Mr. Mark's Musings

Music Lessons and Brain Development
By Mark Adamczyk on September 14, 2012

Here is a recent article from ABC News about how beneficial formal music instruction can be for your child.

Music Lessons Linked to Lasting Brain Benefits

Music lessons early in life may have lasting benefits on the brain, a new study found.

The study of 45 young adults found those with at least one year of childhood musical training had enhanced neurological responses to sound, a trait tied to improved learning and listening abilities.

Read the whole article here.


Article on Music and Infants
By Mark Adamczyk on March 26, 2011

Birth of the beat

 This is an article I ran across at that discusses the natural rhythms that are inborn in infants. There is also a fascinating discussion of research on mother-infant "talk" and how there appears to be natural musical rhythms there as well. If you have an infant, after you read this article, you're going to be second-guessing everytime you play with your child!


On being interviewed by the press
By Mark Adamczyk on September 07, 2010

I've been interviewed a few times by the press for various and sundry. Local papers, a national publication (for a business I was starting), once even by a theatre critic in the Sun-Times for a stage musical that I worked on in the city (um, that would be Chicago, not Lake Bluff). I was just interviewed by the Pioneer Press, which is being gracious enough to run an article about Mr. Mark's Music Together in a couple of their papers this week. (I'm blushing. Not really.) I never know how these are going to turn out. I must have said a thousand, maybe five thousand words about my new program, and the article will have, what, three or maybe four short quotes from me? Did I get what I wanted to say across to the interviewer? Did I bury her with words and she'll just choose tidbits at random? I sure hope I was grammatical in most of my responses. OMG, I hope I, like, didn't start, like, using the word 'like', like, too much! (I do that when I get nervous.)

I have to say--regardless of what the interviewer quotes me as saying--I think this is the interview I talked the most at. I was just clipping along like a sibilant streak, gushing about early childhood and music, Music Together® philosophy, what's great about the classes, etc. It was pretty easy to gush, mainly for two reasons: one, the reporter didn't try to shush me up (not too much) and two, I've been gushing about this stuff for years. It just gets easier, even though I'm really not much of a public speaker, I get shy, I get tongue-tied (I have terrible tip-of-the-tongue syndrome), I stop making sense after a while. (Stayed tuned in a couple of sentences.) But, believe you me, when I get up on my soap box about something I really believe in, it's hard to get me to step down. And my work with families and music-making is one of those things I really believe in. As in, I've seen so many families have so much fun making music. I've seen so many children using music in their development and becoming happier, more centered children for it. Not just in music classes, but families I meet at parties, performances, parks, etc. who enjoy singing together where ever (home, school, church, picnics), who actually enjoy taking their kids to lessons, who enjoy singing Beatles songs over and over because that's what one of their kids is learning to play on the guitar, or piano or diggereedoo.

 Listening to music is like reading the paper or a news feed or blog. Participating in making music is like writing the article or being interviewed or blogging, more fulfilling and generally more fun.

Being photographed for the article, however, was like sight-reading music, at least for me. Much more stressful than the interview. 

Community support
By Mark Adamczyk on June 08, 2010

I just have to gush for a minute or two. I am getting such positive responses and encouragement from my families about my new centers and classes. I have to give up teaching at an Evanston location in order to focus on my centers and my families there are all bummed about that--but even so, they're so darned supportive for me and my new endeavor. It's just touching, I don't have a better word for it at the moment (although I'm 85% sure there IS a better one). Gosh, I know a lot of nice people, how cool is that?

I have this habit of calling my families, well, "my families". I guess I take this teaching thing kind of personally. I think of my classes as big family gatherings. (Some classes with long-time-attending families have become sort of their own "family" group, friends who start hanging out together in other locations besides music class.) Big, fun family gatherings, mind you, not those tense kinds of gathering that you see enacted in plays and movies and such.

So, anyway, to all my families that have been encouraging me and my new centers, thank you, thank you, thank you.

choosing a name for my center
By Mark Adamczyk on May 14, 2010

I just got "officially" approved for my center license, so I might appear a bit smug-looking the next time you see me. I'm walking on a cloud, this all so cool. I can legally run a center, offer classes at that center, teach classes (which I could already do, I just don't need an adult's permission any longer) at said center, pay bills at.....rats, I knew there was a catch.

One thing that didn't get approved right away was the name of my new center. I had a real cute idea, took me all of 10 minutes to think up, took corporate all of 10 minutes to shoot down. I submitted another, still no go. This kept going on and on. I think the name I finally got permission to use (the one you're looking at, dear reader) was allowed just to get me to stop bugging people and get on with other things, like offering classes.

I thought I would share with you some of the names for my center that I tried to use, but for some reason or other were all rejected. I can't pick my favorite, I love them all: (you have to say it out loud to get the full effect) (okay, not very original) (that's music together backwards. Amazingly, that website name is still available!) (admittedly a bit long) (actually I used something a bit stronger that "gosh darned". That may have been the problem.) (I should've guessed that one wouldn't fly.) (the shakespeare slant didn't go over with corporate)

Iacta alea est
By Mark Adamczyk on May 03, 2010

Well, here I am. After teaching MT for ten years at other music schools, working for other center directors, and saying to my families countless times, "Y'know, If this was MY center, here is what I would do...", I am no longer in a position to say "If" but instead I must fess up and preface pronouncements with "This IS my center, here is what I AM going to do". The biggest change, so far, is that I now make my pronouncements to an empty room or send them off to an oblivious cyberspace. I have actual flesh-and-blood-and-smiles families over at the music schools. Nobody here yet, except me, and I don't have the prerequisite young child anymore. So why am I making the leap into this entrepreneurial role where I don't know anybody (because, as of today, there isn't anybody to known)? Partly because I am being kicked out of the comfy nest at the music school. (Ahhh, how spring like! Out of the nest like a new-born chick, winging to freedom.) Mostly because I've sorta, kinda, shoulda wanted to do this ever since the first time I said to some of my families, "Y'know, if this was MY center....".

Now it's my center.