Tag Archives: memory formation

Memory and falling dominoes

The Starry Night is regarded as one of Vincent Van Gogh’s best works and is probably one of the most well-known images in art, having been appropriated for everything from mugs to mouse pads to desktop wallpaper.

Van Gogh's The Starry Night

Van Gogh’s The Starry Night

I recently happened upon a very unusual version of Starry Night – a video of the iconic image created by falling dominoes.  As I watched the dominoes fall (or not, in some cases), it struck me that the falling dominoes are a perfect analogy for motor programs in the brain as we perform a piece from memory.

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Just sleep on it!

TiredMy last semester of college was difficult.  My senior recital was scheduled for late March, I had grad school auditions, a tough course load, was teaching quite a few students in the school’s prep division, and of course was practicing a lot of hours for my senior recital.  One evening as I was trying to memorize the Bartok Sonata after a particularly trying day, I was so tired I put my head down on the piano and drifted off.  As is the case in many music schools, the practice room doors all had small windows so other students could look in to see if anyone was using the room.  I have no idea how long I was out, but I was awakened by a couple of voices saying “wonder what she’s doing.  Must be a new way of memorizing.”  Turns out they may have been more right than they, or I, knew.

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