What is the best way, or ways you have found of mental practise?
I close my eyes and finger the music on my forearm. When you hear it perfectly clearly in your head and you're fingering it correctly, you know you're doing a good job. It is *not* a passive activity, but it does really work.
Jeewon, what I have done before on the train on the way to my lesson is sit and think through where my fingers would go and what I want it to sound like
I sometimes find myself having dreams of me practicing. Does that count?
Cassio haha I'm afraid not
But the thing is, I finish work at 6am and my parents say to me that I can't start practise until 9am. I don't want to waste that time watching Netflix, or PlayStation or whatever
I have being as relaxed as possible on my mind a lot of the time. And about what I expect of myself in that particular session. I am aware of tension, but only big "parts" of it while warming up and playing. If its a subtle little thing, I don't always get it
Get a practice violin or practice mute. Mental practice is not so efficacious.
I have a practise mute. My mum is a light sleeper, I still end up waking her
Jeewon I generally try to tension release on scales instead of repertoire
When you are learning a new, hard piece, part of the challenge is slowing down your brain to hook up with the notes and not be tempted to make any large-muscle errors. So get the up/down bows correct, the string crossings, the shifts, etc.
What about videoing your entire practice and or lessons the day before and using the quiet time to review your videos? I find videos really help me to refine a lot of things and give me an idea on progress.
I sort of do that with masterclasses on YouTube. Not exactly the piece I am playing, but something by the same composer and some of the same things will apply, or contempoaries of said composer
Apparently 'mental practice' is best done upon retiring, and I'm inclined to believe it because this is how I improved my Broad Detache stroke. Louis Kievman wrote a book called "Practicing the Violin Mentally and Physically" and I gained much benefit from practicing the exercises on "Note Finding".
Henry, when you say retiring I assume you mean going to sleep? Otherwise I have 60 odd years before I can make use of it haha
ya, ya, sleeping.....
The closest thing I have done to mental practice is; as concertmaster a of a community orchestra, I will do a first draft of bowings and fingerings at the desk. But even though I have lots of experience, when I review them with the violin and bow in hand, I still change a lot of it.
As is nearly always the case, Simon Fischer has much to say on the subject. Have a look at
I can't believe a heavy brass practice mute would be heard by mum but if so get a practice violin and use the practice mute with it.
Having been a heavy user of practice mutes, silent violins, and silent violins with practice mutes, I have a couple of observations.
So, if you play pp on a practice violin w/mute your wife can hear it?
Don't practise mentally. You imagine yourself sounding like Heifetz, then the reality hits you all the harder when you practise for real.
Have you priced the lumber and hardware it would take to build yourself a sound insulated practice booth in your basement?
Hi Jake, maybe think about how the musicality of the scale / study / repertoire informs the technicality, instead of the other way around. This way you are thinking more about phrasing and expression instead of an emphasis on the technicality and more importantly - your distinct sound will come through. I always found that the better I internalised a melody and knew all the nuances of the phrasing, the rest fell into place.
The field of mental practice on the instrument includes a mandatory element of visualization. At the same time, there is a certain percentage of population, also among musicians (and I between them) who have natural flaw, called aphantasia - the inability to create mental images; and his research began only six years ago. There are tests on the Internet, and everyone can test themselves, perhaps to stop the state of constant frustration .
Fascinating. I would contend that they
Aphantasia is not a fiction, but a real phenomenon, which was first described by the English researcher Francis Galton in 1880. This is an inborn or acquired mental blindness of the senses: the inner eye, inner ear (oh, god!), Inner tactile, inner smells , inner orientation , etc. Those interested can enter the group of aphants in FB. https://www.facebook.com/groups/204603509580186/
They do have vivid dreams though.
I can't imagine what aphantasia must be like.
Imagine that I am looking at an apple to draw it from memory; close my eyes and ... doesn't see NOTHING, except spots on the retina; and after ten seconds in the mind pops up CONCEPT about the image of an apple, but not the image itself: round, red, with a stalk. So small children perceive objects and transfer to drawing. It should be clear that in my 74 I draw at the level of a 9-year-old child.
I've taught many 11+ old children. The slower ones, if you ask them what letter comes after say f in the alphabet don't visualise. They have to say the alphabet. The visualising that the majority do can be taught - these kids missed out somewhere along the line.
My experience with mental practice was with percussion (marimba) so not exactly the same process. It came after a conversation with one of the finest players in the world. He said there are physical problems in learning a piece of music and there are mental problems. You choose the kind of practice based on what kind of problem you're having.
Good points. MP is not going to improve your trill. A good application would say, switching to viola. Most of learning to read the alto clef would be best left to MP.
Tim Maynard , for those who “suffer” from aphantasia, this is simply unrealistic. I, like others, read in the past "Piano Technique" by Gieseking and Leimer ...
Tell me Nachum, I worked out how old Kreutzer was when he broke his arm (1825). I put 34 ( born in 1766) in my mind's eye, added 5 to the 4 then 2 to the 3 for the answer. How would you do it?
Bud, I lost you.
It's called mental arithmetic you place a number (34 in this case) in your mind's eyeI and to add 25 you add the 5 to the 4 then the 2 to the 3. The image in your head changes first to 29 then to 59. How would you do it?
Keewon, that's not MP.
It's often called mental rehearsal as well. The book
Hey, you got through Merleau-Ponty? That's a chore! Embodiment's the thing.
Shame he died so young.
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