Sunday, February 2, 2014

Name that tune--not yet!

This quiet Super Bowl Sunday has me once again turning to thoughts of my brain. Why would one lead to the other you might ask? Well I know that football concussions are a serious problem and often lead to long term brain damage which often manifests itself in the players' brains as they age. Not a cheerful thought really but I cannot help cringing every time the helmets smash against each other. Of course I am not a football player (you might have thought I was going to say I played when I was younger but no) but I do pay attention to my brain health much like I consider my body health. Although not often enough.

Music is what is on my mind this day more so than football. Howard Gardner has identified eight intelligences (so far) that we humans demonstrate.

 Musical/rhythmic intelligence is one of the eight. The others are: verbal/linguistic, mathematical/logical, bodily/kinesthetic, spatial/visual, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist.

I have spent lots of time and energy reading and writing and of course talking so verbal/linguistic is pretty good.
Logical is one of my highest aspects on Lumina and I have been working at "figuring" a lot more on my own so mathematical/logical is okay.
I do Pilates twice a week which is my homage to bodily/kinesthetic. I also run up and down the three separate flights of stairs in my house when I think to.
Spatial/visual is not as strong although I work at home decorating, choosing clothing for colour and texture and buying art that I like to look at.
My interpersonal gets a good workout with my friends, my writing group and my family connections.
I spend a fair amount of time on intrapersonal reading spiritual books and trying to practice being a better person. This one takes a lot of practice!!
Naturalist isn't for sure one of the intelligences apparently so I am not going to worry about that one for now.

Back to Musical/Rhythmic which I know is a weak area for me. I love to dance and think I have a pretty good sense of rhythm. My biggest concern is how little I 'hear' music. I have friends who can name every song they hear and who has performed it, friends who have always gone to concerts and still do, keeping up with old bands and finding new ones, who can do song requests of any band. I feel at a loss when the conversation turns to music. My brain goes somewhere else when music is playing and I am supposed to be listening. I don't hear it until a particular melody or tune (not even sure if these are correct terms) catches me. Or a memory of dancing to it comes to me. Otherwise I am somewhere else in my mind in the middle of a thousand people clapping and singing. 

So I need a plan and this is where I intend to start: 
I am going to put myself on a steady diet of music until I can really listen and maybe even retain the sounds and lyrics of some artists. A friend told me she listens to a CD over and over again until she knows it. I am going to start there and see if I can change my musical intelligence, which by the way is quite closely linked to mathematical intelligence, so I may improve in both by creating some new pathways.

It isn't going to be easy. I think it is going to be like meditation when your mind "wanders away like a puppy". I will work to gently bring it back to listening.

I am starting this practice today with a CD by Adele. I will listen to this one until I believe I am "getting it" or getting so sick of it that I need a change. Not sure exactly how this will go. Will keep you posted. Suggestions welcome!


  1. Interesting! I like music, but I do not love concerts generally, not sure why! I think it's a volume thing! I mostly love certain music and stick to that, but I could do better in this area as well, so keep us posted!

  2. How is it going with Adele? Are you singing back-up yet? This post made me think about the interview with Sunni Brown which I heard on The Current last week. She is the author of The Doodle Revolution. It is about visual literacy and what doodling does to the brain. I was intrigued by it because, when I worked in that other world, I used to doodle my way through meetings and I felt it helped me to concentrate but I was always a bit uncomfortable because I thought the meeting leaders would think I was not paying attention---- as teachers often conclude students are not paying attention if they are doing anything other than giving rapt attention to the teacher. Knitting through anything sort of gives me that added concentration too. But isn't that multi-tasking? And haven't we determined that we are not REALLY multi-tasking, just doing too many things half-assed???Anyway, Sunni sort of put my worries to rest.

  3. We used to use a technique called doodle loops in enrichment which was a way of teaching creativity. Not sure if it worked or not. I am three times through my Adele CD and two and half times through Fred Eaglesmith (in the car). Mind still wandering but the true test will be in a week when I will have to make myself remember that music is supposed to be a big part of my day. My master's thesis is also about students doodling while listening to me read aloud. Some good stuff came from that but again was I interfering with some students' ability to concentrate while others thrived doing that? Egad maybe the music will make me "dumber'. I am continuing with the experiment nonetheless.

  4. Listen carefully to "Lucille" by Fred Eaglesmith...great story. You can sing it for me next time we meet!