Today. I've decided that today has to be about silence. I won't be playing at all today. I will be trying to carve some quiet time out of the day for rest and reflection and to do the mental practising: what I call "hear-see-feel". This type of practising is for me one of the most important parts of the learning process. It's actually miraculous.
I really don't know if there's any one word that can convey what one does in that process. It is equal parts hearing the music in one's head, seeing the score (and the keys) in one's head, and feeling the keys under one's fingers doing the "choreography" in one's head. I'm not really one to play "air piano" though. What I'm describing is more of an internal process of focusing.
Another really important part of the learning process is sleep. A lot of processing goes on during sleep. I think I heard a radio interview the other night about memory and sleep, but perhaps paradoxically, I don't really remember much about the interview as I was half asleep. Apparently though, some scientists have been studying this subject and concur with this point connecting sleep with memory integration. Especially when I am working on the memorization process, I find naps to be very helpful. Ideally, what works best for me is to work at the data input process for a while, and then lie down for 20 or 30 minutes to let the music integrate before trying to learn some more. Clearly, life doesn't often allow for this luxurious type of process, but wouldn't it be lovely if it did?