How does M.S. Dhoni instinctively hit the most powerful shots with the perfect stance and follow through? How does Sunil Chhetri intuitively hit the ball in the perfect place with the perfect part of his foot? How do your favourite beatboxers produce the most complex of beat patterns without consciously thinking about every single sound in order? What makes these seemingly superhuman feats possible and spontaneous is one thing. Muscle Memory.
Muscle Memory is the ability of your muscles to retain information and knowledge for long periods of time, and much like your arms and legs, your throat, tongue and mouth also have muscles which can retain information. Think about getting up to brush your teeth, or packing your bag, or even eating food – your muscles take on a life of their own, simply because you’ve done the action so many times. This is what allows you to build these into complex actions, that you can perform without thinking about it.
This information also extends to beatboxing. Right now, you may be struggling and huffing and puffing over the kick-drum, hi-hat and snares, because these are not instinctive sounds for us. We did not grow up making these sounds – and beatboxers are the first to agree, making your mouth do these things feels weird. But this is a journey everyone has to go on, because there is no point in learning complex sounds and patterns until you can master the basic ones. And even then, muscle memory is a huge part of beatboxing — there’s muscle memory in the way your tongue is supposed to move while doing a tkk pattern, or how loose you need to make your lips when you do different kinds of liprolls, and even how much your throat needs to stretch or contract while doing variations of the throat bass and inward bass.
So, if you wish to do the craziest patterns and beats or even make the sounds you already have in your arsenal more consistent and sharp, developing a muscle memory for them is necessary. And how does one form muscle memory? Why, practice of course! It may take hours and hours of practice spread over days or even months for you to be able to do and fit the beat pattern into your freestyles and routines, almost subconsciously.
However, once your muscles get the hang of it, there’s no stopping your mouth from going berserk at your command. We promise.
So, practice away!