The Importance of Repetition & Muscle memory

This is an issue I discuss a lot with my students. Practicing. I know how it is, sometimes it's hard to practice, hard to make the time, hard to get in that frame of mind. But practice is as important as anything we do. Practice enables us to play. To play with a sense of freedom and adventure.

No one wants to struggle during a performance. No one wants to make mistakes or just get by. We've all had those nights when we just couldn't seem to do anything right. But we've also had those nights when everything just flowed from our hands like we were anointed by the drum gods themselves. But how do we struggle less and feel anointed more?

Practice Indeed Makes Perfect

Practice also releases us from the struggle. Think of your favorite athletes. They practice a lot. They hit/throw/kick the ball over & over & over. Then they do it some more. Why? Because they want their motions to become second nature, to become a very part of them. When you practice, it's a very deliberate activity. You are paying attention. Paying attention to your form, your motion, your thoughts. You are working to be able to fluidly recreate the same motions over & over. This is muscle memory. This is point where you don't even have to think about how to do something because your muscles just do it. 

When you Practice, Think. When you Play, Do.

It's at this point that you need to learn how to get out of your own way. Trust is the first step. You must trust that you know how to do it. And that's where the repetition of practice, over & over, comes in. You need to get to the point where your moves are not thought about, but become instinct. Practice is all about thinking. Performing is all about reacting. When someone throws a ball at you, do you stand there thinking about what you should do and let the ball hit you in the head? Or do you instinctively, without any thinking, reach up and catch the ball? 

The 5 Rules to Musical Success:

  1. Practice
  2. Practice some more
  3. Practice some more still
  4. Keep on practicing
  5. Repeat 1-4
Seriously. You need to make everything you do instinctive, intuitive, internal. 

Now stop reading this and go practice something:

~ MB


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