Music and Guns

I am conversing with one of my shooting lessons students, and she asked me how I can focus on the target with both eyes open. I told her it’s because I was a percussionist in college. “What?”, she asked. Allow me to explain.

Reading music while playing four mallet marimba trains a specific spot in our brains. (I’m sure that applies to most any musical instrument, but I am biased.) I’m sure everyone has seen videos or read articles on how music affects our brain/hauser group, but I don’t think they know how beneficial music can heal the human brain.

After my stroke I realized that I couldn’t read music anymore. I couldn’t enjoy the thrill of a crescendo because that part of my brain hadn’t healed yet. It was just a group of sounds. I knew that I should understand the dark thrill of Shostakovich or Berlioz, but it just wasn’t there anymore. But after about 18 months, I felt that part of my brain healing itself. That’s how I knew I was getting better. A few months later I realized that I could understand the inner workings of a gun. And that also made me elated. The two things that brought me joy were finally coming back into focus.

Yes, most of my musician friends hate the idea of guns, but usually that’s because they typically don’t understand them. Most of my friends don’t like the idea of violence, even though the only reason they exist is because half of their DNA won the Battle of the Birth Canal because they defeated their potential brothers and sisters. (yes, I know, there was no gender as a spermatazoa, but I’m telling a story, so chill. [lol… that’s the name of my next percussion piece. 🤣🤣🤣 Battle of the Birth Canal, I crack me up.])

So, yeah, I was a musician since age 4 when I got a tiny, 18-key toy piano and it just spoke to me. I joined the military because I wanted to defeat those bad “terrorists” and then I realized that every war we fight is simply a war of greed. (Most all wars are all about greed. Don’t get me started.) So now I keep doing the things that I love to do, and two of those three things are music and shooting. (The third thing is nunya.)

Maybe some of my life choices upset some of you.

Don’t care.

Maybe some of you don’t like the fact that I’d be willing to lay my life on the line for yours even though you may enjoy being a dick.

Don’t care.


There are three types of people in the world. Wolves (bullies), sheep (civilians), and sheepdogs (military, police, firefighters). (See: Tim Larkin – Everyone is born as a sheep, but there are some who find fulfillment in protecting the herd so the sheep can continue to frolic and play with no care in the world. (And there is nothing wrong with being a sheep in this context. Just know that it’s OK to not be one of those three protectors. Totally cool.) And know that those protectors have flaws just like the rest of us. (Typically because of greed, but that’s for another post.) And because of these protectors, my fellow human beings can carry on with their lives and continue to strive for happiness with the understanding that, with every breath they take, those protectors are keeping the wolves at bay.

So, how can I focus on my surroundings and the target and the sounds of the range and the potential dangers therein? Because being a musician opens up more possibilities of improvisation and tactile awareness in every facet of my life. Everyone should take some sort of self-defense class, and everyone should take a fine art class, (in my almost always correct and well-informed, humble opinion.)

Finally, be patient with your fellow human beings, and don’t be a dick (wolf).


P.S. The fine arts are a necessary aspect of the human experience. Go watch a play or go to an art exhibit or a symphony concert. Open up your mind to new experiences that can help you experience life through others’ creativity, and then create something yourself. It will be one of the most fulfilling experiences of your life.

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