I’m in the midst of memorizing two new concerti (Lowell Liebermann’s and Billy Joel’s) and realize that after practicing on my main piano at home, it has somewhat become a comfortable situation. I am accustomed to the location of the instrument, the sound, and how everything feels around its location. As soon as I went to the other piano adjacent to the one I’ve been studying with, all of a sudden, the familiarity of the instrument and the environment of where it is placed had been lost. As I would play through the pieces on other instruments, I found myself hearing and seeing things differently, which I believe is part of the ‘memorization’ of the music.

I think it is a useful practice for all instrumentalists (with their own instruments or other instruments) to become acquainted with studying new music in various locations to help solidify the memorization process. Everything just feels different when one changes the location and/or the instrument. This can be a very interesting way for orchestral players to redefine their audition material. Practice in different rooms of your home, or wherever. You’ll find that the sound and location will be different, which can indeed have an effect on your playing. For pianists, the different instruments have varying touch and sound, so it is very helpful to do this.

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