Tag Archive: About Me

Here’s a list of things that I would like to have accomplished by the end of the Summer. This is to keep my mind active at all times.

1) Wake up each morning with an exercise from “Caffeine for the Creative Mind” to spark my creativity:

This book has 250 exercises that spark the imagination (most helpful, however, for graphic artists) for anyone feeling a creativity block. I believe that as we get older, we should learn to view the world again as we did when we were younger. It really is much bigger when your imagination is constantly adding things.

2) Practice Instruments

1. Clarinet
* Demnitz Tonguing
* Kell Staccato Studies #s 1-5, 7-10, 12, 13
* Scales (Major and Melodic Minor)
* Baermann Method (Scales, Arpeggios, Broken Chords)
* Rose Studies
* Uhl Studies
* Solo Literature
2. Flute (full range scales and extending range past C7)

3) Personal Summer Reading List

1. Language, Truth, and Logic-Alfred Jules Ayer- pp. 153
This book defines, explains, and argues for the verification principle of logical positivism, sometimes referred to as the “criterion of significance” or “criterion of meaning”. It explains how the principle of verifiability may be applied to the problems of philosophy.

2. Uncle Tungsten– Oliver Sacks- pp. 318
The book is named for Sacks’ Uncle Dave, who owned a business named Tungstalite, which made incandescent lightbulbs with a tungsten filament, who Oliver nicknamed Uncle Tungsten. Uncle Tungsten was fascinated with tungsten and believed it was the metal of the future. The book also talks about many other things that happened to Sacks, such as the many whippings at Braefield school, the burning down of the Crystal Palace, his interest in amateur chemistry, and his short-lived obsession with coloring his own black and white photographs using dangerous chemicals. It is also an extremely readable primer in the history and science of chemistry.

3. Awakenings– Oliver Sacks- pp. 386
is the remarkable account of a group of patients who contracted sleeping-sickness during the great epidemic just after World War I. Frozen in a decades-long sleep, these men and women were given up as hopeless until 1969, when Dr. Sacks gave them the then-new drug L-DOPA, which had an astonishing, explosive, “awakening” effect. Dr. Sacks recounts the moving case histories of these individuals, the stories of their lives, and the extraordinary transformations they underwent with treatment. This book, which W. H. Auden called “a masterpiece,” is a passionate exploration of the most general questions of health, disease, suffering, care, and the human condition.

4. The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat– Oliver Sacks- pp. 243
The book comprises 24 essays split into 4 sections which each deal with a particular aspect of brain function such as deficits and excesses in the first two sections (with particular emphasis on the right hemisphere of the brain) while the third and fourth describe phenomenological manifestations with reference to spontaneous reminiscences, altered perceptions, and extraordinary qualities of mind found in “retardates”.

5. This is Your Brain on Music– Daniel J. Levitin-pp. 276
Describes the components of music, such as timbre, rhythm, pitch, and harmony and ties them to neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, cognitive psychology, and evolution, while also making these topics accessible to nonexpert readers by avoiding the use of scientific jargon. One particular focus of the book is on cognitive models of categorization and expectation, and how music exploits these cognitive processes. The book challenges Steven Pinker’s “auditory cheesecake” assertion that music was an incidental by-product of evolution, arguing instead that music served as an indicator of cognitive, emotional and physical health, and was evolutionarily advantageous as a force that led to social bonding and increased fitness, citing the arguments of Charles Darwin, Geoffrey Miller and others.

6. Synaptic Self– Joseph LeDoux-pp. 324
Research on the brain, one of the few genuine frontiers remaining in science, continues to fascinate us, as it offers a glimpse into the deepest foundations of humanity. But in spite of great progress in understanding specific mental functions, like perception, memory, and emotion, little has been learned about how the self – the essence of who a person is, both in his or her own mind and in the eyes of others – relates to the brain.

7. Tchaikovsky: Letters to His Family– Himself- pp. 556
The great Russian composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was a compulsive letter writer. The 681 pieces contained in this volume offer unique and intimate insights into the composer’s life, ranging from two months before his 21st birthday in 1861 to six weeks before his death.

In vivid, informative detail Tchaikovsky discusses both his own music and that of his contemporaries, as well as European literature and art and, in a long missive, his reactions to the New World. Part of these letters’ fascination is the light that they throw on the social and political climate in which Tchaikovsky lived. He has much to say about patriotism, censorship, the conditions of the peasantry, the place of the Orthodox Church, and attitudes toward foreign countries. This is the definitive work on Tchaikovsky

8. The Diaries of Tchaikovsky -pp. 336

9. Wisdom:from Philosophy to Neuroscience– Stephen S. Hall-pp. 278
A compelling investigation into one of our most coveted and cherished ideals, and the efforts of modern science to penetrate the mysterious nature of this timeless virtue.We all recognize wisdom, but defining it is more elusive. In this fascinating journey from philosophy to science, Stephen S. Hall gives us a dramatic history of wisdom, from its sudden emergence in four different locations (Greece, China, Israel, and India) in the fifth century B.C. to its modern manifestations in education, politics, and the workplace. We learn how wisdom became the provenance of philosophy and religion through its embodiment in individuals such as Buddha, Confucius, and Jesus; how it has consistently been a catalyst for social change; and how revelatory work in the last fifty years by psychologists, economists, and neuroscientists has begun to shed light on the biology of cognitive traits long associated with wisdom—and, in doing so, begun to suggest how we might cultivate it.Hall explores the neural mechanisms for wise decision making; the conflict between the emotional and cognitive parts of the brain; the development of compassion, humility, and empathy; the effect of adversity and the impact of early-life stress on the development of wisdom; and how we can learn to optimize our future choices and future selves.Hall’s bracing exploration of the science of wisdom allows us to see this ancient virtue with fresh eyes, yet also makes clear that despite modern science’s most powerful efforts, wisdom continues to elude easy understanding.

10. The Fine Art of Repetition: Essays in the Philosophy of Music– Peter Kivy- pp. 373
Peter Kivy is the author of many books on the history of art and, in particular, the aesthetics of music. This collection of essays spans a period of some thirty years and focuses on a richly diverse set of issues: the biological origins of music, the role of music in the liberal education, the nature of the musical work and its performance, the aesthetics of opera, the emotions of music, and the very nature of music itself. Some of these subjects are viewed as part of the history of ideas, others as current problems in the philosophy of art. A particular feature of the volume is that Kivy avoids the use of musical notation so that no technical knowledge at all is required to appreciate his work. The essays will prove enjoyable and insightful not just to professionals in the philosophy of art and musicologists, or to musicians themselves, but also to any motivated general reader with a deep interest in music.

11. The Evolution of Childhood– Melvin Konner- pp. 753
The study of our evolution starts with one simple truth: human beings take an extraordinarily long time to grow up. What does this extended period of dependency have to do with human brain growth and social interactions? And why is play a sign of cognitive complexity, and a spur for cultural evolution? As Konner explores these questions, and topics ranging from bipedal walking to incest taboos, he firmly lays the foundations of psychology in biology.

12. A History of Western Philosophy– Berthrand Russell- pp.836
A conspectus of Western philosophy from the pre-Socratic philosophers to the early 20th century. Although criticised for its over-generalization and its omissions, particularly from the post-Cartesian period, it was a popular and commercial success, and has remained in print from its first publication. When Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950, the book was cited as one of those that won him the award. The book provided Russell with financial security for the last part of his life.

Synaesthesia (wikipedia it )

1) Grapheme-color / Personification


This is a layout of the different colors of each letter or number I see. It doesn’t change. However certain words have their own colors such as the word “rock” just being gray. Also, each letter and number has it’s own gender and personality. Example: 7 is a cynical girl with dark medium-length hair and 9 is a spoiled preppy chick with blonde hair.

2) Mirror Touch

This condition is a little less self-explanatory. Synaesthetes with mirror-touch synaesthesia feel sensations when they see someone else be touched or hit. This is why I physically cannot hit people in sensitive spots. If I struck someone in the nose, I would feel a sensation of pain very briefly in my own nose. When I was a kid I remember a fight I was involved in (that I unproudly won) where I beat the other kid in his head but I cried to mommy because I knew how much it hurt the other guy even though he was trying to hurt me. I’m a very empathetical person because of this form. I’m also a hypochondriac. :-p

3) Sound -Touch Synaesthesia

I used to find it strange that I feel things when I hear certain sounds. I ALWAYS get an excruciating tooth-ache in my bottom tooth when I hear metal screeching or when I even think about it. (No my teeth aren’t grinding together).

Synaesthesia is a very broad subject of people whose senses seem to interfere with other senses. Google or Bing for some information on Synaesthetes because I simply can’t list every different condition. Some cases involve people with perfect pitch who see colors for every sound or pitch. Other cases involve people who might feel a prickly sensation in the hand when they taste chocolate. I have a friend who smells cheese when he hears the name of his uncle.

*Check it out on youtube


So, I believe it’s official that I am the most indecisive person I know. Here’s a perfect example: it took me over an hour of google searching and bing searching to figure out what I wanted to have as my blog background image. This is very normal for me but it’s really starting to affect my life.

Degree Program(s): I’m an ex-trombonist who plays multiple instruments pretty well. I finally managed to switch over to clarinet by re-auditioning at VCU. I thought I FINALLY made up my mind about something. Well…, I’m double-majoring in music education and psychology with the pre-med concentration. Music ED because I will have lots of back-up in music and pre-med because I don’t know if I want to go to grad school or med school. (Apparently there IS a difference between Neurology and Neuroscience). I really like studying the brain, which is partly what makes me like education.

Shopping: I have spent so much money on jeans (money that I barely had) and other items simply because I couldn’t make up my mind on what I wanted. “Oh no… what if I want jeans with holes on some days but on other days I just want regular bootcut jeans….” My shopping strategy has always been “If I can’t pick one, I’ll pick BOTH.”

Selling things: Well, I haven’t really sold anything yet because everything I’ve always come up with some sort of reason to keep everything I own. I wanted to sell my trombone, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking “Maybe ONE day I’ll want to play it again and I spent so much time with it I can’t simply just sell it.”

When people say “it’s up to you” to me: THE WORST THING TO EVER SAY TO ME… Number 1) I’m wondering what would be nice for BOTH of us, and Number 2) I can’t decide what I would want to do MYSELF

But I’d have to say that the degree program section is the part that’s troubling me the most. I’m never going to be successful unless I either PICK ONE… or figure out a way to be successful combining BOTH which would be one plan. We all have to have a focus in our lives. No one wants to look at a photo where the background is just as clear as the foreground.