



Richard
Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #1933257 07/27/12 04:23 PM
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Right now none. Well, maybe one of my lesson pieces, but it isn't difficult.
They come and they go.

Not a priority, although I would eventually like to keep something fun up my sleeve for those random encounters with an available piano.


Learner
Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #1933258 07/27/12 04:23 PM
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I only have about 10 pieces memorized. Several of them are fairly complicated, though (lots of fast polyrhythms).


Follow my mixed gaming and musical ambitions through my YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/NTMihaila

My cover of Inuyasha - Every Heart: https://youtu.be/-rFKbUoO7bM

Currently working on Fantasie Impromptu and Animenz's Owari no Sekai Kara.
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