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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

Visualisation is the Cinderella of Learning

Carlos in Maidstone dressing room just before playing the Aranjuez Concerto October 2012

- How You Can Improve Your Memory With a Few Simple Exercises -

Of all the aspects of practise maybe visualisation is the least emphasised. This is a shame because it uses two most vibrant parts of our anatomy: the eye and brain working in harness.

Visual memory is so strong that we can remember a face, or a picture, or an item of clothing years after we have last seen it. It can be the same with a musical score: I can remember on which page and on which part of the page a bar appears a long time after I last referred to it.

Once you have learnt some visualisation exercises your memory will become much more secure, and your playing will become more confident.

First put yourself through this test on a really familiar piece, one you know like the back of your hand. Try to name every note sequentially in the piece without playing the guitar. Now try to name every fret space and string sequentially. If you have done so effortlessly congratulations, but the chances are that you haven't got past the first few bars.

So here is how you could proceed to make visualisation a basic aspect of your learning process from now on, in new pieces.

Play very slowly concentrating on fingerings, fret placements. strings and postions.
Now do the same again - name the fingerings, frets, strings and positions in sequence - but without playing.
Play very slowly naming the notes as you play. Play slowly enough to be able to do so comfortably.
Now do the same again - name all the notes in sequence - but without playing.
Now visualise yourself playing on screen with subtitles. The screen images are the fingerings, frets, strings and positions. The subtitles are the notes of the musical score. Do it very slowly so you can visualise both at the same time.

In due course, and sooner rather than later, you will incorporate these techniques automatically into the learning process of new pieces. Until that time it is worth spending a few minutes every day on concentrated visualisation by starting with difficult passages and passages you don't remember well in familiar pieces.

This has been my rough guide to visualisation.

6th April, 2013, Alexandria, Egypt

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Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=2320 .
© 2019.

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