How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain (vid)

This animated video is a great introduction to what’s going on in your brain when you’re making music. There is more information about practice and the brain in The Practice of Practice, chapter 3: Your Plastic Brain . Check out the video below, and see the full page with more information about the creators of the video here. ___________________________________ Back-To-School Specials On…

Music and the Brain on Radiolab

Radiolab is one of my favorite podcasts: smart, funny, thoughtful, and at times mindbending. All artfully mixed and mastered into great storytelling that teaches. Here’s an episode on music and the brain that should be required listening for musicians. Covers music and the brain, music and language, sound as touch, and musical DNA. Hope you like it as much as I did.

First Video of A Thought in the Brain

I often post about brain-related issues and music practice. This video is more general than usual, but I present it to you because of its interesting uniqueness. The first video footage of a thought sparking through neurons (the video says it’s 3x normal speed). Details about the process here.

This made me think about a few things: How were those neurons and the connections “built” or grown? Is a firing of neurons really a thought? What is a thought?

Your Brain on Music (fMRI)

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…

Born Stupid: Your Plastic Brain, III

I keep hammering away at the brain’s ability to re-wire itself because 1. It’s so darn fascinating, and 2. To combat the old saw that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” which research is telling us is completely false. Here’s some more evidence of the lifelong plasticity of the brain. To anyone over 18 who is considering doing something new and unfamiliar, the following vid should be required watching.

Your Plastic Brain (redux)

Learning changes your brain structure. My neurons underwent some serious alteration this weekend, all naturally induced, thank you very much. One of the world’s foremost grand masters of the djembe, Mamady Keita (vid to follow), was in Chicago to give beginning-, intermediate-, and advanced drum workshops. I’ve never had a djembe lesson before. I signed up for the beginner session and would learn very quickly what “beginner” actually meant to this crowd. Good thing I didn’t know that Keita’s definition of “beginner” is most people’s definition of, “I know what I’m doing.” If I’d known this, my stomach would’ve been in even more of a knot about showing up with little to no real djembe experience. Nothing like a good challenge to get you to really pay attention.

Your Plastic Brain

A recent study looked at the growth of white matter in the brains of young adults learning to juggle. Yes, jugglers. After 6 weeks of training, and around 30 minutes of daily practice, their brains were significantly different from non-jugglers.

Mirror, Mirror in the Brain; or Monkey See, Monkey Do

“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.” George Bernard Shaw Pretend that you’re a budding jazz guitar player. You’ve been practicing for a year or two so you’re beginning to have an idea of how it’s done and what you need to do to…