January 4, 2019

Meet Our Brain Health Champion: Doing It Right Spotlight: Mental Fitness

Meet Ruth

Meet Our Brain Health Champion: Doing It Right Spotlight - Mental FitnessAge: 90

Average BHI score: 75

Motto: Music is magical

Her key to keeping sharp?  Playing and performing piano

Tickling the Ivories. As a young girl, Ruth dabbled in piano lessons and primarily played the popular tunes of the 1940’s and 50’s while in high school and college. She once contemplated and dreamed of a music career but chose a science and math major instead. “It will pay better,” urged her father.

Play on.

Ruth, after graduation, became a wife, teacher and mother of five children. Her busy life left little room for her to pursue her innate desire to learn classical piano. Her husband’s career required multiple cross country moves making owning a piano difficult. Oddly, however, a spare or gifted piano always found its way into Ruth’s new homes- like a persistent reminder to fulfill her dreams.

Taking on the Masters.  The freedom of retirement and grown children gave Ruth an opportunity to settle down and pursue new things.

By luck, Ruth met a classically trained piano teacher who willingly took her on as a new “student” at the age of  72. Her first lesson found her mind and fingers paralyzed in fear and self-doubt. Perseverance and the love of music gave her the tenacity to overcome her insecurities and spend hours practicing and studying classical music. Her drive transformed into her ability to play and perform difficult pieces by Chopin and Mozart.

Show Time. To the delight of others, especially her husband of 66 years, Ruth bravely performs her perfected piano pieces at a recital once a year and has done so for the last 18 years. “Chopin is my favorite,” says Ruth. “His music is magical and transforming.”

Bravo. Ruth believes her pursuit to learn piano as well as her motivation to remain active contributes to her excellent brain health and overall well-being. We think her initiative and drive to continue to learn new, difficult music and then perform them at 90 is quite remarkable and that’s why she is a brain health champion.

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