Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mozart Effect...have you listened to his Requiem?

Ever heard of the Mozart Effect?  Well, some experts say that it doesn't work or doesn't exist. I'm sure that everyone will agree that listenting to music can be influential on your mood and perhaps even your motivational drive. When I'm driving my car for an extended length, I prefer upbeat music that is engaging. When I'm tired and relaxing with a nice glass of cabernet (Silver Oak is always good...just too expensive), I prefer more cerebral or slower music. Either way, classical music fits the bill. For those new comers to classical music who really don't know where to start their education, I would recommend Mozart's Requiem. First of all, get past the fact that it is a death mass. Think more about the fact that it is music that Mozart wrote when he was in his full maturity at the end of his life. Listen to the different parts of the mass and note the different textures in the music - some feature solo instruments or voices. It can be really calming and/or enthralling to read a little on a classical work before listening to it. You can also find some FREE information online about the work sometimes even with a graphical chart with which to follow.

Many studies (here's one that is interesting: have been made on the Mozart Effect, some with more credibility than others. It seems that there could be an increase in brain power after listening to classical music. Although, I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer and I've been listening or actively engaged in creating classical music for well over 25 years. But don't let me through the curve! 

Nonetheless, if music motivates you to study more, or stimulates you towards a stronger vilance, then that's fantastic! Whether it can make you smarter or not, well I'll leave that to the PhD's out there to argue. I can't help but see some effectiveness. One thing for sure, it doesn't hurt to listen to more music, and Mozart is a pretty cool composer. 

Friday, April 17, 2009

Educational Plateaus

Learning new skills requires patience. If you've been working at it for a while, it can seem like forever until you get the new lick under fingers, or that new dominant 7th chord arpeggiated just so, or having the keys fall into place under your fingers. Learning new skills requires an understanding of educational plateaus.

Recently I was applying for a really fascinating job that seemed to be "me". What hit home, were the web-based questions that were asked in the form. As I was pondering my responses, I was reminded of a seemingly innocuous conversation I had with a music teacher oh so many years ago. He told me about educational plateaus.

If you graph the learning curve of a new skill -- it really doesn't look much like a curve at all. It falls into what looks more like a series of plateaus. Early on in the learning stages,
the plateaus are fairly steep stepped. The longer you study
your skill, the smaller the plateaus become. But, they're still there.

Understanding plateaus may help you understand your individual learning progress or what may seem like a lack of progress. Keep at it. You will get to the next plateau.

Regarding the job application. I don't know yet.
We'll see.

Speaking of plateaus, I included a couple of pictures in this post that remind me of educational learning plateaus and epiphanies.
At the left are two who are enjoying an Austin sunset over a plateau.
Above, is a still from a fireworks display at a ballpark -- when you look to the sky, sometimes there's more than fireworks -- you never know when an epiphany can hit.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Holden Beach Thoughts on Job Seaching and Big Dogs

Ever been to Holden Beach? OMG, it's Beautiful here. It has been far too long since I've been able to enjoy the "Great Escape" beach house. BTW, I have some really nice friends who let me use their house from time to time to reguvinate from whatever is ailing me.

So what's ailing me you ask, well if you read my first post I'm searching for a job...which is a full-time job in itself if you've not experienced this first hand. If you have, then you know what I'm talking about. It is apparent that the more versatile you are the more likely you'll land a job fairly quickly. Although I feel I'm fairly well-balanced in three industries, it still just doesn't seem to matter. Perhaps the stars are not lined up yet (topic for another blog?).

What are my three industries? Music, Education, Technology. What's nice about this is that I can mix and match each within each other. Music Technology, Education Software, Product Clinicians, Software Training, etc. So, the question still begs...where are the jobs?

So What's With the "Big Dogs" in the Title?

Well, here I am at Holden Beach with a big dog: half dalmation and half boxer. He's really a cool pub - stocky, stout, and cute with a touch of hypertension (he's a mix afterall). Check out his pic above!