Playing fugues by Johann Sebastian Bach on the piano is not unlike playing "Mario Cart" on the Nintendo 64, says Hilda Huang, who at 14 years old is Big Think's youngest expert to be interviewed. With both video games and the piano, she says, "you
have to be really, really focused. ... If you blink or you say, 'Oh I need to
get something to eat or I need some chips,' so you put your controller
down, and, wham, the koopa smashes in to you, so you die and lose a
life. And of course, in video games, you have plenty of lives, so it's
okay. But in Bach, when you're performing, you don't have that kind of a
privilege. So you have to stay really focused through the whole thing
and you can't stop."
In her Big Think interview, Huang says playing Bach can teach you a lot about multitasking, because
his music requires the person playing it "to deal with so many different voices at once and they all have
to be really clean. ... There's so many running lines, I mean you have
to practice them at first, of course, but after a while when you get the
hang of it, it's really fun to just see your hands moving all the way
over the keyboard."
Huang became the first American ever to win the International Bach Competition in Germany earlier this year with a fugue from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. She says she really loves Bach's music because of its complexity. "When you
look at it from a distance, it's so simple and pure and elegant that
you would never suspect that it's such an architectural masterpiece."
Huang also talked about the iPhone app that she is hoping to create, which could give the user one Bach piece per day (with ancillary information) for as long as three years without repetition. And while she professes a love for the great pianist Glenn Gould, she says she's following her teacher's admonition not to copy him.
The way that you think about stress can actually transform the effect that it has on you – and others.
- Stress is contagious, and the higher up in an organization you are the more your stress will be noticed and felt by others.
- Kelly McGonigal teaches "Reset your mindset to reduce stress" for Big Think Edge.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.
- Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
- Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
- Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
The blood of horseshoe crabs is harvested on a massive scale in order to retrieve a cell critical to medical research. However, recent innovations might make this practice obsolete.
- Horseshoe crabs' blue blood is so valuable that a quart of it can be sold for $15,000.
- This is because it contains a molecule that is crucial to the medical research community.
- Today, however, new innovations have resulted in a synthetic substitute that may end the practice of farming horseshoe crabs for their blood.
The distance between the American dream and reality is expressed best through literature.
- Literature expands our ability to feel empathy and inspires compassion.
- These 10 novels tackle some facet of the American experience.
- The list includes a fictional retelling of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard, and hiding out in inner-city Newark.
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