Memorization also plays an important role when playing a music piece. Musicians, both amateurs and professionals (ex. concert pianists) find that memorizing a music piece has its advantages.
Playing by Memory - The Pros
- Once you've retained a piece by memory it is easier to focus on technique or on how you can play the piece more effectively.
- On the event when you are asked to perform on the spot, such as during social gatherings, you can immediately launch into play even when there's no music sheet in front of you.
- Helps you retain and improve finger/hand positions and since you are not looking at a music sheet, you are more aware of where your fingers are as you play.
- Helps develop aural memory as well, if for some reason you get distracted, you can pick up where you left off without the aid of a music sheet.
Of course while there's an advantage to playing by memory there are also some drawbacks.
Playing by Memory - The Cons
- Not all memory is created equal, each of us learn at varying speeds and levels. Some find it easy to memorize key concepts while others struggle with it.
- Distractions while playing might cause you to lose concentration. If there's no music sheet in front of you and you are easily distracted, this will affect your playing.
- Giving a performance, especially for the first time, is naturally nerve-wracking. Having no music sheet in front of you, even if you've memorized the piece, might make you more anxious.
So should you memorize a music piece or not? The answer depends on your level of playing and the piece you are playing. Some, especially beginners, find having a music sheet in front of them helpful even if they have already memorized the piece. Others like concert pianists have honed their playing and memory skills to a level where they can perform superbly with little or no mistakes and memory lapses. Still, others find that memorizing the hardest musical passage to play and then having a music sheet in front of them is the way to go. Hence, the answer will depend on you and what you are most comfortable with.