Visualization as Practice

July 21, 2021, 8:58 AM · I just watched this video about visualization in practicing a task, and it seems eminently applicable to violin. I've done a bit of this kind of stuff, but not so consistently, and I saw one of Nathan Cole's videos a while ago that recommended repeated visualization of every aspect of making an entrance in a performance.

Do y'all use visualization in your practice regimens?

https://fivethirtyeight.com/videos/how-an-armless-archer-trains-his-brain-to-win-olympic-medals/?cid=rrfeaturedvideo

Replies (6)

July 21, 2021, 9:32 AM · Sounds to me like very effective Preliminary Overthinking...
July 21, 2021, 9:38 AM · I recall a news story, following the Cultural Revolution in China, of the Chinese violin virtuoso, imprisoned during that time, who spent those years without an instrument, practicing in his mind every day and claiming to be an even better violinist when he was finally released.
July 21, 2021, 9:43 AM · Yes. I also advise my students to visualize important auditions/performances in advance of the actual event. It’s a core idea in The Inner Game of Music.
July 21, 2021, 9:23 PM · Greetings,
absolutely. Vital. Prior to auditions it immediately pinpoints areas of insecurity where you thought you knew the piece but are actually not sure.
But it’s also a superb way to practice in it’s own right. If you are doing it well you can feel the muscles responding and even discover where you tense up.
I think it is -the- most neglected area of teaching and practice.
Athletes routinely do it and yet we violinists, engage din a most athletic endeavor, somehow never get around to it. It actually seems kind of weird to me.
Cheers,
buri
July 21, 2021, 11:59 PM · I do. It's a core part of mental practice. It's allowed me to make some reasonable progress on learning repertoire despite my shoulder problems severely limiting how much I can actually physically practice.

It's also a vital part of performance prep, as Mary Ellen noted.

Edited: July 22, 2021, 1:42 AM · I do, and I took it to an extreme with a shoulder injury in 2019 when I played a concert that included Prokofiev's 5th Symphony having not touched my viola in more than three weeks. The second rehearsal was painful enough that I stopped playing, just did visualization practice every day, and showed up to rehearsals without my viola to take notes. I even played air viola in the dress rehearsal. It was effective enough that, having never played that symphony before, I was able to play almost all of it, only needing to fake a little in the last two pages of the finale.


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