A Dramatic Illustration of the Healing Power of Music.

Ji-Hae Park is an incredible violinist. But while struggling to become world-famous, she fell into a severe depression — a depression that could only be lifted by music. And not the hard-drilling, perfection-above-all music she’d been striving for, but music meant purely for joy and for bringing the wonder of the violin to people everywhere.

She’s become quite the sensation, playing in prestigious concert halls and working on an album. But between all that, she plays in hospitals, churches, prisons…wherever she feels she can touch people and introduce them to the healing power of music.

She tells her story far better than I can – so I’ll get out of the way and let her get on with it:

Soothing the Savage Breast: Music as Stress Relief

Mommy needs a break.

“Don’t worry, sweetie. Mommy’s just in her quiet place. Nobody make a sound while Mommy’s in her quiet pla–LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”

If you don’t loosen a violin bow before putting it back in its case, you can warp the bow — or even break it.

Why am I telling you this? Read on.

My friend (let’s call her…Michelle) was sure she would go mad.

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Musical Ingenuity: The Vegetable Orchestra

If you want to see human ingenuity in all its glory, look no further than the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra.

This talented group, consisting of musicians, artists, writers, sound engineers, and other creative types, has come up with a truly unique form of expression. Using instruments made from — you guessed it, vegetables, the Vegetable Orchestra plays a range of music, from jazz to contemporary to electronica.

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Musical Nature: the Stalacpipe Organ

Nestled into the Luray Caverns in Virginia is a unique instrument that creates lovely music from the surrounding rock: the Stalacpipe Organ.

The Luray Caverns were well known for their musicality almost since the day they were discovered. By the ’50s, using mallets to play hymns and other well-known songs had become part of the regular tour. In 1954, a man named Leland W. Sprinkle took his son on one of these tours, and became fascinated with the music played on the formation.

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Interesting Instrument Spotlight: The Gittler Guitar

Invented by Allan Gittler in the 1970s, the Gittler guitar is definitely a showstopper. Convinced that guitars had too much unnecessary fluff and would be more functional pared down to only their essential components, Gittler created an instrument unique in both form and function.

Essentially just a guitar neck with tuners and electronics at one end and a simple headstock with string locks at the other, and weighing in at just four pounds, the Gittler is the ideal instrument for a guitarist on the go. It’ll also turn heads – imagine passing a busker playing one of these odd-looking things!

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Setting up a home recording studio

Well, a studio of sorts, anyway. See, I’ve been making videos using my iPad and its built-in microphone, which works pretty well but does leave something to be desired. The built-in mic tends to get overwhelmed on higher notes, and I don’t have as much control over the sound quality as I’d like.

So I’ve decided to set up a (sort of) home recording studio:

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What instrument would a whale play?

Happy Tuesday!

This week, I’m introducing you to a truly unique instrument: the waterphone.

Built from metals such as stainless steel and bronze, the waterphone can be played with a bow, mallets, or just your fingers. This instrument has a hollow metal base containing water; as the water moves inside the base, it creates different sound frequencies, giving the waterphone its unique sound. Posts made from stainless steel or bronze ring the outer edge of this steel base, and can be struck or bowed to create different sounds.

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