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Should Soloists Always Perform from Memory?

Andre Watts performs from memory

“Performing from memory can be a beautiful thing.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 82

As someone who has performed countless solos, I know the upsides and downsides of playing with and without a score.

We musicians often hash over whether to memorize or not, so let’s consider some of the issues here. Continue Reading

The Four Stages of Memorization

Andre Watts

“I’m very mistrustful of tactile memory.
I think it’s the first thing that goes.”
–André Watts, pianist (The Musician’s Way, p. 82)

Have you ever been blindsided by a memory lapse? Maybe you felt secure in practice, but, during a performance, you blanked on a passage.

I suspect that every musician has felt the jolt of memory slips.

I also believe that memory glitches could be far less common because secure memorization involves concepts and skills that any musician can learn.

This post summarizes a 4-part framework that helps both singers and instrumentalists become masterful memorizers. Continue Reading

“Memories are Made of This” Published in The Strad

The October 2009 issue of the UK monthly The Strad features an article I wrote about memorization titled “Memories are Made of This.”

I was invited to contribute to the magazine by its editor, Ariane Todes, after she attended a lecture I gave on the subject of memorization at the 2009 conference of the American String Teachers Association in Atlanta. Continue Reading