One of the things I’ve found that regular practice helps is the “brain to finger” connection. There’s a moment when you see a note that you have to translate it to its letter, then to its fingering. Next, you move your fingers into position. Finally you play.
Even when you’re working scales, or maybe often because you can tend to anticipate, your fingers either go to the next note you see or you don’t quite make it in time. That’s when the screeches and the honks come into play. It’s also why you hear music teachers tell you to play every note.
Playing music and working on it at a regular schedule helps to get the brain to finger synapses firing. It helps you to remember your notes and the things that you thought were easy and ingrained like muscle memory return to being so. It helps keep you thinking about the music, even if you’re working through scales or simple exercises. There’s nothing wrong with that. I find that exercises keep me moving forward and by changing up books and methods, I can keep myself entertained and busy.
Most of all, even if it’s simple, I’m playing music again.