In the last response to my last blog David asked about how I memorize, and since I don’t have any secrets and would like to share maybe useful techniques, here we go:
Before practising, concentrate, put yourself in the mood of wanting to memorize, and then stare at each page of your part without focusing. The music is supposed to be kind of blury in front of your eyes. I do that by looking for about six seconds at each page (without really looking). But don’t think about anything but letting this blury image into your subconscious.Â Once you are done with this you just practice the piece forÂ whatever time you need to practice it, and at the end, do the staring again.
Maybe it sounds strange, but for me it really, really works. While learning the piece I obviously also look at the orchestra score or piano part, whatever it is I am learning there, but I don’t learn the piece just with looking at it like Steven Isserlis, but I do the more “hands-on-approach”, since I believe that it saves time. Yes, when there is no chance to play the cello at the same time, for example in a train or airplane, I can do some score studying, but I am more focused in my little basement, squeezing all the notes into my brain.
I love playing by heart because this is the time when I really know that I own the piece. When I still need the music, it feels incomplete to me, but this is very, very subjective. Try the trick, maybe it works for you as well as it does for me, even now, in older age it lets me learn rather quickly.