finger memory

I picked up the guitar for the first time in months, years, at the weekend. How was it that I could play, without much struggle, songs I wrote over 2O years ago? I put it down to finger memory but what’s that, and why can’t I recall piano in the same way despite being able to play to a higher standard?

Here’s a definition I found. Turns out there is some disagreement in the combination of processes involved but repetition is key, as is avoiding disrupting the retention of motor patterns by moving too quickly to another practical task. It’s also considered important to correct mistakes straight away so they don’t replace chunks of the retained memories. Phew. Still, amazing ain’t it.

“Motor learning is considerably more than just muscle memory. It relies on the establishment of complex neural networks throughout the human movement system fostered through considered practice repetition in appropriate environments.”

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