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  • Noa Kageyama

    November 22, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Hi Boyd,

    Sounds like a fun exercise. A couple thoughts.

    Yes, getting motor skills from the early, thought-intensive, “how the heck do I do this?” cognitive phase, to the automated, “I can do this in my sleep” autonomous stage is important for being able to perform these skills at the highest level under pressure. When things are at the cognitive stage, we can’t play and do much else at the same time, because the skill is still very cognitively taxing. Like sight-reading, for instance. You don’t have time to think about anything else, because the task demands too much of your cognitive resources. However, when you have practiced something to the point of automaticity and have reached the autonomous stage, we have lots of cognitive resources free, which is both a blessing and a curse.

    Blessing, in that we can play effortlessly at a high level. Curse, in that because we have so many cognitive resources free, we tend to think too much – about technique and mechanics, or worries/doubts about the future and what’s coming up, or wondering what our listeners may be thinking, etc. So we want to, at that point, also practice thinking about task-relevant details, that will help us raise the level of our playing even more – and also, so we don’t accidentally start thinking about task-irrelevant or self-sabotating thoughts that can spiral out of control or lead to choking.
    Does that make sense?

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