Tips, Techniques, Examples about my favorite musical instrument, the Twelve-String Guitar.

If you play guitar check out Playing Technique, or Strings / Setup. There are also some interesting posts about guitars at, you guessed it, Guitars.

If you want to spread your musical talents around, you will find some good info at Recording.

Marketing - meh - I'm probably the world's best bad example. Although you could find funny stuff there.

I've made some music videos through the years, and you can find them and other interesting music at Music I Like, Music I Play.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Muscle memory

One of the good folks that populate (RMCG) suggested that I depend on muscle memory to increase the speed of the Bach piece that I've been working on recently. I pointed out that I've been playing it for 20 years, so my muscles have, I hope, memorized it. But it raises an interesting subject.

It seems that the most awkward hand movements when playing can become quite easy and natural with practice. I think this is what is commonly referred to as "muscle memory". For me, the process seems to take a few hours of playing, but not all at once. Breaks from playing the same thing over and over seem to accelerate the learning process. Something happens during a break of, for instance, 10 minutes, so that coming back to a piece is like returning with new hands and brain.

The new left hand positions for BWV999 that I described in a previous post were imprinted fairly quickly, over-writing what I had been doing for 20 years. It helped when I could see the logic of the positions, how anchor fingers glided down the frets. This seemed to convince some part of me that, yes, this was worth doing. Now, after a few days, my right hand doesn't seem to believe that my left hand is already in position and messes up. Bad hand! More practice for you.

I don't think I've pushed myself nearly to the limit of "muscle memory".

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