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Mental practice?! (Read 13242 times)

Offline bitus

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Mental practice?!
« on: March 05, 2004, 07:02:15 PM »
I know there were topics before that dealt with this issue, but i thought we could sumarise all in one topic.

Therefore... what does mental practice mean? What are some methods of doing it? What is it that you insist upon? Please try to be specific, post if you know what you're trying to say and avoid changing the topic. ;D (I'm saying this because of the broad subject we're dealing with).
Thank you,
The Bitus
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.

Offline bernhard

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #1 on: March 08, 2004, 01:38:41 AM »
Mental practise means to practise in your mind, rather than in the real world. (Which is not the same as to phantasise that you practised, hehe)

The main advantages of mental practice are:

1.      You can do it anywhere.
2.      You don’t need anything to do it.
3.      Because you are imagining it all, you will not make any mistakes. In order words, you can imagine yourself playing perfectly.

The main disadvantage is that it is very difficult to do, since it involves controlling the mind to a certain extent, and the untrained mind is very rebellious. Also, for some reason, people who are very industrious physically – they may be prepared to spend ten hours doing finger exercises -  are extremely lazy mentally (and of course physically lazy people, are even more lazy mentally).

Since mental practice is nothing more than practice done in your mind, there will be several kinds: you can practise sight reading, you can practise aural training, you can even practise finger dexterity and movement patterns in your mind. However each one of these aims must be carefully thought out (this is also mental practice) not only in terms of how you are going to go about it, but also in terms of what aims are you hoping to achieve.

Since this subject has the potential of turning my post into a treatise, I will leave it at that for the moment, and see how the thread develops.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline comme_le_vent

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #2 on: March 08, 2004, 03:12:59 AM »
well lets get this thing moving fast, im lookin forward to tryin it out.

are there any places online that deal with this?
http://www.chopinmusic.net/sdc/

Great artists aim for perfection, while knowing that perfection itself is impossible, it is the driving force for them to be the best they can be - MC Hammer

Offline bernhard

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #3 on: March 08, 2004, 05:11:28 PM »
Mental practice (I)

Regard the score as a map of the piano (it is: every line and space correspond to a key in the piano: the notes show you graphically which key tho press and in which key to put your fingers – if fingering is supplied).

Now imagine you are in a strange town with a map of its streets. You must spend sometime mentally orientating yourself. You must interpret the information on the map in terms of the reality of the town (the map has deletions, distortions and generalisations that you must undo before you can find your bearings).

Likewise, look at the score and see it as a map of the piano. Mentally translate the diagramatic information on the score into the reality of the piano geography. The more proficient you get at this, the more your sight-reading (amongst other skills) will improve.

Do not worry about “hearing” the music at this stage. Your aim is purely visual information. You want to be able to look at the score and “see” (in your mind) the appropriate keys being depressed.

Once you can do that, try (mentally) putting your fingers in those keys. A bit like trying to keep up with a pianola or a disklavier.

This is difficult though, and mentally extremely tiring. So just like you would do with real practice, do it in small sections (just a couple of bars) and for a limited amount of time (10 minutes).

Be systematic: do not move to the next section until you mastered the one you are in. Plan the learning sequence so you know which bars you will be doing next. Choose an easy (very easy) piece (e.g. Burgmuller Op. 100) to learn the methodologie. Don’t go to the piano until you have finished the piece in your mind.

More steps to follow.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.






The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline comme_le_vent

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #4 on: March 09, 2004, 12:30:58 AM »
thanks, this is giving me something useful to do away from the piano.
i have thought of a thing to do : while away from the piano, read through the piece and imagine the piano, write in the fingerings, then imagine your fingers on the keys of the piano doing the sequence of fingerings that you have written.
this method seems to help me a bit, and it prepares me for the next practice session.
bernhard you talk about learning the sequence of actual notes, but as i am a rather new to the piano, i cant automatically finger any sequence of notes immediately while at the piano so i have to write them in and plan ahead, will this 'crutch' gradually go away as i become more hanted with the piano itself, of is there any way to improve my way of choosing a fingering automatically like most people, without thinking?

and have you heard the john ogdon story, apparently he learnt franck's symphonic variations while on an aeroplane ride, and played it as soon as he got to the destination, without having played a note of it on the piano before the performance, he must have learnt the piece mentally, can you describe what he did or what is required to do this?
http://www.chopinmusic.net/sdc/

Great artists aim for perfection, while knowing that perfection itself is impossible, it is the driving force for them to be the best they can be - MC Hammer

Offline bernhard

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #5 on: March 09, 2004, 02:12:27 AM »
Quote
i have thought of a thing to do : while away from the piano, read through the piece and imagine the piano, write in the fingerings, then imagine your fingers on the keys of the piano doing the sequence of fingerings that you have written.


Yes, if you need to actually touch the piano to figure out the fingering, then do so. Write the fingering in and then do it mentally with the fingering you sorted out at the piano.

However, unless you start doing the fingering in your mind, you will never be able to do it. It does not matter if the fingering you do in your mind does not work at the piano. This in itself will be a learning experience. Ask yourself why it worked in your mind, but not in real life. It points to a failure in your mental process. Use the experience to correct and fine tune the mental process. As your experience increases your mistakes will decrease.

Also you must have guidelines to decide on fingering. Here are a few criteria for a  start:

1.      Use the fingering that will allow most comfort.
2.      Use strong fingers on accented notes, weak fingers on notes that do not need so much emphasis.
3.      Whenever possible, thumbs and little finger on white notes, 2-3-4 on balck notes (although the thumb can be quite effective on black notes in certain positions).
4.      Use fingerings that allow your forearm bones to be aligned with your fingers 3-4 or 5 (adjust the angle of the arm accordingly).
5.      Look forward and backwards in the score before using a finger. An uncomfortable fingering at the present note may make your life much easier on a later note. (Or in previous notes).
this method seems to help me a bit, and it prepares me for the next practice session.


Quote
bernhard you talk about learning the sequence of actual notes, but as i am a rather new to the piano, i cant automatically finger any sequence of notes immediately while at the piano so i have to write them in and plan ahead, will this 'crutch' gradually go away as i become more hanted with the piano itself, of is there any way to improve my way of choosing a fingering automatically like most people, without thinking?


Yes, it will get more easy and natural with experience. But there will always be pieces that you will have to work out the fingering in advance and keep changing it until you get it right (for you). The best example are J.S. Bach`s fugues.

Quote
and have you heard the john ogdon story, apparently he learnt franck's symphonic variations while on an aeroplane ride, and played it as soon as he got to the destination, without having played a note of it on the piano before the performance, he must have learnt the piece mentally, can you describe what he did or what is required to do this?


Yes, many pianists are able to do that. It is a comlex process involving myriads of steps. The way to do it is to learn and master one step at a time. Once you have all the steps, something will happen and everything will gel, and you will find yourself being able to do it.

Think about reading. If you ask people how long it took them to learn how to read they usually answer “one year”, or some absurd answer like that. In fact anyone learns to read instantly. Because no one can learn how to read gradually . Either you can read, or you cannot. So what was that whole year at school for then? It was for mastering the isolated steps that make up the complex skill we call reading. You had to memorise the shape of the letters, you had to learn to join them in syllables, you had to associate the letters and syllables with sounds. Then as it usually happens, the four year old is having his/her breakfast and s/he says “I can read!” The father stops reading the newspaper and say “all right, read this headline then” and the child does! A moment before s/he could not read, and then in an instant s/he can.

So keep working on the different components of mental practice and at some indeterminate point it will all come together.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline comme_le_vent

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #6 on: March 09, 2004, 03:14:06 AM »
thanks, if you were a girl id kiss you!   :-* ;D

so what are the components? if you could outline each them briefly, and then go into detail if need be, that would be a great help.
http://www.chopinmusic.net/sdc/

Great artists aim for perfection, while knowing that perfection itself is impossible, it is the driving force for them to be the best they can be - MC Hammer

Offline bernhard

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #7 on: March 10, 2004, 02:39:37 AM »
Quote
thanks, if you were a girl id kiss you!   :-* ;D

so what are the components? if you could outline each them briefly, and then go into detail if need be, that would be a great help.


I'm a lesbian. ;D

Be patient. I am getting there. See below.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline bernhard

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #8 on: March 10, 2004, 02:40:36 AM »
Mental practice (II)

Open the score. Look at it. As you do so, “hear” the notated music in your mind.

This presupposes that you can actually decode musical notation into sounds. If you cannot, then you will have to work on it first of all.

This is the single most important skill in sight-reading, so it is worthy cultivating.

Consider two very different strategies:

1.      Some pianists decode notation as position information in the piano: as they look at the score they “see” which keys to press. I described this in mental practice (I) and suggested it was a desirable skill to acquire.

2.      Some pianists decode notation as sound, and then they play by ear what they are hearing as they scan the score. This is what I am describing here and I am suggesting that this is also a very desirable skill to acquire.

It is not a question of which strategy is best. Both are equally desirable. And if you work on both, then at some point they will gel into an integrated skill that will allow you to look at a score and immediately hear the sounds and know the keys.

However you cannot work on the integrated skill, you must work on its components separately and patiently wait until your unconscious mind integrates them.

So how do you go about acquiring this skill?

1.      The main problem you will encounter is that the mind tend to fast forward, to slow down and to skip whole sections of the music. So you must make sure that as you go through the score the mental sound you hear are in real tempo, that is it should take you exactly the same amount of time to read the score as it would take you to play it. I know of only one way to ensure real tempo: use a metronome.

2.      If you cannot hear anything as you look at the score, then you must train yourself to do so by listening to a CD of the piece as you read the score. There is an even better strategy though. If you have a notation software that pays back the music to you, and that you can change the tempo, set the tempo to very slow and listen to it as you go through the score. The main advantage of slow listening is that it will allow you to hear all the details. This is your ultimate aim: to hear everything, all the minutiae of the score. Untrained people when they listen to music hear almost nothing. Most of the details bypass them. A fully trained musician should be able to write what he heard.

3.      Start with simple pieces and increase in complexity as the simple pieces become easy. And I mean simple. My favourite to start this sort of work is Edna Mae Burnan’s A Dozen a Day .

4.      Try also dictation: as you listen to a simple piece, write what you hear. Then compare what you wrote with the original score. Again a notation software that can play back the music to you at a slower tempo will be an invaluable aid.

The beauty of this is that you can do it anywhere (a CD walkman, music paper, pen and the original score is all you need).

This skill is also deeply linked to memorising music. So by doing this mental practice, you will be getting three bonus results: ear training, memory enhancement and sight-reading skills.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline comme_le_vent

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #9 on: March 10, 2004, 05:19:19 PM »
thanks
yeah ive realised that memory of the sounds are more reliable than finger memory.
i remember schumann telling me(personally of course) that your are a good musician if you can see the score in your mind while hearing music, and hear the music in your mind while seeing the score.  ;D
http://www.chopinmusic.net/sdc/

Great artists aim for perfection, while knowing that perfection itself is impossible, it is the driving force for them to be the best they can be - MC Hammer

minsmusic

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #10 on: March 11, 2004, 02:24:11 PM »
This is interesting isn't it?  I read scores the same way I do novels, and for similar reasons - entertainment etc.  
And yes I can 'hear' how the piece goes in my mind.  It kind of came naturally to me - I've been around music so long, that I don't remember specifically 'learning' it or deliberately 'teaching' myself to do it.  
But here's something else you can do away from the piano, that is sort of a carry on of what Bernhard is suggesting, and that is practise sight singing. Are you cringing?  I don't know if you like singing commelevent, but usually people who have an 'ear' for music, are pretty good at it.  

Like Bernhard said, start with easy pieces.  I like to write my own exercises and encourage students to also write their own singing exercises.  Like Bernhard mentioned with learning how to read, first, you have to establish foundations.

Here's an exercise you can try if you like (away from the piano of course) I'm also assuming you haven't done sight singing before.  If you have and you're an expert, just humour me.  ;)

1. Start with C major scale.  It's easy (and easy to explain in a post too  ;D)  On manuscript using treble clef, write CDEFG.  For now, don't worry about note values.  Just work on pitch first, add values later.  So, use semibreves to write your notes.
2. Now, sing or hum the notes, keeping your eye on the note as you sing them.  
3.  With this combination of notes,  and using steps only - this is really important when you're first training your brain (which is what you're doing, so it can send the correct signal to the muscles so they know how to tighten your vocal folds) write on your manuscript - eg, CDEFEFGFEDCDEDEFEFGFGFD.  In other words, steps going up and down, but always connected.  (Add thirds, fourths etc later)
4.  Sing your notes.
5.  When you've had enough of this, now add values.  In essence you are writing your own melodies.  You can write in simple quadruple, compound duple, simple triple - anything. In fact, the more varied exercises you write for yourself, the more practise you're giving your brain, the easier it will be.  It will also be easier for you to 'hear' music like what Bernhard is talking about. Just remember to keep these melodies in steps to begin with.  
6.  Now add the rest of the scale i.e. ABC.  Repeat a similar process.

Give yourself at least two weeks every day practising this easy level before you add larger intervals.  Start with thirds.  Be patient.  Add fourths, etc.

This will keep you well and truly busy away from the piano, and will also benefit your musicality, and will help your sight reading skills for the piano.
I suggested treble, but you can do the exact same with bass.

Oh, it also doesn't matter that your singing 'C' is is not concert pitch.  It's the interval patterns that matter.

Hey commelevent, I hope you have fun!  Heee heee :D



Offline bitus

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #11 on: March 11, 2004, 05:49:26 PM »
I've been trying to play some pieces just in my mind while driving. Indeed, the first time, I couldn't get to the second phrase and i'd be flooded with other thoughts. However, after some minutes of trying to discipline my mind to concentrate on what i'm "playing" it all came much easier. The "bad" aspect is that once you concentrate on "playing", is very hard to lose concentration, and if you are in class or listening to sermons, you'll be stuck with the piece you're "playing".
Funny, isn't it?
The Bitus.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.

Offline comme_le_vent

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #12 on: March 11, 2004, 07:41:16 PM »
so bernhard is there a mental practice 3?  :)
http://www.chopinmusic.net/sdc/

Great artists aim for perfection, while knowing that perfection itself is impossible, it is the driving force for them to be the best they can be - MC Hammer

Offline bernhard

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #13 on: March 12, 2004, 01:59:34 AM »
Quote
so bernhard is there a mental practice 3?  :)


Mental practice (III)

Analysis.

The idea here is to delay piano practice as much as possible. So get the score and take several photocopies of it (you will be doing cut and paste later on).

1.      Check out the score for repeated patterns. For instance, how many different rhythm patterns can you identify? For instance, Chopin’s Prelude Op. 28 no. 7 has only one rhythm pattern that is repeated 8 times. Get some music paper and write down all the rhythm patterns (don’t worry about the actual notes or chords, just the rhythm). Then practice these rthythms on a table top or in your mind. Use a metronome to start with, and once you feel confident try for a more natural pulse. Then join the several patterns and go through the whole piece rhythm alone.

2.      Now check the score for melody patterns. Again isolate the melody and hear it on your mind (or as Minsmusic said, sing it, hum it or whistle it).

3.      Next look for harmonic patterns. Identify and name all the chords used. See if you can hear the chords in your mind. It is far more difficult to identify harmonies by ear then melodies, but it is definitely a learnable skill. If you do learn it you will experience great facility in improvising.

4.      If the piece is counterpoint, isolate (rewrite) each voice and look for patterns in each voice separately. Think of this as getting to know intimately each piece of a puzzle before putting it together.

5.      Once you know each pattern back to front, get familiarised with the parts of the piece that do not seem to fit any pattern.

6.      Now put it all together. Look how repetitive these patterns are. Sometimes you will not have an exact repetition, but a passage that is exactly like another passage but written a third higher. Notice and familiarise yourself not only with the similarities, but also with the differences.

7.      Now look at the question of strong and weak beats. As you go through the score, notice accents (and remember that you may accent a note not only by playing it louder, but by playing it slower.) Watch out for melodic accents as well as harmonic accents.

8.      Mark cadences and repeated chord progressions. Notice dissonances and their resolutions.

9.      Mark the key of each passage in the score, so that you can see straight away where the modulations are happening (now you know why you have to work on all those scales).

10.      Examine the dynamic markings. Notice incongruencies amongst  different accents (harmonic, melodic, dynamic, metric, rhythmic), since it is in these incongruencies that you will find the most dramatic moments in the piece.

11.      Consider this: Which story does this music tell? Although some pieces are clearly programmatic, and the composer supplied already the story, many pieces are not. However it will be very helpful if you can come up with your own story for the piece. It will supply meaning for the piece, and learning something meaningful is always easier than learning something meaningless.

12.      Enjoy!

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

minsmusic

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #14 on: March 12, 2004, 06:01:26 AM »
They only thing I do a little differently is mark these seperate passages with coloured pens.  This is for practise reasons, and easy communication with students.  They can see at a glance which phrases are identical because they are the same colour.  So I say, play the 'blue' section with particular emphasis on ..etc.  It is a fast, memorable way to really 'learn' a score inside out.  
When it comes time to practise without all the coloured markings, you are still able to pinpoint an exact motif, or the subject/answer or whatever it is you have disected and studied, because your brain has taken in the information visually.  
Don't dismiss the power of colour.  It's not just for kids.  I use this technique ESPECIALLY with students doing grade 6 -8.  In fact I believe, the more complex the piece, the more important it is to study/analyse and make specific notes in the score.  

To try this you will need to photocopy the original score so that you can mark the copy to practise with in the beginning, and then practise with the original.

Of course I completely advocate Bernhard's suggestion of writing out the phrases/motifs/harmonies etc yourself because then the process becomes even more kinesthetic and better for your brain - especially if you are a 'kinesthetic' learner.

In preparing pieces away from the piano, always try to include the three ways we learn (that is, take in information, store it in such a way that we can easily retrieve it again)

1. Visual - usually the strongest
2.  Kinesthetic (i.e. doing)
3. Aural.

Every body uses all three to learn, however, each individual on the planet will have different percentages of all three.  Whatever the largest percentage is, lets you know what category you fall in.  For instance, I am a 'visual' learner, with a very low percentage of 'aural'.  You can train yourself to be adept at all three.
Why the importance?
For example, at schools, at least in Australia where I have taught in both primary and high school, the emphasis is very much on writing on the blackboard, giving students 'handouts' etc.  If you're a visual learner, than you're going to do great with this way of teaching.  If you're an aural learner, you're going to have problems.
Conversely, at University, most of the teaching is done aurally, i.e. you sit in a lecture and you have to 'listen' to what the person is saying.  If you're a visual learner, than you'll have problems.

Find out what type of learner you are commelevent, then develop strategies (away from the piano) to best suit.  But always include the other two as well.  It helps 'plant' the information in your brain better.

Offline Mayla

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #15 on: August 01, 2005, 09:52:03 PM »
.
"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline Mayla

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #16 on: August 09, 2005, 02:28:44 AM »
.
"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline bernhard

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #17 on: August 09, 2005, 03:59:35 PM »
First, I have realized that mental practice is to me like memorizing a story mentally before opening one's mouth to tell it.  This way, when one strives to articulate the story, they have something to say.


This is a most apt metaphor. :D

( I must remember it  ;))

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline guermantes

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #18 on: September 04, 2005, 05:36:34 PM »
Dear Bernhard,
I'm new to the forum and have immensely appreciated all the interesting information in the threads I have visited.

I wonder if you would mind enlarging on what you do with all the photocopies you make from the piece that you mention you use to cut and paste in your reply #13 :

Quote
"The idea here is to delay piano practice as much as possible. So get the score and take several photocopies of it (you will be doing cut and paste later on)."

Thank you in advance.
Béryl

Offline bernhard

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #19 on: September 04, 2005, 06:46:02 PM »
You can do all sorts of things.

1. You can cut just the bit you intend to practise to avoid the temptation to do more thatn you set out to od in a particular practice session.

2. You can use for memory work, for instance, but cutting out all the even numbered bars (which you play from memory) and living only the odd numbered bars (which you read). later you reverse (cut out the odd bars and leave the even bars). Progress by going in threes, than in fours, and so on.

3. You can use it as a toll for analysis, by cutting out all the repeated sections, so you are left with only a few bars of the original piece to actually study, since the others will be repeats.

4. You can do games, like cut all the bars, shuffle them and then try to put them in order (this will train your memory, but will also teach you a lot about the piece's structure and how the composer mind worked)

You get the idea.

By the way, nice summaries you did in other threads! :D

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline guermantes

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #20 on: September 05, 2005, 03:32:06 PM »
I'll try out the various possibilities you mentioned.
Thank you very much for your explanation !
Béryl

Offline bernhard

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #21 on: September 06, 2005, 08:22:10 AM »
You are welcome. :)
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline hlconceiro

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #22 on: September 06, 2005, 07:54:28 PM »
I like to know something about the metod (i read about it in a Neuhaus book) and I tried it this afternoon. it was nice, but i had a problem (maybe because it's first time) but i was only able to read mentally one hand, not both.
I'll try more to improve my mental tecnic
Best wishes,
Héctor

Offline Mayla

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #23 on: September 06, 2005, 08:20:16 PM »
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #24 on: September 06, 2005, 08:28:00 PM »
I like to know something about the metod (i read about it in a Neuhaus book) and I tried it this afternoon. it was nice, but i had a problem (maybe because it's first time) but i was only able to read mentally one hand, not both.
I'll try more to improve my mental tecnic
Best wishes,
Héctor

What Mayla said may well be true. I don't know, but I think there could be a simpler reason. I think it is completely normal that you can do "only" one hand at a time, because the process is very complex. There is so much information one has to assemble in one's head. In addition, it is extremely stressful (to me at least). I have been doing it on and off for a few months, and I still can "only" do one hand at a time, except for simpler passages. I believe (and hope) that things will improve with time.

Offline Mayla

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #25 on: September 06, 2005, 08:44:15 PM »
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #26 on: September 06, 2005, 08:55:38 PM »
You don't have to answer me this...

but I am simply curious about if one views the staves as a whole, "The Grand Staff", and their hands as one, if they would still have the challenge ?

I do not consistently have this perception in my own playing,  I have to work at it.  But, it would just be interesting information if one does perceive the staff as a whole and one does feel the hands as one, but also works best with one hand at a time in mental practice.

And it just seems like whenever I do what I described above, it helps to close the gap.

I think your idea is a very interesting one! I'll have to try it out. My head will probably explode because of information overload, but oh well, what the heck! :D

Offline hlconceiro

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #27 on: September 07, 2005, 08:50:03 AM »
I usually read with both hands to improve first time reading. But mentally, I need a lot of concentration and I can only do it on one hand. I think is lack of practice doing this.
Thanks for all your help in the forum, that's amazing! (and excuse my poor English :-\ )
greetings
Héctor

Offline bernhard

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #28 on: September 09, 2005, 12:39:12 AM »
On the other hand ( ;D), this could also be related to brain-hemisphere dominance. Have a look here:

http://pianoforum.net/smf/index.php/topic,2720.msg23353.html#msg23353
(How to practice aim and accuracy – looking at the LH and giving verbal instructions to the RH – Full discussion on left and right brain).

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline celticqt

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #29 on: September 09, 2005, 02:41:33 AM »
First, I have realized that mental practice is to me like memorizing a story mentally before opening one's mouth to tell it.  This way, when one strives to articulate the story, they have something to say.

This makes wonderful sense to me -- thanks Mayla!  My teacher tells me not to listen to recordings because he doesn't want me to just regurgitate them; but it sure seems logical to know what you're trying to say before you say it.  What if you can't get a recording of the score, though? Then what do I do?   
Beware the barrenness of a busy life. ~Socrates

Offline pnorcks

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #30 on: September 09, 2005, 04:19:02 AM »
This makes wonderful sense to me -- thanks Mayla! My teacher tells me not to listen to recordings because he doesn't want me to just regurgitate them; but it sure seems logical to know what you're trying to say before you say it. What if you can't get a recording of the score, though? Then what do I do?

Bernhard and Minsmusic both have excellent advice on this issue (see replies 8 and 10 above):

1) You can enter the score into a notation software program so you can play it back at any tempo.  Playing back a fast piece at a slower tempo will allow you to hear details within the piece you might never have noticed.

2) You can practice sight-singing using the method minsmusic explains above.  Starting with smaller intervals (minor 2nds and major 2nds) and gradually progressing to larger intervals will definitely aid your aural memory (and your transcribing skills).  Eventually you will be able to recognize chords (in your mind).

Those are productive ways to enhance your aural recognition of the piece if you don't have a CD of the piece.  Also working on the visual/aural/kinaesthetic aspects of your memory can only help. 

When I listen to recordings of my pieces, I look for different ideas that I might incorporate into my own interpretation.  But I find it helpful to occasionally glance at the score and think, "How can I make this passage my own?  How many different ways can this passage be interpreted?"  I feel that imagining a passage being played in an outrageous way or a simple way or anything in between will improve your memory of the piece and give you more ideas for interpretation (and ideas you should not use).

This sort of thinking once in a while might help you tell your story.

Hope this helps.

Offline pytis123

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Re: Mental practice?!
«Reply #31 on: September 11, 2005, 11:18:22 PM »
Lucid Dream - Knowing your dreaming and controling your dreams

You can try Lucid dreams :D If you dont beleive in em there true! i get em about 2 times per week after about a half of year of trying! lots of tips in www.dreamviews.com but use the messageboards there there great! Lucid dreams helped me with a computer problem once. I think it would be possible to practice piano. Since in lucid dreams your conected to your subconcience witch is the greater part of the mind You can also unlock memories! like you forgot what fingering was this and this and you can see! Dont give up! takes lots of practise!

If you need some tips or help contact me here or "pytis" in Dreamviews



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