Learn How to Play the Theremin: A Free Short Video Course

When Leon Theremin debuted his strange electronic device on the world stage, it seemed to many people more like a curious toy than a serious musical instrument. The theremin soon became associated with B-grade sci-fi movies and novelty soundtracks, an association that made Clara Rockmore furious. Determined to achieve respectability for the theremin, she championed it as “a legitimate classical instrument that deserves a place in the pit,” writes Atlas Obscura, “right next to the violins and piano.” Rockmore’s ambitions may have been outsized, but her talent was undeniable. “As serious as anyone has ever been about the theremin… she left behind a number of valuable lessons,” including a book, freely available, in which she dispenses some very practical advice.

But much has changed since her day, including popular methods of instruction and some of the technical design of theremins. Now, aspiring players will likely go looking for video lessons before consulting Rockmore’s guide, which requires that students read music in order to transition from exercises to “easy pieces” by Camille Saint-Saëns and J.S. Bach.

One series of video lessons offered by “thereminist” Thomas Grillo, an earnest instructor in a white shirt and tie, begins with the very basics and works up to more advanced techniques, including possible mods to the device (Grillo plays a Moog-made theremin himself).

Grillo opens with a disclaimer that his short course is “no substitute for professionally done how-to videos on how to play the theremin,” thereby humbly acknowledging the low production values of his series. Nonetheless, I imagine his classes are as good a place to start as any for newcomers to theremin-ing, not a skill one can pick up as readily online as playing the guitar or piano.  He clearly knows his stuff. With the look and demeaner of a high school algebra teacher, Grillo patiently explains and demonstrates many techniques and principles, beginning with lesson one above, then continuing in lessons twothree, four, five, six, and seven.

Once you’ve reached an intermediate stage, or if you already find yourself there, you may benefit from the instruction of Carolina Eyck, who has carried on the serious classical work of Clara Rockmore. See her just above perform a stirring rendition of Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise,” accompanied on piano by Christopher Tarnow, and check out her YouTube channel for more performances and short lessons.

Related Content:

Soviet Inventor Léon Theremin Shows Off the Theremin, the Early Electronic Instrument That Could Be Played Without Being Touched (1954)

Meet Clara Rockmore, the Pioneering Electronic Musician Who First Rocked the Theremin in the Early 1920s

Watch Jimmy Page Rock the Theremin, the Early Soviet Electronic Instrument, in Some Hypnotic Live Performances

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

 

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Study Links Poor Sleep, Nighttime Snacking and Obesity

Junk food cravings are associated with double the odds of nighttime snacking, which is linked to an increased risk for diabetes, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Arizona (UA) Health Sciences.

The findings also show that poor sleep quality may be be a major predictor of junk food cravings, and that junk food cravings are associated with a greater risk for obesity, diabetes and other health problems.

The study was conducted through a nationwide, phone-based survey of 3,105 adults from 23 metropolitan areas in the United States. Participants reported whether they regularly consumed a nighttime snack and if a lack of sleep led them to crave junk food. They also reported their sleep quality and existing health problems.

Around 60 percent of the participants reported regular nighttime snacking and two-thirds reported that lack of sleep led them to crave more junk food.

“Laboratory studies suggest that sleep deprivation can lead to junk food cravings at night, which leads to increased unhealthy snacking at night, which then leads to weight gain. This study provides important information about the process, that these laboratory findings may actually translate to the real world,” said Michael A. Grandner, Ph.D., M.T.R., UA assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the UA Sleep and Health Research Program and the UA Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic.

“This connection between poor sleep, junk food cravings and unhealthy nighttime snacking may represent an important way that sleep helps regulate metabolism.”

The research was presented at SLEEP 2018, the 32nd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS).

The meeting is the world’s premier forum to present and discuss the latest developments in clinical sleep medicine and sleep and the roughly 24-hour cycle that influences physiology and behavior, known as circadian science.

“Sleep is increasingly recognized as an important factor in health, alongside nutrition,” said lead author Christopher Sanchez, UA undergraduate nutrition and dietetics major and a student research assistant in the Sleep and Health Research Program directed by Grandner. “This study shows how sleep and eating patterns are linked and work together to promote health.”

Sleep and wakefulness disorders affect an estimated 15 to 20 percent of adults in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Source: University of Arizona Health Sciences

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Sleep Disorders May Signal Depression in Young Athletes

A new study finds that nearly one-quarter of student athletes say they experience dream-like hallucinations as they are falling asleep or waking up, and 18 percent experience occasional sleep paralysis. These symptoms have been independently associated with depression.

The research is the first to look at the association between these sleep symptoms and mental health in student athletes, independent of insufficient sleep or insomnia.

The findings show that hypnogogic/hypnopompic hallucinations — dream-like experiences that occur while falling asleep or waking up — were reported by 24 percent of the athletes, while 11 percent said that they experience these symptoms at least once per week.

In addition, occasional sleep paralysis was reported by 18 percent of the sample, and 7 percent reported that this happens at least once per week.

Compared to athletes who had never experienced sleep paralysis or hypnogogic/hypnopompic hallucinations, those who did experience them, even rarely, also reported higher depression scores. The findings remained even after controlling for how much sleep or what quality of sleep the person experienced.

“These symptoms are often thought to be relatively harmless and quite rare. But they can be very distressing to those who experience them, and they may be surprisingly common among student athletes,” said senior author Michael Grandner, Ph.D., M.T.R., the director of the Sleep and Health Research Program and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

“What was also surprising was that the degree to which people reported these symptoms predicted severity of depression symptoms, even after controlling for poor sleep and lack of sleep, which can contribute to both depression and these types of sleep symptoms.”

The data was taken from 189 NCAA Division-I student athletes, who were asked to report how often they experienced the symptoms of sleep paralysis and hypnogogic/hypnopompic hallucinations. The young athletes were also asked about sleep duration, and they completed the Insomnia Severity Index and the Centers for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale.

Due to a busy schedule, student athletes often struggle to find time to rest. Thus, shorter sleep duration and poor sleep quality tend to contribute to disordered sleep in many student athletes. In addition, sleep symptoms such as sleep paralysis and hallucinations are more common in younger adults.

The preliminary findings of this study suggest that these symptoms may be warning signs of another medical problem.

“These sleep symptoms are usually harmless on their own, but they can be a sign of more serious sleep problems,” said lead author Serena Liu, a student research assistant in the Sleep and Health Research Program directed by Grander. “The fact that they are so common among student athletes suggests that this is a group with some significant sleep problems that should be evaluated and dealt with.”

The study was published in an online supplement of the journal Sleep and was presented at SLEEP 2018, the 32nd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS).

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine

 

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Marriage, deconstructed: The next battle for marriage equality could mean the end of marriage

Mic

“We’re moving toward more of that unbundling, deconstructing of marriage down into parts so that people can access them and so we can allow for more creativity in family configurations,” said Diana Adams, an attorney based in New York City and Frankfort, Germany, whose practice focuses on guiding people involved in untraditional relationships. “Historically, you’re either married or you’re not married. This allows for the possibility of acknowledging families as they really exist in the United States. … I hope in 15 years we see a movement toward people being able to create legal relationships with the person or people of their choosing without the government being the arbiter of whether their sexual or romantic relationship is worthy of getting tax and immigration and other benefits.”

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Source: ncsf

5R: Getting the Gut in Balance

Healthcare practitioners may find their patients benefit from the 5R protocol. We sat down with Mark Kaye, DC to discuss the use of the 5R GI restoration program. What is the 5R protocol? The 5R protocol is a means of helping to restore the natural balance of the gastrointestinal (GI) system. The GI system can become compromised […] More

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Anxiety Is Not the Enemy

anxiety-bannerAnxiety sucks. It can make even a slow, chill weekend miserable with stressful worries about the future and all the tension that goes with it.

Even worse, if anxiety is nothing new for you, it can call in its close cousin — shame. Shame and anxiety can then start to bully with thoughts like: Why can’t you just relax? How come everyone is more laid back than you? You’re such a [fill in the blank with your mind’s favorite name it calls you to make you feel bad about yourself].

Trying to stop or avoid this pattern is what most people do, only to feel frustrated and self-critical that they can’t conquer or resolve their anxiety. The pattern is bound to repeat, accumulating more and more frustration and a lessening of confidence of being able to work through anxiety.

If anxiety is seen as the enemy, as something to get rid of or something to overcome, then this will only produce more of it. The more you don’t want anxiety, the more you have it. Fighting it only binds you to it.

If you can relate to this then I invite you to consider a different way of looking at anxiety.

Anxiety is not a problem to be solved. Anxiety IS the attempt to problem solve.

Anxiety is, in part, the natural and useful ability to scan for threat and forecast an imagined future taken to an extreme. These two abilities (scanning and forecasting) are an attempt to address problems now or in the near future and are very handy skills. However, things can start to become stuck when the looking for problems becomes the problem itself. Like the old adage says, if you’re a hammer then everything’s a nail. Anxiety will always find issues with now and the near future to label as a problem, it’s just its nature.

It’s unskillful to stop a child from yelling by yelling at them. It’s unskillful to stop someone from criticizing you by criticizing them. Examples like these show that it will just cause more of it to happen sooner or later in response. It’s unskillful to try to stop problem solving by seeing it as a problem to be fixed.

Anxiety is not something to be controlled. Anxiety IS the attempt to control.

Anxiety scans and imagines the future in the attempt to control it. Whenever you find yourself imaging what you’ll say to X when they Y is your mind doing its best to try to keep you safe. Our minds think that we always need to be more prepared, fully anticipating potential negative future scenarios along with their outcomes. The mind loves to control, it’s also just part of its nature.

It would be expected for someone to feel uneasy, if they perceive their boss is annoyed with them for taking too much time off. They may start to be concerned that maybe they’ll get a negative performance review in the future. This might guide them to take the action of talking to the boss to clear things up or talking to the boss before taking more time off. The uneasiness or concern might have led to a useful response.

However, in this same scenario the same uneasiness can take a dark turn if control enters the picture. Worry thoughts about the boss’s opinion of them can start to loop and loop, becoming obsessive and causing more and more anxiety. Soon the worry thoughts turn into catastrophic thoughts that they’re going to get fired. The replaying and replaying of these future-based thoughts and scenarios are all based on trying to prevent something negative happening in the future. Unfortunately, obsessive worrying often does little to help someone in the future and just leads to exhaustion and a degrading of self-confidence.

A major difference between someone that excessively worries in this situation and someone who doesn’t is their relationship with uncertainty.  

Neither person knows for sure what the boss thinks or will do. Neither has any control over that. The person who has the skill to make space for uncertainty does not need worry to try and control what is not able to be controlled. By contrast, someone without the skill of knowing how to work with uncertainty will be forced into the only strategy they know — trying to control that uncertain situation using anxiety, even if it doesn’t work and it makes them miserable.

Going to the Root

A weed in a garden can be pruned or it can be addressed at the root. Pruning anxiety is trying to fix or control the symptoms of anxiety. It will inevitable come back, perhaps with more strength later.

Behind all worries there is a felt sense that drives it. The worries of today will be similar to the worries of tomorrow by a different name or mask. They will all have the same root. Until someone can peel back the protections, defenses, and controls around it, it will continue to sprout and interfere.

The good news is anxiety is workable. When you go to the root you can begin to form a relationship with the source of all this suffering. You can learn to live better, develop skills and build resiliency so that anxiety has less and less influence over you. Heck, people often tend to learn a lot about themselves and experience large amounts of personal growth when they take a break on fighting anxiety and start to learn to work with it.

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Modernist Birdhouses Inspired by Bauhaus, Frank Lloyd Wright and Joseph Eichler

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. – Frank Lloyd Wright Sunset Modern Teal Sourgrassbuilt.com #customcolors #sourgrassbuilt #modernbirdhouses #midcenturybirdhouses #uniquegifts A post shared by Douglas Barnhard (@sourgrassbuilt) on Nov 26, 2017 at 9:24am PST Is there a design geek lurking among your fine feathered friends? Some chickadee or finch […]

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Dan Savage of Savage Lovecast – American Sex Podcast Ep 44

Dan Savage of the Savage Lovecast and Savage Love advice column talks with Sunny & Ken about growing up gay while attending an all-boys Catholic seminary school (and the extreme measures he took to get expelled), the impact the It Gets Better Project has had on LGBTQ youth, how he accidentally became the go-to sex […]

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Study: Mental Disorders Should Not Keep Obese Youth from Bariatric Surgery

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics finds that psychiatric disorders should not necessarily disqualify a severely obese adolescent from bariatric surgery.

The new findings counter the prevailing belief which holds that mental health disorders could influence a patient’s ability to adhere to the pre- and post-surgical guidelines and as a result might contraindicate surgical intervention.

Rather, the study found that identifying anxiety, depressive disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and eating disorders among young surgery candidates had no predictive value for how much post-surgical weight loss an adolescent would achieve. Still, the researchers recognize that identifying these disorders remains a crucial pre-surgical evaluation step.

The study is the first to look at a large, diverse sample of adolescent patients with severe obesity to investigate any potential links between weight loss outcomes and pre-surgical psychiatric disorders.

“This procedure actually seems to be equally beneficial across ages, race/ethnicity and presence or absence of psychiatric disorders for weight loss,” said Eleanor Mackey, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a psychologist with the Obesity Program’s IDEAL clinic at Children’s National Health System.

“Unlike other interventions that may be influenced by cultural or socioeconomic factors, surgical intervention appears to offer all kids the same opportunity to succeed. Most important, there’s no scientific basis for denying an adolescent this procedure based simply on the presence of a psychiatric disorder.”

“This does not mean adolescents should not be evaluated and treated for these disorders, which themselves have a significant impact on functioning and quality of life, but in terms of weight loss after surgery, the presence of psychiatric disorders is not predictive of outcomes,” Mackey said.

For the study, the researchers compared severely obese adolescents (body mass index greater than 120 percent of the 95th percentile) who underwent the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy procedure at Children’s National (169). Even after controlling for demographic factors in study participants, the findings were clear: No difference was found between those with diagnosed psychiatric disorders and those without at 3 and 12 months post-surgery.

While bariatric surgery is an increasingly utilized option for the treatment of severe obesity among young people, very few studies have looked specifically at which characteristics in obese adolescents tend to lead to favorable surgery outcomes.

In the future, the research team plans to follow participants long term to continue building their understanding of any potential links between post-surgical weight loss and these pre-existing psychiatric disorders.

Source: Children’s National Health System

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Living with Regrets and How to Deal with Them

We all have them and struggle with them. To live fully is to have regrets; they are an unpleasant, though unavoidable part of the human condition.

You may know people who proudly declare that they’ve lived boldly and have no regrets. Believing that we shouldn’t experience regrets places us in double jeopardy: we experience them and wonder what’s wrong with us for having them. If we have no regrets, then we either haven’t been paying attention or are living in denial. We all screw up sometimes.

We might define regrets as carrying sorrow or shame regarding past actions or decisions. There are many things we might regret. Perhaps we regret our partnership choice, decisions around our health, finances, or career, or not having spent enough time with our loved ones. Maybe we regret that we didn’t relish our life enough or take more risks. Perhaps we feel badly for having hurt others and are paralyzed by shame to recognize the harm we’ve caused by our narcissism or insensitivity.

A major challenge of being human is to allow ourselves to have regrets without being debilitated by them. Obsessing on past actions or decisions that we feel badly about can lead to depression and rob us of the joy of living. Replaying scenes in our mind and wishing we had done things differently can keep us spinning our wheels, creating much misery. Caught in the grip of the woulda, coulda, shoudas, we’re hijacked from the present moment and punish ourselves with an excessive barrage of self-incriminations.

Working with Our Regrets

Wisdom rarely arises without realizing how unwise or self-absorbed we’ve been. Good decisions grow out of the muddy waters of our bad decisions. Knowing what we know now, it’s all too easy to look back and wish we’d made different choices. One of the gravest disservices we inflict on ourselves is to judge the decisions we made then based upon what we know now. We only gain such knowledge through the portal of trial and error — and making mistakes.

Making space for regrets and being gentle with them is a step toward softening their hold over us. Affirming that it’s natural to have regrets may relieve some of the shame that keeps us frozen.

In a climate of gentle self-acceptance, we can turn our attention to what we might learn from our miscues. Redemption lies not in trying to eliminate regrets, but in using them as a doorway to increase our understanding of ourselves, others, and life itself.

If we made poor relationship choices in the past, we can make better ones in the future. If we hurt someone due to disrespectful or self-destructive behavior, we can commit ourselves to a path of personal growth and mindfulness that increases respect and sensitivity toward ourselves and others. We can consider making amends if doing so is not an unwelcome intrusion. We can work with a therapist or join a twelve-step program to help us move forward. As we make wiser choices, we will have less regrets.

Embracing Remorse

One category of regrets that can be especially troubling is when we’ve hurt others, especially if we’ve done so intentionally. In most instances, it is unintentional. We were acting from an ignorant or unconscious place. We’re hurting inside, so we lash out. We’re may not be fully aware of our motivation. We may want another to feel the pain that we’re in–a misguided attempt to muster some sense of power or justice. We can use our regrets as an impetus to find healthier ways to affirm ourselves, communicate our needs, and set boundaries in a healthy way.

Recognizing that we did our best with the information or self-awareness we had at the time might relieve a substantial burden of our regrets. But it might also be helpful or necessary for emotional healing to notice and embrace remorse for our actions

Remorse refers to a deep moral or emotional anguish for something we’ve done that we deem to be shameful or wrong. It is comparable to healthy shame (as opposed to toxic shame), which gets our attention and can help us orient to life and people in a more attuned way.

Remorse includes a deep, soulful sorrow. This is different than attacking ourselves or clinging to a core belief that we’re bad and don’t deserve love. In fact, toxic shame is often the main obstacle to allowing ourselves to feel sorrow and remorse. If we equate the sorrow of hurting someone with the conviction that we’re an awful person, we’re unlikely to open to our sadness. But if we recognize that a part of the human condition is that we sometimes hurt each other, mostly without realizing it fully, then we’re more likely to welcome the unavoidable sorrows that are a part of life.

If we can find the courage and wisdom to feel the natural sadness of having hurt someone, then we may find a healing pathway for ourselves, as well as a key to repairing relationship rifts. If our partner senses how sad or badly we feel about a hurtful behavior or betrayal, then they’re more inclined to trust that we really “get” it and are less likely to repeat it. Our apologies, when coupled with a deeply felt remorse, are infinitely more powerful than the mere words, “I’m sorry.”

Resting in the cauldron of our sorrow without denigrating ourselves can allow us to become a deeper person, and also to cultivate a more soulful empathy toward others. The redemption of self-forgiveness dawns as we bring gentleness to our sorrow, learn lessons in a deeply felt way, and dedicate our lives to living with greater integrity, honesty, and mindfulness. We can have regrets without being their prisoner. We can make wiser choices and thereby have less regrets going forward.

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