Dr. Robert Kelly (How to Memorize Music
) has the following advice:
"Always memorize first! It is the quickest way to learn a piece. If you have the score in front of you through the entire process of learning a piece of music, then you have to relearn the whole piece during the memorization process. If you memorize it first, then you can focus all of your energy on the musical interpretation for the rest of the learning process."
I can play the National Anthem in Bb on a C trumpet from memory. If you want me to play it in C, please hand me a D trumpet, 'cuz otherwise I'll botch it. I can't even play Happy Birthday without music. With music, however, I can stare down most composers while playing. Weird. When I have the music I don't need it, when I don't I do. Must have damaged my brain the 70's, 80's, 90's...