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Joined: Sep 2017
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When we are learning a foreign language, we need to "memorize" many foreign words & phrases. And there is something call "space repetition". We simply repeat the same thing over with a break in between. The first time dialing a friend's new phone number would require some effort. Dialing the same number many times we would be able to do it without effort.

The last song I learned has 3 pages with a lot of similar sections. I don't need to put a lot of effort into the song except repeating it regularly for a few weeks. I'm not forcing myself to memorize the notes or chords in each section, just repeating it until it is in my head.

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All good points everyone. I definitely think muscle memory can betray you.

YouTube videos about memorisation talk about learning a piece, putting it away for awhile and forgetting it, relearning it, forgetting it, and so on. After a few cycles the piece becomes secure. Not only, that but during subsequent learning you pick up things in the music you wouldn’t have noticed before.

What do I know? But my gut feeling is that you need a combination of physical familiarity and conceptual understanding of the piece.

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I memorize them quickly, usually. I don’t even try, it just happens. After playing it 100 times and another 100 and another 100 it just becomes memorized...

Working on Passacaglia and Nocturne op72... it thought nocturne was a hot mess and I’d never get it. While it is not by heart, I find myself looking at the sheer less and less for learned parts.


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When I first started learning, 31 years ago, I made it a point to memorize every piece I was assigned. Of course my sight reading skills weren’t developed yet either. I had mistakes that got ironed into my memory and often stumbled in the same spots, over and over again. I lasted about 3 years before I quit.

Over those intervening years I would occasionally try to play some of those pieces but couldn’t remember more than a few measures of each.

I came back to piano last summer to give it another go and this time I find my sight reading more proficient than expected and am working my way through a couple of method series. My current strategy is to play from the music as much as possible and concentrating on the sheet while trying my best to not look away. It’s working better for me.

Anyway, I decided I’m only going to memorize pieces I like well enough to keep with me and so far the books I’m using don’t have much worth memorizing.


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Sadly for me, i learn so slowly that the memorization comes with learning the piece.

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Originally Posted by HollyBytheLake
Informal poll:

When do you memorize your pieces?

I know there is no definitive way, I am looking for ideas. Immediately as you learn the piece? When you can play through no errors? Fifty percent tempo? Seventy-five? A way I have never imagined?

Thanks for lending me your experience,
Holly
I have never memorised a piece. I read from the score. I find that memorisation does not come easily to me, and I feel that time spent memorising would be better spent practising.

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