2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
Who's Online Now
25 members (36251, clothearednincompo, Adem, Georg Z., auflauf, Hannu T, foxy.au, Alex Hutor, 4 invisible), 442 guests, and 441 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 2 of 3 1 2 3
Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
carolinagirl #2178330 11/07/13 06:23 AM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 303
C
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 303
Some link I once thought would be good to keep for future reference -- http://kantsmusictuition.blogspot.com/2007/09/secret-on-how-to-practice.html

I'm 32 btw (33 on Dec. 31st :p ).


-- Zbynek N.

Learning to play the piano since 06/2013 on a Kawai CA-95.

Music is what feelings sound like. ~ Author Unknown
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
carolinagirl #2178344 11/07/13 07:14 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 54
C
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 54
wow. So much wonderful advise and words of encouragement. thank you!!

I think you have shown me exactly what's at the root of my problem. I am not sight reading enough. I have a good ear for music and quickly learn to play the piece by ear and once I do that, I am not reading the music as much; I am using it only as a guide. I need to stop this at once because I think it's interfering with how to REALLY play the piano. Oh sure...it sounds like I am playing, but at that point I am not really reading the music anymore. I need to work a lot more on sight reading. thank you for showing me this.


Yamaha CLP 440 Delivered on April 16 2013
Started playing piano April 16 2013
Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
carolinagirl #2178365 11/07/13 08:17 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,352
D
dmd Offline
5000 Post Club Member
Offline
5000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,352
Originally Posted by carolinagirl
I have a good ear for music and quickly learn to play the piece by ear and once I do that, I am not reading the music as much; I am using it only as a guide. I need to stop this at once because I think it's interfering with how to REALLY play the piano.


You may wish to reconsider that thought.

If you can play a piece while using the printed notation as a guide I think you are right on about that. with that, you have the best of both worlds. You have memorized it to a degree but you can use the printed notation to jog your memory in areas where your memory might slip a bit. It does not get better than that.

My opinion, of course.


Don

Casio PX-S1000, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used), Focus Rite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface, Yamaha MG06 Mixer
Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
Clayman #2178383 11/07/13 09:01 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 669
M
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 669
Great site, Clayman!! I've tranlated it into spanish to share it with my mates.


Learning piano from scratch since September, 2012.
Kawai ES7.Kawai K-200
Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
carolinagirl #2178399 11/07/13 09:51 AM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 148
R
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
R
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 148
I feel the same way sometimes, especially since I could memorize pieces easily when I was younger, and now It's more difficult. I also find myself forgetting pieces that I knew yesterday!

3 thoughts:

1. Trying to memorize music involves such a large part of the brain and mind/body coordination, that attempting to memorize is helping us in many ways, even if we forget the pieces.

2. Beethoven and pianists of his era routinely performed using the printed scores. It wasn't until Liszt and the Romantic Era that memorizing became expected. So there's nothing wrong with simply playing from the sheet music. After all, there are worse things than a lifetime of musical enjoyment while playing from scores. smile Memorization comes easier to some people than others. Maybe you have better technique or play with more musicality than a natural memorizer!

3. Generally, there are at least 3 kinds of musical memory: muscle memory, intellectual memory, and aural memory. I suspect that you are working mostly with muscle memory. If you develop your ear by playing, say, the melody to Happy Birthday while singing along with it, you'll be able to retain more over time. Just like we mentally 'hear' a word and then can pronounce it. Knowing chords and their Roman Numerals within a key will help a lot too.Much of the music you're playing is based on V-I (Dominant/Tonic) relationships. If you know where these are, the individual notes make more sense.

Good luck!
Ron Drotos



Ron Drotos
rondrotos@keyboardimprov.com
Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
carolinagirl #2178410 11/07/13 10:30 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,421
T
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,421
Originally Posted by carolinagirl

I think you have shown me exactly what's at the root of my problem. I am not sight reading enough. I have a good ear for music and quickly learn to play the piece by ear and once I do that, I am not reading the music as much;


I'm not sure that's precise enough.

You could be right of course. But, playing by ear doesn't fade so fast.

I think you're playing by memory, and specifically you're playing by muscle memory, which is the least reliable of the 5 kinds.

There's another possibility. When you start a new piece, there are always difficulties to work out. This is true even if you are very attentively reading. With the sheet music in front of you, can you still play that piece later? Or have you forgotten how you got it under your fingers?


gotta go practice
Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
TimR #2178417 11/07/13 10:44 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 54
C
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by TimR

I'm not sure that's precise enough.

You could be right of course. But, playing by ear doesn't fade so fast.

I think you're playing by memory, and specifically you're playing by muscle memory, which is the least reliable of the 5 kinds.

There's another possibility. When you start a new piece, there are always difficulties to work out. This is true even if you are very attentively reading. With the sheet music in front of you, can you still play that piece later? Or have you forgotten how you got it under your fingers?


When I start a new piece, I can't just sit down and play it well....I have to work at it and figure out what the notes are. If it's some tune that's very familiar to me, working my way through it the first time is much easier, because I know what notes to expect. Unfamiliar pieces take me longer to work through. I repeat it so many times that I do memorize it. But when I got back to it weeks later, I have to work my way through it again....figuring out what the notes are. I can figure it out much quicker though. And I sure can't play it from memory right away either, even with the music in front of me.


Yamaha CLP 440 Delivered on April 16 2013
Started playing piano April 16 2013
Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
carolinagirl #2178875 11/08/13 05:49 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 468
T
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
T
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 468
Originally Posted by carolinagirl
wow. So much wonderful advise and words of encouragement. thank you!!

I think you have shown me exactly what's at the root of my problem. I am not sight reading enough. I have a good ear for music and quickly learn to play the piece by ear and once I do that, I am not reading the music as much; I am using it only as a guide. I need to stop this at once because I think it's interfering with how to REALLY play the piano. Oh sure...it sounds like I am playing, but at that point I am not really reading the music anymore. I need to work a lot more on sight reading. thank you for showing me this.


You shouldn't stop using your ear at the expense of sight reading. Your ears are the first and last guide to music.

When you say memorize I am assuming you mean with your fingers, the patterns for the song. More important is the melody and if you REALLY know that song. Take Fur Elise, could you play the melody line in a different key just using your ear? Say even the first 16 bars or A section. If not then you probably memorized the fingering but did not internalize the piece.

I used to play songs by fingering only, I would drill it enough that my fingers were on autopilot. But there was a disconnect between my brain, ears and fingers. Once I heard the music in my head and used that to guide my hands the process took a deeper meaning to truly playing music.

Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
The Wind #2178876 11/08/13 06:00 AM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,174
R
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,174
Originally Posted by The Wind
You shouldn't stop using your ear at the expense of sight reading. Your ears are the first and last guide to music.

When you say memorize I am assuming you mean with your fingers, the patterns for the song. More important is the melody and if you REALLY know that song. Take Fur Elise, could you play the melody line in a different key just using your ear? Say even the first 16 bars or A section. If not then you probably memorized the fingering but did not internalize the piece.

I used to play songs by fingering only, I would drill it enough that my fingers were on autopilot. But there was a disconnect between my brain, ears and fingers. Once I heard the music in my head and used that to guide my hands the process took a deeper meaning to truly playing music.


Good post TW!


Rerun

"Seat of the pants piano player" DMD


[Linked Image]



Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
Rerun #2178897 11/08/13 07:35 AM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 8,588
8000 Post Club Member
Offline
8000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 8,588
"You shouldn't stop using your ear at the expense of sight reading. Your ears are the first and last guide to music."

Your ears tell you if you`re sight reading it right . . . . eek


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

"[Linked Image]"
Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
The Wind #2178926 11/08/13 08:47 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,421
T
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
T
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,421
Originally Posted by The Wind

I used to play songs by fingering only, I would drill it enough that my fingers were on autopilot. But there was a disconnect between my brain, ears and fingers. Once I heard the music in my head and used that to guide my hands the process took a deeper meaning to truly playing music.


That's what I mean by muscle memory.

The memory is in your brain, of course, not really in your fingers, but what you've memorized is the pattern of finger movement, not the piece.


gotta go practice
Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
carolinagirl #2178973 11/08/13 10:14 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 626
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 626
Clayman, thanks for the link to "How to Practice". It made perfect sense to me although I've never been smart enough to apply it to my practice. I started applying the method last night. 20 minutes on the piece I'm trying to memorize, then onto something else. I've always tended to be a marathoner when working to cement something. I may get a sense of accomplishment, but at the end of the day it doesn't really work. So, thanks for that. thumb


Patty

A tired dog is a good dog.

Perzina GP-187
Kawai CP209


Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
carolinagirl #2179212 11/08/13 04:32 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,394
B

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014
1000 Post Club Member
Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014
1000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,394
Originally Posted by carolinagirl
I am getting so frustrated. I work hard to learn pieces, have them pretty well memorized and then move on to new pieces. And when I go back a few weeks later to the pieces I worked on before, they are gone. My memory banks have been cleared and I can barely even remember where to start.


Can you play the pieces via muscle memory, but simply not consciously remember all the notes? If so, you're pieces may well still be mastered, but your conscious memory of them has faded. Did you at some point ever analyze the music (by this I mean the form, harmonies, harmonic progressions, modulations, etc.)? These seemingly random and endless series of notes that sound pretty together are all connected and related, but if you can't understand how, it shouldn't be surprising that you'd forget them all. Memory (i.e. the process in which information is encoded, stored, and retrieved) is a fickle thing. If you've done the work necessary and built several strong associations to the thing, or music, you're memorizing (ex. analyzing and memorizing the form, harmonies, harmonic progressions, modulations, sounds, fingerings, etc.), the information will take a long time to fade away and can be easily refreshed on a regular basis with minimal time and effort. If the aforementioned work was not done, then it's only logical that the memory will quickly fade, leaving you frustrated and unable to consciously remember any of the details of the music; all you'll seem to be able to do is recall the deeper, subconscious memory of the music in the form of muscle memory. Also, once truly mastered - even in the proper fashion - music should re-played no less than once every week to keep it in the mind. If left alone long enough, even the sturdiest of fortresses can and will slowly deteriorate.

If you can't play the pieces with even muscle memory (ingrained subconscious memory) after multiple attempts, then you simply never mastered the pieces in the first place; what you did was learn them - there's a difference.


Originally Posted by carolinagirl
This is frustrating me so much. I feel like I should be remembering things better than this! I started learning piano in April of this year and am in the second Alfred book now. I was able to play the first two sections of Fur Elise as well as some other things that are pretty advanced. But now I can't play them. Will I forever be learning and then forgetting pieces? It almost seems pointless. Have I mentioned that I am VERY frustrated?


The brain doesn't do what we want it to do - it does what we program it to do.

There are 3 stages to learning - learned, mastered, and omniscience (permanent memory).
Originally Posted by Bernhard
Learned: you can play a passage/piece perfectly at the end of the practice session, but the next day it is all gone, or it is full of mistakes. (if it is full of mistakes, you may be practising too much, beyond the point of diminishing returns). You need to keep practising daily from scratch without skipping any step and without cutting any corners. But it will not take as long as the first time around.

Mastered: You now can just go to the piano the next day and play the section perfectly. Now you have two choices: just play through this section a couple of times 2 – 3 times a week. (You may not even need to do this, if you are joining this section to another one – since this joining practice will take care of it). Or you can neglect it and relearn it from scratch in a couple of months (this is really for complete pieces, rather than for sections).

Omniscience: You can play your piece even if you have not touched it for the past 30 years. You can get to omniscience by repeating your piece every day for ten years (say), or after forgetting and relearning it from scratch 3 or 4 times. I like the second approach the best because:

1. It is always exciting to learn a piece (even if it is one you already learned once).

2. It is doubly exciting to learn a piece in a fraction of the time (it will be a fraction of the time if you have learned it once).

3. It gives the piece a rest and gives you time to improve your technique and understanding of the piece. So when you come back to it, you will relearn it in a vast improved way. The alternative will most likely result in “burn-out” you will end up hating the piece.

4. It is far more efficient and time saving – even though it may not seem so at the time to one’s perception.


You worked hard to learn the pieces, but not hard enough to master them (or maybe you worked hard enough, but not strategically enough). What I mean by this is that of the 3 stages of mastery, you only reached the first stage with your piece - or at least with a number of sections of your piece before combining them. Depending on how you practiced your piece (ex. in small sections), portions of it may be in that second category of mastery. How do you know? Assuming you learned the piece in sections, go to the piano and see if you can play some of them flawlessly on the first attempt with minimal effort. If yes, you previously mastered the section. If not, you previously only learned the section (stage 1 of mastery), at best.

Approach learning to play piano with less an attitude of frustration and mystery and more an attitude of scientific investigation. Simply determine whether or not something's working, and if not, seek out a better way to do it. If you go about it long enough with this attitude, you'll soon be doing things far more effectively and productively than you'll have ever thought possible (i.e. be able to amass a repertoire of several hundred or a thousand[/i] pieces) and you'll no longer find yourself frustrated because you'll know that there's always a scientific answer out there waiting for you to find it.

There's a lot of science behind how to efficiently learn and master a complex series of motions (i.e. how to play a piece of music on the piano) as well as how to consciously memorize said series of motions. The information is best learned from a high-caliber piano teacher invested in their craft, but a lot [i]is freely available over the internet for those willing to seek it out.

Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
Rerun #2179362 11/08/13 09:19 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 468
T
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
T
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 468
Originally Posted by Rerun


Good post TW!


Thanks Rerun!!

Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
carolinagirl #2179419 11/09/13 02:59 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 669
M
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 669
You made a superb abstract, Bob!!!


Learning piano from scratch since September, 2012.
Kawai ES7.Kawai K-200
Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
carolinagirl #2179924 11/10/13 04:01 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 579
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 579
It's exactly the same here, at 42. I spend a lot of time learning each piece, and if I don't play it in a few weeks, sometimes even 2-3 weeks, I'll have forgotten most of it. As other people have said I think that this is normal and actually makes you better at those pieces when you relearn them as you add more experience to the learning pot (I really hope they'll stick after 3-4 relearns, thought!)

I tend to keep playing some pieces that I don't want to forget for the time being (I know that eventually I'll forget them), as I use them as a final point to my learning new pieces. This way I don't have to concentrate too much at the end and they help me finish my playing session in a good mood - at least I managed to play something decently... In the middle of the learning sessions I'm agitated, cursing and angry at my fingers most of the time, so I prefer a sweety easy end. grin



Last edited by evamar; 11/10/13 04:02 AM.

Serious since Dec 2013. March 2014, Kawai CA95!

Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted

[Linked Image]
Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
carolinagirl #2180222 11/10/13 05:59 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 545
P
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 545
I'm away from my piano at the moment so get my passion/obsession fix by reading Piano World. You have all made me feel excited to try some of my 'old' pieces. It has been a year since I started back ( that was when I turned 62 after a break of 25 or so years!) and at last I no longer feel afraid to play again. My technique is so much improved with - harumph - maturity, that re-learning might not be half as frustrating as I feared a year ago. Hopefully I shall find all this great advice is proven right!


[Linked Image][Linked Image]


Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
The Wind #2180609 11/11/13 11:57 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 54
C
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 54
Originally Posted by The Wind
Originally Posted by carolinagirl
wow. So much wonderful advise and words of encouragement. thank you!!

I think you have shown me exactly what's at the root of my problem. I am not sight reading enough. I have a good ear for music and quickly learn to play the piece by ear and once I do that, I am not reading the music as much; I am using it only as a guide. I need to stop this at once because I think it's interfering with how to REALLY play the piano. Oh sure...it sounds like I am playing, but at that point I am not really reading the music anymore. I need to work a lot more on sight reading. thank you for showing me this.


You shouldn't stop using your ear at the expense of sight reading. Your ears are the first and last guide to music.

When you say memorize I am assuming you mean with your fingers, the patterns for the song. More important is the melody and if you REALLY know that song. Take Fur Elise, could you play the melody line in a different key just using your ear? Say even the first 16 bars or A section. If not then you probably memorized the fingering but did not internalize the piece.

I used to play songs by fingering only, I would drill it enough that my fingers were on autopilot. But there was a disconnect between my brain, ears and fingers. Once I heard the music in my head and used that to guide my hands the process took a deeper meaning to truly playing music.


As an experiment, I sat down and played right hand only of Fur Elise in three different keys (probably a dozen or so bars of it). There were a few missed notes, but it was pretty easy for me to do this.

When I am learning a new piece, I like to listen to it on youtube or the midi files on my piano first. It makes it much easier for me to play it.


Yamaha CLP 440 Delivered on April 16 2013
Started playing piano April 16 2013
Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
carolinagirl #2180613 11/11/13 12:02 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 54
C
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 54
Fantastic post, Bob. I see exactly what you mean. I am learning them.....but not mastering them. I am not analyzing the music and really not sure how to begin to do this. I have been with my current teacher only for 3 months and she is worlds better than the free lessons that came with my piano. I am learning about how chords are related to each other and such, and I am getting better at sight reading, but I know I have such a long way to go. I am using the Alfred book (in the 2nd one now) but would like a little more theory than that book offers.


Yamaha CLP 440 Delivered on April 16 2013
Started playing piano April 16 2013
Re: why can't I remember this stuff??
carolinagirl #2180681 11/11/13 03:37 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,394
B

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014
1000 Post Club Member
Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014
1000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,394
I personally started learning theory on the side with Michael Miller's, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory, which I mostly found very approachable. I then went on to take 3 semesters of music theory (there are 5 available) at a local community college, which I found invaluable. Mind you, this was all while taking private piano lessons. While a private teacher can certainly help to make sense of things with you, there is frankly a lot of information to cover in this realm. If nothing else, they could probably teach you how to analyze most music, though.

While not necessarily comprehensive courses, you can also explore various free resources online here: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1948785.html

Page 2 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  BB Player 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
Our October 2020 Free Piano Newsletter is Here!
---------------------
3,000,000+!
------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Keep playing no matter what
by Tom97 - 11/29/20 06:14 AM
K. Kawai piano. Best tuning,
by Maximillyan - 11/29/20 03:22 AM
Dual-sensor vs Triple-sensor Actions
by Almaviva - 11/29/20 12:14 AM
Disklavier parts needed for Yamaha Mark 3 Disklavier
by Dfrankjazz - 11/28/20 10:52 PM
Pandemic a boon for piano stores?
by doremi - 11/28/20 10:37 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics203,122
Posts3,028,379
Members99,409
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2020 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4