The Clarinet and Muscle Memory


From third grade up until I graduated, I played the clarinet (which I named, appropriately, Zephyr).  We got to choose instruments in third grade, and, despite my dad’s best interest in almost forcing me to play the saxophone, I chose the clarinet.  I was never great at playing the clarinet, but I did manage get  enjoyment out of playing pieces correctly for audiences and in constantly trying to get better.

This weekend, I decided to pick up my clarinet again and play some easy pieces, much to the dismay of my parents and my husband.  The strangest thing happened: even though I haven’t played it since graduating, my fingers remembered everything.  The same thing happens when I play the piano; often, I forget some of the exact notes that I played,but my fingers remember the position.  Intrigued, I decided to explore this concept a bit further.

I found out that this concept is called muscle memory. (as well as [From third grade up until I graduated, I played the clarinet (which I named, appropriately, Zephyr).  We got to choose instruments in third grade, and, despite my dad’s best interest in almost forcing me to play the saxophone, I chose the clarinet.  I was never great at playing the clarinet, but I did manage get  enjoyment out of playing pieces correctly for audiences and in constantly trying to get better.

This weekend, I decided to pick up my clarinet again and play some easy pieces, much to the dismay of my parents and my husband.  The strangest thing happened: even though I haven’t played it since graduating, my fingers remembered everything.  The same thing happens when I play the piano; often, I forget some of the exact notes that I played,but my fingers remember the position.  Intrigued, I decided to explore this concept a bit further.

I found out that this concept is called muscle memory. (as well as](http://www.dbpeds.org/media/childbrain.pdf) that tells me exactly how I will drive my child to overachievement.) It’s always fascinating to find out how your brain works in real life.  My play time was so enjoyable that I might pick up the clarinet again once we have our own house and are not surrounded on four sides by neighbors.  In the meantime, I can only dream of this (my tryout piece for 1st clarinet in 11th grade.  Obviously I didn’t make it.)

And here’s my horrible Photoshop for today:

Bad Romance