memorization

It is festival season for many of us, and the stress levels are rising in the studios and (I suspect) at the homes of our students.

My friend and the mother of three of my students sat with me last week as we discussed how to help her children finish the polishing on their festival pieces. She said, “Frankly, I don’t really care if they play for this, so I’ve had a hard time making them do the extra work.”

I gave her my normal spiel: Truly working toward a goal of a clean, polished, musical, communicative performance is the type of work many children don’t do in many other ways. It’s important to work towards excellence, to reach a higher level than we achieve in our normal day-to-day existence. I also love the feeling of accomplishments my students have had in years past when they have met a goal that previously felt unattainable. I love the power of communication and emotion in well played music. [···]

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When reading through other blog posts on MTH this month I notice that the focus is on ‘back to school’ for most of the writers. Down here in the Southern Hemisphere we’re in the second half of the teaching year and my students are currently in the thick of the eisteddfod/competition season and are looking ahead to the end of year exam sessions in a few months time. Consequently, the focus in my studio over the past month has been memorisation. [···]

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Has a student ever had a difficult time mastering a piece?  Have you ever been at a loss as to how to organize a lesson and point students in a forward position toward successful goals accomplished in their practice times.  The following list is not exhaustive, but will hopefully be helpful to all of you as we strive to help our students develop a strong, well-rounded musical education.  This list is based only on the practice of one piece.  Theory, ear-training, sight-reading, application of duets, and much more are different subjects to be addressed at different times.  🙂 [···]

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