Monday, 20 November 2017

Making music

The ukulele is such a fun instrument.   I am a keyboard player and have also played in an Early Music ensemble playing a variety of 'old' instruments - harpsichord, virginals, rebecs, recorders, crumhorns and the like.   But the ukulele is a completely new experience and it is a good thing at my age to take up a completely new thing to do.   It exercises a different part of the brain.

I have a condition called 'Benign Essential Tremor' which means that my hands shake when I write or when I try to carry a cup and saucer for example.
People tend to think it is the start of Parkinson's disease but my condition has been investigated and it is really quite harmless - irritating but not serious.   It runs in families - my father shook and my sister too.   And reading about it on the internet I see that the actress Katherine Hepburn
suffered greatly from it from an early age - not just in her hands but even her neck and head too.

Oddly enough I don't shake when I play the ukulele.   The doctor informs me that this is because it is a new skill I am learning and that uses a different part of the brain.  So yet another reason for taking up something new.   

14 comments:

justjill said...

Interesting. A friend of mine has Parkinsons. But is also a keen and able photographer of wildlife, birds in particular. At first his consultant was gob smacked that he could take these brilliant photos. But the consultant eventually came to the same conclusion that when concentrating the brain kicked in and obeyed. So wonderful for sufferers of any problems with tremors. On another tack I too can play piano now keyboard but could not arrange my fingers for chords on any stringed instrument. I hope we get to hear you on the ukelele!

Rachel Phillips said...

My man who does all the work on my house has it so he cannot weld. It manifests itself sometimes in other things. He has had it all his adult life. His father also had it.

Mac n' Janet said...

Interesting, and I like the idea of using a different part of the brain.

Joanne Noragon said...

I know someone with BET. It seems not too unusual.

Anonymous said...

My OH's grandma had BET - but it did not stop her doing anything unlike his mum who had Parkinsons and that became quite severe which did stop her doing everything eventually. Interesting about the way the brain operates - I hope mine is still able to work efficiently as years ago I bought a piano - I mised out when I was little and playing a piano was all I ever wanted to do - I am hoping to have lessons when I retire and fulfil a long awaited dream!

Bonnie said...

Isn't the brain amazing! You are so wise to learn a different type of skill. I keep reading that we should do that to keep challenging our brain. Maybe sometime you could show a little video of your ukulele group performing? Have a good evening!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Wonderful that you don't have this when playing the ukelele!

Sue said...

I do admire your musical skills. So important to learn new things, exercising the brain!

Librarian said...

Hats off to you for learning something completely new - and it sounds (!) as if you are really enjoying yourself, and it is good for you and for those you play for, such as the Alzheimer group you've mentioned a few times.
All too often I get comfortable with what I know and am reluctant to start something completely new. For my work, I need to keep up with all sorts of laws and regulations, often on a EU-basis, constantly changing, but that's just adding to what I already know, nothing completely different. I think learning another language would do me good.

Heather said...

You are a lady of hidden talents. How interesting that your tremor doesn't affect you when you are playing the ukulele. The brain is a wonderful thing and we must all do our bit to keep our own exercised. I have days when I feel that mine has been left under the pillow!

Barbara said...

I so admire your musical talent! I am one of those folks who do far better as a member of the audience.
And, how very interesting about the brain! You've done us all a favor by giving us some new information.

Tom Stephenson said...

Interesting about the medieval instruments, Weave. I used to own a crumhorn and played it very badly.

Minigranny said...

Well done for trying something new and it is a bonus if it helps the tremor!

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