Mental imagery is a powerful tool which can be used to help you practice guitar. Some people claim that it is about the same benefit as actual practice, some say it is better. I am not claiming that it is a magic pill, but it is a tool you can use to add to your practice routine. You can use this while you are sitting at work unable to touch a guitar, while you are lying in bed, or just to give your hands a rest during practice. So how do you do visualization?
First I recommend being in a quiet room. Turning out the lights or putting something over your eyes may help. If you’ve never used visualization before you may want to first start simple and work your way up. Close your eyes for 10 – 30 seconds, and then try to visualize something simple like a banana. If you have used mental imagery before you can skip this part. Just get comfortable looking at the banana. Enlarge it, and spin it around. You can do anything you want with this image. Once you are comfortable with that, try to visualize a guitar. Mess around with the picture of the guitar as well. Enlarging it and moving it around.
Next is when the learning begins. This is a very personal experience so you can do what feels best to you. You can visualize the guitar neck from the front of the top, however you feel best. Once you do this try to visualize the scale or chord you are working on. If you want to see yourself playing it, that is fine, or if you want to watch someone else play it doesn’t matter. Spend about 10 minutes with your eyes closed concentrated the whole time on that 1 thing. It can be kind of fun too. Try adding this to your practice routine, it’s not a magic pill, but it can help.
This can also be a valuable tool for other things in life other than making music. Stage fright or if you are scared about an interview coming up, whatever your fears may be this can settle your nerves. Let’s use stages fright for example, you are freaking out because there are 10 people watching you play marry had a little lamb. How can you prevent this? It is easy. You spend a little time visualizing yourself actually performing it before you do it. Studies show that people who visualize have the same effect as actually doing it. So if you visualize yourself being a success, then you will be more confident the next time.
This is another handy tool to use in your practice and preparation. It is not a magic pill, but it is something that is easily used in times when you cannot use your guitar. Mental imagery can be used to settle your stage fright or anything other fears, because it is the same as actually doing it. Take this knowledge and use it to the best benefit you can find.