Category Linguistics

On Parsing and Pausing

We skipped two lessons over the holidays, so I had plenty of time to practice and make progress on my concerto movement.  I think Teacher noticed the progress when we had our first lesson of the new year on Tuesday.  During the lesson, we mainly focused on phrasing.  She reminded me that with classical violin, […]

What Makes the Sound of Music?

Linguists have argued about the neurological bases of speech and music for a long time, with most evidence and argumentation coming from anthropology and evolution – all cultures produce music, all cultures have language – these adaptations must be good for something.  Noted neuroscientist and linguist Steven Pinker, for example, has called music “auditory cheesecake,” […]

Dreaming Up Movement

I’ve been busy.  Very busy.  But though I’ve been away from the blog for almost ten days (perhaps a sad record), I’ve definitely been playing my new Gavotte and trying to work up vibrato.  The Becker Gavotte is coming along much better than the vibrato – I’m not making very rapid progress at all there.  […]

Dr. Sacks and the Brain on Music

I just read a tremendous obituary in the New York Times – Dr. Oliver Sacks, renowned neurologist and prolific author and polymath, succumbed to cancer at 82 at his home in New York this morning.  His case studies of his patients, most famously brought to life in the 1990 film Awakenings, helped humanize people who […]

Reading Music

I’ve been thinking about reading music the past couple of days, and about the Suzuki method and how it works.  I have a missing piece – or, rather, the opposite of that – in my ability to evaluate the Suzuki method.  Unlike most Suzuki beginners, I did learn to read music many years ago.  Way […]

Musical Origins

A friend commented on a post on human origins and the oldest flute in the world a few days ago – she wondered about the impact of music on human evolution (or vice-versa), and it got me wondering about it too.  I’ve done some very cursory looking on the subject, and there is, unsurprisingly, a […]

I Played II, and Errors

Yesterday’s practice session went much better than Sunday’s.  If you’re following my little saga, I’m fresh off of a bike crash, well, ten days ago, and I’m trying to get back into the groove of the things that keep me going – playing and physical exercise – while not doing any further damage to myself.  […]

Dr. Suzuki’s World: A Contextualization

“A clever baby can become tone-deaf.  It can even become a wolf.  In fact, it can become just about anything, in accord with its specific environment.  I firmly believe that cultural and musical aptitude does not come from within, and is not inherited, but occurs through suitable environmental conditions.” – From “Nurtured by Love:  The Classic […]

Dr. Suzuki Said Never Be Lazy

Wikipedia has its detractors, but I think it’s a great place to start an exploration. I’ve just read the article on Shinichi Suzuki, the namesake and creator of the Suzuki method of music instruction. He led an interesting life, and his philosophical disposition seems to match up with a lot of my own views on […]

Beginner’s Mind

Potential Teacher just confirmed our first lesson for Wednesday, and I’m just back from the violin shop, where I rented the instrument above.  I hope it meets her standards.  The family who recommended her to me told me that their first instrument had to go back after failing her tests.  We’ll see – the shop […]