Masterclass Handout
Memorization
Memorization is another valuable tool to help cure players of "music stand-itis". It can be a confidence booster, knowing that you can play something without having to read it from the page. The term "playing by heart" is pretty descriptive. Start with simple etudes.

Here is a fairly simple tip for memorization: Start at the end of the piece and memorize the last phrase (or bar), then the next to the last. Now play the two last phrases. Memorize the third to the last phrase, then play from there to the end. Memorize the fourth to the last phrase and then play from there to the end. Got it? To spell it out:

ZZZ - YYY - Y/Z - XXX - X/Y/Z - WWW - W/X/Y/Z - etc.

This method gives me a drive to the end of the piece, kind of like a horse heading for the stables, or like sledding a big hill by starting a little farther up each time.

Beyond this, I usually find that by the time I have learned a piece, it is close to memorized. It is not hard for me. Some people have difficulty memorizing, or more accurately, playing without music. I encourage them to play without music, maybe improvising or just noodling, and then advance to simple songs. Often we classically trained musicians have a visual fixation with the printed page. Get away from it and start imagining music as sounds.  I would venture that over half of memorization is Playing by Ear!