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Thinking without language?

Sebastian Diel sedi at dorf.wh.uni-dortmund.de
Wed Nov 24 04:56:21 EST 1999



John Turnbull schrieb:

>         Would any kind of detailed thinking be a distraction to performing
>         well?  

Not nessecarily. Sometimes it is better to keep your left brain working
on something different so it won't disturb the right brain doing its
job. Really. With my pupils I sometimes practice things like that.

>         Are the thoughts more on a macro scale, and not on the micro
>         scale of which notes do I play, how do I play them, how would I
>         play louder?

Hm. If I understand you correctly: yes. If you can _really_ play a tune
the thoughts refer to structure and feeling of the song, the technical
things are working better while not thinking about it. I am a trumpeter,
and if you want to reach high pitched tones on a trumpet, everything
(breathing in, muscle relaxation, muscle tension, throat openness,
tongue position, lip tension etc..) must work absolutely perfectly
together, or the air won't flow the way it should and you won't make it.
It is impossible to control these factors consciously. It's hard enough
to control even one. If you concentrate on one factor, you always tend
to cramp and the other factors get worse. So 

> 
>         When improvising, do you ever surprise yourself?  

Absolutely. How should I know what I feel before I hear what I play? ;)
I can distinguish two modes in my improvising: 

1.) Closing my eyes letting it flow (I can actually read the newspaper
while doing this, then of course with eyes opened again :))  I associate
this with right brain hemisphere.

2.) Looking at the harmonic structure while thinking very conciously of
what scales or patterns I can play over it. I associate this with left
brain hemisphere.

1.) sounds better, is lively and 'real', I could watch TV or read
newspaper meanwhile. 2.) sounds more mechanically but helps you to
evolve your variability. My aim is to narrow the gap between both
worlds. To let the flow come out of my heart but still be able to get a
few left-brain ideas into the sound. But it is not easy to switch
between, let alone to combine these 'modes'.



>         The closest I've
>         come recently is sparring in the martial arts.  When I spar best
>         I've tagged my partner before I realize what I'm going to do.  That
>         to me indicates activity below the level of conscious thought.

IMHO it is comparable in the aspect of realizing the power and speed of
this 'mode'. The right brain works as a whole, thus fast and impulsive,
the left analytical, thus evolved but slow and only one-at-a-time. 


SeDi *hoping my english to be understandable, no native speaker*




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