Monday, November 24, 2014

Science: musicians use their brain better

File this one under music advocacy. TED-Ed produced a snazzy video that presents a summary of neuroscientists’ studies on the brains of musicians. The results? Simply listening to music uses a significant portion of the brain, but playing music also involves fine motor skills, meaning this activity uses even more of the brain. Also, musicians have better “executive function” meaning they plan and strategize better, and pay greater attention to detail. Also, musicians store memories more efficiently. The video makes the claim that the brain training acquired playing musical instruments can be applied to other activities. While I hope this is true, this seems the least substantiated claim. Certainly, video games meant to train brains really only train your brains to do that video game. But playing an instrument may be better.

So why are we cutting music programs from schools? (Also, for the neuroscientists, what about singers?)

Enjoy (5 minutes):


  1. I just read your OSC Songmaster post, agree, agree, agree. I am a big Card fan, too, and this book strongly influenced my teenage years. The week our son passed away and my husband and I walked into Church right after the announcement, we sat down and sang "Come, Come Ye Saints" and we had a similar, tearful, not just us, but surrounded by loving congregation family singing that hymn in a new light. Kind of puts all the resurrection songs and "Families Can Be Together Forever" into a more powerful and worshipful/hopeful real pleas with God. Negative & sad emotions are part of life, and being honest in our art, showing the aches is important. At least for contrast. Opposition in all things, etc. I am a visual artist, and I am thinking through my favorite LDS artists (short list) and it is the grimy contrast that I love, that touches me. The dirty face being healed by Christ's hands. Back to music: Cloud Cult's "Love You All" and the back story of lead singer's son dying has been the most powerful music comfort since our son's death. Maybe it is just context needed for some of the LDS music?

  2. Thanks for sharing, Jennilyn. I think "Come, Come Ye Saints" is an exception in exploring negative emotions rather than the rule, and even then the song doesn't have particularly "negative" music—just lyrics. But you could be right that context is important to music helping/healing negative emotion.

    PS Now that I've got a post on this site up pointing to the MMM post, if you feel like copying and pasting this comment to the other thread, I'd be grateful.