Toggle menu
973-585-7671 (New Jersey)

Vivaldi's Girls: Practice Can Make Perfect

Posted by Judy on Aug 30th 2022

Tucked into our brains are the mysterious channels of memory: one special kind memory is called "procedural memory." It is the process of knowing how.

It is procedural memory that lets us, after many years, ride a bike, swim, or type without thinking about the keys. Procedural memory guides the processes we perform, and most frequently resides below the level of conscious awareness.

Procedural memory is created through procedural learning, or repeating a complex activity over and over again until all of the relevant neural systems work together to produce the activity. Some say it is procedural memory that makes experts and geniuses, more than genetics, more than brain power, more than special gifts. 

A famous example is a group of 18th-century orphaned girls taught the violin by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi. The children came from impoverished backgrounds before being taken into a church-run orphanage. Nonetheless, after years of instruction by the famous composer, a stunning 30 percent of the orphaned girls developed prodigious musical abilities -- a far higher percentage of musical prodigies than would be found in the average population of girls.

Practice, it seems, really can make perfect.