Wednesday, June 4, 2014

So, in this article I've found some corroboration of one of my techniques of teaching; that is, to NOTATE ON and IN the musical score.  This is what I teach my guitar students. Notate ON your music; not only fingerings but phrase markings, articulation, timbre, physical movements, etc! Prior to reading this article the benefits of notating longhand in the score are the following:

  • writing longhand reinforces several of our key components of memory (tactile and visual)
  • long hand writing slows us down, so that we can cogitate in real time on our decisions
  • the slower process inculcates the processes involved in our decision of what to write into long-term memory.
  • having various and multiple details surrounding a given moment in a score (be they position of the left hand arm/elbow/wrist, timbre, r.h. fingering, l.h. fingering, articulation, etc) all give us a sculptural view of a moment in time or even of a complete phrase. This all leads to a stronger, more complete view of the phrase as 'character', which is ultimately more memorable than any single form of memory alone (e.g. tactile). I often refer to this as the 'NASA technique' or running on all four cylinders of memory rather than one or two or three.
 Unfortunately, the students whose schools have removed this from the curriculum or whose parents never taught  long hand will never know what they have lost!  However, with the above knowledge now you the the student-performer have a choice!

Happy notating!

Robert Trent

PS Here's the article... please read all before commenting!