Remembering a tune is an important aspect of my career, because I genuinely like to do more than just learn or compose a piece of music and then just maintain it. I like to further develop each tune to a higher level of its potential – enhance it, color it, play with the movements within the phrasing, and ultimately understand the tune’s contribution to the world’s musical repertoire.
It appears to be very common how quickly a tune can be forgotten. I can’t even count how many times I have heard others say with almost guilty remorse, “Oh, I forgot how to play that tune.” The phrase use it or lose it applies here in every sense. After I devote the time to learn or write it, the energy to map it out, and the effort to program it into my hands and system, if I forget the tune I can’t begin to have fun with it!
I encourage you to recognize that without vigilant and continued attention to a piece of music the risk of losing the tune is extremely high and, more than likely, the desire to go back and learn the whole thing again is probably not as attractive as it was initially to you. The method is to keep going back through the piece. Examine it. Double-check the fingerings. Work on the transfers and NEVER stop double-checking. It’s so easy to lapse into the concept, “Well, it goes something like this.” Don’t fall for it even if it is your own arrangement.
Editor’s Note: Richard has saved a few forgotten tunes of some of the players who inspired him and has also managed to save a number of his own compositions. “Thumbsing” and “Synapse Collapse” contain some of these “forgotten” tunes.
Originally posted 2009-11-18 15:44:41.