My first and last music instrument

When I was in 4th grade we received a visit from the orchestra teacher. She explained that we would be given the opportunity to study any one of the 4 main instruments used in the elementary school orchestra. I was fascinated. A chance to learn how to play music on an instrument for free! “Sign me up” I thought to myself. She explained that I had to chose between these 4 music instruments – the violin, the viola, the cello, and the bass. My limited understanding of music at this point made choosing very difficult.

I reasoned that the violin was very popular and that I did not want to play something many people played. The viola I was told was similar to the violin and therefore I felt the same way. Why play something everyone was playing? I know now that this was not true. The viola is different from the violin in the sound it makes and is not played by nearly as many people as the violin. I as a fourth grader did not know 1/4 of what I know now. Next, I thought the bass was just too big, so that left me with the cello, which I was told was like a small bass. In reality the music the cello makes was much more like the music a viola makes than the music a bass makes. Saying a cello is a giant viola would have been much more accurate than saying a cello is like a little bass. Anyway, my choice was made, for better or worse, at that time. I would play music using the cello.

I did study music on the cello from 4th grade to 12th grade. I was pretty good at it too. I made the cut for  district orchestra which was composed of the best players from the school districts. It did help that not many people chose to play the cello, so competition was not that bad. The thing was that most music is written for the violin to star in. That was a sad realization. Also the cello was huge for a 4th grader and until high school, was a pain to lug around. Music did enrich my life, but if I had to do it all over again, I would have picked the violin or waited for the Band teacher to come around.

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Music Therapy

The power of music is an untapped resource in the area of healing and wellness. Using music for therapy is an idea going bad thousands of years until the time of Plato at least. In modern times it picked up interest when musicians played for war veterans to help with physical and emotional stresses. Since many people reported it having a positive influence doctors and nurses started requesting it. Soon music therapy started getting recognized as a form of therapy. Music therapy degree programs started around the nineteen forties.

Using music to reach children and adolescents also started to receive attention. In addition music therapy has been used to treat people suffering from developmental and learning disabilities. There have also been positive results from people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and age related problems. Music therapy can also aid in people being more able to express their feelings.

Professional music therapists can be found in many different places. They can be found in rehabilitation facilities, medical hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, drug and alcohol centers, nursing homes, correctional facilities, private practice areas, and even schools.

Many people are under the impression that the patient needs to have some particular musical ability to benefit from the therapy. This is not the case at all. Also, no specific style of music is needed. Most music has beneficial properties. The patient’s needs and preferences are all involved in choosing the music to use.

Plus, it is not just the sick who can benefit from music therapy. Even healthy people respond well to music therapy. Listening to or making your own music, has a wide variety of health benefits associated with it. Even simple drumming can help.

Music can be used in conjunction with many activities (like exercising for instance) to increase the benefits or to reduce the stress experienced. It has even been used in labor delivery.

Music therapy is still in its early stages. Much needs to be learned and explored. There is no telling where this exciting field can go. Only the future holds the answers.



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Musical Facts

You brain is an incredibly complex organ. Even today there is so much we don’t know about it.

One of the many fascinating things about the brain is how it responds to music. He is a list about somethings you may not know about your brain and music.

When someone feel “chills” while listening to music it is related to the brain releasing of dopamine in anticipation of the high moments of the song. Pretty cool right? Dopamine is known as the “feel good” chemical. It is involved in addictions and motivation. Music can cause the release of this feel good chemical.

The brain only uses small parts of itself for most activities. Listening to music however can use most of it. A study found that listening to music will activate the auditory areas, and uses large-scale neural networks in the brain. In fact, it is believed that music can activate motor, emotional, and creative areas of the brain.

Playing music regularly can alter your brain structure for the better.  Professional musicians have some of the highest cortex volume of any professions. Even amateur musicians did very well in that study. (Some music is better than none.)

Scientist say that listening to pleasant music creates a similar reaction in the brain as eating good food. Strange but true. Pass the pasta anyone?

Adding music to your workouts can improve your performance or at the least the overall experience.

Your favorite song probably has an emotional reason behind it. If the song is a favorite of your for a long time there is probably a positive emotional experience related to it in some way.

Your heartbeat can change to mimic the music you are listening to.  Blood pressure and respiration can  also be affected.

Happy music can make you see the world and events in a more positive way. Conversely, sad music can also change your perception of events and the even the world around you. Makes me wonder if I need to change my musical choices. Also make me wonder about musicians like blues singers who killed themselves.

Hope these facts were entertaining. Have a great day and listen to some positive music today.


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Famous Musicians

The history of music has produced countless musical geniuses. These are people who changed the face of music forever. Let us take a look at some of them.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a child prodigy and a prolific composer. He started composing at the age of 5 and produced over 600 pieces of music even though he died at the very young age of thirty-five years old.

Ludwig van Beethoven was another famous composer and pianist. He like Mozart is still being played today even though it is almost 200 years after his death.

Johann Sebastian Bach was a famous composer and organist.

Louis Armstrong was an American trumpeter, composer and singer who had a huge influence on Jazz music.

George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and John Lennon made music history both together as the music group “The Beetles” and individually as well.

Jimi Hendrix is still considered by many as the greatest guitarist of all time.

David Bowie considered one of the greatest rock stars of all time.

Elvis Presley was known as the “King of Rock and Roll”.

Frank Sinatra was not only very influential as a musician but also as an actor. Most know him by his nickname as “Old Blue Eyes”.

Bob Dylan a man influential in pop music for over 5 decades.

Prince (a man who goes by only one name) deserves to be on this list too.

Of course, there are many many more you could list here. Also, their place on this list could also be debated. (This list was never meant to be complete and the artists are listed in no specific order. Please don’t infer anything from the placing of the artists, it has no bearing on how significant they were.)

Well this concludes our little informal conversation. I hope you enjoyed it or at least did not hate it.

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Music History

Music has been around for as long as humans have. (Some would say even longer than that – but I digress.) Every culture has its own music and regardless of how complicated or simple it is, music is a part of life.

People have used pipes and drums and different string type instruments as well as the human voice itself. Music is used to celebrate events or just to liven up a party. Pretty much everyone enjoys some sort of music.

Musical tastes vary but the love of music is almost universal. What kind of music do you enjoy? Musical tastes can also change as one grows older. Things you did not like can turn into things you do, as well as the opposite. Things one did not appreciate when younger can turn into a source of joy and appreciation as one grows older. Music, like life itself, is affected by one’s experiences.

There are so many different types of music now. The list is very big and continues to grow as people add to it or reinterpret it. Some common classifications are alternative, rock, hard rock, disco, gospel, instrumental, heavy metal, country, acapella, and easy listening, just to name a few.

Music can be played by young and old, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, people who were trained and those who are self-taught. Music has few limits in its style or in those that may make it. You can compose music to be played by one individual or to be played by a whole orchestra.

Music is so versatile it is amazing to behold. This concludes my simple ramblings about music history. I hope it makes you appreciate what a wonderful gift music is and how it brightens so many lives.

Music will live on forever and I for one am glad it shall.

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