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How Visualization Can Make You A Better Musician

Even if you are just beginning to play guitar- using visualization as a part of your practice routine will help you improve quickly. Visualization the formation of a mental image of something, in this case, chords, scales or anything related to guitar playing. If you are familiar with sports at all, you may have heard the phrase "see it before you do it'. This applies to playing guitar as well. If you are going to be a great musician you have to be able to see things before you play them.

If you aren't sure what I mean, try this exercise:

  • Without picking up your guitar, can you visualize what a C chord looks like? What fingers do you use to play the chord? What frets are those fingers on? How hard do you have to press down to make the notes ring out? Are there any open strings (strings that you don't have to press down on) for this chord? Which strings are they? What does the chord sound like?
  • Repeat this same exercise for every chord and scale that you know. Can you do all of this perfectly, every single time?

If you can do all of those perfectly, without picking up your guitar, then congratulations, you are great at using visualization and have are many steps ahead of those that cannot do this. If you needed to pick up your guitar for any part of this exercise, then it should now be clear that you need more work in this area of your playing.

When you are practicing, set aside 5 minutes per practice session where you put your guitar down and practice visualizing. Start with visualizing one chord until you see it perfectly in your mind. You can also use visualization for chord changes and seeing how your hands move effortlessly from chord to chord.

After you finish visualizing, pick up your guitar and see what the results are. This may take a few tries to start to get the hang of it but stay with it. It will pay off in a big way for you.

Byron Marks
Guitar Lessons in Manchester NH
When You Want, Demand and Expect To Be Great, These Are the Lessons For You!

@pauljones   10 months ago
Very interesting info Byron. I guess I can visualize some scales and chords, but not without a good amount of effort! I've heard about the benefits of visualizing endless times, I will try these exercises especially with chord changes, which is where I have the most trouble moving fast. I'm sure it will pay off, thanks for the tips!
@manchgtrlessons   10 months ago
Visualization is a very important part of being a great musician. Definitely start practicing it consistently and you will see how it pays off and makes you a better player. The best thing is that you don't even have to be near your guitar to do it.
Savo Kostic
@savo-kostic   10 months ago
I find myself ''playing'' imaginary guitar while walking down the street, or while waiting on traffic light to turn green, and I totally understand what you are writing about. Honestly, my playing skills have improved since I start doing it, so I hardly recommend other users start practicing it. Tell me, do you have some useful tips about practicing transposition? I have a really deep voice, and from time to time I like to sing some song, but their original key is too high for me. Thanks you!
@manchgtrlessons   10 months ago
Thank you for the kind words. As far as tips for practicing transcribing, I would start with working on your ear training, work on hearing intervals (the distance between any two notes) and also chord types. When you get a better grasp on those you will find transcribing things by voice much easier.

Hope that helps
Savo Kostic
@savo-kostic   10 months ago
Thank you on your replay, I guess that once I start hearing imaginary intervals in my head - that my transposing skills will improve as well! xD Take care.