Irish Tune from County Derry

May 28, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

This is one of my most memorable performances, recorded in December of 2016. I had dedicated this performance to my students. If you have never heard this remarkable arrangement by Percy Grainger of Irish Tune from County Derry (also known as Londonderry Air), I urge you to have a listen!

If you may notice, I had the score on the piano in front of me. I had decided against playing from memory this time, even though memorization is a hallowed tradition of classical piano performance. Memorization can be a formidable obstacle for some students; I have had students give up hope of pursuing piano performance as a career path because of this. By having the score in front of me for this performance, I wanted to show my students that memorization is not always a necessary prerequisite, especially if it potentially gets in the way of an effective performance.

Of course, there are many advantages to playing from memory. Removing the score removes the barrier (perceived or otherwise) between the performer and his/her instrument. The performer can communicate more fully and fluidly. 

What do you think? Is memorization overrated? Would relaxing this hallowed tradition make piano playing accessible for more students? Please comment below and let me know what you think!


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