I’m a person with a very visual memory. I think in picture which, if I need to speak or write, I translate into words. When I am reading, all the words translate into images and the story unrolls in my mind like a film and surrounds me. Music is also stored as images rather than directly as sound. Everything in my brain is visual; it is all translated from the pictures when I communicate.
To learn a song I practice it over and over and over again until pictures flow in patterns in my mind. Those images hold the music that I wanted to learn. It takes a lot of practice to move sounds into images. I learn music rather slowly because of this.
To remember a song I know, first I think and let the images rise in my mind. Colors, movement, shapes, and all sorts of painterly or even photographic images come to mind and if I relax and allow it to work, the notes of the music will rise slowly out of the images until I can actually hear it all, words, notes, and accompaniment, in my head. Once I can hear the music, I can sing it.
Even though all of this is visual, I am not particularly good at drawing and my color sense is poor. All those mental images storing every subject I have ever studied, including genetics and theology, literature, history, and music. It all begins in my mind with pictures.
Please don’t ask me to describe in words the pictures that hold the music. It doesn’t work like that. Images that store one type of information will give back the same information that created those pictures. Images that produce words were made from words that are written and not from notes or lyrics that are sung. Images created while memorizing music will give back that music, as it was learned, and not some other set of information. It requires a whole new set of words to describe the images and sometimes the effort will invalidate them and the material they stored can get lost.
Learning to play an instrument is another kind of translation. I can learn and sing music. Will I ever become proficient at learning that same music so that it translates from images to sound I hear and then is translated again into music played on an instrument? I don’t actually know.
I wonder if I learned something by ear instead of from sheet music, would that help the pictures form sooner or would it take longer? If I am learning to play music, I wonder if having the lyrics helps me or makes learning to play the music on an instrument more difficult. After all, every layer of translation I have to create slows down the process.
This is how my mind works. I wonder how it works in the minds of my children?
Dear Lord, please help me to recognize that my children may learn in very different ways from mine. Please grant me the wisdom to see their ways of learning and tailor how I teach accordingly. Thank You for the pictures and the music in my mind. Amen.