I’m waking up with songs in my head, rollicking music like “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” (from Mary Poppins) and the gutsy “Defying Gravity” (from Wicked, though my version is from Glee) among others. Too late to go back to sleep… let’s all go fly a kite!
Why ear worm show tunes in the early hours? It’s all because I sat down at the piano for the first time in almost thirty years, and I discovered that I still play. These songs aren’t among those I learned in childhood, but I also found that I still read music.
How wonderful to recall how to translate a basic musical score into complex hand movements (only producing an occasional squawk, and fewer with each repetition). This is the magic of musical muscle memory. It doesn’t happen in the muscles but in the brain, “through interconnected neural networks where information can be transmitted across multiple brain regions.”
How about that connectivity?! I’m grateful that I learned to play as a kid, so I had time to consolidate memories of these motor skills. All those hours of practice live in us and may even come out to play when we invite them to, even decades later.
On a related note, I saw this in today’s New York Times: Mapping the Brain with The Human Connectome Project, research about the brain in action.