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I get a lot of enquiries about playing by memory. Here are a few useful tips:
1. Mark out the sections and phrases
It’s important to know where a section / a phrase starts and ends – this practice is not only important for memorisation but also in practice and knowing the music more deeply and securely
2. Repeat in small doses
It’s a very useful tool to memorise a piece in small doses first especially if you are new to the practice. Start with one phrase and then two, gradually working up to a whole section. Then work on two sections and more eventually leading up to the whole movement/piece.
Repeat each phrase 5-10 times. Then two phrases 5-10 times. Then three phrases 5-10 times and so on.
It’s also great to try starting in the middle of a piece – a lot of times when performers have a slip of memory it’s never at the beginning of a piece or not even the beginning of a section/phrase. I encourage my students to start playing /memorising in the middle of the music to see if they can start and continue from there – I call them “safety stops”. It’s like taking a train: it starts and ends at big terminals, but it also travels through and pauses by many small stations / stops in between the whole journey to pick up and drop off passengers. So throughout the whole music journey (the music piece you are playing and memorising), you also need some musical stops to know where you are at currently. It helps you keep track of where you have been, where you are at, and where you are going, until the end.
For me I even memorised from the end back to the beginning just to test my memory of the piece. Most important of all, try to be creative about your memorisation process and think/practice outside of the box – remember, there is no one way to do it right for you, and often, those “weird” ways of doing one thing are THE ways to get you closer and faster towards your goal!
Until next time,
We are now introducing new online courses and taking enrolment until the spaces are all filled.
Here are the courses and short description:
Course 1. How to prepare your students for diploma exams successfully
General criteria of exam requirement and repertoire choice
How to choose pieces for your students
Examples of repertoire choice and general background of genre/pieces
Viva voce questions and preparation
More on viva voce and programme notes
Student project presentation: examples of repertoire choices and viva voce questions
(Class 4/5 are subject to change if most of the teacher students are more inclined to prepare students for Trinity exams instead of ABRSM exams)
Course 2. How to improve your students’ technique
Piano playing and body utilization
Concept of Body weight and weight transfer
Application of body weight and weight transfer
Relation of body weight and weight transfer to arm/hand/finger movement
More elaboration on class 2 concepts
More on weight training and piano technique
Application and examples of different techniques
Student Project presentation: application of techniques with chosen music examples
Course 3. How to analyze and interpret advanced repertoire
General background of musical periods
General development of piano/keyboard instruments
Main genres and their characteristics of keyboard repertoire (Baroque and Classical)
Music examples: form, structure and analysis
Main genres and their characteristics of keyboard repertoire (Classical and Romantic)
Music examples: form, structure and analysis
More on genres and examples of keyboard repertoire
More on background and analysis of keyboard repertoire
Performance practice of each musical period in relation to the development and repertoire of the keyboard instrument
How to analyze and prepare a piece for performance and exam
Student Project presentation: application of knowledge learnt in the course with chosen piece of your own
Total Course time
Each class duration
1 hour in total: 45 minutes’ lecture + 15 minutes’ Q & A session
Total fee per course
Original course fee: $3000
Special course fee for early bird enrolment: $2500
Deadline for early bird enrolment: September 8, 2017
Deadline for all enrolment: September 20, 2017
Commencement of courses (Class 1):
Course 1: September 22 Friday 11am
Course 2: September 21 Thursday 10am
Course 3: September 21 Thursday 11am
Note: We might have more course times if there are more students than open spaces in any of the courses and if students are unavailable at the schedule given above. Contact us directly to request more schedule details.
Pay via PayPal or bank transfer to our HSBC account. (Details will be given after your enrolment – 100% confirmation of your enrolment will be completed after we have received your payment)
We are also organizing a new course to train new teachers to teach Miss Wong’s piano technique method, so that you can train your students to become a more accomplished performer with avid interest in learning music and playing the piano with confidence, control and dexterity! Stay tuned for this course.