[1.III.6.10.4] Theoretical Memory

At the advanced level, learning MP is easy because such students have studied some theory. A good solfege course should teach this skill, but solfege teachers do not always teach memorizing skills or MP. Theory lessons will give you the best way to memorize. By associating the music with the underlying theory, you can establish firm associations with basic concepts. Unlike all the other memories, theoretical memory has deeper associations because theory leads to a better understanding of the music and the associations are more detailed – small details that you hardly noticed before can take on major significance. At the very least, you should note the main characteristics of the composition such as key signature, time signature, rhythm, chord structure, chord transitions, harmony, melodic structure, etc.

In summary, keyboard memory should be your primary method of memory. You must hear the music at the same time, so musical memory is a part of this process. Enlist the help of photographic memory whenever it comes easily, and add as much theoretical memory as you can. You have not really memorized until you can play the piece in your mind -- this is the only way in which you can gain confidence to perform musically and with confidence. You can use it to reduce nervousness and it is the fastest and easiest way to learn relative/perfect pitch. In fact, MP is a powerful method that affects practically every musical activity you conduct at and away from the piano. This is not surprising because everything you do originates in the brain, and MP is how the music was composed. It not only solidifies keyboard memory but also helps musicality, music memory, photographic memory, performances, pitch accuracy, playing cold, etc. Don't be passive and wait for the music to come out of the piano, but actively anticipate the music you want to produce – which is the only way to execute a convincing performance. MP is how the great geniuses accomplished much of what they did, yet too many teachers have not taught this method: it is little wonder that so many students view the achievements of the great pianists as unattainable. We have shown here that MP is not only attainable, but must be an integral part of learning piano.