Memorization can be hard! Some people find it easier than others, which is okay because we each have a unique set of learning abilities, and sometimes memorization isn’t one of them. There are ways to improve this skill, though, so don’t worry. Here are five tips!
Listen to your piece nonstop
Every single day. A few times a day. Record yourself playing with the music so you can hear what you’re doing, or play a recording of the piece you’re working on. Listen to it as often as possible. I’ve always said that to really know a piece of music, it means that you should be sick of hearing it! If you aren’t sick of hearing it, you haven’t spent enough time with it.
Think about your song all the time
Can you recall your song, sing it out loud, or “hear” it in your head at any given moment? How far can you get into the song before you forget what comes next? Work on this by taking a moment to listen back to the recording until you can “hear” the whole song from top to bottom, no matter where you are.
Play with your eyes closed
Sit down at the piano, look at your music or chart, and then close your eyes or remove the page from view. See how far you can get before you forget what to play. When you forget, grab the music, take a look, play with it, then start over and see if you can get further than you did last time.
Practice it backwards or in a random order
Start anywhere but the beginning. You can begin midway through your song, or from the last measure backwards!
Play when you’re nervous
Think you have it nailed down? Collect an audience of family, friends, or strangers and try playing for them! Can you do it when you're feeling nervous?
The most important thing is to relax. It’s easier to play when you aren’t stressed. If you can’t remember the next section and don’t have the music in front of you, take a deep breath, end with a flourish like you meant to do it, and jump back into the next part you remember. Chances are no one will notice!