Friday, October 16, 2009

Elusive Notes

I have always been terrified at the thought of having to play a piece of music from memory. Obviously I don’t play by ear, but rather I rely on looking at the music for everything I play. I never get to the point where I could just sit down and play something I’ve been working on, possibly for months.

At last Sunday’s piano group, an older guy named Hal attempted to play a Chopin waltz from memory. It was just a short one and he started over many times trying valiantly to coax his brain to cooperate. But ultimately he gave up and hauled out the music.

I would never even be brave enough to try to play something from memory. But when I woke up last night, I remembered that I had seen the music for the Chopin ballade I’m currently playing in a dream and it was the real thing. It was so easy to pull up a measure, play it, and then put it aside to move on to the next measure.

So the music must be up there somewhere in my brain, just not accessible to me when I am awake. I’m wondering if there is some sort of brain therapy I could do to let me see what’s up there.

The brain is such a complex thing, sometimes throwing up barriers to things it holds. Does anyone out there understands how this works?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know the neurobiology of it, but I know from both experience and observation that people "hold" onto and internalize the music they play in a variety of ways. Way too many thoughts here for a reply! Let's talk about it on the phone...I love that you had that dream! Sounds empowering and fun.


7:55 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

I remember telling my painting teacher once that I had dreamed of a painting I did that was wonderful and wished I could paint like that while awake. He said, "it was your brain that made the dream painting--same brain that makes your real paintings." Like you, I wish I could figure out how to unlock the part that does that!

1:02 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

It's all beyond me. The brain is so complex. Our thoughts so myriad and seemingly random with something unknown keeping them in line.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

If you "would never even be brave enough to try to play something from memory" then you probably won't. But what would happen if you were brave enough to try? I think you ARE brave enough to play a piece from memory, and you are certainly intelligent enough, so if you are brave enough to try, you will definitely be able to figure out a way to do it. It will involve discovering certain things about how your brain works and there is no physical danger involved whatsoever. So go for it! The Chopin Ballade will be much easier to play and to really FEEL musically if you know it well enough to not need the page in front of you. You can do it!

10:49 AM  

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