Monday, May 9, 2011

Role of the Subconscious Mind

Role of the Subconscious Mind
[Originally posted on November 24, 2010 by Richard Matteson


This is one area that Aaron Shearer didn’t write about- the role of the subconscious mind during a performance. Aaron was too practical to give too much credence to the unseen and unknown. I had several fascinating conversations with Aaron in his condominium in Winston-Salem in the 1980s about the subconscious mind but he wasn’t interested in including the topic in his books.

The unconscious or subconscious mind governs most of our daily activities- we don’t know how we talk, we don’t know how we walk, we don’t know how we drive our cars- yet we do. These are activities performed by the subconscious mind.

Different parts of the brain process different bits of info but it’s easier to understand if we simplify it to two parts: the conscious and subconscious.

After the subconscious mind gets the information from the conscious mind on how to play a new piece of music, the info is processed and soon becomes part of the vast storehouse of information the subconscious mind.

When we play music, we have little conscious understanding of what we are doing. Even our reading skills- like our walking and talking skills- are seated in the subconscious.

So if we learned and/or memorized the music correctly or if we are reading the music correctly the subconscious mind will play it correctly- unless- unless the conscious mind interferes.

This happens frequently during performances- the conscious mind has nothing to do and starts thinking about the wrong things- “Oh, there’s my music teacher- I’ll never be able to play this in front of him/her.”

It’s how we use our conscious mind to properly direct our subconscious mind that is the issue. We can learn to focus our minds on the music using mental solfege and ADM (Aim Directed Movement). By learning to aid the subconscious mind instead of hindering it we become able to truly perform and bring the music to a new level.

We need to carefully explore the relationship of the conscious mind and subconscious mind and the steps we need to take to provide the best direction for the subconscious mind.

More to come———

Richard Matteson

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