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Working Backward



 
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Trumpetstud
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2021 6:18 pm    Post subject: Working Backward Reply with quote

Does anyone use the working backward method when memorizing music? Seems like a good method but.... I feel like it takes forever to get through the music..
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2021 5:48 am    Post subject: Re: Working Backward Reply with quote

Trumpetstud wrote:
Does anyone use the working backward method when memorizing music? Seems like a good method but.... I feel like it takes forever to get through the music..



What is working backward method?
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GeorgeB
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2021 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never heard of it either ?????
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Richard III
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2021 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Start at the last phrase. Learn that. Then add the next to last. Is that the method? I've done that before when learning very difficult music, though not memorizing it.
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delano
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2021 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only know Victor Borge playing a Chopin book upside down.
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OldHorn
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2021 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Never used this method, it doesn't seem logical to me.

Learn the first phrase then the next one. Each phrase should lead into what follows it. And so on.

After a while, each phrase should "feel" wrong if not played in the correct order.
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dcstott
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2021 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Working backward can be a great tool for memorization and also learning endurance/finishing as strong as you start. It’s a great way to reinforce relaxed playing through the end of long phrases. Additionally, you end up working on the back half of the music many more times.
Cheri’s Still (2nd Tpt LA phil and Honesty Pill) recommended a book by called “Make it Stick” by Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel that presents ideas and way to approach learning to increase the speed and retention of things that you are learning. It can provide some great ideas. I think approaching the music each time you practice with the idea of new challenges having to be overcome will help you truly master something. Other ideas to consider, slurring whole phrases, playing on one breath (in practice, not performed) for twice as long as the phrase or such. Playing the whole piece at 1/2 or quarter tempo to the end….Working this way can help your brain sort the material out in its own way. So yes, I would say your instincts are right. Working forward from the end is a great way to practice. Heck, even playing it transposed on another trumpet is a great way to practice the piece. Be creative. Give yourself doable challenges each day. Also, you could just try to play each phrase starting from the back and playing each preceding phrase with no break. That way you are touching all the bases and still taking the same amount of time.

I hope some of these ideas might be useful tk you
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NikolaTomic
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2021 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OldHorn wrote:

Each phrase should lead into what follows it. And so on.


You have identified exactly why this method makes so much sense.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2021 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Memorize how the song sounds until you can sing it. Then just play it by ear.
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ebolton
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2021 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have done that sometimes. It can work.
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Trumpetstud
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2021 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for the late response. Basically my teacher has me play the last measure 10 times, then the next measure 10 times, then the last two measures 10 time. And just keep adding a measure - playing each measure 10 X then all the measures you have "learned" 10X. Just keep going until the whole piece is learned and memorized.

Hope that makes sense.

Just seems like a long process.
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BRM2
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2021 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have used this method for over 17 years to learn technical passages and for memorizing anything. It was super helpful during my career with the Army Band. I learned it from a Claude Gordon student.

It may seem like it will take a long time at first, but you will own the tune after you do this. Also, the more often you do it, the less time it takes.

Again, it is super helpful for learning difficult lines. I have used it to memorize just about everything if written music was provided. It has allowed me to memorize numerous set lists across all genres. I am a big fan of having nothing but head charts when I perform. I have even used it with great results even when I did not have my trumpet with me.

I do recommend that you be able to sing the songs you are trying to memorize first, however if you can't, this method will help you ingrain the songs into your memory as well. I just alternate between singing and playing the line. By the end of the session, you can play and sing the song.

Jeff Purtle has a breakdown of how to practice technical passages on his website. It is under the title "How You Practice." https://www.purtle.com/claude-gordon-practice-routines-the-brass-herald
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JoseLindE4
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2021 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anything that keeps you engaged and focused on whatever is the task at hand is probably a good approach.
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Jeff_Purtle
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2021 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Jeff Purtle has a breakdown of how to practice technical passages on his website. It is under the title "How You Practice." https://www.purtle.com/claude-gordon-practice-routines-the-brass-herald


Years ago I heard Manhattan Transfer learned the transcribed solos on their Vocalise album this way in reverse. I’m not sure if it is true or not though. Harry Kim told me he still uses it to quickly learn a lick.

It’s an essential technique for a couple reasons. It helps consistency so nothing is by chance and it helps mental and physical focus in a way that otherwise can’t be experienced otherwise. Patience will be rewarded if you do it honestly with yourself.

Jeff
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Dayton
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2021 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whether you start from the beginning or the end, playing each measure multiple times and then adding a measure is a solid approach to learning/memorizing a piece.

Memorization aside, from my perspective the ideal approach to learning a challenging piece is to alternate between the beginning and the end. That way you are working on most of the piece with fresh chops. That can help with the mechanics of learning -- you are more likely to play it "correctly" if your chops aren't tired -- and also psychologically, as you will be reinforcing the "success" of playing it correctly.

The only downside of playing a piece backward -- particularly a longer piece -- is that it can be harder to see themes develop.
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