Using and developing your sensory memory can expand your musical world into places you never expected. It can enable you to learn, practice and create music with ease. Here is some of the ways I which I use sensory memory in my music.
01. It allows me to learn lyrics easily. I can also remember them years or months later.
02. Chord progressions can be put to memory, including the number of bars for each chord, and chord extensions.
03. I also use my sensory memory to absorb vocal melodies.
04. Using sensory memory to remember guitar riffs and solos.
This is what I use it for, and you can use it for whatever musical aspect you want, and for whatever instrument.
Using sensory memory in music is using any of your senses to help you to absorb musical information:
Visual Memory. When you remember what happened in the past as an image or picture, you are using your visual memory. Think about your last holiday, can you see the place you stayed, the places you went to? That is using your visual memory.
Auditory Memory. Remembering some music and being able to play it again in your head is using your auditory memory.
Kinaesthetic Memory. Using feelings to absorb information. When someone hears a song they played over and over when they split up with a girlfriend/boyfriend, and they remember the feelings of what it was like to break up with them, they are using their kinaesthetic memory.
You will probably find that certain senses work better for remembering than others. This is just how you are at the moment, and you can develop your sense memory in any way you like. The important think is to start a habit of using these senses in a conscious way to remember more musical information. That way you will begin to discover what works for you, and what not to use. You will probably change and develop your sense memory all the time.
The best way to begin is to introduce a little bit of sensory memory into your everyday life. You will need to use it throughout the day, not just when you play or listen to music.
These steps will help you to have a base memory which you can use to put you into a better mental state before playing. I have built up a strong visual, auditory and kinaesthetic memory that I immerse myself into before playing. Now I want you to begin to build up your own memory that will put you in a great relaxed state to begin a great playing session.
01. Become aware of your breathing. Whether it is fast or slow, just observe it, try not to change it.
02. Imagine a place where you would love to play, where there are no worries in the world. You may choose a real or imaginary place, it may be indoors or outdoors. Try to imagine a few details to put into the memory, such as the colour of the sky or some furniture. Just aim for one or two details rather than trying to pick out every last detail. Maybe you can hear some sounds, such as birdsong. Can you add a sense of how it feels to be in this place. Make sure that the place is positive for you, and is somewhere you would feel comfortable and optimistic.
03. Imagine yourself picking up your instrument. Imagine yourself begin to play in an effortless way, amazed at how easy it is! You hear sublime sounds from your instrument, the best music you can imagine playing on your instrument. You feel completely at one with your instrument. The important thing is to imagine everything you want from your playing. It has nothing how you play now but how to really want to play.
04. Once you have set up the memory, come back to it throughout the day. Get a sense of the place you play in, and maybe a few details of the place. Once you have done that get a sense of the music you begin to play, and how great it sounds to play, how great it feels to play that music.
05. Before you begin to play music, revisit the base memory to put you into a great state for playing.
Set up the base memory, try it for a week. Notice how it transforms your music in ways you never expected.
Chris Beckett gives online music lessons in using sensory memory and other techniques to improve their playing of music. He has studied Philosophy and Psychology at university, and has a diploma in contemporary popular music, and has practiced NLP for eight years.