This Is Your Brain: The Guided Tour – Making Sense of Music


During this break, we’re going to take a moment to hear from some people who made music in school, and continue to “invest” in music making as adults.

(Band music under)

The music we’re listening to is by composer Michael Makowski. It’s being played by amateur musicians from the Grand Street Community Band.

I played music all through high school and stopped when I started the engineering school. 26 years later, I picked up my horn again, and I found the piece of my life I didn’t even know I was missing. Playing music gives me an avenue for expression that my engineering work does not. And I at this point I can’t imagine my life without it.

I actually played the oboe a lot during my high school years so was really a big part of my life. I actually didn’t go to college to study music, and I sort of lost touch with music. I definitely felt that absence in my life. I recall vividly starting to play with the Grand Street Community Band, and it really did feel like sort of a missing puzzle piece was found.

In 2009, I ended up having a stroke where I had a blood clot in my head. I was in the hospital for eleven days. I was only 23 years old. This happened in July, Mid-September I was able go back to work part time until the clot was fully gone. And when I started in the Grand Sheet Community Band that fall I just come out of the stroke and was a little scared that I could keep up. But reading music was the way that I was able to start practicing my brain power and read. It was the most reading I was able to do. It’s just a type of language that we all say is the universal language of music. And it’s just such a great way to practice your brain skills.

The thing about making music in an ensemble is you’re doing something that should be physically impossible, which is coordinate 50, 60 people to be literally of the same mind And to do that as one is pretty amazing. Playing just for the love of music is the purest connection to why music exists.

I know growing up being in the band was such a great outlet and you could tell a lot of the smarter people were in band because not only did it allow you to be smart with just reading music and playing music, but it gave you discipline and something that we had to keep practicing and stay on top of because practice makes perfect. And luckily with the Grand Street Community and we even did perform in Carnegie Hall, where how do you get to Carnegie Hall but practice, practice, practice.
(music fade out)

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