Hello everyone, It has been a really long time and I am sorry about that.
I have spent quite a number of years playing the Piano, for more than half of these years I have been practicing wrongly which in turn greatly affected me. This series is not only limited to pianist, every other musicians will gain greatly from this
Please note that most of what I will be talking about in this series was gotten from Chuan C. Chang Fundamental of Piano practice.
During our musical journey, we were made to believe that “practice makes Perfect”. By now you should know that practice doesn’t make perfect!!! Rather Right practice brings about Perfection. The best practice methods are surprisingly counter-intuitive ( in other words, they are usually contrary to what we might have been brought up with or trained with). This point is paramount because it is the main reason why the wrong practice methods tend to be used by students and teachers. Most of us were obviously brought up using most of these wrong practice therefore letting intuition override facts but in order to gain from this, you have to let go of intuition. Most of my illustration though may be centered on the piano.
The objective of this Series is to present the best known methods for practicing. For students, knowing these methods means a reduction in learning time that is a significant fraction of a lifetime and an increase in the time available for making music instead of struggling with technique. How do musicians “make music”? Whether we compose music or play an instrument, all music must originate in the artist’s brain and not by rote.
Therefore, it is more important to train the brain than the finger muscles, especially because any finger movement must originate as a nerve impulse in the brain. The answer to the above question is what we shall call Mental Play (MP) and thus MENTAL PLAY will be what will be discussed right now as it will be needed in other parts of this series.
For pianists, making music has a larger effect on mental development. Thus good practice methods will not only accelerate the learning rate but also help to develop the musical brain, as well as raise the intelligence level, especially for the young. The learning rate is accelerated, compared to the slower methods (it’s like the difference between an accelerating vehicle and one going at a constant speed). Therefore, in a matter of a few years, students without proper practice methods will fall hopelessly behind. This makes those students with good practice methods appear far more talented than they really are because they can learn in minutes or days what it takes the others months or years. The most important aspect of learning a musical instrument (including vocals) is brain development and higher intelligence. We are going to learn how to play music in our minds – this is called Mental Play, which naturally leads to absolute pitch and the ability to compose music.
Mental Play is simply the process of imagining the music in your mind, or even actually playing it on an imaginary piano ( if you can’t imagine it, you will have issues playing it). Mental Play controls practically everything we do in music, from the learning process (technique) to memorization, absolute pitch, performance, composition, music theory.
You can effectively double or triple your practice time by using Mental Play when your instrument is not available and that is very important as a musician. In fact, Mental Play is the logical and ultimate goal of all these practice methods that we are discussing because technique alone will not enable you to perform flawlessly, musically, and without getting nervous.
Mental Play is nothing new; not only the great musicians and artists, but practically any specialist today, such as athletes, trained soldiers, businessmen, etc., must cultivate their own MP in order to compete successfully. In fact every one of us does it all the time! When we get up in the morning and quickly go over the planned activities of the day, we are conducting MP. Yet we do it in an instant, without even thinking about it as MP, because we have been practicing it since early childhood. MP is perhaps the single best antidote against stage fright
With practice, you will find that it requires only a small investment of time to acquire MP. Best of all, you will also discover that once solid MP is established, your memory is as good as it can get; you will have confidence that you will be able to play without mistakes, blackouts, etc., and will be able to concentrate on music. Mental Play also helps technique; for example, it is much easier to play at a fast speed after you can mentally play it at that speed; very often, the inability to play fast originates in the brain. One benefit of MP is that you can practice it at any time, anywhere, and can greatly increase your effective practice time.
In subsequent posts, we will talk about mental play and the Right Practice Methods. To stay in touch with this series you can subscribe to our newsletter below.