Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    I was wondering how many of us put away our guitars and just practice mentally? Working on internally hearing melodies or improvisations, scales, lines, harmony, tunes, etc. I use solfege for melody and use a keyboard app on my phone to check my mental pitches every once and a while. It’s been rewarding.

    Anyone else do this? Are there any books on it? What exercises do you do mentally?
    Last edited by tonejunkie; 03-30-2020 at 12:48 AM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Well I know when I hear or play a new tune I'm into, I'll hum it to death. But that may be more of an unconscious earworm thing. Still helps solidify it in memory though I believe. Sometimes I'll hum a solo over it, it's fun anyway.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    I practice 8 hours a day and 16 at the weekend. I'd call that pretty mental.

    if only

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by arielcee
    Well I know when I hear or play a new tune I'm into, I'll hum it to death. But that may be more of an unconscious earworm thing. Still helps solidify it in memory though I believe. Sometimes I'll hum a solo over it, it's fun anyway.
    Thats cool :-) So your doing that not as a focused practice session but while your doing other things?

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I practice 8 hours a day and 16 at the weekend. I'd call that pretty mental.

    if only
    That is mental!

  7. #6
    I was thinking more about this process I'm working on and why I'm doing it. My ultimate goal is to play the vocabulary I hear in my mind. For many years now I've been working solfege, ear training, transcription, learning tunes etc... and I can play a certain percentage of the vocabulary my mind comes up with (simple stuff) and even with that I still make mistakes with something I'm trying to translate to the guitar or just let my fingers take over. So I'm trying to strengthen my "audiation" skills so I can translate the melodies with more consistency.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by tonejunkie
    Thats cool :-) So your doing that not as a focused practice session but while your doing other things?
    Yeah, it can be annoying too lol...


    A cool side story. A saxophonist friend who had been a polio victim at a very young age spent nearly his entire life wheelchair bound and would often still practice fingerings and physically blowing when unable to hold the horn.

    If you can understand the mental aspect, I think the rest is just getting your fingers to move in a handful of directions and with fluidity imho. Can be the reverse too though.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by tonejunkie
    I was wondering how many of us put away our guitars and just practice mentally? Working on internally hearing melodies or improvisations, scales, lines, harmony, tunes, etc. I use solfege for melody and use a keyboard app on my phone to check my mental pitches every once and a while. It’s been rewarding.

    Anyone else do this? Are there any books on it? What exercises do you do mentally?
    when I can not fall asleep instantly - which happens prectically every night -, I am playing through some standards chord progressions. I know it is not an excercise, but it is mental for sure

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by arielcee

    A cool side story. A saxophonist friend who had been a polio victim at a very young age spent nearly his entire life wheelchair bound and would often still practice fingerings and physically blowing when unable to hold the horn.
    I have a local session guitarist who is blind. I met him 15 years ago and he told me he mostly practiced without his guitar. At that time I really did not understand how to connect the sound to the fingerings (really had not trained my ear at that point) and I was at a loss for how he did that. Great guitarist though.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor
    when I can not fall asleep instantly - which happens prectically every night -, I am playing through some standards chord progressions. I know it is not an excercise, but it is mental for sure
    Thats cool! I wish I could fall asleep instantly!

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    I've had a sensitive mind's ear (as I call it) since youth. It helped that I was raised in a family that listened to and played music. Mom had her piano playing all kinds of stuff, and while Dad wasn't a musician he still played some cool old country and old r&r albums, no singles. Anyway, humming and then internalizing a melody seemed to come pretty natural.

    Moving forward, once I picked up guitar and started learning a little theory (my first two years playing were classroom, plus formal stuff later too), I was able to connect the dots. At that point, I started being able to hold a chord progression in my head and hear a melody over it. I'd been playing for about three years when, one day walking home from school (didn't yet have a Walkman), "More Than a Feeling" from Boston came into my head. So when I got to the solo, I just started parsing it.

    I got home about 20 minutes later, picked up my guitar, and realized I had about 80% of it down. That's when I realized I was onto something and really started moving forward.

    Sometimes songs have come to me this way as well. Once, on a 15-mile cycle ride, I hit a nice groove on the pedals and a cool riff popped into my head with it. I let it roll a few minutes and go where it wanted. Then I figured out what it was and when I got home had most of a song waiting for me. Those are the good days. There ain't many.

    Sometimes I'll come up with an idea for a lick and go with that.

    I don't "practice" audiation, really. It just happens and if it's a good day I get something out of it. My job is just to stay out of my own way.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    I think the best way to practice when a guitar is not involved, is to listen to music. I try to be thorough about it, and consider it as important as the guitar material someone has to practice, in order to learn the jazz language. There is an amount of a few thousand CDs and a few hundred performers that constitute the core of that language, so I have really put the time to listen to them.

    The way someone listens to music makes a difference too, as jazz playing is all about hearing and interacting with the other players. So I practice dividing my attention equally to all the instruments playing, and the way each one plays off the others. So there is the soloist, maybe one accompanist, a bass player, a drummer, maybe horns or a guitar playing backings.. a lot of instruments to pay attention to. Imagine the old guys that were hearing music in big band settings! It takes time to really develop that way of listening, but it's certainly worth it.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor
    when I can not fall asleep instantly - which happens prectically every night -, I am playing through some standards chord progressions. I know it is not an excercise, but it is mental for sure
    yes I do that. But I usually fall asleep by the time I’ve gone through one tune!

    I visualise the fingerboard and imagine the chord voicings I would use being played on it.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by tonejunkie
    I was wondering how many of us put away our guitars and just practice mentally? Working on internally hearing melodies or improvisations, scales, lines, harmony, tunes, etc. I use solfege for melody and use a keyboard app on my phone to check my mental pitches every once and a while. It’s been rewarding.

    Anyone else do this? Are there any books on it? What exercises do you do mentally?
    it might be a little theoretical/academic but the term audiation was coined by Edwin Gordon. His book Learning Sequences in Music is a deep and thorough exploration of audiation, which he regarded as the most important aspect of musicianship.

    you can also check out the YouTube channel the Improving Musician which explores his ideas in a more step by step way.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Also check out Jon Klopotowski’s a jazz life which talks about Warne Marsh’s teaching. Coming from the Tristano school a big part of that approach is singing solos and songs away from the instrument.

  17. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus
    I was able to connect the dots. At that point, I started being able to hold a chord progression in my head and hear a melody over it. I'd been playing for about three years when, one day walking home from school (didn't yet have a Walkman), "More Than a Feeling" from Boston came into my head. So when I got to the solo, I just started parsing it.

    I got home about 20 minutes later, picked up my guitar, and realized I had about 80% of it down. That's when I realized I was onto something and really started moving forward.
    I wish I had connected the dots earlier in my progression... Its been a long journey. It wasn't till my 30's that I really started to connect he dots :-0

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    I think the best way to practice when a guitar is not involved, is to listen to music.
    Thats a good point that intentional listening is just as important... It seems for me I'm either transcribing (intentional listening but in short snippets) or listening for enjoyment in the background while doing something else. It would be good to have more intentional listening (non transcribing) time.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    it might be a little theoretical/academic but the term audiation was coined by Edwin Gordon. His book Learning Sequences in Music is a deep and thorough exploration of audiation, which he regarded as the most important aspect of musicianship.

    you can also check out the YouTube channel the Improving Musician which explores his ideas in a more step by step way.
    Sweet! I did not know about Edwin Gordon or the Improving Musician. I'm going to check those out for sure!

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Tbh the main way I practice audiation is by learning music by ear. The audiation phase - hearing the music in detail independently - is best done away from the instrument.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    I have done a couple of things, but never really organized it.

    Sight singing. Take a piece of music in standard notation and sing it.

    Listening to a song and trying to figure out the chord changes.

    Same for a solo, or a melody.

    When I was doing formal ear training, I'd sing intervals.

    There are a few things for rhythm. When I first started, I recall sitting on the NYC tapping my foot on the beat and my hand on the upbeat at high tempo.

    More recently, sing quarters and tap two-bar samba tamborim pattern. Harder, for me anyway, than it sounds. Easy enough to tap my foot in quarters and tap my hand in tamborim pattern, but hard to sing the same quarters.

    Then, reverse it. Sing the tamborim and tap the quarters.

    Also, in 2/4 with a 16th subdivision practice tapping or singing different groups of the 16ths.

    Stuff like that.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabor
    when I can not fall asleep instantly - which happens prectically every night -, I am playing through some standards chord progressions. I know it is not an excercise, but it is mental for sure
    Sounds like a great exercise Gabor but doing this is NOT helping you fall asleep, and likely delaying sleep onset. Try running something much simpler and repetitive through your mind. Perhaps focus on slowing your breathing while repeating “in....out” with each respiration.