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Memorising Music


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However I am starting to believe that an audience likes it when a musician communicates also by looking at them.

And singers usually look at the audience as if they are telling their story to them especially. It makes the audience feel part of it maybe.



I agree with that generally. I am usually looking around the room when playing at the local folk music club (except when playing a piece from written music - but even there I try to look up at intervals). I woild however, try to avoid too specific eye contact with any individual as that can throw your concentration.


- John Wild

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...and John, perhaps attract some unwanted attention during the break between sets :P .


In seriousness, when in a large hall (absoulutely required when unamplified) I focus my vision on the cheap seats. Again wisdom from my dear "Niki" now long gone..."sing to the cheap seats, they come back time and again".


This works also in folk clubs I find. There is something about mental projection of voice and instrument. My colleague's f-5 mandolin should be able to reach the back wall as well as my EC. It doesn't. He spends alot of time playing within. This is an official thread drift and I have just given myself a penalty card...sorry. :(

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Performing after learning and then memorising is I suppose the last stage of truly learning a 'tune'. I've never really performed on concertina, only piano.

Personally, I've only really performed in front of friends and family and have identified two extremes - the first when I'm attempting to sing a party song like 'I got it from Agnes' which needs lots of audience contact and especially at innuendo points; these actions need to be memorised as a comedian would. The other when I play something like a George Shearing version of A Certain Smile which is an 'internal' piece. People can listen if they want to. It's also a bit like Vanessa Mae compared to Sarah Chang (I've been watching Classic FM on Sky too much).


What is irritating is that no matter how well I know these tunes, very occasionally I can still hit a blank where memory and recall seem to inexplicably fail. Is this a 'performing' thing?




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Sho' nuff is a performance thing for me. The mind goes blank and uh-oh!


I've waited off stage for an entrance and have forgotten my opening line. That's a trip. Then just before stepping out it comes. Keeps the heart pumping <_< .


I've worked on focus with songs. Total involvement with the "moment" rather than worry about what does the audience think about what I'm doing. It works well. If a slip comes I just let fly with whatever comes out of my mouth and grin (and sometimes even wink). The ones who know you've "pooched" it will laugh and go along with you because you make fun of yourself. The others will never know a thing. I've even had compliments later about my creative verse. Whatcha gonna do?

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I've worked on focus with songs. Total involvement with the "moment" rather than worry about what does the audience think about what I'm doing.


That is right Mark and Andy. It has to do with focus. That is one of the elements you can train through Dynamic rehearsal (movement), as I mentioned before. You learn to focus on what you are doing rather than on worrying about possible mistakes, technical difficulties, the notes, the words etc. It then just becomes music making.

It needs training but works really well.


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