How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

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Jeremy Hickerson
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How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

Post by Jeremy Hickerson » Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:14 pm

Here's a visualization technique I discovered that lets you quickly memorize a piece ( I read about this idea in the book "The musician's way : a guide to practice, performance, and wellness" by Gerald Klickstein. Here I explain it and demonstrate the technique. You can see how I had to play these two Manuel Ponce pieces from the music a week ago (in my other video "The Casual (but serious) Guitarist: Introduction") and how now, after spending an hour for each piece using visualization and then a couple practice sessions playing them from memory after that, I have them memorized.


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Andrew Pohlman
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Re: How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:03 pm

I'm glad you are recommending a book that actually worked for you. My instructor states I am his best student ... but only because I'm the only one of his students who actually practices. :D I'd rather gain higher acclaim than that! I think many people struggle with the necessary synergies between practice and performance and the translation from the former to the later. I'm about to buy this book and give it a shot as I'm always open to new ideas, especially if someone else finds them effective.

Besides, I may well start teaching guitar after I retire from Nursing. I'm already a nursing educator, so I have all the teaching theory down, but music focused stuff like this sounds wonderful.
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Jeremy Hickerson
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Re: How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

Post by Jeremy Hickerson » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:42 pm

The book had a wealth of ideas, this was just one of them.
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Johnne Lee
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Re: How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

Post by Johnne Lee » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:32 am

Jeremy - Thanks so much for your efforts and for sharing something very practical. I ordered the book today.

Andrew - I have already retired from Nursing (It was interfering far too much with my love of the classical guitar.) :lol:

All the best,

JL

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slidika
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Re: How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

Post by slidika » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:05 pm

I read about this idea in the book "The musician's way : a guide to practice, performance, and wellness" by Gerald Klickstein
I have that book . . . if I could only remember where I put it . . . :D
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R.V.S.
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Re: How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

Post by R.V.S. » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:37 pm

Nice video, good advice. I also like playing the piece in my head when I'm doing everyday tasks like the dishes. And I find it helps to break a piece up into smaller segments, and then run through those segments in my head, as well as the transitions between segments (otherwise I'll blank at the end of a segment).

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

Post by Andrew Fryer » Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:01 pm

No muscle memory involved, then.
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Jeremy Hickerson
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Re: How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

Post by Jeremy Hickerson » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:05 pm

Yes, breaking down in segments is probably required. I forgot to say that. It's hard enough mental work that I do a segment at a time (maybe 4 to 8 measures) while I'm watching TV, then give me self a break and watch the show for a few minutes before trying to go further. And before I work on a new section, I review all the previous sections to make sure I've still got them real solid.

As far as muscle memory, you're right, it puts you into a different mode of learning. Maybe there's some muscle memory from visualizing (there probably is) but you're getting so much more. You end up picturing your fingers on the strings and frets, and even sometimes picturing the music on the page). It puts it into your conscious mind.
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Francisco
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Re: How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

Post by Francisco » Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:23 am

Here is David Russell explaining how he memorizes a piece. He learns the last measure first, and proceeds backwards one measure at a time until he has the whole piece (explanation starts about 16:38)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuqZqdVLpO4
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Jeremy Hickerson
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Re: How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

Post by Jeremy Hickerson » Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:44 pm

Russell's idea that if you work backwards, you're always moving towards something you know better, rather than moving into parts you don't know as well (while you're memorizing, anyway) is a good point.
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fast eddie
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Re: How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

Post by fast eddie » Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:05 am

The method Francisco is describing is that which my son learned from a very accomplished piano teacher in New York. He described it to me and I am trying to use it. So far I have learned two easy pieces and one a little more difficult (several pages). Here is a link to this method on Wikihow
http://www.wikihow.com/Memorize-Sheet-Music.
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Re: How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

Post by dallan64 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:30 pm

+1 Russell Backwards - always playing toward what you know with a dash of visualization...it's a good recipe.
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Steve Kutzer
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Re: How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

Post by Steve Kutzer » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:48 pm

Another backwards fan,esp. for the tougher pieces.

But to the OP's point, my teacher a few years ago would occasionally tell me to put the guitar down, close my eyes, and tell him the order of strings being plucked or the LH fingering. He opined that unless you could do that, you didn't really have the piece memorized to a performance level. Instead, you had some level of muscle memory that would elude you under pressure.

A side bonus is, I think fully visualizing what you are doing counts as practice. And it's perfect practice - you aren't flubbing any notes when you visualize.

But the downside is... it's exhausting!
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Re: How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

Post by kirolak » Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:40 pm

Wow. . . I was taught to memorize 4-bar sections; but nowadays I actually dream I am practicing, & can see the score in front of me, complete with coffee mug stains. . .but of course, now I am too old to "be a concert guitarist when I grow up".

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Re: How To Memorize a Classical Guitar Piece

Post by jayjayrose » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:17 pm

This is a subject dear to my heart. I have Klickstein's book and mean to get to it soon.
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