Memorization is one of the most difficult aspects of playing an instrument. However, with these quick tips to help students learn new music faster, you’ll be able to master pieces in no time at all.
-Coined by George A. Miller in the famous 1956 paper The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on our Capacity for Processing Information, chunking is a memorization technique that involves dividing a piece into chunks. It is a proven fact that humans have the capacity to keep approximately seven items in their short term memories at any given time. Because of this, it is easier to memorize a piece by separating it into brief segments and practicing each segment individually before compiling them together.
2. Noticing Patterns
-By recognizing common musical structures and patterns such as chords, chord progressions, melodic patterns, and rhythmic patterns, it is easier and more possible to memorize a piece in larger chunks at a time. The identification of patterns and variations in patterns can improve confidence in the performance of a piece.
3. Identifying Key Signatures
-Patterns can more easily be recognized by identifying key signatures. There are 30 major and minor keys, almost all of which contain a number of sharps, accidentals, flats, or a combination of the three. For example, if you notice one sharp in the key signature, you should be able to identify the key as G Major. Once you are able to pinpoint a key signature, the common patterns and structures will begin to jump out at you with increased ease.
By chunking, noticing patterns, and identifying key signatures, you should be able to commit your piece to memory with increased ease.