Jump to content


Do You Memorize Exam Pieces?


  • Please log in to reply
56 replies to this topic

#1 Guest: donna618_*

Guest: donna618_*
  • Guests
  • Member: 0
    Joined: --

Posted 05 January 2006 - 01:51

Do you memorize all your exam pieces? I don't intend to memorize them. However, as I practice the pieces every day, my fingers will move as routine (even my mind may sometimes be away tongue.gif ) (oh, I'm playing the piano but I think this may also apply to other musical instruments).

There are a few times when my fingers moved to the wrong notes and I needed to stop suddenly. My teacher is very against the idea of memorizing the notes, as it will be very hard for me to pick up immediately when I play a note wrongly. He recommends me to really read (quickly) each note every time when I play.

I'm wondering if you also read each note or memorize the whole piece? unsure.gif
  • 0

#2 Guest: pianoandflute_*

Guest: pianoandflute_*
  • Guests
  • Member: 0
    Joined: --

Posted 05 January 2006 - 05:06

i memorize piano piece but not for other instrument.
i think is because i can look at my hands while playing the piano.
  • 0

#3 Guest: happygirl_*

Guest: happygirl_*
  • Guests
  • Member: 0
    Joined: --

Posted 05 January 2006 - 05:22

I don't memorize the exam pieces, but I admit I sort of memorized them after so many rounds of playing. It is so natural to me. But I never go into the exam room without the pieces in front of me. I will look very quickly at the piece from time to time to tell myself the place I am now, in case I get too nervous and forgotten everything altogether. The same goes with piano and violin for me.

QUOTE
i think is because i can look at my hands while playing the piano


I thought you shouldn't do that while playing piano? ohmy.gif
  • 0

#4 Guest: anakrron_*

Guest: anakrron_*
  • Guests
  • Member: 0
    Joined: --

Posted 05 January 2006 - 07:32

I don't intend to memorise them, but since I practice them nearly every day they stick anyway. Funny though, I can play it mostly from memory when the music is in front of me, but when you take away the music completely I can't play it anymore. I guess I do look up a little occasionaly.

  • 0

#5 Guest: Helen_*

Guest: Helen_*
  • Guests
  • Member: 0
    Joined: --

Posted 05 January 2006 - 08:28

I end up knowing the pieces by heart by the time that the exam comes, only through practicing it so much though rolleyes.gif. But I would never purposely learn it, then go into the exam and not play from the music. ohmy.gif
  • 0

#6 Guest: hannah_*

Guest: hannah_*
  • Guests
  • Member: 0
    Joined: --

Posted 05 January 2006 - 09:16

QUOTE(happygirl @ Jan 5 2006, 05:22 AM) View Post

I don't memorize the exam pieces, but I admit I sort of memorized them after so many rounds of playing. It is so natural to me. But I never go into the exam room without the pieces in front of me. I will look very quickly at the piece from time to time to tell myself the place I am now, in case I get too nervous and forgotten everything altogether. The same goes with piano and violin for me.

QUOTE
i think is because i can look at my hands while playing the piano


I thought you shouldn't do that while playing piano? ohmy.gif



Of course you can look at your hands while playing the piano. Yes, it is important to develop keyboard geography when sightreading, but for some pieces with large jumps it would be silly not to look. I disagree with avoiding memorising so that you can 'read' the notes quickly. For many more complex, fast pieces this simply isn't possible - the piece must be memorised in order to play it to speed. You wouldn't try to 'read' most of the Chopin Etudes, though you may have the book in front of you to remember where each section/pattern comes, you wouldn't have time to actually read every single note as you might when sightreading.

I memorised the pieces for my grade 8 and diploma exams, though I don't usually memorise on viola (yet).
  • 0

#7 Guest: La_Chopiniste__*

Guest: La_Chopiniste__*
  • Guests
  • Member: 0
    Joined: --

Posted 05 January 2006 - 09:49

I actually don't intend to memorize them , but due to daily practice , i naturally memorize them. But i don't really undrestand...What's better: memorizing or not ???? unsure.gif huh.gif
  • 0

#8 Guest: Jen W_*

Guest: Jen W_*
  • Guests
  • Member: 0
    Joined: --

Posted 05 January 2006 - 12:52

It depends on the piece. For the exam I'm preparing for at the moment, I've memorised one of the three pieces - but I can still play it from the music as well. The other two I play mainly from the music. I think it's easy to acquire finger memory for a piece simply by repeated playing, but that's not the same as actually knowing which notes you are playing - if you come unstuck while relying on finger memory, it will be harder to pick up unless you know exactly what your fingers should be doing next. When I learn a piece by heart I actually learn to look at where my fingers are going, not just rely on their automatic placing, if that makes sense wink.gif .
  • 0

#9 Guest: benjaminja_*

Guest: benjaminja_*
  • Guests
  • Member: 0
    Joined: --

Posted 05 January 2006 - 13:24

I think it's a good idea to memorise all the pieces if you can but play from the written music in the exam.
  • 0

#10 Guest: elmo_*

Guest: elmo_*
  • Guests
  • Member: 0
    Joined: --

Posted 05 January 2006 - 13:33

I can play pieces without music pretty quickly when I'm practicing for piano exams, but I can't for clarinet. So I make sure I could play clarinet pieces without music, because it makes me feel a lot more confident going into exams. It doesn't feel like I'm seeing the music for the first time if I do that
  • 0

#11 Guest: sbhoa_*

Guest: sbhoa_*
  • Guests
  • Member: 0
    Joined: --

Posted 05 January 2006 - 14:39

If you can play confidently from memory and know them well enough to be able to recover from any slips then playing this way is ok.
Playing from memory doesn't have to (shouldn't) mean that you can't pick up if you have a slip.
  • 0

#12 Guest: donna618_*

Guest: donna618_*
  • Guests
  • Member: 0
    Joined: --

Posted 05 January 2006 - 14:46

QUOTE(hannah @ Jan 5 2006, 05:16 PM) View Post

QUOTE(happygirl @ Jan 5 2006, 05:22 AM) View Post

I don't memorize the exam pieces, but I admit I sort of memorized them after so many rounds of playing. It is so natural to me. But I never go into the exam room without the pieces in front of me. I will look very quickly at the piece from time to time to tell myself the place I am now, in case I get too nervous and forgotten everything altogether. The same goes with piano and violin for me.

QUOTE
i think is because i can look at my hands while playing the piano


I thought you shouldn't do that while playing piano? ohmy.gif



Of course you can look at your hands while playing the piano. Yes, it is important to develop keyboard geography when sightreading, but for some pieces with large jumps it would be silly not to look. I disagree with avoiding memorising so that you can 'read' the notes quickly. For many more complex, fast pieces this simply isn't possible - the piece must be memorised in order to play it to speed. You wouldn't try to 'read' most of the Chopin Etudes, though you may have the book in front of you to remember where each section/pattern comes, you wouldn't have time to actually read every single note as you might when sightreading.

I memorised the pieces for my grade 8 and diploma exams, though I don't usually memorise on viola (yet).


Yeah, I agree that when there are large jumps, it's difficult not taking a look at the keyboard.

Well, I haven't learnt complex, fast pieces yet (still studying grade 4)... only starting to learn Czerny's 299 but playing at a much slower speed.... I agree that it's really hard not to memorize some of the notes especially fast notes. But everytime when I saw my teacher playing very quickly (he hasn't memorized it before my lesson, of course), I start to wonder if I can get to this sometime.... unsure.gif


QUOTE(Jen W @ Jan 5 2006, 08:52 PM) View Post

It depends on the piece. For the exam I'm preparing for at the moment, I've memorised one of the three pieces - but I can still play it from the music as well. The other two I play mainly from the music. I think it's easy to acquire finger memory for a piece simply by repeated playing, but that's not the same as actually knowing which notes you are playing - if you come unstuck while relying on finger memory, it will be harder to pick up unless you know exactly what your fingers should be doing next. When I learn a piece by heart I actually learn to look at where my fingers are going, not just rely on their automatic placing, if that makes sense wink.gif .


This is exactly the problem I'm facing: I have acquired finger memory very well by repeated playing, but whenever I was suddenly stuck at a note, I couldn't go on right at that note but needed to start from the beginning of that bar instead sad.gif (This happens to 2 of the 3 exam pieces). Thanks for your advice. I'll try to look at where my fingers are going next time happy.gif
  • 0

#13 Guest: hellokitty_*

Guest: hellokitty_*
  • Guests
  • Member: 0
    Joined: --

Posted 05 January 2006 - 17:56

QUOTE(donna618 @ Jan 5 2006, 01:51 AM) View Post

Do you memorize all your exam pieces? I don't intend to memorize them. However, as I practice the pieces every day, my fingers will move as routine (even my mind may sometimes be away tongue.gif ) (oh, I'm playing the piano but I think this may also apply to other musical instruments).

There are a few times when my fingers moved to the wrong notes and I needed to stop suddenly. My teacher is very against the idea of memorizing the notes, as it will be very hard for me to pick up immediately when I play a note wrongly. He recommends me to really read (quickly) each note every time when I play.

I'm wondering if you also read each note or memorize the whole piece? unsure.gif


I have exactly the same thing! As I practice I can't help but memorise the songs. My teacher (piano) always encourages me to memorise the songs but not with my fingers, with my head. I think I know what she means because sometimes I'm playing and ive "finger memorised" it and when I come to a mistake I stop. but when I "mind memorise" it, i can easily pick it up. I think it's because I'm not conciously practicing but I'm not sure!!! I always find it good to memorise exam pieces so that you down always have to keep looking at my music feeling unsure whether I shall lose my place. So YES I would recommend to read each note carefully.

Good Luck!


  • 0

#14 Guest: IrisH - LoonY_*

Guest: IrisH - LoonY_*
  • Guests
  • Member: 0
    Joined: --

Posted 05 January 2006 - 18:01

I find that by practising a lot, the piece just gets stuck in your head. Helps even more if you hear a recording of the piece a lot as well. I've found it useful with Piano, Clarinet, Flute and Recorder! smile.gif

By the time an exam comes, I usually know my pieces from memory, but always have the music just in case wink.gif
  • 0

#15 Guest: violinandpianogurl_*

Guest: violinandpianogurl_*
  • Guests
  • Member: 0
    Joined: --

Posted 05 January 2006 - 18:27

I always use the music in exams and have it front of me in case i get stuck but I have a freaky memory for music-I can play every piece i've ever played for exams on the violin.
  • 0