memorial day

Top 5 Historic Memorial Day Songs

This Memorial Day let’s honor those that have served our country in song form. Here are my top 5 historic musical selections that I simply LOVE! These songs are timeless and speak clearly to the feelings that are showcased during times of war and military service. Listen to theses songs. Teach them to your children. And, above all, be thankful for those that serve us.

  1. Bob DylanMasters of War: “Masters of War” is a song by Bob Dylan, written over the winter of 1962–63 and released on the album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in the spring of 1963.
  2. Joni Mitchell, The Fiddle and the Drum: “The Fiddle and the Drum” is a song by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell; it was first recorded by Mitchell on her 1969 album Clouds.
  3. Freda PayneBring the Boys Home: Freda Charcilia Payne (born September 19, 1942) is an American Soul/R&B … and the Vietnam War protest song “Bring the Boys Home” (U.S. Billboard Hot 100). 
  4. Bob MarleyWar/No More Trouble: “War” is a song recorded and made popular by Bob Marley. It first appeared on Bob Marley and the Wailers’ 1976 Island Records album, Rastaman Vibration, Marley’s only top 10 album in the USA.
  5. Jimmie Osborne, God Please Protect America: God Please Protect America God, Please Protect America King 893-AA Performed by Jimmie Osborne Recorded July 26, 1950 Written by Jimmie Osborne.


Human creativity may have evolutionarily developed as a way for better bonds between parent and child

wpid-2012-01-23_17-24-24_507.jpgWe constantly hear about innovation and creativity. We hear of ways to activate the creative side of our brain. How to inspire ourselves and others to spur on new ideas. But, where did creativity come from? Why did we start thinking outside convention? Many will argue that it was necessity as our societies grew in size. That, after thousands of years, our social landscape and norms had shifted so drastically that we were required to change the way we accommodated our new lifestyles. But new research suggests that our creative development was for a more personal reason. We now go to Disneyland for more answers…

Evidence from Disneyland suggests that human creativity may have evolved not in response to sexual selection as some scientists believe but as a way to help parents bond with their children and to pass on traditions and cultural knowledge, a new study published in the inaugural issue of the International Journal of Tourism Anthropologysuggests.

Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller of the University of New Mexico has suggested that human creativity, storytelling, humor, wit, music, fantasy, and morality, all evolved as forms of courtship behavior. He used evidence drawn from the Southern California tourist industry to underpin his argument. The work offers an explanation as to why the human brain is so much bigger relative to body size than that of other apes — sexual selection for greater intellect. Intriguingly, Miller has referred to the mind as “amusement park.” Now, anthropologists Craig Palmer of the University of Missouri, Columbia, and Kathryn Coe of the University of Arizona beg to differ. Although Miller talks of the mind in such terms, he fails to include in his analysis the most famous amusement park in the world, Disneyland. Palmer and Coe suggest that this is one of the most dense concentrations in the world of exactly those aspects of culture — art, creativity, storytelling, humor, wit, music, fantasy, and morality — that Miller claims evolved as courtship displays. Writing in the IJTA, Palmer and Coe suggest that Miller’s hypothesis cannot account for the fact that Disneyland is fundamentally devoted to children. They reason that Disneyland and other similar amusement parks, support an alternative hypothesis that the creative aspects of the human brain may have evolved in the context of parents influencing their offspring, and offspring responding to their parents, not in the context of courtship. The researchers do concede that some tourism is related to courtship, and not just “honeymoon” tourism and that it often involves art, creativity, storytelling, humor, wit, music, fantasy, and morality as part of the attractions. The team argues, however, that “The brain circuitry involved in both the generation of, and response to, these traits was selected for because it enabled parents to increase their fitness by increasing their ability to influence their offspring.” The human brain increased in size through evolution as cultural traditions accumulated over numerous generations. “Traditions can last much longer than a generation or two and that the massive accumulation of traditional behavior is unique to our species as is the large brain,” the team concludes.

Alter your genes by listening to classical music

Thomas McGregor

May 19th 2015

We’ve all heard the the varying benefits of listening to classical music. However, we now find scientific research that suggests that you can alter your genes by doing so. If this is true than listening to music can mean more than ever to the development and longevity of your brain. Furthermore, what we listen to in general has reached an entirely new hight in impertinence. Just as in what we put in our body effects our biology, so to what we listen to effects our brain.

A study by the University of Helsinki stated that even though listening to music is common in all societies, the biological determinants of listening to music are largely unknown. According to a this study, listening to classical music enhanced the activity of genes involved in dopamine secretion and transport, synaptic neurotransmission, learning and memory, and down-regulated the genes mediating neurodegeneration. Several of the up-regulated genes were known to be responsible for song learning and singing in songbirds, suggesting a common evolutionary background of sound perception across species. Additionally, a Finnish study group has investigated how listening to classical music has affected the gene expression profiles of both musically experienced and inexperienced participants. All the participants listened to W.A. Mozart’s violin concert Nr 3, G-major, K.216 that lasts 20 minutes.
Listening to music enhanced the activity of genes involved in dopamine secretion and transport, synaptic function, learning and memory. One of the most up-regulated genes, synuclein-alpha (SNCA) is a known risk gene for Parkinson’s disease that is located in the strongest linkage region of musical aptitude. SNCA is also known to contribute to song learning in songbirds. “The up-regulation of several genes that are known to be responsible for song learning and singing in songbirds suggest a shared evolutionary background of sound perception between vocalizing birds and humans,” says Dr. Irma Järvelä, the leader of the study. In contrast, listening to music down-regulated genes that are associated with neurodegeneration, referring to a neuroprotective role of music. “The effect was only detectable in musically experienced participants, suggesting the importance of familiarity and experience in mediating music-induced effects,” researchers remark.


Specific Subject Preference Development in Childhood / Independence of Pre- Adolescent Preference Conditioning


When you were a child did you dream of becoming a fireman, an astronaut, or doctor? Did your parents encourage you towards or away from specific jobs that you felt interested in? These questions have puzzled psychologist and behavioral scientists of decades. The idea is that we are influenced by parental, social and peer conditioning in our childhood years that prod our sensibilities toward or away from specific preferences in career choice. In this essay I will centrally explore how we are parentally conditioned and how we can entertain the idea of independence from said conditioning as we continue in growth and development past adolescence.

1. Specific Subject Preference Development in Childhood:
Few parents seem to recognize the impact they have on their children. From an early age children absorb everything around them little to know psychologic filter. The stimuli that occurs in their immediate surroundings is downloaded to their internal mental hard drive, wiring neurological transmitters together that will work in forming that child into an a person with a psychological identity. This identity is therein development over time to create what we see to be ourselves. The mental image of ourselves is a combination of the conditioning we experienced as we learned and witness events from birth to pre- teen. Psychologists have proven that our mental state is very fragile and delicate, requiring constant up-keep and fortification of identity centers. We are constantly internally referencing who we are based on who’ve we’ve continued ourselves to be. Any conditioning pre-adolescent is not of our doing more, of parental, environmental and social. For example, you will see pre-teens voice their loyalty to a specific college football team when having never attended the school in person, based on the religious- like loyalty to that collage their parents attended. This is due to the constant exposer to the college loyalty over a long period of time. Just like a runner conditions his muscles for long hours on the track, so to our psychology becomes conditioned to think a specific way about almost everything in our immediate experience. As children we rely greatly on parental advise and guidance for how to live. We presume that those that have came before use have greater insight into the workings of the world and how to navigate socially. We are born into this reliance on parental guidance based on the foundation of multiple millennia grounded i122311172037n parental based survival reliance. As early Homo Sapiens, nearly 200,000 years ago, we looked for non-vebal cues from parents to note when danger came in proximity. As we aged into strong hunters next to our fathers we developed our senses independently as the environment we grew up in changed due to climate, inhabitants, and geological alterations occurred over time. This introduces a very interesting shift in our psychology as we develop into adolescence that still occurs currently. Parents have a direct impact on specific preferences from birth to age (on average) 13.

“Parents have an early influence, but by middle school most students are starting to

develop independent tastes.” Art Markman, Professor of Psychology – University of Texas at Austin

Parents are sometimes unaware as to the gravity of impact they have on their children and still believe that they have little to do with the career choices of their children (Taylor, Harris, & Taylor, 2004). In a study from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (Taylor, Harris, & Taylor, 2004), almost half of freshman parents stated that they believed they should remain neutral in regard to their child’s career development. However, additional studies show that parents have a greater influence in career selection than teachers (Kniveton, 2004) and can even influence what major their children choose to pursue in college (Simpson, 2003). For example; a teen may be interested in majoring in science but instead is influenced by their parents to study law, due to past positive experience within the family. What has shifted now is the associate to what we believe will keep us alive, or not killed. As 200,000 year old Homo Sapiens, we perceived large animals as threats and watched for cues from our parents in times of stress. As 21st century up-right walking humans we now look for similar cues but in a modern context. Having money in today’s environment is considered being unstressed, taken care of, and/or “surviving”. Therefore, it is save to presume that many modern career choices are selected our fear of pain from lack of resources. It is clear that parents believe they have less influence over their children’s career decisions than the research supports. This perception seems to differ from the perception of children, who often report their parents to be of the highest influence (Ferry, 2006; Kniveton, 2004). Due to this perception gap, it is important to examine the result of parental influence in regard to their children’s career choices. While parents assume that their direct career advice may be influential, they may be unaware that they can also exert a strong career influence simply by serving as examples of workers (Kniveton, 2004). In fact, children as young as five years old begin to identify with the occupation oftheir mother or father (Havighurst, 1964). Parents start influencing career decisions as soon as their children can pronounce their job title. There is no coincidence in the fact that many children go into professions that mimic or mirror those of their parents. In fact, similar parental jobs may be perceived as more stable or “safe” the the child that witness success of the parent in that field; success mainly defined as financial stability. When interviewed, you’ll noticed that a person will ask whether a field is financially stable over a period of time when asking about career opportunities.

Parents may also be unaware of the impact their accepted standards and values have on their child’s career selection. According to Biddle, Bank, and Marlin (as cited in Simpson, 2003), “rather than responding directly to external pressures … students internalize parental norms and preferences and act, therefore, in accordance with those norms” (Transmission of Values section, ~ 1). Because parental norms and values are likely to affect career choice, it is important that parents understand the subtle ways that they communicate their norms and values on a regular basis. Furthermore, due to the value weight a child places on parental standards, the influence of the parent becomes very potent. Tracey (2001) identified a research gap in children’s career development and argued that the critical research question is about “the mechanisms by which children’s thinking about interests shifts from childhood structures to those of
adulthood” (p. 90). There is a body of research that has focuses and attempts to validate theories that describe the career development of children. Specifically, research

has examined the process of learning that various theories hypothesize underlies children’s career development. Wahl and Blackhurst (2000) have reviewed this research and concluded that the findings are mixed. Earlier theories such as that of Ginzberg, Ginsburg, Axelrad, and Herma (1951) have been challenged by research that has found children’s occupational aspirations are more stable over time than the theories proposes (Trice, Hughes, Odom, Woods, & McClellan, 1995; Wahl & Blackhurst, 2000). Therefore, we can presume that the longevity of consistent parental conditioning is a main contributor to the long-term development of childhood career interests.

2. Independence of Pre-Adolescent Preference Conditioning:
Conditioning on any psychological level is difficult to understand, regardless of attempts of removal or alterations. Art Markman, psychologist (Prof. of Psychology/UT at Austin) stated that preferences continue to evolve if we remain psychologically open them. However, the challenge in remaining open is in the ability for one to endure perceived psychological strain. Changes in environment, relationships and/or economic status showcase an instability to our environment. The instability is perceived as pain due to the possibility of collapse of living conditions. Even in areas of poverty you will find individuals that are reluctant to give up a dirty and torn blanket. This is because that individual perceives that item as a key part to their survival. The psychological shift that is required to occur if an individual intends to become independent of parental conditioning is two pronged: 1. The cultivation of endurance in psychological strain via life changes within multiple intensity levels. 2. Sustaining the consistent allowance of new ideas to remain valid in the shifting perception of our environment. Researchers call this psychological training. Just as in the example previous, the runner is conditioning himself to run longer. Psychological training is the conditioning of growth. In other words, we are conditioning ourselves to keep from becoming conditioned. Therefore, unless we intend on settling on a set of values and standards, we will need to train our mind continuously. Research has found that individuals that are continuously striving to grow, typically shift their reference point of conditioning from their parents to other individuals that exhibit values and standards they with to immolate. This suggests that as we continue to grow and change, we also continuously alter our reference point of value and standard validation. This is why many adolescents will take hold of role models such as sports stars, celebrities and historical figures. When the pre-teen finds common association with the public figure the bond is set and the immolation process will begin. Most children will still reference back to different and accepted components of their parental condition but, by age 13 most adolescents have started to develop their on sensibilities to the external world, allowing them to conglomerate many influences to who they will become as adults. As a pre-teen the act of exploring the ways of thinking seems natural and effortless. Experimentation, research and inquiry are all natural occurrence during these times of post-child psychological development. However, research has found that if not continued, by age 23 (on average amongst those studied) preferences are locked into comfort mechanisms that serve as points or reference when celebrating substantial career options. In contrast, when continuous development of mental faculties persist into adulthood individuals are more prone to career advancement and position alterations. This is done when the individual accepts new ideals and values as part of their psychological make-up. For example: A 30 year old graphic designer accepts that modern design is becoming more minimalistic, in

opposition to the past design structures of the 20th century; primarily influence by European architects. In this scenario, the graphic designer allows himself to be open to a shift in cultural identity in order to remain relevant and educated. The 21st century, with the Dotcom boom, allowed information to be shared instantly between individuals that differ in opinions and value structure. This has allowed and, in some cases, required more individuals to abandon select ideals of their parents in the attempt to stay current with fast-changing trends and world events. Therefore, the common structure is to find parental anchors that allow for acceptance of differing ideals then, allowing for a continuum of changing ideals that match the changes that are occurring around the world. As the spread of information and ideals become more easily accessible to more people, we hope to find individuals that are more accepting of the opinions of others. Individualism will win in the end, as only select parts of parental conditioning is kept by the psychology of the modern individual. If we take the initiative and momentary mental strain to expose ourselves to new ideas, we will realize we have many new things to learn from the world. Conclusively, our parents will also play a role in how we view the world and the choices we make. This gives us ground to stand on and a formulation around which to allow ideas to prosper. However, if we keep an open and progressive psychology over our lifetime, the world will open up to us a continuous feed of current ideals that best aid us towards the career we are best suited -and suitable- for.

Essay: Johnny Gimble – Texas Fiddler and Music Legend

Austin, TX  May 10th 2015


John Paul Gimble born May 30, 1926 was better known as Johnny Gimble, an American country fiddle musician primarily associated with Western swing music. Johnny Gimble was born in Tyler, Texas and grew up in a community call Bascom, Texas. His musical journey started yearly in life. He began playing fiddle in a band with his brothers at age 12 and, continued playing together for several years as The Rose City Swingsteres. Gimble was considered one of the most important fiddlers in the genre, pioneering the classic Western song with his unique blend of double-stop(playing multiple strings at the same time) and clean sound. Mr. Gimble was an icon amongst fiddlers and Western music enthusiasts. Regardless of age or the modern age, Gimble still continued to grow and learn and “make stuff up” or his way of composing. Throughout different life experiences and influences, Mr. Gimble continued to look for new ways to keep the music he loved alive and in the hearts of the next generation. He left a legacy of family, students and fans. Individuals that will continue the style he cherished so. Throughout his life Johnny dedicated years of his time to education and the teaching of fiddle and swing to, not only those close to him but, to students that came from all around to learn from him. There is still must we can learn from Gimble and his style. Luckily, modern technology allows us to relive moments Johnny shared with us and the music that will stay in our hearts. The Western swing music he favorited perfectly fit his disposition. Johnny was a fun and easy going fiddler that love playing because playing was fun. He believed in a deep sense of fun in music. The industry side of music interested him less as he got more into the music. Johnny felt that music can make people happy both; the players and the listeners. The music he “made up” had two objectives: 1. To have fun and have a good melody. 2. To be fun to dance to and fun to listen to. We can safely say that Johnny Gimble’s life was both full of life and fun and in service of others.


Late in the 1940s, he joined Bob Wills’s band, the Texas Playboys. He played both fiddle and  mandolin, and distinguished himself by using a five-string fiddle (most fiddles have four strings) when playing with Bob Wills. Bob Wills, was an American Western swing musician, songwriter, and bandleader. Considered by music authorities as the co-founder of Western swing, he was universally known as the King of Western Swing (after the death of Spade Cooley who used the moniker “King Of Western Swing” from 1942 to 1969.) Wills was born in 1905 and died on May 13, 1975. Wills formed several bands and played in radio stations around the South primarily and formed the famous Texas Playboys Texas swing power group in 1934. Gimble broke off to form his own group in 1951, performing as the house band at Bob Wills’s club. In 1953 he rejoined with Wills continued to play w until the early 1960’s. He played fiddle on #1 hit “I’ll Go on Alone” for Marty Robbins. Starting in the late 1970s, he won five Best Instrumentalist awards from the Country Music Awards and eight Best Fiddle Player awards from the Academy of Country Music. From then on, his steady work as a session musician included sessions with Merle Haggard, on his Bob Wills tribute album and with Chet Atkins on Superpickers in 1973. The following year he took a cue from a song he wrote and performed on the Atkins’ Superpickers album, Fiddlin’ Around and recorded the first of ten solo albums, Fiddlin’ Around. According to the Tennessean, the iconic fiddler suffered a stroke in 1999, but continued to play well into his 80s, appearing on A Prarie Home Companion and releasing an album titled Celebrating With Friends in 2010, featuring collaborations with Haggard, Vince Gill, Dale Watson, Ray Benson and more. He appeared multiple times on “A Prairie Home Companion” and “Austin City Limits,” and, in 2010.

Play every chance you get and be real lucky! – Johnny Gimble

End of an Era

The Dallas Morning News reported that Mr. Gimble died peacefully on at his home in Dripping Springs near Austin on Saturday May 9th 2015 at the age of 88. His daughter, Cyndy, said Gimble “finally rid of the complications from several strokes over the past few years.” As this may end an era of fiddling for some, this is the beginning for others. This is a time to rediscover and reignite the passion for Western swing and the legacy that will live on long after Johnny.  Mr. Gimble has left a lasting influence on country music and, while numerous young fiddlers have attempted to mimic his style over the years, “If you try to play like someone else, who will play like you?” as Gimble used to frequently say. It is safe to say that this is not an end of an era if we don’t allow it to be. We can take the legacy and memories that Johnny left us with and apply them to our music and our lives. We can become unique musicians, relaxed and full of passion for a style of music we love. This will be in honor of the many decade long musical influence that Johnny Gimble left us with. The ball is in our court now. We are to pick up the rule of educator, innovator and motivator or music and the arts. The time is now, as the tides change, for us to take up the foundation that Mr. Gimble laid down for us and stand tall to inspire the next generation of music makers. Through his creative output of music and teaching, we to can leap off into a wider world of music based on his exploration. We to can explore from where we are and create new musical textures and sounds that allow more and more people come to love the music that is engrained deep within our heart.


A new way to look at practicing music

We all hear it from our music teachers, “Practice! Practice! Practice!” But, what does it mean for us in the long term? I think what many music educators miss is the explanation and example of what long-term practicing can do for the student. For the student the drudgery and monotony of constant practice can create a grim outlook on their daily musical activities. Music students need the following two components for practice success:

1. Fun: Practicing needs to be more like play. After all, we do call it “playing music.” Practice should be outlined and described to the student as a time for them to explore and compete with themselves. They need to perceive practice as a time to be curious and to take risk. To try new ways of doing things and to engage self-teaching mechanisms.

2. Practicability: Students of all ages need to fully understand how practicing will impact their future musician-selves. This can be achieved by showing them examples of world-class musicians, explaining to them all the daily hours that went into becoming that great; with an emphasis on the musician competing with them self for that mastery. Students need to see how what they do now will impact their future as a musician. By seeing this in actuality via professional musicians, students will be inspired to work harder and longer than ever.

Once these two elements are seen by the student the teacher can prescribe practice goals that make sense for the individual level of the student. There will be a drastic shift in both, attitude and focus when the student understands more clearly why practice is such a good idea.

According to Edward Droscher, founder of Real Music Production, there are two major keys to effective practice.

1. Goals are key. It is human nature to take pride in reaching a goal whether a promotion at work or winning a competition. If you have a set goal to reach you will be more willing to put in the work required to achieve it. Some examples of goals could be to learn the latest song you’ve fallen in love with, to be able to sight read in a certain key, to develop faster, more technical playing or to reach a certain exam grade before a certain period.

2. Little often is better than a lot occasionally. One key point to remember is that repetition is the quickest way to learn something due to your brain and muscles ability to develop and store a so called ‘muscle memory’. It will take a substantially longer time to learn and retain your new knowledge if you practice for a long period but only occasionally. See tip 3 on how to easily incorporate regular practice sessions into your daily routine.

When you are having a bad day and nothing is going right . . .When the pressures of life are crowding in on you and you need some time by yourself . . When someone, or something has made you angry . . When you are bored, or when you are feeling flat or unhappy, don’t complain, just go and do some music practice. That will lift your spirits and energise you. — Ron OttleyOttley, Ron., Now I Love Music Practice (Eileen Margaret Publishing, 2009) Pg 62-63

Practicing should be taken out of the “nose to the grindstone” light, into the “play and exploration” sunshine. Students need to see an overview of how what they are doing now will make an affect on their future selves. This is enabled when the responsibility of this eye-opening is taken on by the teacher. After all, the teacher is the guide for the student to reach full potential. Therefore, the teacher’s J.O.B. is to bring the students narrowed vision of practicing into full vision of how fun and explorative it can be. Once this is achieve, the sky is the limit for both, you and the student.


The Genius Guide to Success | Article Review | Does Practice Makes Perfect?


I excitedly picked up my March/April copy of mental_floss today, lured in by what the titled promised; “The Genius Guide to Success.” 

I read through the pages, enjoying each tip, strategy and idea that came from top achieves in our society both, past and present. Then, found myself on page 36 where MF cited the idea of practicing and how it applies to successful execution. Some interesting things came out of this section of the article as it exposed the habits of top performers. I outline these below:


Glen Gould, pianist : Preferred to practice mentally. Believing that he performed best when he didn’t touch a piano for a month.

Slash, Guns N’ Roses guitarist : Practiced 12 hours a day while in high school. Doesn’t practice now.

Wynton Marsalis, trumpeter : Played 4-5 hours per day in high school.

Jonas Salk, scientist : Spent 16 hours researching the polio vaccine.

Nik Wallenda, tightrope walker : Practiced 3-4 hours a day before walking between two Chicago skyscrapers.

Eminem, rapper : Read the dictionary 2-3 hours every day in order to improve his vocabulary and rhyming skills.

After looking at all these practice habits by top performers, you may be wondering what the commonality is. Well, this secret is hidden in plain sight. The answer is not found in the amount of practice they sustained rather, what they practiced. They all zeroed in on the main skill or technique that would give them the edge. They focused in on the routine that worked best for sharpening their skills. Then, they refined it over and over and over again. Something else you may pull from this is the shift in perspective from practice as work, to practice as refinement. Essentially, that’s what you’re doing when you are rehearsing a key skill. You are refining it in order to embed quality habits so that the practitioner is able to call on these skills at a moments notice with a limited amount of risk.

In conclusion, we learn that top performers take sharpening key skills, seriously. They, as we should, look for the ONE skill that will give them the greatest benefit. Therein, allowing them to access this skill at any time under any amount of pressure. This makes them quick, efficient and the best. Ultimately, in order for this to work we need to clear the clutter that takes up a lot of our time and focus on the main skill that will leverage a competitive advantage. By doing this we can soon see ourselves among the greats in our society.
With Appreciation,