Playing on a Saturday night in a small bar in Chelmsford in Essex, no rehearsal just a bunch of numbers on a sheet, great stuff! Some of these songs I have not played for thirty years and what is amazing is how easily they come back.
Memory is incredible; you just need to hit the right buttons and then out it comes. There are certain triggers that work amazingly well for creating memory recall, one of these is smell. Have you ever had a time that you smelt something and it took you to a memory that was so real that it felt like time travel? I have, it was the smell of Bunsen burners and it took me back to the chemistry room at school to the point that I was standing in the school science room, quite extraordinary.
When learning music the more that you layer memory with sensory information the better, this may explain why the great players always look like they are totally involved in the music; maybe that is their secret .
When learning or teaching have an internal film of the song that locks to the music and make it so real that you are standing in it and you can feel the atmosphere and the smells of the landscape make it more than real, this will help with the dynamics and deals with performance nerves. Just think of what the music makes you visualise and then use the pictures to relate to the music.
One of the problems that people often experience in playing is that they never play out as well as they do at home a bit like public speaking, we speak all the time but for some reason when we get up to speak in public we find it difficult, why? because we think about it and then all our programming goes out the window, but picturing and adding other senses to the music takes you to the same place wherever you are.
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