Ever have a lick that you play over and over, getting stuck repeatedly?
Try memorizing it.
My office has a window.
I sometimes have students "flash memorize" a measure or two and then look out the window and play the lick a few times from memory while "paying attention" to some detail out the window.
When they return to the printed page, the passage hopefully has been transformed into a kind of icon which evokes the memory of the lick.
A little bit like the My Blocks I talked about a year ago.
This whole business of "paying attention" is interesting. A while back, Itzhak Perlman was interviewed by Mike Wallace. He mentioned practicing scales while watching sports on TV with the sound turned off.
Hmm: watching TV while practicing?
So perhaps the scales are on an "autopilot" level so higher level thinking can be directed to other issues..phrasing, the conductor, etc.
Reminds me of a 1987 movie, "Broadcast News." One scene shows the anchor smoothly delivering the news while the producer speaks to him through his earpiece.
Hmm: speaking while listening?
If you haven't done so, check out the drones on my website. Get together with a friend and try this:
The first person begins a simple theme and the second follows in the manner of a round.
Nothing too complex. Maybe something like this:
Player #2 has a tricky job of both playing and listening. Really keeps you on your toes.