Anyone whose played an instrument, danced, or done anything physical for that matter should be familiar with the idea of muscle memory. I play the piano, and can sight read if necessary, but I much prefer to practice and practice until the notes are in my muscle memory. This is mostly because I get so nervous playing in front of other people that I have to be able to play on autopilot. But also because when I have the strength to pull out of my mindless playing, I can focus on putting all of myself into that moment instead of thinking about what will come next, my fingers are sure.
I've often worried that this preference holds me back. I remember comparing in my mind a beautiful but rehearsed performance to my spontaneous and horrible accompanying in Relief Society. I fear that I am just a performer. My creativity is carefully wrought and analyzed, and often keeps me from being spontaneous around many people. Judgement. I fear being mediocre. It seems that many of the brilliant people of the world were also insane, they had no inhibitions, and their insanity created fodder for their craft. My life is prosaic. Sometimes I envy the insane. But prosaic can also be beautiful. I think I will post the beginning of my latest piece. Let me know what you think.
But back to the whole reason I am writing this. Two sundays ago I approached the piano to play one of my favorite pieces, Adagio Cantabile by Beethoven. I haven't played this song in almost a year, but my fingers still remembered this old friend. There were a couple rough spots, and it didn't help that the e sticks on this particular piano, but I made it through the majority of the piece without mistake (Especially if I didn't try to read the notes and just let go). I was shocked that the music was still in my muscle memory; I also have such an emotional connection with this piece, its as if it is now a physical part of me. I hope so at least.