Chris Broderick: visualise what your playing

You have such a wide variety of musical knowledge, whether we’re talking about your classical training or your metal experience. Can you suggest some particular methods or techniques that you feel will really take someone’s playing to the next level?
I think the big thing that I always discounted in the beginning even though I read studies on it was the idea of visual practice. A lot of studies have stated that visual practice is about 80 percent effective as doing real guitar in-hand practice. So whether you’re sitting down just listening to a metronome and visualizing yourself playing something or you’re actually doing it, it’s actually almost as beneficial. In a way, it’s actually started to really help me – even when I have the instrument on my hands. Instead of looking at my hands, I’ll be looking out at the crowd. I’ll be visualizing what I’m playing as I’m playing it instead of watching what I’m doing on the fretboard. I think that’s a huge thing that people can do or use as an aide. Not only that, in your mind you can play anything perfect, right? You want to make sure that when you do visual practice that you always visualize it being played perfectly.
Where did you originally hear about the idea of visual practice? 
There are studies that I had read about. Some of my prior classical instructors talked about it. I remember reading an article in which Eliot Fisk was on a plane to a gig. He had to play a piece that he had never played before. He gets on the plane and opens up the music, and he starts reading the music and starts to visualize playing it. By the time he landed, he was actually able to execute the piece and play the piece. It’s a huge benefit because you can’t pull your guitar out when you’re in coach! more