How The MindMusicMentor Came About

Hi There – Here I’m just going to share a small part of the story, on how MindMusicMentor – the guitar playing brain logo and all that stuff came about.

Because it’s not that I’m ” the Best Guitar Player” or anything like that – if I am a master of anything, I am more of a Master of Musical mistakes than I am of Music – and of building those bridges between Mistakes and Music – between musical challenges and problems.

I still sometimes remember the worst Guitar Player I ever knew – aged 7 – that was me – and based on that first year of guitar lessons – I am sure everyone, including my guitar instructor at the time had me down as the least likely to succeed.

And although a few years back I’d been blessed and fortunate to have some successes sharing what I have discovered over many years – We are now in the year of show number 11 – with over 600 Youtube videos showing performances from student shows – playing with a live band – and also Workshop practices – where there is no audiences, there are no lights..

I became fascinated with how I could better serve, and help people – especially those who seemed to be lacking in motivation, who somehow were not able to pick up their guitar at the end of a stressfull day.

Because the number one challenge most people who start on Guitar, or any other instrument have is;
they will say.. they have no time to practice.

Now we all know that is not true. It;s rarely a case of time poverty, more a case of time priority.
Yes ofcourse sometimes life gets in the way and there is nothing You or I can do about that, no question; but if we are honest, all too often we allow life to get in the way.

And so that led to the question of why wasn’t Music more of a priority for most people.
Now ofcourse not everyone is going to quit their careers, their schooling, their studies and play guitar all day – but surely everyone has some of the day available.

There’s 1440 minutes in a day – and everyone can find some time – a focussed 20 minutes can actually be way better than a 1 hour session – a topic for another time.

So what was missing ? And part of what I discovered is what I now call The ” AND” Reason.

And that led me on to NeuroScience, the study of how things impact the brain, specificaly the work of Professor Stefan Koelsch and Annirudh Patel – because since the time of the Greek Philosopher Plato – there has been a lot interest around Music and its relationship to language, how we speak and also the Brain.

And I found Neuroscience really complex, and as MindMusicMentor I have decided the best way I can serve is to make the connection between some of the more complicated ideas, and use analogies and metaphors to simplify them and make them more easily understandable.

Though I discovered in Stefan Koelsch and Annirudh Patel’s work that there didn’t seem to be, at least any distinction, any difference made between Passive Music Listening and Active Music Making; so whether it was their subjects listening to music or actually playing instruments didn’t seem to figure, though likely that was not important for them.

But this kept me on the quest, which ultimately led to MindMusicMentor because Intuitively I knew there had to be a distinction between passive music listening and active music making.

Because I knew That Active Music Making had to be far better for You than just listening on your ipod, iphone, CD or vinyl record (remember them ? – I love vinyl!)

And I can prove that easily now; because You and I we both know that playing a game of football is way better for you physically than just watching a game – even if You’re a football fan, and your team scores the winning goal in the 89th minute and you’re on your feet feeling euphoric – even then actually playing game of football is way better for You – provided you are in the right physical shape and condition to run up and down for 90 minutes – as I said for me the answer is no – beer and pizza is the reason!

But then Neuroscience is making the distinction and I have referenced a really good TedTalk, a short presentation that goes through all the areas of the brain impacted by Music Making – it talks about how Music Making is the equivalent of a full brain workout.

And the final clincher that got me really thinking about all this was the Plymouth experiment, when a G8 delegation from Japan stayed on in Plymouth – why ? Because they had seen what for them looked like a miracle – advanced alzheimer sufferers, regaining the ability to speak temporarily through the power of Music.

Here’s the BBc News link to the story how Plymouth Alzheimers singing inspired Japanese G8 Delegation to study (Japan has an advancing aging population) : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-25352878

Now ofcourse Music making has been used for enjoyment for centuries, and as a means of therapy since at least the early part of the 20th century – after world war 2.

But I believe now is a different time based on two core ideas

1) the fact that nothing uses more of the brain than Active Music Making

Here’s a really good short Ted Introduction to this idea :

2) The fact that it is meaningfull Music Making –

  • going back to and playing along to,
  • or singing along to,
  • Music that has deep resonant meaning – means that an advanced alzheimer sufferer can regain the ability to speak – albeit temporarily

In my mind points to the Possibility that Meaningfull Music Making will become known in the 21st Century, for the Brain, What we all know diet and exercise is for the body, from the neck down.

Right Now Alzheimers/Dementia is an evolving crisis

  • There is no actual understanding of the biological basis for the disease, as yet, and therefore there is no cure –
  • Alzheimers progresses through 7 stages – at stage 3 the patient missing out words becomes noticeable, at stage 7 your ability to swallow goes – until sadly the outcome is death.
  • There are as far as I am aware 4 drugs approved by NICE – the National Institute for Clicnical Excellence – which while slowing down Alzheimers but do not provide a cure.

I believe it is possible that ” as the AND Reason” – Meaningfull Music Making, for a growing number of people will become a lifestyle choice – part of preventative wellness. People will still have their unique reasons for wanting to play music, to deeply discover and enjoy music making – the AND reason will be that it is really good for your Brain – this will become more widely known.

Meaningfull Music Making – is whatever Musical instrument, whatever styles resonate with You – and if that happens to be rock, blues, indie styles on Guitar then I may be able to help.

For a majority of people – who are not pre-disposed to any instrument; but do get the concept of Music Making as feeling good, and preventative wellness – then I believe it will be either drums/percussion or singing for them.

I believe it is possible that the same way a program of increasing challenging diet and exercise can improve the physical body – this points to the possibility of icreasingly challenging Meaningfull Music Making being really good for the Brain – being the thing that keeps you felling fuly alert and fully alive.

Because in a real sense Meaningfull Music Making is life – whether that is Guitar oriented Rock N Roll, BLues and Indie – or whatever that happens to be for You.

Worldwide Alzheimers is projected to treble by 2050 – if there is anything positive that can come out of this heartbreaking illness – then maybe it is the fact that it gives us all a chance to, stop. To Think reconsider, to actually remind ourselves how important Meaningfull Music making is.

I believe that deep down many people already know this – and I believe the neuroscience and the experience of Alzheimer sufferers re-animating if You will – offers more proof, if more proof was what You really needed.

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