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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #2597925 12/25/16 10:51 AM
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Rereading this thread.

I've been playing for about 3 years, on and off, and have probably learned about 20-25 pieces well, but have only memorized a few and can only play one or two from memory right now. That's why I searched for this thread. I think I need to follow some of the tips above, such as the business cart tip, and memorize some pieces!


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #2599055 12/29/16 04:02 PM
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I used to have about 15 committed to memory but I started working on liebestraum no3 and so I couldn't practice all the other ones on a consistent basis and I knew some had to go so now I can play about 9 pieces on the upside I just finished liebestraum no3 so Im happy about that now I just have to practice it for 6 months to get it sounding decent. smile


Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #2782169 11/18/18 10:55 AM
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Thought I'd revisit this thread. I have been using the business card tip and can play a few that I keep in the "repertoire", but only have memorized a couple of pieces. Most of the ones I play, I know, but without specifically setting out to memorize them, cannot play confidently without the music. I've now set out to actively memorize 3 pieces, and will hope to expand this.


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #2782172 11/18/18 11:09 AM
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In his classic book on improving at the piano for amateurs, Charles Cooke suggests that amateurs shoot for a performance repertoire of 25 pieces, which are rotated around to keep them current in mind and fingers.


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
Tyrone Slothrop #2782175 11/18/18 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
In his classic book on improving at the piano for amateurs, Charles Cooke suggests that amateurs shoot for a performance repertoire of 25 pieces, which are rotated around to keep them current in mind and fingers.


I don’t see how this can work if an amateur is playing pieces that are 6 to 10 minutes in length, do you? There can’t be a one-size-fits-all answer to how many memorized pieces as this should depend on length, complexity and available time to maintain these.

Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #2782184 11/18/18 11:38 AM
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Zero but I've performed hundreds.

Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #2782193 11/18/18 11:49 AM
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At any given time up to 5. Shorter pieces like church hymns will stay in memory for a few weeks before I have to refer to the sheet music.

Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
dogperson #2782206 11/18/18 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
In his classic book on improving at the piano for amateurs, Charles Cooke suggests that amateurs shoot for a performance repertoire of 25 pieces, which are rotated around to keep them current in mind and fingers.

I don’t see how this can work if an amateur is playing pieces that are 6 to 10 minutes in length, do you? There can’t be a one-size-fits-all answer to how many memorized pieces as this should depend on length, complexity and available time to maintain these.

I will post a bit more extensively on his specific program later when I have time, but his program is based on an 8-day rotation (assuming one practices daily). I've been reading his book recently.

BTW, Cooke was writing back in the mid-20th century (he published his book in 1941), so they were a bit more prescriptive in those days with any sort of advice! LOL

Also keep in mind, that it was in the 1940s that, "According to a recent Nationwide survey: MORE DOCTORS SMOKE CAMELS THAN ANY OTHER CIGARETTE" crazy


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #2782210 11/18/18 12:22 PM
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And there wasn't so much to do in the 1940's.


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
cmb13 #2782212 11/18/18 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
And there wasn't so much to do in the 1940's.

Yeah, I think Netflix wasn't invented until a little later... wink


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #2782214 11/18/18 12:30 PM
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Right now, six. All but two of them are very short (under two minutes) and the "long" ones are only a little over 3 minutes. I feel like if I don't play them pretty much every day, they would be gone with the wind.


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #2782257 11/18/18 03:00 PM
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I only started to memorize pieces some six years ago, when I started a monthly recital series.

Now, I have some 36 pieces (lasting anything from one to ten minutes, of which I term individual sonata movements as separate 'pieces' but not individual movements from suites) lasting a total of about 2 1/2 hours memorized.......but it's hard work to keep all of them secure in my memory.

However, I decided from the start that I'd only memorize pieces that I like enough to not just perform regularly but that I also want to keep in my rep for the foreseeable future (i.e. for life). No point in spending all that extra effort to memorize a piece if I ain't going to continue playing it again & again........


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #2782269 11/18/18 03:37 PM
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Lately, I'm satisfied if I can remember where I parked the car, nevermind the piano music.


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
Tyrone Slothrop #2782416 11/19/18 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
In his classic book on improving at the piano for amateurs, Charles Cooke suggests that amateurs shoot for a performance repertoire of 25 pieces, which are rotated around to keep them current in mind and fingers.



Tyrone, thanks for the link, I bought the kindle version and am about a third of the way through the book so far. I’m really enjoying it and am looking forward to trying out some of the authors ideas.


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
John305 #2782426 11/19/18 03:33 AM
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Originally Posted by John305
I bought the kindle version and am about a third of the way through the book so far.

Great! Then you can update my new Cooke thread with some info on his nifty plan for memorizing & retaining repertoire when you have a big set of 25 repertoire pieces. LOL. (Although maybe the 25 needs to come down somewhat since we are after all, in the Netflix age and our attention spans are about half of what the average person's attention span was in the 1940's.... umm... what was I just talking about? wink )


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #2782657 11/19/18 07:09 PM
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Not a lot, probably just over fifty from years ago, most of which I don't like any more but maintain because it seems a pity to let them go.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
cmb13 #2782681 11/19/18 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
And there wasn't so much to do in the 1940's.


Um..... There was the Second World War -- my understanding from those who were there is that it kept them quite busy.


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
JohnSprung #2782701 11/19/18 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung


Um..... There was the Second World War -- my understanding from those who were there is that it kept them quite busy.


Yes but those fighting were't playing piano.


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
malkin #2782738 11/20/18 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by malkin
Lately, I'm satisfied if I can remember where I parked the car, nevermind the piano music.


It's the one from which the "panic alarm" sounds when in desperation you press the red button on your key fob...but only if you're close enough...

I have one piece memorized at a time - that seems to be my limit, and I'm very happy I can do that much...


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Re: How many songs or pieces do you have memorized?
leturn #2782776 11/20/18 10:29 AM
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Currently ten, working on 11. However, most of them are short and easy - I'm in that sort of "advanced beginner" to "early intermediate" range of ability and corresponding pieces. About half of them are super short and simple holiday / special occasion tunes - "Happy Birthday," "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow," etc. Most of the other half are probably spread out among RCM level 1-4 pieces (e.g., Minuet in G minor, March in D). The longest and most advanced piece (I'm guessing maybe as high as RCM 5) is the WestWorld piano arrangement of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun." That took me all freakin' summer to learn, including memorization ... I'm currently learning the unplugged / solo piano + voice version of Sarah MacLachlin's "Possession," which is deceptively difficult to memorize, as there's so many little variations of this or that lick throughout the piece - I'm going on three months now, and finally starting to make it closer to the end ...

I do spend some time in my daily practice routine reviewing and polishing pieces that I want to keep memorized - I hated when people used me to play something, and I had to say "Um, well, I don't have the sheet music here, and the one's I'm currently working on aren't done yet ... ", etc., so I made it a point to start keeping some things fresh in my memory. It's also cool when I can play "Happy Birthday" for someone at a moment's notice. smile


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