Reinforcing the Memory

One of the most useful memory devices is reinforcement. A forgotten memory, when regained, is always better remembered. Many people fret that they forget. The trick is to turn this adversity to advantage; i.e., use reverse psychology on yourself! Most people need to forget and re-memorize three or four times before anything is permanently memorized. In order to eliminate the frustrations from forgetting and to reinforce memory, try to purposely forget, for example, by not playing a piece for a week or more and then re-learning it. Or quit before you completely memorize so you must start all over again the next time. Or instead of repeating short sections (the method you used initially to memorize the piece), play the entire piece, only once a day, or several times a day but several hours apart. Find out ways of making you forget (like memorizing many things at once); try to create artificial blackouts -- stop in the middle of a phrase and try to restart.

Memorizing new material tends to make you forget whatever you had memorized previously. Therefore, spending a lot of time memorizing a small section is not efficient. If you choose just the right number of things to memorize, you can use one to control the "forgetting" of the other so that you can re-memorize it for better retention. This is an example of how experienced memorizers can fine-tune their memorizing routines.

The frustration and fear of forgetting can be treated like the fear of drowning. People who cannot swim are afraid of sinking and drowning. You can often cure this fear by using psychology. First, tell them to take a deep breath and hold it, then hold them horizontally on top of the water face down, with both their face and feet in the water. Stay close to them and support them firmly so that they feel secure (use of a snorkel will help, because then, they don’t have to hold their breath). Then tell them to dive underwater with a full breath of air, and let go. They will discover that they can't dive because the body tends to float! This works best in salt water because it is easier to dive in a fresh water pool. The knowledge that they can't sink will go a long way towards alleviating their fear of drowning. Thus by trying to forget, you will discover that it is not that easy to forget, and actually be happy when you DO forget so that you can cycle the re-learning process more times to reinforce memory. Eliminating the frustration caused by the natural process of forgetting can place your mind at ease and make it more conducive to memorizing. We now describe more methods of reinforcing/implanting memory.