How do you teach memorization to elementary and intermediate-level students?

Last year I attended an excellent lecture that John Ford did on the teaching of memorization. I enjoyed his extensive summary of mainstream ideas on the subject, as well as several novel ones. I asked him to share his thoughts with the readers of this publication. I suspect you, too, will fi nd his essay useful and thought-provoking. Forget-me knot...

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A Philosophy of Piano Pedagogy

Editor's note: In this issue's column we present the conclusion of one of Frances Clark's popular lectures from the 1970s—"A Philosophy of Piano Pedagogy." The first part of this lecture can be found in our May/June 2013 issue.  Where can we turn to learn something more about the art of teaching? We can turn first to our own learning experienc...

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An unknown pupil of Franz Liszt

Today we know only a few composers and performers from the past in contrast to the many who were active, and even well known during their lifetime. I recently read that more than 16,000 works titled "symphony" were composed between 1720 and 1810. Yet when I think of symphony composers from this time period, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and perhaps a f...

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Behind the Notes: Music Edited by Ignaz Friedman

Behind the Notes: Music Edited by Ignaz Friedman

When learning a new musical work, we trust that all the notes confronting us have been accurately deciphered from a manuscript or its earliest source. While this is a must, it only serves to get one's footing, something quite hard in a time that has banished older editions as irrelevant loads of personal commentary and misguided revisions...

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Memorization in adulthood

It really gets my dander up when I hear people say that adult amateur pianists aren't "serious" about their piano study. Why underestimate the thousands of adults who are passionate about performing at the piano? You will find amateur pianists seeking out performance opportunities through music clubs and associations. They find any excuse to perfor...

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Interpreting jazz accents

Accents are a fascinating thing. I mean the kind that keep Americans from understanding folks from across the pond and vice versa. I'll never forget landing at the Edinburgh, Scotland, airport and hailing a cab to my hotel. The cabbie said something to me that sounded vaguely like a phrase I should understand. It might as well have been Martian, fo...

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Winds of change

The deadline for this column arrived as the Boston Marathon attack unfolded. For five days we watched madness spread across a city, paralyzing the Athens of America, usurping thought and rationality as horror reigned  supreme. At the same time, I happened to be attending the finals of a high level piano competition. Five gi...

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Thoroughly learned: Playing by memory and/or using the score

​Try that passage again with your eyes closed." I heard myself today repeating to a student the advice I heard from my own teachers during my student days. This simple practice technique can focus the mind, fine tune the capacity to listen, and expand the imagination. Practicing with eyes closed is one of many benefi ts we reap from memorizing...

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Louis Nagel "The People's Pianist"

From Juilliard to Jerusalem, Town Hall to Taichung, Washington to Warsaw, concert pianist Dr. Louis Nagel has graced stages on four continents for more than fifty years. Yet, this triple-degreed Juilliard alum will also perform and explain music in your living room.  A longtime professor of piano, Nagel is also director of outreach at the...

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One pianist's choice not to memorize

The traditional requirements of memorizing piano music for public performance have made nervous wrecks of many pianists. Fear of a memory slip can become an enormous specter overhanging each concert, reducing practice to campaigns solely focused on committing the scores safely and perfectly to memory. To reduce the likelihood of disaster, memorizat...

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A choice to be made

The tradition of memorizing music has been traced to the mid-nineteenth century, a time in history when the concept of the performer as a virtuoso was paramount. At that time, suspicion emerged that memorization was undertaken as a means to impress audiences, rather than to enhance musical communication. Performers who are reported to have initiate...

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Piano Magazine is the leading resource for pianists, piano teachers, and piano enthusiasts. We bring you informative, interesting, and inspiring ideas on all aspects of piano teaching, learning, and performing. The official name of Clavier Companion magazine was changed to Piano Magazine in 2019.

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