Many musicians, after playing for a while, naturally develop this process. However, most of them simply scratch the surface of what you can accomplish with mental imaging.
It may sound hard to believe, but for those who become very proficient at mental imaging can develop just about any aspect of their musicianship (technique, memorization, ear training, theory knowledge etc..) at a much faster rate than without it and without an instrument in their hands.
In my own life, I don't have the amount of time I used to have in order to practice and study music. So my use of mental imaging has become a crucial part of my daily life. I find myself doing it pretty much all day long no matter if I am sitting with my guitar, standing in line at the store or driving in my car. It has become a natural part of my day.
I work out different technical challenges, do ear training and much more without a instrument in sight. But when I pick up my guitar again, everything is there just as if all that time was with an instrument. The key is to be very imaginative with your mental imaging and really try and deeply imagine the feel of the strings and the pick. You want to make it as real as possible in your mind. It will develop a greater sensitivity of technique on the guitar while also allowing your mind to learn the material on a much deeper level that doesn't rely on muscle memory alone for playing the guitar.
I hope you can work on this is your own life and if it has half as much affect on your musicianship and playing as it has on mine, I think you will be glad you gave it a shot. It is a complete game changer.
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