Not Enough Time

La Voz de Galicia – April 6th, 2018 →

Cristina Pato I suppose that it may be this gray, dull, apparently neverending weather, but it seems difficult to keep oneself motivated when one does not find the physical or mental energy to move things along.

My sister Raquel, educator, musician and secondary school music teacher, has spent quite some time researching the motivation and commitment of music students in high school and the relationship of these traits to academic performance. The subject of her doctoral dissertation is also the subject of her life: she went from motivating me, her little sister, to motivate her students and, most recently, her daughter, with music as a leitmotif to nourish many other pedagogical values that, in turn, nurture society.

The relationship of musical commitment to academic performance that my sister researches is what drives me to celebrate the success of one of our researchers in exile: the Galician neurologist at Harvard University, Dr. Miguel Alonso-Alonso. He has just published an article this week in the prestigious journal, Nature, about the neurocognitive effects of umami, the fifth flavor. Miguel is also an incredible pianist who, much like my sister, chose a different path but who never abandoned music as a tool for life. And how many more people like them, since Harvard has a symphony orchestra solely comprised of doctors in its School of Medicine? How do they find the time to do it all?

One of the definitions of motivation is that this quality is the set of factors that determine an attitude or behavior. For me, music and a shortage of time go hand in hand when it is time to remain motivated, since as Leonard Bernstein put it, “to achieve great things, two things are needed: a good plan and not enough time.”

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