FORMIDABLE FODEN'S - Full coverage from the 2021 National Brass Band Championships

Issue 6112

HOW TO IMPRESS - Amos Miller on flourishing in a conservatoire audition

COMPOSER CAST - Liz Lane on her fascinating early musical life

DEPARTURE - Cornet star Kirsty Abbotts leaves Carlton Main

BB Brass Masterclass: Tom Hutchinson on playing from memory

Wednesday 21 April, 2021

For a concert pianist or a touring violinist, playing from memory is their bread and butter. Entire concerti are performed without a sheet of music in sight. While not nearly as common in the brass band world, some bands and soloists play from memory very successfully. One shining example is Cory Band’s principal cornetist, Tom Hutchinson, who shares his experiences of taking the leap and performing without the barrier of sheet music.


My earliest recollection of playing from memory was in primary school, messing around in the music room at lunchtime with my friends. Someone played the opening few notes of Star Wars but couldn’t remember the rest of it. This puzzled me as Star Wars was so easy but I happily obliged and finished the tune for them. It’s fair to say that playing from memory comes more naturally to some than others but rest assured that whatever your starting level, you can practise and develop this skill.

In this article I’ll discuss why performing solos without music is important, break down the types of memory we use as musicians and suggest a few ways in which you can practise this skill...


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