Memorization Mishaps

This is my second installment of things that happen in performances.  It is a short list of some memorization snafus that have happened to some of our students in recitals.

​For our recitals we have the students memorize their pieces.  Many will ask "What happens if I forget the song?"  These are the stories I will tell them:

1.  One student tried about 5 or 6 times to get his piece going, but could not get past the first 3 notes.  He finally stood up and said "Well, I guess that's it!" and went back to sit down.  He had a great attitude about it and this helps let students know the world is not going to end if they forget their piece.

2.  Another student played her whole song, just not in the correct order.  The beginning was repeated again at the ending and she connected the beginning directly to the end so her piece was only about 8 measures long instead of 2 pages.  She kind of stood up and looked over at me and I said "Go ahead and try it again to see if you can get the whole song."  So she did and played very well - until the very end which she forgot!!  So she played the whole song very well, just not from beginning to end.

3.  A story I tell often is about not just one student, but several students who had managed to "over practice" their piece.  I describe it as the mind not paying attention to the song any more because it is too boring now.  So over prepared students will forget their song because they don't really have it in their mind any more.  It is a strange phenomenon!

4.  And here is a story from myself.  I got stuck in a repeat loop while I was performing and I had no idea how to get out of it, so I just kept repeating until my muscle memory could take over and finish the song.  A very dangerous way to memorize as Ellie wrote about in her article The "Real" Scoop on Memorizing.

These are some of the more dramatic stories, but I make sure to tell my students most memorization slips are just one note here or there and the students can easily get back into their piece and still have a great performance!

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