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Help with acquiring muscle memory?


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On 3/9/2022 at 11:17 AM, Anglo-Irishman said:

To our fingers, it's just a memorised sequence of movements, stored in our hand muscles.

This thread has drifted into discussions of music theory, but in an attempt to bring it back to the original OP I totally agree with Anglo-Irishman about patterns and sequences of movements. In talking with many of the professional Anglo players, for the most part they are not coming from a place of knowing much about theory, and instead talk more about learning basic patterns.

 

I'm sure there is a place for music theory, and there are those to whom this is very important, but for the Anglo a lot of the issues are sorted already. My knowledge of music theory would probably fit comfortably on the head of a pin, but through a lot of trial and error and experimentation I'm able to come up with harmonic arrangements that I'm reasonably happy with. There are some chords I play that I have absolutely no idea what they are, and guess what - I don't care! As long as I like the resultant sound that's good enough for me.

 

I don't think it's just memorized movements by themselves, but movements that are sonically reinforced by what we hear with our ears. The two together, with repetition, create the "muscle memory". There is a section of "Namida no Regret" in D#, almost all on the pull, but after looping it for a full 5 minutes (no cheating) a few times, it's now imprinted and actually easy to play, much to my surprise. The whole subconscious muscle-memory thing is pretty amazing in how it works, I don't fully understand it, but glad to often get to the point where my fingers just know where to go without having to think about it. On the contrary, if I do start thinking about it I usually screw it up!

 

Gary

 

 

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14 hours ago, Jim2010 said:

How are the course materials viewed: website, youtube, zoom, etc.? I couldn't find that information on the linked website. Thank you.

 

The course materials are viewed via the coursera website - once you sign up for free account and sign up for the course you can access each module. 

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5 hours ago, gcoover said:

There is a section of "Namida no Regret" in D#, almost all on the pull, but after looping it for a full 5 minutes (no cheating) a few times, it's now imprinted and actually easy to play, much to my surprise.

 Is this your secret sauce?  I have often wondered how you turn out so many transcriptions.

 

How long is a section?  Just a phrase over and over and over again?

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16 hours ago, Jim2010 said:

How are the course materials viewed:

 

It's a website with a mix of videos, diagrams, articles to read, with quizzes to pass to prove that you have understood stages.

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8 hours ago, Don Taylor said:

How long is a section?  Just a phrase over and over and over again?

I usually do one line at a time, unless there is a really troublesome measure and then it gets extra treatment. And after that the entire A or B or whatever section over and over for 5 real minutes (use a timer!). But it's not just rote repetition - it's focused repetition, really thinking about what goes where and when. And then it's a whole different experience doing the same thing without the crutch of tab or music.

 

Recording helps - but not in the way you think! The immense concentration and repeated takes may or may not result in a satisfactory performance, but I've noticed I'm suddenly playing much better a few days afterwards. My guess is the subconscious wants to make sure you're serious about it first before burning it into memory.

 

As for dealing with distractions, that's a focus issue as well, and not always easy. I know I too often play with my eyes closed or stare into the bellows. But it's best to get so caught up in the music that nothing else matters.

 

Gary

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