Visualization is mental rehearsal: It Boosts Guitar Skills

Rewiring the brain

By Aditya Shukla, Psychologist, Musician, Entrepreneur


Visualizations help musicians and sportspeople perform better, and can also help others overcome fears like stage fright and lower performance anxiety.

The concept

Think of visualizations as mental practice. It is symbolically rehearsing your skill in the absence of accurate physical movements.

Real vs. Visualization gains

Physical practice is 10 times better than no practice, and mental practice is 5 times better than no practice. And mental practice is half as good as physical practice.

PP = 2MP = 10NP

Physical practice (PP) No practice (NP) Mental practice (MP).

Neural Replay

When you visualize something you know in its ideal form, the brain replays the neurons that "hold" information about the riff or piece. The replay strengthens the neurons without physical playing.

Muscle signaling

When you imagine yourself play, the brain sends weak signals to your finger and arm muscles as if they are supposed to play. This prepares the muscles to play better.


When you visualize yourself play correctly, you motivate yourself because the riff/music is now more familiar to the brain. Familiar = motivated brain.