Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Instrumental Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Rafael Padron

Second Committee Member

Brian Russell

Third Committee Member

Juan Chattah

Fourth Committee Member

Scott Flavin

Fifth Committee Member

Dale Underwood


The purpose of this essay is to research all music memorization techniques used by classical guitarists, and identify the most successful ones in order to create an efficient music memorization method for the classical guitar. Musical performance from memory is now commonplace among solo classical musicians. This concept developed from the rise of the Romantic era instrumental virtuoso, and since then, hundreds of studies and articles have been written to analyze and provide efficient memorization techniques, the oldest of which dates back to 1857. Although most of the data gathered in these studies and articles can apply to the classical guitar, there is a lack of research on the subject referring to this specific instrument. The research questions to be discussed are the following: 1) How do elite classical guitarists memorize music? What techniques do they use? Are there any differences with the previously researched techniques? 2) What is their opinion on playing from memory vs. having music on stage? 3) Has their memorization approach changed over the years? 4) Do they teach their students how to memorize? 5) Do their students use different techniques? 6) Do they use kinesthetic/motor visualization at all? 7) Have they ever dealt with memory slips? Why do they happen? How do they solve them?


classical guitar; music; memorization; practicing method; visualization