January 2016 Posts

Early Childhood Training In Music Improves Focus

Early childhood training in instrumental music improves the ability to pay attention–visual focus, active listening, and staying on task.
~ Neville, H., et al. (2008). Effects of Music Training on Brain and Cognitive Development in Under-privileged 3- to 5-year-old Children: Preliminary Results. In C. Asbury & B. Rich (Eds.), Learning, Arts, and the Brain: The Dana Consortium Report on Arts and Cognition (pp. 105-116). New York, NY: Dana Press.

Musically Trained Children Score Better On Tests

Musically trained children performed better in a memory test that is correlated with general intelligence skills such as literacy, verbal memory, visuospatial processing, mathematics, and IQ.
~ Dr. Laurel Trainor, Prof. of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behavior at McMaster University, 2006

Cold Weather Tips For Your Instrument

snow-marching-band

Brr! If you are reading this from anywhere in the Midwest, I sure hope you are somewhere warm as the outside temperature continues to drop. In saying that, I thought this would be a pertinent time to talk about how to care for your instrument during the cold months. By following just a few simple rules of thumb, you can avoid any winter-related issues with your band (or orchestra) instrument.

“If you’re uncomfortable, your instrument is uncomfortable.” I have heard my colleagues in our Encore Orchestral Strings shop say this many times, and it definitely holds true for band players as well. Just as hot or wet weather can wreak havoc on wood and metal instruments, the same is true for cold weather. As the temperature drops, the tubes of metal instruments contract, then expand when it is warmed up again. This process happening repeatedly can cause alignment and adjustment issues, as well as cause any pads to begin to shrink and leak. Wooden instruments during the winter months are extremely susceptible to cracking. If the instrument is cold and you immediately start to play without warming it slowly, the inside of the instrument will heat faster than the outside causing it to expand and crack. Indoor environments can also be very dry while the heat is running during the winter months. This is especially concerning, again, for wooden instruments. Make sure that you have some sort of humidifier or are at least checking the instrument every few days to be certain that it does not dry out.

So what happens if you do need to play and you are stuck with a cold instrument? First, never leave an instrument in the cold car for long periods of time. Also, if able, put the instrument (in its case) inside your coat to and from the car. Once inside, you can remove the instrument from the case and hold it close to your body giving it gradual body heat to slowly warm to room temperature. Finally, take some extra time blowing long notes in your normal range and dynamic to continue to warm the inside of the instrument slowly.

If your instrument is having problems during the cold winter months, don’t hesitate to bring it in to Paige’s Music, where our full-service repair shop can take a look at it and bring it back to perfect playing condition!

Playing An Instrument As A Kid Leads To A Sharper Mind In Old Age

Playing an instrument as a kid leads to a sharper mind in old age, according to a new study conducted by Brenda Hanna-Pladdy, a clinical neuropsychologist in Emory’s Department of neurology, and her colleagues. The researchers gave 70 people between the ages of 60 and 83 a battery of tests to measure memory and other cognitive abilities. The researchers found that those who had played an instrument for a decade or longer scored significantly higher on the tests than those with no musical background.
~ Quoted in Diane Cole, “Your Aging Brain Will Be in Better Shape If You’ve Taken Music Lessons,” National Geographic, January 3, 2014.

Students Who Participate In High-Quality Programs Score Higher On Tests

Regardless of socioeconomic status or school district, students (3rd graders) who participate in high-quality music programs score higher on reading and spelling tests.
~ Hille, Katrin, et al. “Associations between music education, intelligence, and spelling ability in elementary school.” Adv Cogn Psychol 7 (2011): 1–6. Web. Accessed February 24, 2015.