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Refinement of Neural Circuits of Virtuoso Pianists
 

The goal of every piano virtuoso should be to increase the amount of salutory conduction (Latin for to leap) with action potential which is a spike in positive and negative discharge that happens as nerve impulses leap from one node to the next along the myelinated axon. This exchange of ions takes place in the nodes of Ranvier, also known as myelin sheath gaps. The refinement of these neural circuits is the basis for the efficency of a pianist firing out signals (nerve impulses) from the neocortex to the destinations that facilitate the necessary motor movements.

Myelin sheath is the soft white fatty substance that functions like insulation in an electrical wire. It prevents signals from getting mixed up and increases the speed at which they travel. The most important variable is not the amount of myelin sheath, but the size of the disconnections in the myelin sheath also known as the nodes of Ranvier. The larger the disconnection the faster the speed at which the nerve impulses will travel. Too much myelin sheath could result in smaller gaps between the nodes, and thus slower nerve impulses. 

Nerve impulses can travel at speeds of  up to 200mph.

The goal of every virtuoso should be to create the most efficient neural structures that facilitate the fastest interactions between neurons. This can be achieved through both physical and mental activity as well as diet. Let's start with diet. The chemical that makes the synapses function is acetylcholine which is synthesized by the liver from choline which comes from egg yolks and legumes. A healthy diet for piano virtiuoso should include a daily dose of either one of these foods. 







   
The physical difference between a virtuoso composer and a non creative virtuoso is that the non creative musician does not develop the ability to fire out custom signals from the neocortex to the destinations that facilitate the necessary motor movements. Here's what I mean by custom signals. The process of virtuoso composition includes imagination of technique that may or may not be physically possible. When I create a new technique in my mind, I want to know what it sounds like immediately, not a few weeks down the road after it is methodically practiced. I force myself to play the passages without any practice. Doing this year after year is the most efficient way to develop salutory conduction where the nerve impulses are skipping down the myelinated axon at the fastest speed. This will eventually lead to the pianist having the ability to fire out custom signals. It is a necessary component when the pianist is playing extended passages of alternating octaves where the hands move in opposite directions over and over. A pianist who can't fire out the necessary custom signal to correct a missed octave will start missing all the notes and the audience will witness a train wreck at the piano. The other method, used by almost a century of recording artists who could not handle the opposite hand movements at the end of Liszt's most famous piece, is to fake the notes by playing the alternating octaves with the hands together. My ninth concerto ends with page after page of technique that is designed for pianists with extremely refined neural circuits. Rearranging the orded of hundreds of notes at the climax of the concerto ruins the effect for the audience and is artistically dishonest. 

Creativity is a necessary component in a piano virtuoso's development.  
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