Attention to Detail for Memory

While looking through old scores to inspire myself, I noticed what I always notice: notes to myself throughout the scores I’ve studied giving all sorts of instruction. Lift elbow slightly right before a reach with the third finger to the sixth string, place 1 on string 3 [with an arrow pointing to the space between two notes] indicating a soon to be guide finger,  place p on string 4 here [another arrow pointing to the space before a note to be plucked] indicating a necessary preparation, breathe here, let go early, and on and on.

Unless they are obvious, I write in every left hand and right hand fingering of a work that I am eventually intending to study in depth and ultimately perform. I also find that writing down notes and observations about details I notice whether related to the underlying music (harmony, form, etc.), to motions in the choreography of my hands (lifting, placing, shifting, etc.), or to the emotional associations and musical ideas I develop as I build a relationship with the music aids a great deal in building up a complete mental picture of the work in study.

The result of studying a piece of music this way often manifests itself in being able to play through the music well very early on without the need of the score. If I continue to work up the piece of music, perform it, and move on, I find that reworking the piece is very easy as the visual image is rich with details. Memory never seems to be an issue.

 

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