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Dirty-South Blues Harp forum: wail on! > Silent ”brain practise”
Silent ”brain practise”
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243 posts
Dec 04, 2020
5:20 PM
Piano players back in the day, before iPads and such, who travelled by let’s say a train to a gig, couldn’t practise on an actual piano, so they just brought the keyboard layout ... on cardboard or what ever.
At home I just can not play harmonica... because my dogs starts to ... you know ... sing. Even though my dogs are quite musical and are trying to find the right pitch, it’s really annoying to my family and some of my neighbours.
So, I came up with the idea ... That should work with harmonica too. You know, to check the muscle memory.
I picked up one of my harps and tried this ”mute playing” right away, and was amazed by what happened in my head. I heard music. In the beginning I just heard music that was already recorded by my brain, but then frasing happened and was making music that I’ve never played before and I heard it in my head. I thought, wow! So I extrapolated my new chops IRL and it sounded exactly the same.
Are you still with me? I know this might sound weird.
Then I remembered Lee Sankey’s work about what he calls the ”Brainstrument”, wich actually is more about visualizing the tone layout with also a cross reference to another instrument’ s tone layout as a base to your major instrument.
The tone, the tone ... and the Tone
244 posts
Dec 04, 2020
6:14 PM
... and please x-use my English ... hope U still get the Mojo of my post
The tone, the tone ... and the Tone

Last Edited by S-harp on Dec 04, 2020 6:15 PM
3285 posts
Dec 05, 2020
4:28 AM
I do get that although I've not tried it. I often have things running around in my brain as I go about my day's duties and can't grab a harp. Cover songs and even original material is in this imagining process, where I hear the progression in my head. Many times this is how a new song comes to be. Later on I actually get lyrics written and then get with my songwriting partner and we create an actual song.
This is not quite the same as you describe S-harp but it points out how the mind is an integral part of making music.
Music and travel destroy prejudice.




65 posts
Dec 05, 2020
11:42 AM
I do this... when learning a new piece of music, I will use an opportunity to look at the sheet music, and “play it” in my head. If I had to break it down, I would visualize how my embouchure would feel as well as what hole I would be at (In terms of feel- in relation to my mouth and hand).

Also running through scales and arpeggios are aided with this technique.
10322 posts
Dec 05, 2020
12:28 PM
I do this.

Not quite the same thing, but related, I remember a study where they split two groups of kids up and had half of them practice basketball every day, and half practice every other day but do visualization exercises on the off day. The second group got better faster.

/The study didn't, to my knowledge, break down to see if you practiced every day AND did visualization how you'd do though.

I also, when there are dogs around, practice playing as quietly as possible. It's a good breath control exercise, and not a bad way to check just how responsive your harp is. You can also work on getting a super tight cup on the harp. You can just about kill the sound completely if you get your cup tight enough.

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First Post- May 8, 2009
380 posts
Dec 05, 2020
2:59 PM
My dog is from Mississippi. She likes the harmonica.
647 posts
Dec 05, 2020
3:11 PM
I used this type of practice after I had some oral surgery done. It's effective.

Adam Neely talks about this type of mental practice in the video here:
Marc Graci
YouTube Channel

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