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Trumpet Discussion Discuss Memorization / Cheating in the General forums; I disagree with those who think memorization is not a necessary skill. I have been in two bands who made ...
  1. #11
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    Aug 2010

    Re: Memorization / Cheating

    I disagree with those who think memorization is not a necessary skill. I have been in two bands who made the transition from reading charts on stage to being completely off book. In both cases, our live performances were transformed from easily ignored background music to energetic, vital music that keeps the audience engaged. I'm not going to pretend to know why that is. It takes some serious practice time at first, but I found that you just get good at memorizing music. For tonal, rhythmically regular music, I find that I can read it a couple of times and after some minimal practice, have it under my fingers. It's not that I'm naturally brilliant or anything. I used to struggle (read butcher) memorizing music. For me it was learning to trust my own brain.
    Here's the process for me:
    1)Really listen to the song in rehearsal. Hear the chord changes, harmonies, articulations.
    2)Sing it in your head every chance you get.(NOt a problem for me. Most often I get songs in my head and they WON'T LEAVE ! Keeps me awake at night)
    3)In the practice room, re-hear the song you heard at rehearsal. It's all in there. Trust it. (example:can you hear the song "Yesterday" by the Beatles in your mind? I'm doing it now , and I hear McCartney's voice, the string arrangement, everything. )
    4)DO NOT LOOK AT YOUR MUSIC YET. Play on the horn what you just heard in your head. Make mistakes of course, but keep that "recording" going.
    5)After you've filled in as much of the song as you can from memory there will be parts that you just can't figure out,or are not that confident about. Get out the chart, play through it, fill in the gaps, then PUT IT AWAY. You are most likely done with the chart.
    6)Don't get out the chart at the next rehearsal. This part might take a while to be confident about. You'll make mistakes at first, and the band may look at you funny. Do not be deterred !

    I've been saying "you" a lot in this post, but what I mean really is "me". This is what works for me. Note: for atonal music, rhythmically irregular music, or for extremely repetitive parts (ie Phillip Glass), all bets are off. That stuff can take a long time to memorize. There are other techniques for that.
    That's all I've got. Oh yeah, it's been great for my soloing.

  2. #12
    Utimate User turtlejimmy's Avatar
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    Jun 2010

    Re: Memorization / Cheating

    Great thread! Another memory-challenged player (with a bag of popcorn) ...
    Trumpets are for extroverts - Lee Morgan

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