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Copyright 2014 Christina M. Guerrero


I was practicing piano, after a long stretch of having not played. It was slow going. Suddenly, a frustrated voice came out of nowhere: "Gosh! Come back when you know how to PLAY." Haha. OK, peanut gallery.

* * * * *
About ten minutes later, someone else decided to observe. This individual stood to my side and watched and said, "Nice. Thank you."

It wasn't too nice; it was a bit choppy. But it wasn't terrible, either.


Three ABBA songs are on a continual loop in my mind as earworms.

It was great to listen to them a few weeks ago, and get re-acquainted with their music, but now when I least expect it, there they are ... as if they are playing live in concert in the 70s.

Sometimes it's just a faint sound; sometimes it's a massive, arena--sized experience.

I don't have to listen to iPods, radios, music on TV, or other things people do when they want a music fix. I just listen to the earworms. If one earworm gets too irritating, all I have to do is think of another song, and there it is ... ready to be experienced.

However, the original earworms do not go away.

At any given time, there are several of the worms: happily and cheerfully bopping along, trying to take me down. If I sing along, and dance, and have fun with it ... that does not change anything, but doing so makes the worms more tolerable.

* * * * *
The good thing about earworms is that they enhance musical ability.

A song playing over and over in my head helps me to remember the key in which the original composition should be played. If I can sing or remember the song, I can pick out the key. I'm rarely off.

Almost all elements of the song are available for review and consideration: percussion, lyrics, melody, time, beat. Your brain examining songs like this = memorizing and retaining. And I can separate them out enough to the point that I once identified a song from a great distance based only on its bass-line. I love singing along to music I can identify playing on others' iPod headphones (why does everyone have their volume up so freaking loud? I see a future of a planet full of deaf people), others' cars when they have their windows up, and vibrations inside houses.

Although I will never sing with any talent whatsoever, the earworms have taught me the basics of singing, including proper breathing, voice range, projection, and emoting.

And of course, anything I can voluntarily recall and play at will, helps me play guitar and piano better.


This is all going much slower than I had hoped. However, I am enjoying the journey of becoming a musician, no matter what that means. One of my favorite moments so far is the time frame when I first learned "Oye Como Va" and played it in its entirety. I've learned several songs since then, but that first thrill was a unique experience.

* * * * *
Music seems to be reaching new heights in popularity lately, due to the competition shows, and older musicians licensing their material for all types of projects.

* * * * *
Really enjoying Bruno Mars. I didn't know what to think of him at first. He's got a clean, perky, upbeat sound.


Which came first: Miley Cyrus's song "We Can't Stop" or the Apple ringtone "Waves"? They sound similar.

* * * * *
When I feel my brain cells dying, which has been happening during down time lately, I access all the music I've memorized during my life, and enjoy playlists -- only through memory. Through this exercise I've discovered the helpful talent "musical memory" -- which means I remember most songs in the key in which they are supposed to be performed, as instructed by the original songwriters.

* * * * *
So the Grammys were on. That's homework for me. Everything about it. I usually feel wiped out when it's over.