The title above is not an abstract statement or a philosophical question. Hence, what follows is not a speculative or metaphysical piece. It is an evaluation of the concrete, experimental data on the merits of music therapy in the treatment of brain injury, particularly one due to a stroke. A stroke or a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) is a sudden event, much like a heart attack, due to either an obstruction in the blood flow or hemorrhage in a specific region of the brain. Various rehabilitative modalities are often required to help victims regain function. Although not a mainstay of post-stroke ...read more
Historians and scholars of medical humanities mine the (mostly) Western literary classics for the first descriptions of illnesses we have now categorized and studied. But why not explore popular culture as a historical source as well? Can art forms like the blues--the progenitor of jazz and other modern musical forms--contain also clues to medical mysteries of yesterday? One such example takes us back to the years of prohibition and to the clever" entrepreneurs who tried to bend its laws. With recreational alcohol banned in the country most people turned to alternate sources to slake their ...read more
It is safe to assume, that today, Blind Tom Wiggins (AKA Bethune) is not a household name. In the mid to late 19th century, and into the first decade of the 20th, however, Blind Tom was a phenomenon who some named the Eighth Wonder. Although no contemporary physician made the actual diagnosis of autism, it is quite clear from reading about him that he, in all likelihood, fell within the autistic spectrum. Jazz per se did not exist then either, but Tom improvised all his pieces in the style of popular music of the time including waltzes, nocturnes and some ...read more
Music is a universal phenomenon across all human cultures both past and present. In that respect it is much like language, and as the understanding of language comes naturally to humans, so, too, does appreciation of music. Language has been mapped to distinct areas of the brain for well over a century, and relatively recently there have been successful efforts to the same thing for music. Before talking about these brain areas it is important to understand the basics of brain mapping. Much of our modern understanding of localization--where major functions are located in ...read more
Motivation is the moving force behind anyone's activity. There is a complex set of forces which move anyone to do anything. It is no less complex for the musician. I bring this up not to point out differences between musicians and laymen," but rather to point out the inherent similarities. Musicians, like anyone else, find themselves in situations where they must assume a variety of roles. These roles have been produced by the influence of various motivations. Not all roles are comfortable. Some, indeed, may be--or at least appear to be--contradictory. The aspiring musician is ...read more
Every musician is at once a student and a performer. In each role, the musician explores and hopefully expands. The efficiency of progress for the student often suffers because of his inability to clearly see the differences between his own roles as student and performer.The attitude of the student must essentially be one of humility and patience. The work usually centers on the difficulties of developing one's technical capabilities and one's unique musical personality. Focusing on weaknesses rather than strengths is often difficult for the ego to accept. Most musicians prefer to hear themselves at their best and ...read more
Guitar Lore by Dennis Sandole was not originally published by Theodore Presser. I published the book and distributed it through my school Modern Music Studios Inc. A second edition paperback was published later by Pressers.There has always been controversy about the origins of the book. Dennis had conceived and organized this material long before it was published. At my urging (and I'm sure the urgings of others), he finally agreed to proceed with the production of the book. I took dictation and the outlines of the book directly from Dennis and then hand wrote and developed the entire ...read more
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