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Teachers have one of the most important jobs on the planet: They have the power to shape the trajectory of a young person’s life for the better. And that was precisely the case with Jim’s first music teacher—and now lifelong friend—Rich Kingera.

Rich was a music educator for 36 years, and now spends his time still actively playing music. He's the organist and choir director at his church in Pennsylvania, as well as the keyboardist for three local music groups. Most recently, he obtained a professional certificate from Berklee College of Music.

In this episode of Sound Health, Rich talks about how learning and playing music can develop the brain in some pretty amazing ways—no matter your age. (He stresses that it’s never too late to learn!) Rich also shares a few personal experiences in witnessing music’s power to improve the quality of life in both children with autism and the elderly.

You might also be surprised to learn this music teacher’s philosophy when it comes to practicing, and what happened after Rich caught Jim playing the school’s drum kit without permission.

Rich and Jim also touch on the threat to music education, its big-picture potential, and how educational curriculum should be revised to use music as a tool—especially based on what we know now about its many benefits.

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