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What is muscle memory and how does it work?

By September 19, 2014 - 4:55pm
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I play piano, and even when I haven't played for a long time, I somehow am able to play parts of songs still. My old piano teacher told me it was because of muscle memory. That really interested me. What is muscle memory? How does muscle memory work?

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Hi Maryann,

That is so interesting and explains muscle memory really well! It absolutely makes sense. There are some tasks I do regularly like typing in a phone number or typing on the keyboard, and they come like second nature now. It's interesting that we become so accustomed to certain tasks and movements, and don't really have to think about doing them.

Thanks for explaining!

September 20, 2014 - 4:13pm

Hello Erin,

That is a very interesting question.

Muscle memory involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems.

Many daily activities, such as playing a musical piece on the piano or typing in your PIN number, become automatic and improve with practice.

I hope this explains it.


September 20, 2014 - 5:57am
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