To Memorize or Not to Memorize. . .
To memorize or not to memorize, that is the question. So, what is the answer? In our recent Celebrate the Future concert, many of the MOS members were impressed by the fact that the two high school choirs sang their selections from memory. I imagine that just about everyone would agree that a choir singing without music in its hands presents an attractive visual image. When singers are looking up at the conductor, rather than down at music scores, there exists a better chance that there will be more consistent communication between the choir and conductor, as well as between the choir and audience. Therefore, we may ask the question, “Why doesn’t every choir memorize?” Reasons often given include: insufficient rehearsal time, complexity of music, age of singers (sorry!). Also, it is important to note that performing with music does not mean that the final result will necessarily be less musical than one obtained performing from memory. In fact, most professional choirs (either in the USA or Europe) perform almost always with music, and the quality of their performances is consistently very high.
Well, this brings us back to the original point – to memorize or not to memorize. What are your thoughts on the subject? Are there pros and cons to either approach not mentioned above? I’m interested in hearing what you think.