Kempo this week has been demanding, but only because of my own expectations. I’ve worked out really hard this week–four karate classes, a private lesson and a lot of walks and other exercise. For almost the last month, I have exercised every day, for thirty minutes or more. It’s been fantastic. Today I’m tired…I do plan on getting thirty minutes in with a walk or some kempo practice in my driveway or basement dojo…but I found out a curious thing and am wondering what the world thinks.
LoseIt.Com considers “Music Playing” (with Piano/Organ chosen as an option) is an exercise. For the 35 minutes I spent working on Mozart’s 11th and 16th sonatas, as well as his Fantasy No. 3, LoseIt says I burned over 100 calories. I believe it, because it does require movement and hand, wrist and forearm muscles to play. But it seems weird to me to consider practicing piano to be exercise in the traditional sense. What do you think?
So lately, if you didn’t notice from my putting my blog on hiatus for over a month, writing hasn’t come easily. But this week I’ve come to a realization…if I don’t participate in a certain number of creative activities on a regular basis, my writing suffers too. Which brings me to my main point…
Like the body, creative muscles need to be exercised together.
I recently started taking martial arts classes again. Since then, I’ve noticed the muscles in my body performing better in general, even if they’re not one I worked on recently. It’s like how if you want strong abs, you also have to build up the muscles in your back.
For me, when I practice music regularly, and compose, my writing–poetry, fiction–gets better and I can write more easily. My lesson that I take from this is that I can’t neglect music (listening & playing) and expect to write well or with relative ease. For me, the two are inextricably linked.
If writing is my abs, music is my back.
What other creative activities do you enjoy? Have you ever noticed your writing suffer if you’ve stepped back from these other activities? I’m curious to know if others out there feel the same way or if it’s just me!
Have you ever heard of “Mozart Makes You Smarter?” An album released in the mid 1990′s, it followed the theory that Mozart’s compositions allow your brain to more efficiently store and recall information.
I feel as though the same is true for compositions by J.S. Bach and the creative centers of the brain. For me, whenever I listen to Bach’s music, the writing not only comes easier but is of a better quality. However, for me, any music is an aid to writing. Although if it has lyrics, it has to be of a calm mood or I get distracted.
A friend of mine creates soundtracks for her characters and those songs help her to get into the mood. I find it interesting how the brain works and sometimes find myself wondering whether all music does somehow unlock capacity in our brains, like Mozart’s, or if it just becomes Pavlovian. Then I remind myself to stop wondering about it and get back to the writing.
Weigh in–what type of music do you like to listen to while writing, or do you prefer complete silence? I’m always curious to know where others stand on this as myself and a friend or two are hardly a reasonable sample size. Feel free to suggest tracks too–my favorites of Bach’s are his Unaccompanied Cello Suites–any of them, all of them…played by Yo Yo Ma.
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