Don’t Forget This!
There is no doubt that the most important factor for progressing with a musical instrument is practice. However, it is not easy to remember everything learned during each lesson. Whether it’s a new song, new technique, a musical term, a correction or an indication, we are exposed to a significant amount of new information in every lesson. So, why do we forget new information and what can we do to prevent it?
First, let’s understand a little about how memory works. Here are some important facts:
We tend to forget new information with time.
Short-term memory happens naturally and lasts only a couple of minutes.
Long-term memory can potentially last indefinitely but requires conscious, specific work to attain it.
Other factors play a role on memory retention like taking notes, mnemonics, songs and rhymes, emotional meaning, interest, environment (distractions), etc.
To explain how memory retention works, the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus developed The Forgetting Curve: a graphic model that shows the rate in which we forget new learnings without reinforcement during a given period of time.
It is notorious for the drastic downward slope to happen within the first couple of days following the exposure to new information. Therefore, the key for long-term memory retention is constantly reinforcing the new information, especially shortly after being exposed to it.
So, practice consistently and don’t allow gaps of several days between practice sessions. Make sure to start practicing very soon after your lesson, if possible, or even the very same day.