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Motivating teachers and students in the world of music


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Musical Focus is No Hocus-Pocus

One skill musicians need to learn is how to focus. In every facet of life learning to focus on one task, or prioritizing high payoff activities is a challenge, especially in the social media world in which we live.  Our lives are surrounded by technology, cell phones, instant Facebook notifications, tweets, beeps, and this overload of stimulation makes it a  challenge to stay focused.

Research done by Scientific Reports has proven that listening to music you like actually improves focus. It is ironic that the same trait which make musicians creative individuals also work against us in our struggle to FOCUS. Yes, I said it, musicians and artists have a higher incidence of ADD (attention deficit disorder), but does that really surprise you?

Musical Focus is no Hocus Pocus, Inspiring and motivating posters for music teachers and educators from JW PepperMusical Focus is No Hocus Pocus

Importance of Musical Focus

Musicians tend to fall into one of the following two categories:

  1. Those that maintain their musical focus.
  2. Those that lose their musical focus.

Musicians that possess a bona fide ability to maintain their focus when performing are inclined to play accurately and maintain a high level of musical excellence. These musicians remain poised, relaxed and confident throughout their execution of the music, because they rely upon their training, preparation, composure and ability to remain focused as they navigate comfortably throughout the entirety of the composition.

Alternatively, musicians who for one reason or another have not developed the ability to remain focused during a performance, tend to play inaccurately and are prone to losing their place within the music.

Moreover, when they perform, they are very susceptible to the infamous “crash-and-burn syndrome,” which can totally derail their performance with catastrophic results–something to be avoided at all costs!

In some instances, musicians that fall into this latter category can overcome their lack-of-focus, which often results in performance anxiety and other musical insecurities, with proper training from a skilled professional musician.

In addition to developing more consistent musical focus with the input from an esteemed professional in their field, they need lots of experience performing in front of people in a variety of contexts and venues in order to better solidify this technique.


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When You Memorize Music

When You Memorize Music, You Mesmerize the Audience

Memorizing music enables you to play and interpret music in a more confident, creative and relaxed manner. When you perform, a music stand is no longer a visual barrier between you and your audience. This enables better communication and interaction to occur between the performer and the audience.

Memorize Music, Mesmerize the Audience Poster

This message is not only true of for music students memorizing a piece for a recital or concert but it is essential for any professional musician. Think about it, how often do you ever see a rock concert, or performer with sheet music on the piano or in front of them? Rarely, if not ever. It is part of the mystic and magic of musical performers, just how do they do that? It is how they mesmerize their audience.

Memorizing music for many is not easy, for others it just comes natural, but it does take time. Once you obtain this skill you are one step further in advancing your journey as a musician. Below are some tips to help you memorize music.

Techniques in Memorizing Music

  1. Break the music down into small increments such as one- and two measure segments.  Don’t go on until they are solidified.  Keep progressing in a similar manner.
  2. Visualize the music.  Don’t just memorize with muscle memory as that is an imperfect system by itself.
  3. Memorize the harmonic (chordal) progression as well as the melody.
  4. Simulate performing the music technically without actually playing your instrument.  The music must be secured within the mind above all.
  5. Sing the music to yourself before actually playing it.  Then repeat the process as often as necessary.
  6. Audio-and videotape yourself performing the music.  Then study it and retain it.
  7. Consider memorizing in reverse order.  Work backwards.
  8. Maintain the memorized music by playing it often enough to keep it fresh and current within your repertoire.  Don’t be forced to relearn what you’ve already learned.
  9. Once memorized, don’t allow yourself to ever use a music stand as a “crutch.”  That’s a cop out and it invalidates all your hard memorizing preparation.
  10. Play the memorized music with distractions–TV on; people talking; etc.  It may help you remain focused during problematic moments within a concert.

Do you have any tips that have worked for you? If so please add them below to add to the list.