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  • Noa Kageyama

    December 1, 2022 at 10:54 am

    Hi Lisa,

    The short answer is it depends. =)

    As in, it kind of depends on what the goal of mental practice is in that moment. For instance, if you’re in the early stages of learning a new piece, and by mental practice you include things like singing through the score, solfeging, visualizing how you want it to sound, etc., it could be that mental practice could take up as much as 75% of your practice time. Danish trumpet player Kristian Steenstrup, for instance, encourages students to solfège through a couple lines, do some imagery through the same bits, then imagery while moving the body and/or listening to music next, and then actually play the lines physically.

    In the middle stages of learning, you might do some mental reps away from the instrument while driving, etc., but not that much during the core part of your practice unless you want to save yourself some wear and tear and figure things out between physical repetitions.

    And if you’re in the latter stages of learning, and preparing for an audition, it might be that your mental practice is more about visualizing full run-throughs, or anticipating things that could go wrong, and practicing contingency plans.

    It’s really tempting to want to come up with a formula for how to practice that works all the time for everything, but for better or worse, things are pretty fluid and changing. The biggest constant, is the value of having a way to assess where you’re at (recording, run-throughs on a regular basis), having a way to set goals and prioritize which things need the most work (listening), and then having a set of tools to help you achieve those goals (the various skills in the course). Some days it might be more nuts and bolts of practicing, other days it might be more about confidence, or cultivating a routine, or honing focus.

    That’s probably way more detail than you were asking for, but hope it helps to clarify!


There's an LIVE component too! (for educators)

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Starting Thursday, February 3rd, we’ll meet via Zoom once a week, and go through selected strategies related to effective practice, managing nerves, and achieving flow states under pressure. We’ll do some in-class playing experiments (don’t worry – you’ll be muted!), short weekly homework assignments, and small-group breakout sessions to help you integrate these new skills into your teaching.

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