As an aid to playing better, I have a couple of accessories - the first being a tablet computer holder which clamps to my guitar stand.
The holder keeps the tablet in the right place to watch the Justin Guitar app for songs, or just watching other helpful stuff.
I have just added another item to the list of accessories - a simple A4 sized acrylic mirror.
This just fits in the tablet holder, so I can put the stand in front of me and see all the fingerboard and my strumming/picking hand. A4 is just the right size for this, no superfluous space (I really don’t need to see my wincing face as I mess up!).
The fact that it is acrylic means I am not going to break it in a hurry (I know Polycarbonate is stronger, but more expensive - this cost less than £7 from Amazon) and just gets stored in it’s envelope when not in use.
Using the mirror means I don’t need to look down at my fretting hand so much - this helps with my neck problems a lot. I have also found that it complicates things if I try to concentrate on it for stuff like scales though! Viewing a mirror image of where my hand is is not the best thing when my brain already knows the scale, though making sure I pluck the correct string is helpful. *
I will now have to get a simple mount for the mirror so I can use it at the same time as the Tablet Computer, which shouldn’t be an expensive addition either.
*The mirrored image effect on confusing the brain whilst trying to perform tasks one already knows how to do is well known. Physios and neurologists use it sometimes - it forces the brain to ‘think’ rather than just ‘do’
Have you tried just using your tablet in camera mode set so it is not a mirror image? Maybe that would work, but I find it also hard, because my brain also expects to see a mirror image not a true image on the camera. I sometimes think my brain is out to get me….
Using mirror mode on the tablet is possible, but I haven’t found a way to leave it on permanently (it times out after a few minutes unless recording)
The other problem with using the tablet is the lighting needs to be good, so that the camera has a decent level of contrast. Another obvious issue would be needing two tablets if I wanted to use the Guitar App! £7 for a mirror and another £10 or around there for a mount (unless I can cannibalise some of my other bits stuck in drawers etc!)
The brain really has issues coping with complex stuff in a mirror. Using a ‘true’ image is just as bad as a mirror image if one wants to do anything more than just check finger placement. I can’t remember the details of when I learned this technique as a Sports Therapist - maybe the senior Physio was just torturing us by having us draw circles and squares using a mirror!
It is likely to do with the same centre of the brain that reverses our vision (you’re aware that what we see…well, isn’t what we see…our vision is upside down and back to front!)
Either way, it can be confusing.
I am confused enough without all the smoke and mirrors…
I like the mirror usage. A musician friend suggested to me years ago that playing standing up in front of a mirror is a great way to improve your stage presence. I’ve found that to be very helpful.
Another musician friend encouraged me to learn my songs from memory and not rely on song sheets / ipad to play them and that’s also been very helpful.
The bit about memorising songs is something we all need to do - relying on paperwork or ipads is a bit clumsy. As I am a beginner, I am just going along with the songs on the justinguitar app, though not as frequently as I would like, or I just print off the tab (or more likely chord sequence) for any song at the minute.
The Guitar stand does make a very useful tool apart from holding the guitar. The Tablet holder clamps on to it and doesnt touch the guitar neck when not in use, and I just need to get another unit the same to mount the mirror and tablet together.
As for the mirror improving stage presence, it is a great idea - I don’t think I’ll be needing one for that though, as sweeping the stage doesn’t really need much practice