• Ben Vasko

Tuba-Less 1.2: Sleepy Edition

Hey y'all. I appreciate all of you who have subscribed to this endeavor thus far, and I hope I can at the very least inspire some new thoughts in your own daily practices. I am realizing I failed to explain in the previous post how I am going to structure this blog. I am dividing this experiment into two parts: Part 1 will cover my first stint of teaching the Blue Devils and trying different ways of staying on top of my musical game. After I return home, I will implement what I learned and see what worked and what didn't. Part 2 will be my second stint with the Blue team, only then I will be taking what worked and furthering my application of those concepts. Maybe it will all work and maybe none of it will, but I am going to give it my best.

Today's topic...



Yes, rest. I have been trying to come up with different topics to explore for a few weeks now, and oddly enough this one had not popped until my mind until I woke up today around 10am. And let me tell y'all- it felt amazing. Back in February, I decided it would be a great idea to attend two conferences, teach a week-long summer camp, and immediately head out to California to be with BD. All great things, but exhausting to say the least. Aside from wonderful experiences learning, performing, teaching, and being with people I cherish, these past few weeks have beaten me up and taken my lunch money. I'm whipped. But today, after being gifted 10 hours of sleep, I have been revitalized. Risen from the ashes of decisions made months ago, I am a phoenix reborn with the intent to give my all to the next round of work and challenges.

Proper sleep offers so much more than the obvious (and wonderful) physical benefits. One important impact of sleeping is that of which it has on our memory and ability to learn. The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School has this to say on the matter:

"Although the exact mechanisms are not known, learning and memory are often described in terms of three functions. Acquisition refers to the introduction of new information into the brain. Consolidation represents the processes by which a memory becomes stable. Recall refers to the ability to access the information (whether consciously or unconsciously) after it has been stored." (full link available at bottom of post)

While acquisition and recall mostly occur when we are awake, consolidation largely happens while we are sleeping. So aside from the fact that a sleep-deprived individual is likely to have issues focusing, gathering new information won't be as effective as it could be without a full night's sleep to "digest" what it is you learned. I find this not only true with learning, but with practicing as well. While I don't always make leaps and bounds of progress in one practice session, if I am steadfast with my approach and unwavering with the application of concepts I am trying to learn, I am usually more likely to have something to show for that practice the day after a good night of sleep. So basically, don't worry if you aren't amazing after a long day of practice- keep at it, sleep on it, and see how you do tomorrow!

It is my hope that this newfound knowledge will allow sleep to become a priority of mine while I continue to learn about myself away from the tuba and once I am reunited with it. It is so easy to feel like if we aren't working hard for hours on end, we aren't being productive or using our time wisely. This isn't true! Allotting ourselves the rest we require gives us the chance to be far more productive, attentive, and retentive compared to if we are running on empty trying to do as much as possible. So with that have a great day, but more importantly, get some sleep tonight so you'll have something to show for it tomorrow! Thanks for reading y'all, and I look forward to sharing more thoughts with you in the coming days.

Link to Harvard Medical School Article: http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/learning-memory

-Scroll down for Pic of the Day and Today's Listening-

Pic of the Day: The view from my beloved air mattress 😍

Today's Listening: "Shostakovich Under Stalin's Shadow- Symphony No. 10" by the Boston Symphony Orchestra:

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©2018 by Ben Vasko.

Boston, USA

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