Your Brain on Music (fMRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging - Human brain side ...
corpus callosum

Music doesn’t make you smarter, at least not generally smarter, but playing music does make you musically smarter. In fact, there have been many recent studies showing profound differences in the brains of people who have studied music. One is that the corpus callosum, the “conduit” between the left and right sides of the brain, is larger in musicians who began to study music (piano) by age 7.

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice by Jonathan Harnum is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

Brain scanning technology is quickly approachi...

In a recent study by Dr. Nina Kraus–a leading researcher who investigates the neurobiology underlying speech and music perception, as well as learning associated brain plasticity–participants who had been studying music from a young age were better able to perceive emotion in a baby’s voice, and, in another study by Dr. Kraus, musicians had greater ability–especially as they grew older–to separate out sounds in the environment, called auditory stream segregation. You can learn more of those studies through the links below.

Anyway, many of these details went through my own little gray cells as I watched the mesmerizing video below, I thought of all this while watching the musician Sivu sing his tune, Better Man Than He, filmed in an fMRI. Also, I’d love to see a trumpeter with a plastic mouthpiece buzz and play inside one of these machines. That would be both fascinating and helpful.

Here’s what The Verge found about Sivu and this video:

Sivu says the concept for the video stemmed from his obsession “with the idea of capturing images without conventional cameras/lenses.” More importantly, the musician says he also took inspiration from “research into improving the management of children born with cleft lip and palate.” The video was produced at St Bartholomew’s Hospital (a central fixture in that research) and was made possible thanks to funding from Barts and the London Charity and CLEFT.

The post-production effects are also artfully done. Check it out:

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice by Jonathan Harnum is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

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6 thoughts on “Your Brain on Music (fMRI)

  1. Hi, probably you know these interesting videos showing brass players from inside.

    Thank you very much for your blog.

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