Also known as “the art of internalization” or running through the music in your mind.
Access to your instrument
One of the biggest obstacles to learning to play the church organ is not having a full pedalboard at home.
Having to practise at the church on cold dark nights, sometimes in the middle of a graveyard, is not much fun – unless you have been bitten on the neck lately!
Although there is no real substitute for the real thing, running through the music in your mind can help a lot.
Ways to internalize music
Visualize the keyboard and pedalboard in your mind.
Imagine the physical act of playing short phrases – the movements of hands and feet.
Try to hear in your head the sound as you play the music in your mind – see your hands and feet in your minds eye – also imagine how it feels.
Knowing the harmony (chords) of each hymn or piece also helps the process. Being able to play a piece from memory makes internalizing music so much easier.
A lot of memorization can be done away from the instrument – either by just reading through the music and sorting out fingering and which foot plays the notes on the pedalboard, or running through the music in your mind with your eyes closed.
Bit by bit
It’s also good to do this with hands separately – RH, LH and pedals.
Then RH and pedals, LH and pedals – then the whole lot!
Professional musicians spend a lot of time traveling and often use this time to practise in their head. Having played an instrument for a long time means that it’s easier to visualize the keys etc. However, even if you’ve only just started to learn, you can still begin the process of internalization and practising away from your instrument.