Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Mental Practice

Some may think this crazy, but mental practice can actually be much better for you than physical practice and ANYONE can do it!

Mental practice is rehearsing a known skill by visualization or variations of practice that don't involve the bassoon, such as Eurythmics or singing.

Here is an inspirational TED Talk suggesting that practice is fundamentally a mental game and that practice time in a distraction free environment is *critical* to effective practice.

Of course if you have never done something before, like play the bassoon, and you try to do mental practice to learn how.. this will not work.
Now before you throw your hands up in despair because 'mental practice doesn't work!' consider this:
you ARE in fact practicing even when you have no clue what you're doing.. but this is bad practice and it is likely to end up being a hindrance.

So mental practice IS effective, but be careful how you train your brain! We already know that focused practice is the way to improve but what if you practice badly? Will you perform badly? In short; yes you will perform badly. Preparation is everything!

In essence, mental practice is most effective when it is the mental clarification and repetition of a previously practiced skill.

Note: it is easy to do mental practice incorrectly, so this is the time when you should be very careful and strict with yourself.


   In this video Dr. Duke at The University of Texas at Austin and the Colburn School, who has done some brilliant research as to how our brains absorb information best, interviewed some of the top music teachers in the nation.

You can find this video and more like it at Center for Music and Human Learning

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