Mr Roland! I need you to get up and give me that magazine now!
Okay. Okay! I grumbled.
In my high school chemistry class for some reason I always seemed to finish my work at least 15 minutes early. I’m not a nerd I got a C grade at the end of the semester.
In my bag I always carried around my bass player mags. When my work was done I always popped out my mags and read the articles. I read the music lessons also in chemistry class even though I didn’t have my bass with me.
Without being aware what I was doing I was actually practicing. Throughout the entire semester I did this a lot at school. My music skills and sight reading dramatically improved.
I would read sheet music everyday just like I was reading a book. I guess I seemed to enjoy it. I made this routine just a natural part of my life even after high school leading into my teaching years.
Now I can recall why I was pretty good at reading music. Recalling long and hard in the shower ( Hey, I know you come up with ideas in the shower too.) on what was my unassuming process of my music reading development.
I discovered what was the key!
Are you ready?
The key is “Visualization!”
Yes, my friend, visualization. Many successful professional in many industries use this strategy.
As a kid I was not aware that I was practicing visualization. I just did it. I do have a vivid imagination. Now it’s your turn. I have laid out my exact step by step process.
Here is how to double your music reading skills.
- Before anything. You need to find your time and place where it’s just you, your instrument and your music. No distractions what so ever.
- Grab your sheet music, and imagination. Take a few big breathers and delve yourself into visual ecstasy. Meaning focus your mind and heart into your practice.
- Establish the tempo of the song in your head. What I do is playback in my head a drumbeat based on the tempo. Maintaining a tempo is important you can choose whatever rhythm works for you it’s your imagination.
- Place the sheet music in front of you and observe and practice the rhythms only. Don’t worry about the notes yet.
- Next, visualize yourself, your hands and your instrument in a video playback. Visaulize watching yourself on YouTube if that helps.
- Visualize yourself performing the piece. As you read the music slowly you’re playing back the video in your mind of yourself performing the music as you’re sight reading.
- You can rewind your visual video if you’d like it’s your mind and repeat this process until you have achieved visual perfection in your head.
- Take it bits at a time. If you’re just a beginner than it could be little tough at first. But your not expected to read Mozart yet, just simple quarter notes and half notes etc. Start with a few measures first, then master that then move on to the next set of measures. You pick your pace.
- Repeat this process 15 minutes a day.
Scientific studies indicate 15 minutes of visualization equals to about 2 hours of practice time. That’s amazing!
It’s worked for me and if you apply this methodically I’m sure it will work for you
Keep on looking and you will surely find the answer. Matthew 7:7
So, what happened with my magazine in chemistry class?
Well, the teacher took my magazine away thinking it was something inappropriate and gave it to my guidance counselor Mr. Ferwerda.
I still remember him because he was a musician as well. After the last school bell rang I ran into Ferwerda and he asked what happened.
I told him the story,” I finished my work early got bored, popped out my bass mag and started sight reading the music lessons. The teacher (I forgot her name. I wonder why.) caught me reading it and asked me to turn it in, even though I was done with my work.
Mr Ferwerda giggled a bit and smiled and handed me back the mag. ” Don’t worry about it. Here you go.”
My guidance counselor was cool that’s why I remembered his name. Not what’s her face chemistry teacher.
I guess that’s it for right now. Please share this info if you dig it and please comment below and tell me if this visualization method works out for you.