MIndful Learning

by Thomas Kikta
The Mindful Learning Series is a compilation of the essential videos from the Online Supplement which accompanies the three-volume Shearer Method.   This 11-part series, representing the cornerstone of Shearer teaching, demonstrates the step-by step process of pre-reading, play and say, air guitar, visualization, and memorization.
Aim Directed Movement using Visualization and MemorizatioN–Part 2

In the last ASF Quarterly Guitar Notes we started discussing Aim Directed Movement using Visualization and Memorization Techniques more specifically Pre-Reading and Playing and Saying to prepare one’s music. I hope that you had an opportunity to try this and are realizing the potential this creates in minimizing error and confusion, while working towards maximizing focus, security and confidence.  This approach is used throughout The Shearer Method and is the cornerstone or Aaron’s teaching. To assist you we’ve put together some very helpful videos to guide you in integrating this into your practice.  Please spend some time reviewing what we’ve prepared and feel free to leave question and comments in our blog that is associated with this presentation.

Preparing your music with pre-reading and playing and saying reinforces very powerful habits that, within a short period of time, will create a realization that you just might have this selection memorized (perhaps feeling a bit soft with it but starting to feel memorization is a not too distant reality).  When this occurs, it’s time to test your memory.
  • Put the guitar down and take the first small segment that you worked on.
  • Look it over to make sure you understand it.
  • Look away and begin to sing or recite the syllabic cues that are the note names.  Saying these syllabic cues will elicit the images of the information on the guitar that will guide you through the segment.
Testing your memory this way becomes a litmus test as to whether you know this segment or not.  Only after testing your memory, do you then pick up the guitar and try playing and saying it slowly from memory.  Working over each of your segments in this manner will begin to solidify your memorization and prove to you that you really do know the piece.  For more details and to really see the benefits of this approach view the following video series:


  1. Luis Gomez

    How you increase your concentration. By memorizing the score I will increase my concentration?

  2. alntom

    Yes Luis,
    To perform a work one must sustain a high level of concentration. To focus on the information that you must execute to successfully perform and not on the fact you are performing is the first discipline a performer must develop. Many students do no work on this until they are performing. They find out that they must concentrate but on what? and why do they keep thinking about the fact that they are performing? and that it’s not going as well as it did back in their studio and a list of other concerns that flood their head because now they have a high level of concern since they are now performing. These are all signs of poor mental discipline. They are not practicing the ability to concentrate.
    When you work on a daily basis the way I illustrate in my videos you are reinforcing the habit of concentrating on information and images that will guide you and help you navigate through your selection. Like a muscle being exercised your ability to concentrate and focus will become stronger. These images will become habit and you will focus on them and not the audience before you. This ultimately frees you to do what people are paying the admission ticket for and that is to be musically expressive.
    If you’re thinking about the fact that you are performing, hoping that the audience is liking what you’re doing, not sure of what the next notes are, why is my tone not as good as it was back stage….if this is what is going through your mind when you perform then you are not doing your job which is to concentrate on navigating the piece and giving it your musical expression which is what people are paying to see. Work the way I prescribe in my videos and you will experience the same security and confidence on stage as you do in your studio, because you are now not only developing the information to perform the music but the mental discipline as well.
    Thomas Kikta

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