Marking your music - Do you mark up your music?

Technique, methods and advice for learners

Postby Stretto » Fri Oct 14, 2005 12:00 pm

I was just curious how many of you mark up your music? If so, what kinds of things do you write on your music, i.e. - finger numbers, sharps, flats, metronome speeds, phrasing, dynamic ideas, little notes to yourself?

Many of my teachers over the years never wrote a whole lot on my music, maybe some finger numbers, or sharps or flats, dynamic suggestions, but not a whole lot. Then I had a teacher or two that had me make copies of my music (of course, they had me buy the book in keeping with copyright laws), and then they marked up the copies as much as they wanted while keeping the music in my books "nice".

I was wondering what others of you do. Do you believe in keeping your music "nice" or do you write all over it? If you're taking lessons, what kinds of things do your teachers write in your music at your lessons? Also, what do others of you write in your music while practicing?
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Postby Beckywy » Fri Oct 14, 2005 1:37 pm

I section my music up in terms of phrasing or new ideas introduced or the parts of a piece...ie the Sonata, first theme, bridge, 2nd theme, etc. to help facilitate memorizing.



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Postby presto » Fri Oct 14, 2005 2:10 pm

My teacher will usually mark any trouble spots or anything she wants me to take special notice of that I may have overlooked. Also, she sometimes marks with a little "x" how much of a new piece I ought to learn by the next lesson. Most of the time, my papers don't end up too "messy."

I don't often mark very much, maybe the name of a very low or very high note (of those that we don't get to practice sightreading so much), just to remind me. I guess I keep my music pretty "clean," but I must admit that whenever I use marked sheets that formerly belonged to someone else, I rather unconsciously benefit from all those little marks and special notes. So I guess it goes both ways for me. :)
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Postby 97-1128742375 » Fri Oct 14, 2005 2:46 pm

i usually have to circle fingerings and just small stuff like that.
occasionally, I number measures, if there is not a number at the beginning of each new staff of music.
beckywy, i definetly agree with nimbering the sections. it does help to memorize the piece and organize it better. :D
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Fri Oct 14, 2005 6:50 pm

My teacher will usually mark any trouble spots or anything she wants me to take special notice of that I may have overlooked.


This is exactly what my teacher does, and only with a pencil. I generally find this helpful and not a distraction.

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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Sat Oct 15, 2005 3:30 pm

Sometimes it helps to mark music and sometimes it doesn't. A long time ago I had a ten-year old girl who was struggling but really trying, and I got to where I was marking in fingering for every note. Then one day she had the right-hand passage e-g-a-b-c, which I had fingered 1-2-3-4-5. You guessed it--she played e-f-g-a-b, and a lightning bolt hit me with the realization that for a long time she'd been reading finger numbers instead of notes. So I had to do a lot of backing up with her, all my own fault.

It helped though, with a very talented college girl who memorized like lightning but unfortunately missed a lot of what was on the page, even some notes. I practically beat her over the head to consult her music carefully when she practiced, but no dice. So one day I was holding her music while she played, and somewhere in the middle of the sonata movement I wrote, "When you see this, please phone me." She never did, and was stunned at the next lesson when I opened her music and pointed it out.

It didn't completely cure her, unfortunately, but it sure shook her up.

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Postby Tranquillo » Fri Jul 04, 2008 7:31 am

You know, over the years the teachers I have been through have reacted differently. The first teacher I had marked note names that I got wrong ... this was done with a coloured pencil in early method books ... maybe for "appeal" or attractiveness.

My second teacher would cross out tied notes so I wouldn't play them again and circle particular problem spots.

Then the next teacher I had never ever marked the letter names as he strongly emphasized to read the notes not the letters. As a result he would circle individual notes that I either omitted or got wrong. He wrote in finger numbers in tricky spots. He also wrote in phrase marks.

... Another one I have writes in the phrasing and circles problem spots. Also suggests dynamics and particular expressive techniques. A particular teacher will draw contour lines to illustrate the direction of the phrase.

All are different but the same. I think marking music helps ...
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Postby LK123 » Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:15 pm

I usually make copies of my longer pieces and both my teacher and myself mark them up quite a bit. I find though when I participate in a masterclass I bring the original book and in gets marked up anyway!
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