TwoSet Violin Is So Fun

Two classically trained violinists have been running a YouTube channel full of goofy, geeky humor, music games, and silly reviews, plus genuinely educational content about technique, styles of different composers and performers, etc.

The following are samples of the many videos on their channel (I’ve watched just a small fraction):

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A Valentine’s Day Playlist

I recommend listening to these songs throughout the year, but they would make a good playlist for Valentine’s Day too. Not all of them involve romantic love. Some are focused on friendship and one is full of compassion towards the self.

Angels (the xx)
A lovely, melancholic song that flows through you.

Beam Me Up (Pink)
Not a Star Trek song specifically (though go ahead and think about Star Trek characters if you want). It’s a tender, gut-wrenching song – when you miss someone so badly and want to see them again, just for a minute if you can’t have more than that.

Bridge Over Trouble Water (Simon & Garfunkel)
Uplifting. Through dark times and shining dreams, loyalty endures, and I don’t care if that sounds cheesy.

Dance Me to the End of Love (Leonard Cohen)
So beautiful and should be played at weddings. Also, here’s a gorgeous cover performed by Madeleine Peyroux.

Don’t You Forget About Me (Simple Minds)
Part of my childhood was an ’80s childhood. And the music video for this song (at the link) is probably the ’80iest of all the music videos that ever came out of the ’80s. All kidding aside, I really like this song.

Dreams (The Cranberries)
“Totally amazing mind, so understanding and so kind…” The wonder of love, the wonder of the meeting of minds and hearts.

Happy (Marina and the Diamonds, in the acoustic band version of her song)
I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a personal anthem, but when I first listened to it, it struck deep. This is the one that has a gentle compassion towards the self, a love that may have been absent before.

Kind and Generous (Natalie Merchant)
When you feel appreciation for lovely people in your life.

Misty (Ella Fitzgerald)
Meltingly tender love song, and Ella Fitzgerald is a rare gem.

La Vie en Rose (Rhiannon Giddens)
I love when Edith Piaf sings it, but I’m linking to Giddens, because hers was a beautiful surprise. I didn’t think I’d want to hear anyone else sing this but Piaf.

You’re My Best Friend (Queen)
People know Queen best for their grander pieces, but I’ve long had a soft spot for this quiet, moving one.

“You only know what you know ’til you know…”

YouTube recommendations sometimes are wonderful. I go on YouTube mostly for music, and this song by Mozella (an artist I was unfamiliar with), hit me with its lyrics, which have some good insights about change and development.

“You only know what you know ‘til you know.”

People, myself included, sometimes wish so badly that they could know everything they need to know at the outset of some great venture or new stage in life – to have the knowledge, complete and whole, at their command, to keep them from missteps, embarrassing mistakes, and painfully wrongheaded decisions.

But there’s no such complete knowledge. At any given point, you know what you know, that’s it. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a mentor or another trusted person to guide you, you still have to live out the process of learning for yourself, and one way or another, you won’t always get things right. The key is to keep learning, to grow in wisdom.

“So many things mattered to you that really meant nothing but you needed them to find the truth.”

Yes, some of the things that once interested you may seem unimportant now, but they’re still a part of you. They helped you become who you are now. You’ve still learned something from them.

“You can’t sleep it off or drink it away, trick it with frivolities, fortune, or fame.”

There’s a temptation to ignore pain, which is a symptom of an underlying difficulty, something in you that needs to be addressed. The strategies for avoidance and denial are varied and often involve an addiction or compulsion of some kind; maybe you drink frequently or spend hours on mindless Internet browsing. But the problems don’t go away. The call for change and growth persists, even when it goes unanswered. How long can you avoid change or pretend that everything can stay the way it is?

Studying musical training and brain development

A new study is underway to investigate the effects of 5 years of musical training on the brain, starting from when children are 6 or 7 years old. The children are participating in a program that gives kids a free education in music and free instruments; they’ll be compared to kids who are matched on age, socioeconomic background, and different cognitive measures but who don’t have a musical education.

This is an interesting study, but how will researchers interpret some of the findings? Let’s say the study shows improvements in various aspects of cognitive ability and social and emotional development throughout the five years of musical education. To what would we attribute this outcome? Is it something specific to music education, or would you see it in any long-term intensive extracurricular program that teaches kids something? Maybe you’d need to add a third group of kids to the study who are enrolled in a free non-musical education program that has a similar social/communal aspect to it.