Feeling rushed and a bit frustrated because you can’t fit everything into your day that you’d like to?
There isn’t always time to get all of our plans and lists accomplished each day, and we can get behind on seemingly ‘less important’ activities, like practicing the piano.
If this sounds like you, then this post is good news for you because there’s a great way you can still get piano practicing in each day, even if you can’t get to your piano physically to sit down and play.
Our imagination and the power to “create” by using visualization have been scientifically proven to have a very direct and positive effect on our physical activities.
Athletes use their imagination to practice their gymnastic routines, or running a race, and even winning, all the time. Tiger Woods uses visualization before he plays every time and believes that it enhances his performance.
Playing the Piano is a “psycho-physical” act
It involves repeated reinforcement of the nerve pathways to the desired motor skill.
Muscle memory is the key to accomplishing any physical task, whether it is walking to your car from your residence, driving to work, or playing a scale or a piece on the piano.
Essentially, this means that our body does what our brain tells it to do. This means that we learn to “do things” in our brains first, and then it manifests through our physical actions.
A toddler doesn’t just get up and walk one day. She has watched her parents, siblings and everyone else walk for at least several months before they actually get up on their legs and start moving them forward. They “practiced” this action in their heads without even realizing it, before doing it. They think about each step at first, but as their muscles “memorize” what to do, they just start zooming all over the place without having to think about it anymore.
The same goes for playing the piano and learning music
One study showed that pianists that practiced a passage for 2 hours per day without the piano had the same results as those that practiced the same passage for 2 hours per day on the piano. source
A Harvard study done in the early part of this decade showed again, that mental movements stimulated the same neurons as the physical movements did, and produced the same effects as if the participants had physically practiced the piano passages.
Further, this study by Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone found that using both mental and physical practice surpassed the effectivity of physical practice alone.
“the combination of mental and physical practice leads to greater performance improvement than does physical practice alone, a phenomenon for which our findings provide a physiological explanation.” source
Getting started with Creative Visualization
It’s really as easy as taking that same first step that you did
when you were learning to walk.
Creative Visualization is using your imagination to create a specific image or set of actions performed in your mind, not physically.
There’s a much more complicated definition on Wikipedia, but also some great resources on visualization in general.
Remember, that practicing with your brain is just as effective on your muscle memory training as physical practicing. The more you do it, the more positive results you’ll have from your practicing.
Not only is mental practicing effective, it’s fun.Use your visualization time to create an appreciative audience, a concert in Spain, jamming with your favorite band – there are no limits!
Once you get the knack of using your imagination to get some piano practicing and playing done even if you can’t be at your piano, you’re really going to discover a neat way to communicate with yourself and improve your piano playing!
Stay tuned to LessonsOnTheWeb and learn much more!
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