From zero to music hero: Picking up an instrument and sticking with it

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Malcolm Gladwell popularized the ‘ten thousand hour rule,’ which is the hypothesis that people need to spend that much time in deliberate practice in order to become an expert in a skill of their choosing. One of the fields that people are likely to associate with this rule is music.

Any people wish they could play a musical instrument. There’s enjoyment to be had in the act of playing for oneself and any person who can play well tends to be popular among peers. However, the hours of study required to achieve excellent credibility represent a wall that prevents many from turning their intent to actual skill. It isn’t easy to learn any instrument, but there are a few ways of obtaining the discipline required.

A good start would be to pick an instrument that you love, preferably one with a sound that you already appreciate hearing in songs. The temptation to give up early may be too great and should be countered with as much passion as you can muster.

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While practicing the basics, you should momentarily forget about the goal and focus on the present. Looking forward to being able to play competently is one thing but it could be discouraging to note just how far you have to go in order to reach that goal. Learning to enjoy the process of learning the instrument and looking positively at your mistakes are crucial to gaining motivation to keep at it.

You will not feel motivated to study all the time. Sometimes, other responsibilities will sap your willpower, which is why establishing a routine and building discipline are necessary to develop your skill in playing.

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REPOST: Science Shows How Musicians’ Brains Are Different From Everybody Elses’

New scientific research proved that learning a musical instrument is one of the most effective ways to improve cognition. Read more about the study on this article from




Anyone who spent hours of their young life practicing fingerings and drilling scales understands that the tedium is real. Thankfully though, new scientific research has concluded without a shadow of a doubt that all that time and energy was not wasted: Learning to play an instrument is one of the most effective ways to improve the cognitive powers of the mind. You and everyone else who learned to play an instrument as a child is smarter now because of it.

TED Ed recently released the above video detailing some of most cutting edge research on the cognitive benefits you gain just by learning an instrument. Their conclusion: Playing an instrument is exactly like a full brain workout.

The newest research on music and the brain has revealed an amazing connection with memory. Music-learning offers a huge boost to one’s memory faculties. Trained musicians can create, encode and retrieve memories more rapidly and accurately than non-musicians, showing special improvement in verbal memory.

In fact, children with one to five years of musical training were able to remember 20% more vocabulary words read to them off a list than children without such training. That’s especially compelling because highly developed verbal memory skills have numerous applications in non-musical contexts, such as helping students learn and remember more content from speeches and lectures. Musicians who began their training as children have also been shown to learn new languages more quickly.

And, unlike a stint at the gym, the mental gains you make by practicing an instrument don’t disappear easily. Neuroscientists have observed musicians’ brains while they play hooked to EEGs and seen vibrant activity in the visual cortex, as well as the auditory and motor cortices of the brain. A focused regimen of musical practice can cause permanent changes in these neurological structures, which can help people to perform numerous extra-musical tasks more quickly and efficiently for a lifetime. Some combination of the visual benefits and the motor benefits led to Victor Wooten choosing this amazing shirt while playing this incredible cover of “Amazing Grace.”

Music-making engages both halves of the brain equally. By stimulating the left brain, which is the more mathematical, calculating and syntactic hemisphere, and the right, which is the more creative, musicians build a strong corpus callosum, which acts as a neural bridge between the two hemispheres. Musicians who begin their training around 7 years old have a significantly larger corpus callosum than others without the same training. That means that the two halves of musicians’brains can communicate with one another more quickly and along more diverse routes across their expanded corpus callosum. As a result, musicians are more likely to be inventive problem-solvers.

All that plays into the strengthening of the brain’s executive functions, including the ability to strategize, retain information, regulate behavior, solve problems and adjust plans to changing mental demands. The results of one such study on the connections between music training and executive function found increased activity in the supplementary motor area and prefrontal cortex of musicians’ brains, two areas that are often seriously deficient in people suffering from executive function disorders, such as ADHD.

Musical training can therefore be a huge therapeutic tool to helping adults and children manage and overcome their symptoms.

It’s all remarkable, but the most incredible aspect of all of these studies is the exclusivity of these cognitive benefits to music. No other art form, hobby or activity can produce the same level of lasting neurological benefits as music. And these benefits are never out of reach. Sustaining musical activity into adulthood, or picking up an instrument for the first time, can do wonders to stave off the effects of aging by slowing cognitive decline, decreasing the risk of dementia and improving working memory and motor control.

Think about all that when you’re burrowing into the couch to binge watch Netflix and instead go dig that keyboard out from your closet. Your brain will return the favor somewhere down the line.


Mark Begelman’s Markee Music is a reputable recording and rehearsal studio located in Florida. To know more about the studio’s facilities and services, subscribe to this Facebook page.

REPOST: Surprising Health Benefits of Music

Most people love listening to music but not all realize how much music good it does. This article from makes a list of the many benefits of music.

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Bob Marley was a musician, not a scientist, but what he said holds a certain truth: “One good thing about music, is when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Research is finding that a melody has numerous health benefits. Studies shows that it not only helps people get through pain, but that listening to music could be the key to good health.

Chronic back pain: Music can work on the autonomic nervous system. When slow rhythm music is played, the heartbeat and blood pressure slow down, helping people take breaths more slowly, thus decreasing muscle tension in the shoulders, neck, stomach and back. Specialists have also found that music decreases psychological tension. When people feel pain, they become frustrated, frightened and angry causing them to tense countless muscles in their back. A regular habit of listening to music helps bodies relax mentally and physically, thus helping to ease and avoid back pain.

Franz Wendtner, a clinical psychologist, says that listening to music for around 25 minutes a day, 10 days in a row, can help avert back pain and make one sleep better. Experts think any kind of classical composition, take for example Beethoven or Mozart, can help ease muscle pain. Slow, calm music is also believed to help.

Improves workout: Specialists claim during exercise music can give a better workout in a number of ways. Experts say it can boost mood, grow endurance and can distract people from any uneasiness experienced throughout the workout. Also, research showed that listening to music after a workout can lead to a faster recovery of the body. What is more, it appears that any type of music can help the physical recovery process, which is one of the surprising health benefits of music.

Robert Herdegen of America’s Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, observed the effects of 12 men riding a bicycle for 10 minutes while listening to music over the course of a day. He compared the effects from the first day with the effects of the same men riding bikes without music for 10 minutes the next day. On the days that the men exercised listening to music, they traveled 11 percent further compared to the days they did not listen to music.

Some studies suggest that music can help the release of endorphins–the natural “feel good” hormones that boost people’s mood and give inspiration to continue longer with an exercise routine. The best kind of music for exercise is believed to be high tempo and high energy, music such as hip-hop or dance music.

Reduce memory loss: Many people suffer from memory loss. Music can be used as a tool to help patients remember songs or tunes and keep in touch with their history. The part of the brain that processes music is placed next to memory. Studies have found that people with memory loss respond better to music of their choice.

Induce a meditative state: Listening to slow, calm musical beats can alter brain-wave speed by generating brain activity similar to that which is observed when a person meditates or is in a hypnotic state. Some studies show that using rhythmic stimuli such as music to encourage these states can have a therapeutic result, easing migraines, Premenstrual syndrome and even behavioral issues.

Enhance cognitive performance: Background music has been shown to improve performance in cognitive tasks. One study showed that listening to music helped test takers finish more questions in the time allocated, and even contributed to getting more answers correct. A more recent study suggests that whether or not music increases cognitive function depends on whether the music first improves a person’s emotional state.

Relax patients before and after surgery: Another surprising health benefit of music is that it can relax patients before and after surgery. One study found that listening to music helped keep cardiovascular surgery patients relaxed as they awaited their operations. Other research revealed that listening to music while resting in bed after open heart surgery helped to put patients at ease and reduce their stress levels.

Read more fun stories about music on this Mark Begelman blog.

Music therapy to treat depression: Does it work?

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Many people find that listening to their favorite songs when they’re feeling sad makes them feel better. Now, studies show that music therapy can successfully treat symptoms of clinical depression when combined with standard care.

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What is music therapy?

Contrary to popular belief, music therapy isn’t just about listening to uplifting music. It is defined as a research and evidence-based clinical practice that uses music to help patients improve certain aspects of their health. Music therapy can be performed in individual or group sessions, and professionals hold a bachelor’s degree in music therapy and have at least 1,000 hours of training.

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Does it work?

Studies have shown that music therapy is helpful in alleviating symptoms of depression in the short term. A study conducted by a team of scientists in Finland and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry compared the effectiveness of music therapy combined with standard care versus standard care alone. The results of this clinical trial showed that after three months, those exposed to music therapy displayed “significantly fewer symptoms” compared to those who received standard care alone. According to one of the researchers, Professor Jaakko Erkkilä, patients used music to express their feelings and found the experience cathartic. Music therapy can also help individuals with other health issues, like high blood pressure, anxiety, and developmental disabilities. Thus, it is safe to say that simply incorporating music into one’s day-to-day activities can improve his or her quality of life.

Mark Begelman is the co-founder of Markee Music, a fully-equipped music recording facility in Florida. For more related stories, visit this blog .

REPOST: 5 reasons to get that kid some music lessons

This article from is yet another reminder of why it’s a good idea for parents to get their kids interested in music:


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There are thousands of clubs, sports teams, schools and other extracurricular groups that are clamoring for your child’s undiscovered skills. Should you sign him up for soccer or piano lessons? Take him hunting or to the movies? How many activities can he participate in before he burns out?

It’s not an easy decision to make. Each activity has the potential to teach your child valuable skills, and may even turn into a career or hobby later in life.

In my family, we divided our attention between sports and music. I enjoyed both immensely and still play the piano and co-ed softball when I get the chance. It was the music lessons, though, that contributed to who I am the most. If you’re debating whether music lessons are worth your child’s time and your money, here are five reasons that may help you make your decision.

Music educates the whole child
From day one, children learn notes, rhythms, melodies and scales. But, they’re actually learning much more than that. They are learning to interact with other people and becoming better acquainted with themselves as well. Music stimulates the vestibular system, which helps all the senses coordinate with one another. According to Howard Gardner, who wrote Frames of the Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, musicmay also be “a privileged organizer of cognitive processes in any subject, especially among young people.”

In other words, music education extends beyond music education. It affects a child’s social behavior and success in other subjects as well.

Music helps children understand culture
According to Kimberly Balls, a junior studying music education at Brigham Young University, “Many of the songs that have stood the test of time are folk songs. They maintain the speech patterns, traditions and more of any given culture. The folk songs of different countries are as different as the countries themselves.” Music from countries all over the world can be incorporated into your music education many ways whether you’re a singer, dancer or tuba player.

Music helps establish group identity
Anyone who has watched a battle scene or sports movie knows this. It’s the music that makes the scene. It brings everyone together and makes that stirring speech all the more inspiring. Participating in a choir, band, or piano duet can be a really special experience as well. Working with someone else to create music binds you together in a way that can’t really be explained.

Music helps you express your feelings
One reason music is so powerful is that it has the ability to say things that you can’t say in words. Some people have a difficult time expressing feelings and rely on music to help them sort through their emotions. I do this all the time. Whenever I’m stressed out, angry, sad or trying to make a difficult decision, I sit at my piano and pound on the keys for an hour or so. When I’m finished, I feel much more calm and able to tackle life’s problems again.

Music is physical
It’s not as physical as soccer, true, but it does require you to move around. Children need all the physical stimulation they can get, which is easily accomplished with singing games and practice sessions.

Years ago, before my parents married, my dad told my mom that one of the reasons he wanted to marry her was because she was a musician and he wanted music to be a part of his future home. And, it was. Music blessed our lives when we were a young family and continues to bring us together today.


Mark Begelman is one of the people behind Markee, a world-class facility that offers the best service, the best gear, and the best atmosphere to musicians and bands that need a great rehearsal space. For more articles about music and the music industry, visit this Facebook page.

REPOST: Good and Evil, Ritual and Nightmare, in Sight and Sound

Unsound Festival continues in Brooklyn with the special presentation of Demdike Stare’s work “Concealed”, this will be the duo’s first take on live instrumentation.  Read more from this article.


“Concealed,” by the British electronic-music duo Demdike Stare and the filmmaker and animator Michael England, is an audiovisual project, no more or less aural than visual, about dread and dreams, what happens in the world when the conscious mind isn’t noticing.

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Commissioned by the concert organization Unsound, it had its first United States performance on Friday night at the First Unitarian Church in Brooklyn Heights, in a program called “The Long Tone,” as part of the Unsound Festival. (The festival, which originated in Krakow, Poland, is staging its fourth New York edition.) “Concealed” was Friday’s headlined event, after a short performance for electric guitar, made orchestral with digital effects, by the Polish musician Jakub Ziolek, in a project he calls Stara Rzeka, and a generous, resonant one by the composer Phill Niblock.

The fact that the music of “Concealed” — a bit dark-ambient, a bit post-techno, assisted by the live strings of the seven-piece Sinfonietta Cracovia, often guided by regular beats and arranged with ordinary harmonies, sometimes based in mysterious, decontextualized samples — finally wasn’t that nourishing seemed beside the point. It had a function. That function was to implicate you into some kind of secret, and to creep you out.

Mr. England’s film arrived in discrete chapters. One showed clouds streaking ominously in accelerated motion across a plain. One featured actors in military uniforms, goose-stepping around in shoes with curled toes, and arranging teaspoons bearing special insignia on some sort of dirt map. One featured a Butoh dancer in slow, elegant contortions. So, you know: ritual, nightmare, secret societies, good and evil, the freakiness of nature and the body.

The music was composed by Miles Whitaker and Sean Canty of Demdike Stare, with orchestration by Danny Norbury. It came with a frustrating anonymity: dense or spacious, with strings or without, these sketches often felt like semi-generic atmospheres. It was music once removed: concerned with how sound can conjure complicated emotion, but seldom settling in on the challenges and glories of sound itself.

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Mr. Niblock’s new work “Unipolar Dance” settled in on the thing itself. (Now 80, Mr. Niblock is a local hero: a composer and filmmaker and director of the Experimental Intermedia, in Chinatown, where he has been booking performances for 40 years.) To make the piece, in two movements, he had the husband-and-wife violinists Pauline Kim Harris and Conrad Harris record continuous tones, in multi-track long strokes; there was always a steady drone chord at the music’s base, with layers of detail and dissonance on top.

And during the playback of it on Friday, as recorded sound boomed through the speakers — one gigantic chord, roaring and engulfing — the string players walked the side aisles of the church, further entangling with one another’s sounds, adding more texture and harmony, and making sense of the title, which is an anagram of their first names.

Mr. Niblock showed an accompanying series of his own faded-color nature films: reflections of bright sunlight on the water of a shallow creek, close-ups of leaves rustled by wind or of water droplets on a rock, wobbling slightly but cohering through surface tension. Basically, the images expressed the same concern as the music. What was that concern? How to take in, and be astonished by, an ever-changing continuity.

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Mark Begelman is a one of the owners of Markee Music that provides a world class facility with the best service for musicians and bands. Visit this Google+ page to know more about him and the facility.

Beatlemania: Dissecting the Beatles phenomenon

The Beatles is one of the music industry’s biggest icons. Throughout their relatively short career, the band has set several world records, including more than 600 million albums sold worldwide since they exploded on the music scene in the ‘60s.

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Their immense popularity was christened “Beatlemania,” which embodies the band’s ideals and impact not only in music, but also in socio-cultural revolutions.


So, how did the Beatles become a phenomenon?


While the band’s talent and charm are already widely accepted, some critics credit the Beatle’s success to their extraordinary luck of coming precisely at the right moment in the music scene.

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John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were just born a few years apart during an era when England still had its National Service program. During this period, the fab four found each other, devoting several years playing and practicing music together in front of adoring fans.


At the time when the band finally hit their musical ventures, the wave of post-World War II babies were already in their teens. Hence, they created a wide fan base, including in the West, during a time of economic prosperity. For their listeners, their joyous and optimistic music seemed to fit the era.


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In addition to band’s great talent and fortuitous timing, critics also regard their success to the Beatles’ gift of harmony and their unique qualities as individuals, which symbolizes unity where all opposites sing together as one.


A music industry veteran, Mark Begelman has provided artists and bands the best possible place to play, record, and rehearse music. Know more about his studio’s facilities and services by following this Twitter account.