The "Real" Scoop on Memorizing

My students are beginning to prepare for the upcoming Spring recital and their pieces need to be memorized. I am using the "real" and best way to memorize music so that they won't get that brain freeze in the middle of their pieces. The "real" way to memorize a piece so that you will never ever forget it is to be able to take a blank piece of staff paper and write the entire piece out from memory.

The first week in January all my students had chosen their recital pieces and had begun learning to play them - first hands alone. The the second week they were beginning to play at least the first page hands together - slowly but with a steady rhythm. Then during week three during their lab time we set the timer for 10 minutes and they were to study the first two lines of their music. 

When the timer rang they hand me their music. They reset the timer for 15 min to see how much of the music they had learned could be written in that amount of time. They begin writing out the music on staff paper. They were to draw the treble clef sign and the bass clef sign and put in the time signature and the key signature in the proper place on the staff. I was only interested in them writing the notes correctly with the correct rhythm. I did not care about the beauty of the notes. When the timer went again they were to stop writing and put their staff paper in the pocket folder. I then corrected their work. There was almost a 100% correctness to all of their papers. However I did mark in red things that would be more proper for writing music and then we discussed those at their next lesson. It was amazing how well they are did -- even the youngest students. 

We are still working on this project by having them work on memorizing the rest of their piece and also making it look more technically correct (proper stem direction, uniform notes, etc.)  The final project around the end of February will be to write the entire piece with all the musical markings such as dynamics, accents, staccato notes, ritardando marks, repeat signs etc. so that they hand written music should be a pretty close replica of the original. 

This year is going to be an awesome recital!!

Finding the Rhythm
Music Down!

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