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Dip ABRSM Performance - Memorisation


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#1 becster

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 20:39

Previously it has been discussed that people have achieved a distinction at ARSM level without playing any pieces from memory.

What are people's experience at Dip ABRSM? Or, equivalently, ATCL?

Has anyone taken one of these, and played entirely from music? Has anyone achieved a particularly good mark without memorising any of the music?

I'm looking specifically into piano, in case that might make any difference.

Thank you!
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#2 jjosiejo

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 20:47

The guidelines say that you can play from music unless you are a singer, or you can play from memory if you prefer. It does seem to suggest that pianists might be better memorising as well. I am a singer, so had to memorise everything anyway... I do think that as long as you are well prepared memorising gives a better performance as you can pay attention to communication with the audience, I’d argue that it’s just as important for instrumentalists as for singers, but from my reading of the guidelines you wouldn’t be penalised for being on-copy.
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#3 becksloane

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 20:50

I have a dreadful memory or at least confidence to play a full recital from memory in an exam situation I did my Dip ABRSM from music - not a great pass but no indication I was penalised for playing from music. Did my LRSM in Dec (waiting results) and the level has pushed me to play much if it from memory but with music on stand as I said none to confident. My teacher said it wasn't a requirement. I would say though that my playing is freer from memory and would probably result in a higher mark. Hope that is of some help and good luck
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#4 Wai Kit Leung

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 01:59

I played from memory for all my oboe diplomas. The examiners didn’t even note that in the exam report. I doubt if it enhanced my mark.
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#5 Clovis

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 19:02

I played with the music throughout for my piano performance dipABRSM (husband was page turning). I am hopeless playing from memory under pressure and would have felt awful trying to perform in any exam without the score. I did, however, memorize some of the pieces well enough to play them to myself beforehand and I think this helped enormously.

 

My use of the score was not commented on either during the viva or on the marksheet, and I got a distinction overall, so I was really happy with the result.

 

Go with whatever you are most comfortable with, but make sure you get plenty of performance practice in before the exam to work out what is best for you.

 

I am working on the LRSM for December, but most of my repertoire is now atonal and very hard to memorize, so the scores will certainly be on the piano again.


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#6 corenfa

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 19:27

I know several people who have taken ATCL and LTCL not playing from memory and got distinctions. I would like to memorise my LTCL repertoire but not going to bother for ATCL.
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#7 fsharpminor

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 20:13

I did learn the Beethoven Sonata (Op10 No2) for my ALCM in 1963, but chickened out on the day out of nerves (was only 16) Doubt it made any difference (got 17/20 for it) Not the Bach and Mendelssohn though.  I can still just manage the Beethoven without score (and one Mozart K331), but as Ive got older (70) now, I am finding harder to memorise pieces, and my repertoire from memory is now rather sparse.


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#8 becster

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 20:28

Thanks everyone for your feedback.

I feel in some ways like I *should* memorise, but I feel pushed for practice time and scared of playing from memory (I've done it once (well, 3 occasions with the same piece)) and it went fine but I feel that it requires a lot of time. More time than I have. And it adds a whole load of extra pressure...

I don't want to keep putting off this diploma just because I haven't memorised. I really am starting to feel that I just want to get it done!

From what you have all said, it sounds as if I could safely crack on, without worrying about the memorisation.

Thank you all so much! :)
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#9 Wai Kit Leung

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 02:38

In case this is relevant: I have studied with world class teachers/performers who clearly had all the standard repertoire in their memory, but still chose to perform from music. I suppose it is just a safety net. Hope this helps!
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#10 sheephops

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 12:47

I dont think you can argue that the process of learning a piece of music from memory is hugely beneficial to the performance process - I have always said that I don't really know a piece unless I can play it from memory (there's an awful lot that I don't know!!!). That said, the examiners are judging what they hear (much more so with ABRSM than Trinity/Guildhall, who also judge your stagecraft), and if it helps to have the dots, then have the dots - it's the sounds that touches the ear that matters.


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#11 corenfa

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 19:12

You may find this article interesting: https://crosseyedpia...he-memory-game/
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#12 becster

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 20:53

Yes, sheephops, you are absolutely right and I think when you look at the four types of memory discussed in the article linked by corenfa, you can really get a handle on just how beneficial and important the memorisation process can be.

Thank you corenfa, that is a really interesting article... I think I should go through some of the process in learning the pieces as well and thoroughly as I can but I feel that I can legitimately not put pressure on myself to have to perform from memory. As it mentions in the article, it can really exacerbate performance anxiety.
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#13 The Land

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 18:52

I'll add my recollection that the fact I played from music was not mentioned on my DipABRSM mark sheets. However, I was asked about the issues connected with memorisation in one of the vivas (when I'd played one piece from memory!)

 

I would suggest learning the music because of all the obvious benefits, but feel free to perform with the music in front of you.


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#14 jjosiejo

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 15:48

Definitely adds to the performance anxiety, in fact that is the only aspect of my Dip And L which I was at all nervous about. I don’t trust my memory really but as a singer, you don’t have any choice but to memorise everything unless all you sing is oratorio...
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#15 sarahchap

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 09:39

I sat my DipABRSM in clarinet this July and played using the music. I was a little worried that it might affect my mark, but I still got a distinction and the examiners didn't say anything about it in my crit, so I guess it doesn't matter too much. I do feel that if I could have played from memory then my performance would have been even better, but I didn't trust myself under the pressure and felt I had enough stress to contend with. Although in the end my music actually caused me even more stress as I got one of the page turns wrong and then it fell off the stand in the middle of a piece!

If I go on to the next level diploma then I would hope to play from memory.


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