Monday, May 20, 2013

Keeping Your Brain Sharp With Music

I started playing the clarinet in seventh grade and played in school until I graduated. For a couple summers in high school, I also played in the city's municipal band that performed each week at a local park. Music has been a huge part of my life, and one that is especially dear to me since David and I met through band! David is even a music teacher, so he has continued his love of music into his career. I occasionally play my clarinet with him and some of his students in small ensembles, but don't play nearly as much as I used to.


A while back I told David I wanted to play my clarinet more, so he suggested that we play together every once in a while. He can play just about every instrument there is, and even though he is more of a brass guy, he can definitely rock out on the clarinet. It's so fun to play together and I've found that it is a really good way for me to keep my brain sharp and give it a good workout. Playing my clarinet is like riding a bike; I don't think I'll ever forget how to do it. Reading music is another story.


David brought home a book of music for us to play together, and I realized how rusty I was at sight reading. It really did require my constant thought and attention to play each note while keeping the beat by tapping my big toe in my shoe (a habit my teacher taught me as a seventh grader and one I still practice today). When reading music while playing an instrument, there are several different things you have to keep in mind all at once and it really does give your brain a workout. Especially if you aren't in practice every day. And I better keep in practice because David wants to start a family band one day when we have kids! :)

Do you play an instrument? If you used to play in school, do you still play today?

~Tammy

Shared with Tuesday Muse 

39 comments:

  1. I don't play an instrument but my brother was first chair in trumpet all through junior high and high school. He practiced constantly...I would sneak into his practice sessions and suck lemons.

    It was quite entertaining to hear my older (8 years older) brother squeal, then run off to tell our parents on me...

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  2. I played the violin in middle and high school, but haven't touched it since. Both my kids were musical - my son played the trombone and my daughter, the clarinet. I loved going to their concerts and watching their marching band perform. Now that my kids are grown up, I really miss it.

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  3. Woot to the clarinet players of the world (we have one in our house too). :)

    I don't play. I have a child who plays clarinet, and one who played violin for years.

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  4. that's very cool - especially that you can enjoy this together! never learned to read music even after years in choir.

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  5. I studied violin from the 5th grade until the 10th, and then we moved and my new school didn't have music! In college I studied voice, and even joined a garage band called "The Wardens"! When my operatically inclined voice teacher found out-I got kicked out of the voice program! It was probably for the best;)

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  6. I think it is neat that you and David play your instruments together. You could start a band, do you sing too? I remember trying to play some instrument in school but never really learned enough to continue. I did enjoy playing the piano with my grandmother. Great post, Tammy. Have a happy week!

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  7. I'm impressed! I tried to learn flute, but the teacher was really mean and I was terrified of him (4th grade). So terrified I begged and begged my parents to let me switch classes to something else, and they felt bad for me and let me.

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  8. My goodness Tammy...is there anything you don't do? You are officially my idol! I played piano and yes, still can play Jingle Bells to this day ;)

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  9. I played the piano and flute growing up - and continued into college. I loved music and being in the band and chorus. I even considered becoming a music teacher - but then, the image of one of my elementary music teachers came to mind and I just couldn't picture myself doing it. Oh well. It's great that you still play and that it's something you can enjoy with David!

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  10. Hi Tammy I love the photos!!!!
    I am am sad to say only play the radio:) I am so glad you play I love the sound of the clarinet. B

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  11. I play piano and guitar. I have been playing the piano since I was eight and guitar for about 10 years. I took piano lessons when i was younger and learned how to read music so it is 2nd nature to me now. Learning the guitar was difficult for me because it was like learning another language compared to piano. I don't play as often as I would like to, but when I do it is very relaxing.

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  12. I've never had the opportunity to learn to play a muscial instrument except the electric organ my Mother had when I was a child. I can't say that was qualifified as 'learning to play' because the keyboard was color keyed to go with the music book. I did enjoy it though, and played my Grandmother's favorite song, 'Ebb Tide'.
    It is wonderful that you still can play and that David teaches music and someday you will have your own little family band! My son in law plays beautiful guitar and is in a part time band. I have always admired people that can create music! xx

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  13. What a great way to ward off dementia! How wonderful that you will be teaching your kids a lifelong skill.
    I used to play guitar, but haven't in years. Maybe someday I'll be able to buy one. I just sing without it!

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  14. How fun! I played the alto sax for about a year...but I couldn't stand my 7th grade teacher and quite (silly me!). I can still remember a few of the notes I played for portion of "Colors of the Wind" from the movie "Pocahontas" during the tour we did through the school district in 6th grade, haha....g,a,a,g; g,a,a,g; g,a,a,a,g. Or something like that.

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  15. I think it's wonderful that you and your husband play together. I played flute in Jr and Sr. High band. Hadn't played in nearly 40 years when I joined the community band. I don't play well but I haven't forgotten how and have fun doing it.

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  16. How wonderful! Music makes life so much better!

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  17. I used to play the violin and piano. I love music and wish I had a piano now - I am so out of practice

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  18. This is great Tammy. There are lots of studies that show folks with musical ability have an easier time LEARNING. It's so good for you and it's also helpful for very young children to listen to music. I used to play classical music every night before my kids went to bed:) I miss those years! xxleslie

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  19. That is awesome. I think it's so cute that you guys are going to play together. I played the clarinet for a while in 4th or 5th grade, but it didn't last long. I think I was just too young and wanted to play just because I could.

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  20. I played the clarinet briefly in junior high but was never very good. I tinker with my guitar occasionally, just for fun. :)

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  21. I don't have a musical bone in my body but I SOOOO wish I did. I love seeing and hearing people play. I always dreamed of playing the piano.

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  22. Great Pic's Tammy! Wish i had musical talent but i don't. Monkey, bug and of course the music man all can play and make beautiful sounds. Me, I'm the groupie in our home and that seems to work out perfectly :) Have a great day!

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  23. Yes, great pictures! I love to play musical instruments but I am horribly tone-deaf, which makes it rather difficult! LOL!!

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  24. I never learned to play an instrument. I tried the piano but never could really get going with it. I think that it is so awesome that you and your husband play together!

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  25. Hi Tammy, thank you for visiting me :)

    What an amazing instrument...I used to play the treble recorder! I loved it :)

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  26. Very cool photos, Tammy! Love the tight crop and the wonderful composition on the second image. Makes for a great detail shot!

    I used to play the guitar back in grade school, but it has been ages since I last touched the instrument...

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  27. I never did play in the band, but always dreamed of learning piano. One of these days... :)

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  28. I wish I played an instrument... well. In elementary school I played the saxophone and piano but I never excelled. We have a piano in our house but I only tinker on it. I also have my own guitar. I play it periodically but I'm not that great at it.

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  29. As a child I never wanted to "waste my time" learning an instrument. Kids....they know it all, don't they? :) As an adult I wish I had learned. I could see how it would give your brain a workout.

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  30. That is great!! Yes, I played the violin in school, and.. gee.. no, I don't play today. Something I keep saying I should do again after all those years of practice!! I think playing music is a great thing for everyone to learn!!
    Blessings,
    Susie

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  31. wow! that's awesome!! i got some piano lessons as a child (just like every other asian kid i know, hahaha!), but never really got to developing it as an adult. i can still read notes but i haven't been practicing in such a long time...

    Click me for my BLOG!

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  32. Such memories you brought back for me! I did play clarinet for many years, and the piano as well. I think I could pick the piano back up if I sat down and fumbled for a while. The clarinet... I don't know if I could remember how!

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  33. My oldest sister played clarinet, and she was pretty good! She good hop over to a sax fairly well for our school's jazz band, too.
    My husband played saxophone, as well, as a young teenager.
    We acquired a gorgeous old piano from the home of a musician in Minneapolis.
    I'm not very good.. but I played some as a kid, and I LOVE to sit at the piano & play. We've had the piano about a year now.. I've taught myself several new songs, and brushed up on my old skills & a little music reading.
    I agree - such a good exercise for the mind! And I find it so therapeutic.

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    1. My husband gave me a guitar a few years ago, and for a while I was very keen on teaching myself to play. At some point I felt I had maxed out on my ability to teach myself, and now I've gotten very rusty.
      I think it's awesome that you guys play together! And I love the thought of a family band.. we have a local family that does strings, they're quite popular and in demand for weddings!

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  34. Would that be F#? Hahaha! So glad to hear that you kept up with your music. Can hardly wait to hear the future Our Neck of the Woods family band. :0)

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  35. Love this post! It brought back a lot of good memories. I, too, played clarinet in school. I later picked up playing oboe and, I also learned my sister's flute. I'm not sure I'd be able to play any of them anymore.

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  36. I love this post, Tammy! My kids and husband are very musical, I on the contrary cannot keep a note! :) My daughter plays the flute and my son plays the clarinet, my husband likes the drums or congas, I love when the three of them go on their music jamming sessions at home! :)

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  37. Well there's something else we have in common!! i met my hubby in a Navy band, and I still have my Buffet clarinet, although it's older and in worse shape than yours. :) I started lessons when I was 9 and did my music degree on clarinet, but alas I haven't played it in years. I do still play my piano though.

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