Atlas Obscura, Teens Tried As Adults, Making Time For Music

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Many of us pursued music earlier in life, only to have those instruments shoved to the back of our closets as we got older. Veronica Rueckert and Rob Ferrett’s guest has some tips for bringing music making back into your life. They also learn why some juveniles get charged as adults in the court system, and take a trip to some of the weirdest and most wonderful places on Earth.

Featured in this Show

  • Make Time To Make Music, Says 'Simply Folk' Host

    A lot of people’s musical careers end with their last band or choir class in high school — and that’s a shame, according to Wisconsin Public Radio music host Stephanie Elkins.

    Elkins, a musician and host of Simply Folk, said making music can provide a lifetime of fun and that scientific research shows that there are serious psychological benefits, too.

    “Making music makes you feel good — not just at the moment, but it can lift your spirits emotionally, psychologically,” said Elkins. “It impacts the whole rest of your life.”

    Finding time to make music, however, can be a roadblock. Elkins said her number one tip is to overcome the urge to tidy up and put things away.

    “Just leave the instruments out,” said Elkins. “If you have a nice guitar, don’t leave it in the caseleave it out. You can actually pick it up and play whenever you feel like it, and sometimes that’s five minutes during the commercial on TV or when the pasta’s coming to a boil.”

    Elkins said another obstacle is a fear that playing won’t sound good, especially compared to professional musicians heard in recordings.

    “You just have to get over that and you have to be OK with it,” she said, “And especially if you have kids, you want to give the example that it’s OK not to be perfect. It’s OK to practice and learn and just improve and have it be an important part of your life no matter how it sounds.”

    For people who have never played music, Elkins recommends starting with a simpler instrument like a recorder, and seeking out classes through college campuses and senior centers. She also suggests bringing back the tradition of the sing-along.

    Ultimately, according to Elkins, making music brings us back in line with our ancestors.

    “We’ve been making music for centuries, millennia, in villages,” she said. “Everybody was expected to learn how to play a fiddle or at least sing a few songs. It’s only been the last century that we’ve had recorded music that we’ve stopped doing this.”

  • Atlas Obscura: Visiting The Weird And Wonderful Places Around The World

    From the deepest holes on the planet to towns in love with books, Atlas Obscura goes off the beaten path to find interesting and unusual places. A co-creator shares some of the project’s most intriguing discoveries.

  • Why Some Juveniles Are Charged As Adults

    Two 12-year-old Waukesha girls were charged as adults in an attempted murder case on Monday. An attorney explains how the courts decide such matters and explains why some cases are ultimately sent back to the juvenile justice system.

  • Making Time For Music

    Lots of us grew up playing an instrument, but as we got older, it got shoved to the back of the closet to collect dust while we pursued other careers. Today, we’ll get some ideas for how to bring music-making back into your life.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Stephanie E Elkins Guest
  • Dylan Thuras Guest
  • Devon Lee Guest
  • Cynthia Schuster Producer