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#158: Memorization Basics: How to Make It Stick

In a world of sticky notes, Gorilla Glue and tape that can hold a leaky boat together, why can’t we make a piece of music stick in our fingers?

Does this sound familiar? We sit down at the harp on Monday with fresh spirit and energy and we dig into the music we want to learn. Tuesday we repeat the process, feeling very virtuous. On Wednesday, we are a little disappointed that we don’t see any progress from our practice. Thursday, we decide that it just needs a little more effort. On Friday, it seems like our fingers have forgotten everything we’ve been trying to teach them, so we take the rest of the weekend off and hope that next week will be better. 

And if we’re trying to memorize a piece, it can feel even more frustrating. It takes so long to see any progress. Our music just doesn’t seem to stick. 

We can put the blame in lots of places: the music is hard, we don’t have enough practice time, we’re too distracted to focus, we’re too old. Any of those things could be contributing factors. However, there are three important components in stickiness. One of them we understand; one of them we reluctantly accept. And the last one is the one I want to talk about today. 

The three factors are time, persistence, which I am going to call pushy patience, and observation, which I want you to think about as active understanding. The three of these factors together will make your music sticky whether you are memorizing it or not. They aren’t hard to understand in a theoretical sense, but you’ll want to hear the practice strategies I use to help my music stick, so that yours will stick too.

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode: 

Get involved in the show! Send your questions and suggestions for future podcast episodes to me at [email protected] 


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