Monthly Archives: April 2017

Transitioning from Spring to Summer Classes

It’s that time of year again where it’s the end of the semester and you finish all your finals and all you want is to go home and not have to worry about school for a while. For some people, they just get to relax and not have to worry about school for the next three months, but for others, they have to jump right back into it for summer classes. I, for instance, have to jump into summer classes only two weeks after my last final. That is barely any time to relax and “regain strength” for the next set of classes. It is not an easy thing to do, but I have learned after last year of the same experience what to do and what not to do throughout summer. Those things are:

  • In the two weeks that you are off, make time to simply enjoy yourself and do things that you were not able to do throughout the semesters. For instance, I never had time to go hiking, kayaking, and camping throughout the semesters, but through this next few weeks I have simply just gone out with my friends and did just that.
  • I have learned that you really need these two weeks to recoup and regain your mental strength as much as possible and working a bunch of hours will not let you do that. So, if you are able to with your job, request more days off than usual to just have days to yourself and do whatever you want.
  • I love spending time with my family and friends, so through the next two weeks, I am reintroducing myself to them. I have been so busy throughout this school year that I have not had a lot of time to spend with them, so I specifically set aside time to just hang out with them. They always know how to make me relax and be happy too, which is much needed after finals.

Overall, just relax and don’t stress over anything because trust me when I say, you will have plenty of time to do that throughout your summer course.

Music, The Brain, and Us

From an early age, music has always been a part of our lives. Listening to every crescendo and decrescendo, we were always in tune with the flowing sound. Eventually, some of us even pick up an instrument and began to learn how to play. At a young age, I began to learn how to play the piano. Though I am no Chopin or Mozart, I can understand and play the piano to a point. That’s not the important part of this, during the few year of piano lessons my teacher would always tell me that learning how to read and play music helped me academically. I would think to myself, how could something like this help me academically?

Researching a bit more into it, I found videos and websites that talked about it. One site, which will be linked at the bottom, had a few diagrams that really help visualize what was going on. When you pick up an instrument, say for example the violin, you must perform multiple tasks. Multiple areas of the brain are active at the same time. You must read, listen, move to play, and feel the music. You are using the motor cortex, premotor cortex (dorsal), premotor cortex (ventral), frontal cortex, and the superior temporal gyrus/auditory cortex. To anyone who doesn’t understand all the medical terminology, these portions of the brain help recognize and process types motor (movement), auditory (hearing), sensory (touch), visual, and emotional responses from the body.

Now, what does this all mean for helping me succeed in my studies? Having all these portions of the brain firing all at once helps you coordinate and function doing multiple things. For example, the article mentions that learning from an early age could help strengthen the hippocampus, the portion of the brain that helps with memory and learning. So, in math, you remember how to solve equations and different types of conversions because you decided to learn and instrument you have just helped increase your ability to learn and remember. A video found on YouTube helps explain a bit more about what is happening inside the brain.

So, there you have it, music really does help one academically. Through hard work, young musicians are shaping the way they learn. Though more research is being completed, it’s a good beginning of understanding how music affects the brain.

Links to the article and video

http://portlandchamberorchestra.org/what-happens-when-the-brain-plays-a-musical-instrument/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0JKCYZ8hng