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Karen Allendoerfer

Violin Brain Age

January 13, 2009 at 12:33 PM

In our house we've been playing a Nintendo game since Christmas, "Brain Age."  The cartridge went missing for a week, until my daughter discovered it behind her bed.  During that time off, I realized that I don't need it.  I have my own version.

"Music memory."  Read through Dvorak's Slovakian Dances for the first time at a dizzyingly fast tempo.  You have 15 minutes.  Then 3 hours later, try to reconstruct the entire thing at home.

"Ledger line count."  Watch the ledger lines go by.  Is it a C?  Is it B?  Is it an F-natural this time, or an F-sharp?  Oops, while you were trying to figure that out, everyone else took the repeat.

"Calculations X 20."  Four beats per measure, 20 measures.  Three beats per measure.  Two.  Five.  Ugh, that note at the end sounds terrible.  Is it flat?  Sharp?  Beats me . . . Check the tuner.  Okay, it's sharp.  Four beats per measure, how's the last note?  Sharp again.  Back to the beginning.  Play it slowly.  How does it sound?  Get it in your ear.  Play it again.  20 times.

"Playing Aloud."  Don't annoy the neighbors!

"Good evening" says the little guy on the screen.  "You're a trooper for coming by every day like this."

--With apologies to Dr. Ryuta Kawashima

From Tom Holzman
Posted on January 14, 2009 at 1:48 PM

Your brain is clearly younger and more plastic than mine!

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on January 14, 2009 at 2:53 PM

It's a cliche, but I think playing a musical instrument keeps you young :)

On the other hand, last night the game thought it was being funny and gave me a Brain Age of 73.  It gave my husband a 74.  Then Dr. Kawashima's talking head came on again and said he was "only joking."  Hopefully orchestra rehearsal won't be like that.

From Tom Holzman
Posted on January 14, 2009 at 7:50 PM

I think there is actually some science behind that.  Crossword puzzles and language learning apparently have the same effect.  I think music, language learning and crossword puzzles are simply proxies for any sort of  complex mental activity that you do for a sustained period.  Anyhow, I am hoping to keep my marbles for a bit longer, if only simply for the pleasure of torturing v.commers (or maybe losing my marbles but continuing to post would be more effective).

From Karin Lin
Posted on January 16, 2009 at 10:08 AM

This post was hilarious!!

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