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 How to memorize music for band
Author: mommaq 
Date:   1999-08-07 02:19

Well, here goes again.....

My daughter is in Marching Band <RAH> this year and the director has told all musicians to memorize the music for band camp. My daughter has never had to memorize music before. She loves reading the music...and remembers what's up ahead, but not to the point of having stuff memorized.

The band will be playing music from "Mr. Holland's Opus" for the show and selections from Sesame Street. She has worked with her private teacher, but she soon forgets what comes next. We are at a loss as to what we can do. I have told the band director that she is having problems, but he didn't help or give any hints. He did record the music the band will perform so she will get the whole picture and be able to get music cues as to what comes next <Some lesson books now come with accompaning cd and that's were I got that idea>, but I'm running out of ideas....

Do any of you good people have any HINTS or methods you use to memorize music? THANKS!
mommaq

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 RE: How to memorize music for band
Author: Jeff 
Date:   1999-08-07 02:35

Tell her to go through the piece and work at it pieces at a time until she knows it. This really works for me.




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 RE: How to memorize music for band
Author: LJClarinetGuy 
Date:   1999-08-07 03:28

I wouldn't worry about this problem too much because of your daughter's recent introduction to high school marching band. I'm sure students entering ninth grade all over the country are having the same problems with memorizing music. I myself encountered these set backs, but am now watching it occur with the newer students in my year as drum major. I would suggest that your daughter slowly play the music in sections, and repeat the music several times. I found it easier to memorize a piece at the end of the week after I rehearsed it slowly for a good while. Tell her not to worry, because with constant playing in band, the music will become second nature, especially when she will start learning the marching drill.

Also, keep reminding her that it only gets easier the older she gets. I used to think it would be impossible to keep a catalog of 4 show pieces and 10 pep band tunes in my brain, but after the initial months of required practice, I found it much less difficult. Plus once she's over this short dilemma, she will find it easier to learn other pieces of music without forgetting things she has already learned.

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 RE: How to memorize music for band
Author: Sara 
Date:   1999-08-07 03:28

I memorize my marching band music by playing small sections a couple of times untill my fingers know it well enough to where halfway through the line I can close my eyes and stil be able to play the music to the end of the phrase. Any way you look at it, memorizing music will take some work. Good Luck
Sara :)

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 RE: How to memorize music for band
Author: Crissy 
Date:   1999-08-07 04:43

Im a senior in highschool band, I've been playing since elementary, and remembering music for me has never, ever been a problem, if it really interests her its she'll remember it, its just like remembering the words to a song, do you forget it if you really really like it. It also comes naturally as she marches on the field. Tell her to practice it over and over just like the actors does, no ones perfect.... Good luck!!

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 RE: How to memorize music for band
Author: Daniel 
Date:   1999-08-07 05:58

Being a 4 year veteran of marching band, the thing that most people rely on is repetition. Our band rehearsed drill 2-3 hours in the morning while temperatures were in the 85-97 range, then went inside and rehearsed music for about 2 hours Alot of people never really memorized ALL the music, just the important parts. Or if there was a hard move on the field and they needed to be able to concentrate on the move instead of playing they'd simply drop out.

One thing that helped was just knowing how the music as a whole went and being able to sing the melody throughout. Then memorizing the melody part (or harmony that had the same phrasing). Then, working with the background segments. Usually the backround can be dropped, especially if there's a complicated move in the formation (no one will notice a missing clarinet).

Memorizing always came easy for me. I usually had the music down by the end of summer camp or the first week or so of school. But i hardly ever played on the field because it ruined my concert embouchure. Thank gawd i was able to talk my director into letting me play mallet percussion in the pit instead of march my last year and a half. And thank gawds for performance majors not having to enroll in MB in college.

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 RE: How to memorize music for band
Author: Ginny 
Date:   1999-08-07 17:29

I've no clue about marching band. Among other musicians (classical guitarists in particular), some people memorise using muscle memory (this requires repetition), some actually play by ear (you hear it inside and play it), some visualise the score, guitarists see finger patterns, and some use analysis (what scale, key etc.) as an aid. I actually interviewed about 10 professional classical guitarists (with the view to write an article) about this and other inner music topics, years ago. People vary. Personally, muscle memory and excess reps never assured my memory, particularly under stress.

I have never had any one think that you should begin to memorise when you first have a piece. You memorise mistakes that way. All the music should be under control first. Then play a phrase without it. See which of the above help. The best memorisers (non-clarinetists) I have personally known saw the score in their head, heard the score in their head to play from memory.

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 RE: How to memorize music for band
Author: mandy 
Date:   1999-08-09 02:47

i know that the band director will probably not like the approach i'm about to give, but it always worked for me. before band camp, i played the music until i could play it very well, but not to the point of memorization. i put the music in a flip folder book, paper clipping it to each sheet so i could write on the music. as we learned moves, i put reminders in my music about where i was going . since i knew the music fairly well, that helped me learn the music. when we played the music while not marching, i would always end up going through the field show moves in my head.

i hope this helps! good luck.

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 RE: How to memorize music for band
Author: greg 
Date:   1999-08-09 03:02

I kinda agreee with where Daniel's coming from. But actually I really enjoyed playing, even if in retrospect I know that one clarinet cannot be heard, no matter how extrordinary a player, and that I busted my chops more than it was probably worth. Memorization comes after much practice - use that flip folder on the field during practice, but try to use the music in conjunction with turns, spins, and other movements. It helps. I'd do it again b/c of all the friendships and fun we had. I was section leader by my sophomore year and helped our players become better players. i did hv my fun though - I'd say turn your stands around and let's play it by memory. I quickly knew who was ready to march and who wasn't. Funny thing i noticed in college, almost all the college bands use flip folders -- they don't memorize their music!!! Frankly, I feel that a great clarinetist should aspire to drum major, not bust chops marching around a muddy field full of holes and pitfalls. The proper leader of the band is the first chair clarinetist - the same person who tunes the band :) Good Luck.

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 RE: How to memorize music for band
Author: mommaq 
Date:   1999-08-11 03:16

Thanks all for your help!

I have discovered from watching band rehearsal at camp that this director and assistant have the band learn the moves slowly...then speed it up...then has them play music while marching in place for all the moves they have learned so far...and then add the music to the moves.

The kids do NOT have their flip folders on their lyres...as they do NOT have lyres yet, so they have to have it memorized for marching or they fake play <which the director and drum major see right off and call attention to>. Today they broke into sections and went to practice for 20 minutes or so, then regrouped in the gym for refinements as a whole...to practice listening to each other to produce a whole sound. The flip folders were needed here to see where measure 23 or whatever one they were starting from was, but that was all it was needed for. I watched, in particular, my daughter's eyes....if she kept them on her flip folder or on the director/drum major....and, for the most part, she looked at the director. He hasn't had to call her aside, either, so I believe she is doing fine.

Thanks for all your advice.
mommaq

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