Questions & Answers
How do you begin teaching memory, and approximately when in a student's study do you begin?
I like to begin memorizing within the first few weeks of study and continue it as a regular part of piano lessons from then on.
Like every other discovery, memory should first be a secure and pleasant experience before it is given a name or thought of as a process.
Let's take a piece as easy as "Stargazers," from early in the first
- keyboard positions
To check if the piece is remembered by "head" instead of by "heart", close the music and ask the student to:
- block the two different positions, moving back and forth several times securely.
- tap and count the rhythm (tap RH notes with RH, LH notes with LH).
- play and say the finger numbers, playing on the keyboard cover.
- play on the keys and sing the lyrics, being careful to pro- duce a singing tone and beautifully shaped phrases.
By the end of the first year of study, a student might be playing a piece like "Grand Entrance."
By this time, students are ready to learn the actual process of memorizing by analyzing the piece, seeing it in their mind's eye as they think it through.
Close the music and lead the student to describe how the piece is made. Cor
1. The entire LH is made of what interval? (5ths) and most of the 5ths are...(whole notes).
Find the starting position, then move down a...(3rd), down a...(3rd), up a...(2nd).
Play and count line 1.
Now compare line 2.
It starts on the same 5th as line 1, but an octave lower.
Like line 1, it first moves down a... (3rd), down a... (3rd),
Notice especially that in measures 7 and 8, the rhythm changes to... (half notes).
Play and count line 2.
2. Now let's analyze the RH.
With what kind of rest does it almost always begin? (quarter rest).
After the rest, the RH is always in a 5-finger pattern on... (G), and it almost always plays a slur on fingers... (1), (5), (3).
But remember that in measure 4, fingers 2 and 5 play... (
By the way, which is the only RH finger that doesn't play in this piece? (4).
Now play and count the RH of line I while tapping the LH.
Then compare line 2 by playing and counting the RH while tapping the LH.
Finally, play and count the entire piece as written.
On paper, these steps seem cumbersome and
It has been my experience that aural, visual, and kinesthetic