Another aspect of honing a craft is the consistent development of a repertoire. Too many times students tell me they have forgotten a piece of music that I know they had memorized at one point. I recommend that students maintain their developing repertoires by constantly revisiting the pieces. Instead of being done with them and moving on to the next tune, I encourage them to cultivate the concept that a tune is never really done and that the joy of learning a piece is the ability to maintain it by further exploration. Coloring the notes and transitions by using the many dynamics available, along with tapping into the human emotion, will expand the tune and allow for better memorization.





I have noticed, when working with budding players, a deteriorating attention to detail with inaccuracies creeping into a piece of music over time. It’s as if I see or hear the tune crumbling before my eyes and ears. Students are neglecting to periodically double check the written music for accuracy. They too often just play something sort of like it instead of exactly what the composer spent hours, if not years, perfecting for a specific reason. Not to be confused with the fact that some pieces do call for players to instill their own interpretations, this choice depends upon the type of the piece and it is often up to the teacher and student to decide when the time comes to become stylistic and find one’s own voice versus just being lazy.

 Try this simple 12-bar blues. If you closely examine it you should see that many of the measures are practically identical, which should make for quicker memorization. One way to make this exercise a bit more interesting is to place more dynamics on certain notes in order to bring some of the segments to life, offering the listener somewhat of a 3-D effect. This effect can be achieved by striking one note, or a portion of a measure with more power, or by inserting a subtle and quick vibrato periodically.

Overtime, using these methods of affecting a tune will become internalized and instinctive, particularly during a performance. Your tunes will stay fresh and accurate, plus you will have preserved your repertoire.   Rediscover the Joy of Playing Guitar.   Richard Gilewitz Web Site for Tour Schedules and More.

Originally posted 2010-08-23 20:36:32.