Music and the Brain

There are lots of studies out there about how listening to music improves brain function and memory, but those of us who play music know that somehow all of those hours of practicing and listening and reading and practicing some more have changed us.  It changes the chemical and physical makeup of our brains.  Much like meditation, playing music induces measurable differences in our brains.

I absolutely love this TED talk on what happens inside musicians’ brains.

playing-musicI often tell my students that practicing is not just about performing, it’s about learning how to train their brains.  It’s about creating strategies to make a task that you have to think about into an instinct.  This is a powerful tool for all areas of life.  It helps with memory and learning, fine motor skills, and creates new neurological pathways and connections.  But more than all of this, music makes us happy.  And music helps us make others happy.  And that is truly awesome.

Here’s an excellent summation of research on music and the brain.

If you want to read more about the effect of meditation on the brain, here’s the link.


What is the Most Common Question a Fiddler is Asked?

When I am asked what the difference between fiddle and violin is, I tell people that in my experience, playing the violin is like reading poetry in a second language and trying to give it all of the inflection that the original author would if he or she were reading it aloud.  On the other hand, playing the fiddle is like dancing.

Both of these are rewarding and fun, but they are very different.  And both are wonderful in their own right.

But if you want more direct and specific answers, this article is worth checking out.

Exciting Times!

Hello world!  It’s Dahlia here, Eldridge’s new five string acoustic/electric fiddle.  I’m the one being played in the clip on the top of the Music page.  It’s so nice to have a fiddle player!  I’m still getting situated in my new case, and trying out new bows, but I like Tucson already.  I got to meet Eldridge’s students this week and I thought they were very nice.  I love the band members of the Three Penny Balladeers.  Especially the bass viol.  The guy playing it is pretty cool too.