Writing

Articles on Memorisation

Being blind has meant I have always played music from memory. This is nothing unusual and in many musical traditions it is the norm. In classical music, there are (seemingly arbitrary) conventions about when to play from memory and when having the music is “permitted”.

I am often asked how I go about learning new pieces, so I have written these three articles to try and answer this question.

I have featured pieces which illustrate particular challenges for memorisation. Two are works for recorder (Ende by Louis Andriessen and Time Out of Mind by Alan Davis) while the third considers Terry Riley’s Classic minimalist work In C.

For the full effect, you may wish to have a copy of the score to hand.

I hope there is something of interest here for everyone, not just recorder players and not just blind musicians. At the very least, I hope this collection answers some of the questions I am often asked.

Finally, I would love to hear from you with your own experiences of memorising music.