Alisa Weilerstein - Advice on Memorization

Matthew Janszen: On the subject of stage fright too I think sometimes with younger kids when they're starting out is the idea of memorization is also sort of a catalyst to sort of make somebody nervous, do you have any tricks or things that you've dealt with in terms of memorization?

Alisa Weilerstein: I would say as soon as someone's...as soon as you start to learn to play, make yourself memorize things. Get it in really really early because then it will become a habit. It'll make life a whole lot easier. And it will become much more natural and you won't...I'm attached sort of say scary moments to it.

Memorization takes practice too. So I would say when you’re starting out, memorize everything, as much as you can and very soon it will just become a natural process that just by osmosis just by practicing you'll wind up memorizing things. I had to memorize very early on and so, I've been trying to memorize all my life so, I do it easily now. However, for you know more intricate passages that say a piece of contemporary music which is you know doesn't do what you expect it to do, there are ways to break it down.

This really works: very often I will start singing a passage and I'll take a small chunk, just to sing it to get it inside the ear really. Because the ear always has to lead. And I would work with the left hand alone. Once with music, once without. Then just combining all of the sections that you've worked.

Matthew: That’s very similar to you know penus too...Hand separately, bring them together in the end.

Alisa: Yeah exactly.

Matthew: It's a very good point.

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