I’ve had a guitar since I was in my early teens (before that, a cello, which my mother had to walk to and from school with, because it was too big for me to carry). During my late teens and early 20s, I was pretty good at it – not band good, but I could make it do what I want and I enjoyed playing it. The trouble is, I’d stop playing for weeks, sometimes months and then forget my chords, notes and the songs I’d learned and have to re-learn everything.
This happened again recently – my son has started guitar lessons and this piqued my interest as I twanged away on his 3/4 size classical, so I got mine out, replaced the strings and … blanked. I’d forgotten most of the stuff (again). I can remember Knockin’ on Heavens door, but that’s about it.
I’ve had to relearn everything again and this got me thinking. It’s like a analogous to most other things in my life, if I don’t do them regularly, I forgot how. Like playing board games, setting up symfony2 or running a retrospective. I have the idea that I can do it, as I have done it in the past, but the doing it eludes me until I’ve spent some time with it.
So, remember to practise things, even if it’s not daily – keep your hand in the game and work out your muscle memory. It’s a pain having to relearn everything (even if it does take less time), especially we you can be learning new stuff, instead of relearning old stuff.