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Memorization
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HP
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July 31, 2019 - 10:28 am
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I've a horrible memory. Seriously, if anyone would ask what I had for dinner yesterday, I would have no idea, that's how bad it is. Because of this it takes me a very long time to memorize a tune, even if it's a tune I've been working on for a extended period of time. I find it beneficial to be able to play without sheet music so I can put more focus towards bowing, sound production and intonation. I don't know if my struggle of memorization is due to poorly practice structure or if it's just because I've a horrible memory. Maybe a combination of both. 

My method of learning: Start the practice session by focusing on one section of the tune. Pick out a group of measures, typically 3-4 measures depending on how difficult or many notes there are. Play through the measures by reading once or twice. Turn the page around and try to repeat without looking. Check if it was played correctly. If not, go back to reading once and repeat this pattern until it sits. Then I usually play through several times correctly until I feel confident about that part. Then I start using the same method on the next group of measures and continue this path until I've worked my way through the whole section. Then I start playing the whole section and checking if it's played correctly. Then I work my way to the next section and repeat the process until I've worked my way through the whole tune. Then I start working on the whole tune as a whole.

Does this sound like a effective way of memorizing a tune? What method do you use for memorizing a tune? I really want to know. 

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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GregW
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July 31, 2019 - 10:41 am
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I'm not sure how long of a tune youre talking about.  Most of what I'm learning are simple fiddle tunes, on the surface, and have an AABB type structure.  The tunes I'm able to memorize are a combination of being able to whistle or hum it.  There have been some that are say A B C parts that have a lot of written ornamentation and such that are harder.  I also try and find recordings of the tune I'm learning thats close to what we are playing and listen to it..A BUNCH.  Like on the way to work and home.  But if youre talking about several pages of some advanced piece I can't offfer anything.  I think you are doing similar type folk stuff.

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MoonShadows
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July 31, 2019 - 10:57 am
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Like Greg, my tune list consists of AABB type tunes also. I learn them similar to the way you do. I learn each phrase separately and then put them together as I learn each new phrase until I have made it through the whole tune. However, once I learn a tune, if I don't play it on a regular basis, I find it hard to make it all the way through the tune. I may have to look back at the notation, but usually once I do, I can play it again from memory. For me I can almost "visualize" a tune in my head, but don't ask me to explain what I mean by that! 😮

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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HP
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July 31, 2019 - 10:57 am
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It's somewhat a more advanced folk tune. I don't really know how to explain it music theory wise. It start out as a standard folk tune, AABB, then it's a modulation for the C part, repeated once, and then a D which is also repeated. Some of the parts have ornamentations. 

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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GregW
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July 31, 2019 - 11:13 am
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When we do Irish stuff I'll try and memorize the base tune until I can play..then go back for the ornaments.   King of the fairies was a lesson on ornaments for us.  Its really long and each time variations were added.  For that one I recorded my instructor playing it at the tempo we were aiming for.  I'm pretty sure you're recording the instructor playing it like he/she is targeting the performance for but if not maybe try that and listen over and over.  I think getting the BASE tune down then going back and getting the ornaments right helps.  MY problem is that 6 months later I won't remember everything.  After our concert thing I move on to the next set of tunes and the more difficult ones I just learned fade.  

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Fiddlerman
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July 31, 2019 - 11:38 am
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HP said
I've a horrible memory. Seriously, if anyone would ask what I had for dinner yesterday, I would have no idea, that's how bad it is. 

I have a similar issue.
My memory is great, the problem is that it is so short. 😜

I think my memory is way better since I've cut out a lot of gluten. Gluten apparently causes inflammation.

https://www.verywellhealth.com.....fog-563112

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Gordon Shumway
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Fiddlerman said I think my memory is way better since I've cut out a lot of gluten. Gluten apparently causes inflammation.

I wish someone had told me this when I was 10!

Andrew

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HP
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July 31, 2019 - 12:40 pm
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@GregW Unfortunately I won't be able to do a recording of my teacher playing it in at least 3 weeks. By then I hopefully have the whole thing memorized. There are some great recordings of the tune, both of the composer and others. so I got some recordings for referanse. Thank you for your suggestions. 

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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HP
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July 31, 2019 - 1:03 pm
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Fiddlerman said

HP said

I've a horrible memory. Seriously, if anyone would ask what I had for dinner yesterday, I would have no idea, that's how bad it is. 

I have a similar issue.

My memory is great, the problem is that it is so short. 😜

I think my memory is way better since I've cut out a lot of gluten. Gluten apparently causes inflammation.

If that's true, that would explain some of it. After all the Scandinavian diet have a lot of gluten in it, pretty much grain at every meal. Usually the type of grain that have the most gluten. 

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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Pete_Violin
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There are a few ways to help memorization of music...

First, the 4 kinds of memory... (1) visual, (2) auditory, (3) motor, (4) analytical. 

Visual - Picture the notes in your mind.  Try to take a picture in your mind of those phrases or parts of the music that make the most sense to break apart.  Now try to play those parts with your eyes closed.

Auditory - Similar to visual.  Play the phrase or part and then close your eyes and remember how it sounds.  You can even hum or solfege the part.  It may feel strange but it helps memorization.

Motor - This is where watching your fingering is beneficial.  Watch where your fingers play the notes in a phrase then close your eyes and play again.  Visualize in your mind your fingers as you play, paying close attention to your fingering.

Analytical - Analyzing is understanding the phrasing or patterns of the piece.  Most music has very recognizable patterns that often repeat.  This kind of memorizing is very beneficial in music because you can memorize in chunks and also make special note of the beginnings and endings of the phrases.  Where are the fingerings?  Are there special shifts, particular notes or string switches at those transitions?  Knowing and memorizing where these are in the music will help you move through more smoothly and memorize the entire piece faster.

- Pete -

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GregW
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HP said
@GregW Unfortunately I won't be able to do a recording of my teacher playing it in at least 3 weeks. By then I hopefully have the whole thing memorized. There are some great recordings of the tune, both of the composer and others. so I got some recordings for referanse. Thank you for your suggestions. 

  

Youre welcome. I know a lot of that was stuff we do as students anyway but its a big part of how I do it.

.I liked the suggestion of watching your fingers Pete had.  I don't do much of that step and it seems helpful.  For one thing it seems like it would engage the thinking and get away from just playing so to speak.  Good idea @Pete_Violin

@Billyg uses some software to notate the music into computer and make midi files.  I wonder if that helps since you're seeing each note twice as you one look at the music then second enter it in..or think about the note then enter.  Plus you have a midi file you can listen too.  Maybe something else to experiment with.

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MoonShadows
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MoonShadows said
For me I can almost "visualize" a tune in my head, but don't ask me to explain what I mean by that! 😮

  

pchoppin said

Visual - Picture the notes in your mind.  Try to take a picture in your mind of those phrases or parts of the music that make the most sense to break apart.  Now try to play those parts with your eyes closed.

  

Ah, thanks for explaining that, Pete. That's what I do.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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HP
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August 2, 2019 - 6:04 am
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@Pete_Violin Thanks for the break down. I'll keep it in mind. I don't usually use motor as a form of memory, because my motor skills have a slight disconnection between my visual skills. I've a mild form for CP, so I guess that's were it comes from. My brain wants my fingers to be closer towards me if I watch them. If I don't they usually find their way on their own. 

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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Pete_Violin
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Oh ok.  I was not aware.

Still, try to visualize how your fingers are playing.. it may help with memorization.

- Pete -

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HP
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I will thank you. I've made great progress with the help of your tips earlier, so I'm really grateful. 

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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Fiddlerman
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August 5, 2019 - 7:34 pm
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@HP - I have a different problem. My memory is fantastic!!!
Only problem is that it is VERY short. 😜

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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