We humans are extremely visual creatures. In fact, an enormous amount of our brain power is dedicated to processing visual information. The practice of imagining events in your mind’s eye with your eyes closed accomplishes two things:
- It makes a deep impression on our memory and is great antidote to memory slips.
- It teaches us where our mental image of the music we are playing is weak and still needs work.
It is important that you do not merely watch what you are doing as events occur with your eyes open. It is crucial that you imagine what you want to play in your mind’s eye with your eyes closed, visualizing exactly which notes are being played, which fingers go where, and how your whole body moves. It is very important to do this slowly enough to allow sufficient soak time — time for your visual imagination in short-term memory to make a deep impression on your long-term memory. Naturally, you should also imagine the music in your mind’s ear and associate the sound with your imagined physical actions.
Making visualization a regular practice habit is guaranteed to breed enormous confidence at the piano and is a great antidote to stage fright. Such practice forces you to visualize what you are doing at very deep levels of processing. At the piano, you can play blindfolded or at least with your eyes closed. But the real beauty of this type of practice is that you can do it silently and without your instrument. You can do it anywhere — no more reason to ever be bored at work or in class or while stuck in traffic or the checkout line at the store. Visualization is hard mental labor, but the fruit is secure and confident performance!