Acquired by repetition muscle memory is a misnomer. It’s actually the neurons that feed the muscles which control memorization. However, to perform music you need more than repetitious muscle movements. Performing effectively requires understanding, listening, and repetitive memorization. Furthermore, when it comes to piano music performance, knowing the music thoroughly cannot be over-emphasized. Analyze the music thoroughly. Know where the modulations and difficult passages are. Knowing the harmony underlying these areas is vital to implement substitutions. In fact, relying only on the magic of muscle memory will result in a crash landing. Muscle memory music memorization.
Performance is stressful
Performance is stressful. Conflict between your mind and hands creates stress. Controlling stress, deliver a good performance is the goal to achieve. Furthermore, stress can be controlled by making creative substitutions in areas of conflict. When your mind and fingers are not in the same place, muscle memory always fails. Knowing the music well allows you to implement substitutions so subtle, audiences won’t recognize disparities. In fact, a perfect execution of printed music is impossible. We are human beings not machines. If the goal is a perfect rendition of the printed music, you’ll fail every single time. Avoid a muscle memory train wreck, analyze the music while your learn it. Listen closely as you practice it, an accept the necessity, to make sensible substitutions. An outstanding performance is controlling stress and courageously applying sensible substitutions when needed.