Would you want it to? What about a guitar?
While it is more challenging, it is possible to develop a skill that will help you gain the music-the-muscle-memory that will help you keep moving forward without getting bored.
“It’s not just about being able to play an entire melody. That’s not good enough,” said Michael J. Phelan, an assistant professor of music at Carnegie Mellon University. “If you can master certain intervals and melodies, you can do anything the rest of the world can do.”
A few examples from Phelan’s book, “The Art and Science of Perfection:”
“The melody is perfect — it sounds good. Now come up with ‘the lick.’ First, practice it until you can play it well. Your goal is to learn how to play a melody perfectly: that is, so the mind doesn’t lose track of it while you focus on how to move it.”
Now, Phelan says, try to put this into practice. He suggests learning to play a series of notes in a certain sequence, then making small-scale changes that bring the melody back to the original.
“A beginner might say, ‘How do I know when to play the next note? I don’t know how to do that correctly.’ Then you say, ‘What if I try to play another note from the exact same key, but use the same progression of notes?’ And there you are. You are getting that sound.”
Phelan says practicing “perfectly” can be tricky to pull off as much as people try to do. But he says it can help give your hands a little bit of a memory booster — and give you the confidence to try different approaches without getting burnt out.
“To me, this was one of the most remarkable findings of the research, to see a pattern emerge from a very complicated question and a lot of variability,” he said.
Phelan says that the trick of improving your technique should work in any context — as long as it’s done slowly and in a safe, controlled environment.
“The thing is, I still think people will do amazing things with this simple strategy,” said Phelan, also co-director of the Music Cognition Program and the Center for Music Cognition in Music Education at Carnegie Mellon University. “No, I don’t think it can be done at super speed. But it can be done with the right amount
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