“One does not need to have any formal knowledge of music ‒ nor, indeed, to be particularly ‘musical’ ‒ to enjoy and to respond to it at the deepest levels. Music is part of being human, and there is no human culture in which it is not highly developed and esteemed.” — Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia
With the advent of the internet, many of us are privileged to have easy access to music from legendary names such as Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, and Mozart, whose compositions provide tens of millions of people with inspiration every day.
Thanks to modern composers and educators such as Stephen Malinowski, the music is easier than ever to appreciate and understand. He uses the Music Animation Machine to synchronize popular compositions alongside eye-catching animations. These turn the complex world of classical music into understandable, colorful, and often mesmerizing videos with pioneering educational capabilities.
His process of creating the animations has evolved over time. Recent efforts incorporate elements of Voronoi diagrams “as an analogue to music perception”, dazzle with flashy neon-esque signs, showcase music as a blooming digital flower, mix aural play with geometry, turn compositions into 3D animations with ChromaDepth technology, and make nods towards retro video games.Advertising
Many of these techniques are in use on the 48 preludes and fugues by J.S. Bach he turned into animations during summer 2016. You can read about some of his techniques at Well-Tempered Clavier, or you can visit his YouTube channel smalin. Whether you want to educate yourself about classical music, find some inspiration, or simply relax, his videos will open you up to a vivid world of genius compositions and peace of mind.
This is from the first book of Bach’s the Well-Tempered Clavier (1722) – BWV 847 is one of many Preludes and Fugues in this ambitious set. Malinowski’s video breathes life into the piece with positively luminescent neon flashes.
The second of two piano pieces composed by Frédéric Chopin in 1836, now considered some of his best work. The Voronoi animation style is featured here.
This is also from Bach’s the Well-Tempered Clavier—the animation style features an unrolling spiral which emphasizes the 5-voice, 1-beat stretto at the conclusion of the piece.Advertising
Written in 1886, this would become one of César Franck’s best known works; it’s considered a masterpiece sonata for violin and piano. Malinowski’s epic animation takes the viewer on a wildly colorful journey, featuring pong-like video game sections in a glittering musical landscape of neon lights.
The final movement of Franck’s violin sonata. The animation offers another unique insight into classical music as it features a canon displayed visually.
An easily identifiable work composed in 1866, it’s since been used regularly in popular culture, perhaps most notably in Stanley Kubrick’s landmark 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Beethoven composed this piece circa 1800. Thunderous and fast paced, it’s an exhilarating trip through a geniuses’ musical capabilities.Advertising
In this innovative piece, the performers use guitars with a wide range of playing techniques. Each one can be seen represented on the video.
Composed in 1713, Bach’s piece is often called by numerous names. It’s best known as Sheep May Safely Graze, but it’s officially called Cantata No. 208. As this isn’t likely to sear itself into your memory any time soon, over hundreds of years it’s picked up various catchier nicknames.
Scott Joplin (1867-1917) composed this piece in 1907. It’s Stephen Malinowski performing the lively piece, which was then set to a Voronoi animation.
From a set of six sonatas pieced together in 1727, the organ sonatas are Bach’s reworking of previous cantatas, organ pieces, and chamber music. Although several hundred years old, when matched with this colorful animation it’s made strikingly contemporary.Advertising
Claude Debussy was in his twenties when he composed the Deux Arabesques. The first remains one of the most easily recognizable piano pieces in modern times. Here it’s been set to v-ring technology – a partial ring with variable attributes which, after some experimentation, led Malinowski to the above effect.
Leopold Godowsky’s (1870–1938) take on Chopin’s work is notable for its playing demands. As Malinowski explains: “Chopin’s original etudes presented certain technical challenges, but Godowsky’s versions present challenges that go far beyond Chopin’s. For example, in this one, the speed of the fast-moving notes is doubled from the original, and the piece is played completely by the left hand.” This is also, apparently, not even the most challenging piece from Godowsky’s rearrangements!
This rousing composition from Bach offers, when complemented by the animation, another example as to why classical music can lift the spirits like nothing else.
This is a modern composition from film soundtrack composer Ante Božić Kudrić.
Finally, we have this hypnotic video which shows off Pachelbel’s Canon in D as never before. The piece was likely composed late in the 17th century, but was lost to obscurity for hundreds of years afterwards. It’s now arguably one of the most well known pieces of classical music. The video highlights each note of the melody fading in and out as each violin joins in with the canon, with the legendary (and, occasionally, notorious) bass repeating itself in the center.
Last Updated on February 21, 2019
How to Improve Your Memory: 7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways
How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?
If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.
Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)
So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.
We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.
Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.
Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.
Fortunately, meditation can help you out.
Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.
If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.
And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.
2. Get plenty of sleep
If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.
If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.
How much sleep should you be getting?
Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.
Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.
Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?
Yes, there are.
Try these three things:
- Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
- Don’t eat too late
- Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible
Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.
However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…
3. Challenge your brain
When was the last time you challenged your brain?
I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.
To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.
Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.
There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:
- Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
- Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
- Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)
If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!
Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.
4. Take more breaks
When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!
At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.
However, I was wrong.
Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.
Let me explain.
Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.
Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.
It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.
It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.
What’s the answer?
Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)
If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.
5. Learn a new skill
I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:
“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci
From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.
Let me give you an example of this:
Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.
Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.
The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.
Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.
Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.
6. Start working out
If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:
Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.
Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!
“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.
Not a problem.
A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines. So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.
Interested in getting started?
Here are five different ways that will help you work out:
- Join a gym
- Join a sports team
- Buy a bike
- Take up hiking
- Dance to your favorite music
7. Eat healthier foods
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”
This applies to your brain too.
The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.
Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.
Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.
Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:
- Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
- Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
- Nuts – improves memory
- Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus
- Fish oil – fish oil supplements can increase your brain power
Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!
I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.
You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.
But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.
More Resources About Boost Brain Power
- How to Increase Brain Power, Boost Memory and Become 10X Smarter
- 11 Tactics on Increasing Brain Power, Memory, and Motivation
- Do Memory Supplements Work? 10 Supplements to Boost Brain Power
- 15 Ways Meditation Benefits Your Brain Power and Your Mood
Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com