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Drumming and Muscle Memory
 by: Jason Palat

Muscle memory is the terminology used by physiologists to describe the phenomenon of skeletal muscle activity that is learned and becomes essentially automic with practice.

Muscle memory plays a major part In the world of drumming as well as other things. Think of when you were first learning to ride a bicyle. You had to concentrate very hard to make all your body parts move in just the right way, as well as balance just right so that you could ride. it seemed very difficult but once you got the hang of it, then riding became a very natural feeling. this same thing happens in drumming. When playing a new beat at first may feel very okward and difficult but with some pratice and repetition that beat begins to feel good and gradually becomes much easier. After some practice these motions require less concentration.

Scientists have discoverd internal brain stuctures that work together with input/output brain structures to form fleeting images in the mind. using these images we interpret input signals, process them and formulate output responses in a deliberate and concious way. Scientists refer to this as kinesthetic memory or neuro-muscle facilitation. where "seeing, thinking, and doing" gets cut down to just "seeing, and doing". muscle memory comes into play by eliminating the thinking process. your muscles begin to know just what to do. and this is when one developes efficentcy to become a much better drummer. once you are capable of playing a beat with out thinking then your mind is free to think of how to make that beat more creative by adding fills, accents, etc. The motions of the basic beat are now almost effortless.

It takes a certain amount of time for your drum beat to feel effortless. First you must create the new motions or pattern, the next step is feeling at ease with those motions. this will not always happen over it can take sometime depending what time signature you are playing. I feel Sometimes its best to make a recording of the new material you are working on. That way when you want to play it again you will have that tape to help guide you.

When the motions of the basic beat become almost effortless. That is where the saying practice makes perfect comes from. How can you be at ease with a beat that now seems hard to you now? Practice and practice some more. and eventually you will be playing that beat with the same amont of effort it takes to walk. when you can play a drum beat and keep a conversation or read a book that is a good indication that your muscle memory has developed just right.

Helping you march to your own beat

About The Author

Jason Palat is the author of this, and many other articles most of which are drumming related more great articles can be found at

This article was posted on March 24, 2007


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