ADM And Visualization During a Performance
[Originally Posted on December 2, 2010 by Richard Matteson]
Today we’ll look at the role that ADM (Aim Directed Movement) and visualization play during a performance. Aaron Shearer talked about ADM and also about visualization but he never said they were the same- for a reason.
They use similar mental processes. ADM is used to see in advance a single movement form of a series of movement forms. You can use visualization to see, in advance, movement forms (ADM) and/or visualize the melody line (silent solfege) or the rhythm.
So ADM is a subset or a function of visualization- they are not the same.
It’s important to note that both ADM and visualization are products of the conscious mind even if they are part of the subconscious mind. This distinction is important, for the conscious mind should direct the subconscious mind during a performance.
Let’s say you consciously use ADM to learn a piece. This is the best way to learn. You slowly play each movement form with continuity and accuracy (we’ll look at the steps involved in another blog). After several correct repetitions the information is now stored in the subconscious mind. Soon the piece can be played entirely by the subconscious mind much the same way you can drive to work or walk to class and never know how you got there- you’ve done it so many times that the subconscious can perform the task.
If you use ADM consciously at the same time your subconscious mind is playing the piece, you’re reinforcing and directing information that you already know. If something goes wrong or if you want to add expressive phrasing or tone colors, you’re able to do this because your conscious and subconscious are one.
This is especially important when dealing with mistakes during a performance. Your conscious mind has a procedure for the best way to handle mistakes (see my blog: Mistakes During a Performance) and it directs the subconscious so the performance will be the best it can be.
If the conscious mind is not focused on the music and using ADM when something happens- a mistake or a distraction- the subconscious mind will be unable to recover once once the series of connected movements is interrupted.
You’ll be like the driver on autopilot that suddenly realizes another car had lost control and is going to hit him. Too late, too late, too late. The conscious mind was not paying attention.
One of the most important uses of visualization occurs during a *performance before you start playing a piece or suite or sonata. Not only must you use ADM to mentally play through the first movement forms but you’ll need to silently solfege the melody, firmly establishing the first several measures in your mind. Before you begin, you place your fingers to play the very first movement form, then after establishing the correct tempo by gently feeling the pulse with your right toes, you begin.
Too often performers start on shaky ground, not really knowing what they are going to play. Or, in their excitement, they begin playing at a tempo that is much too fast and they’ll never be able to accurately play the piece at that tempo.
More to come—-
*In many recitals the performers memorize the music and do not have the sheet music they are playing on the stage.