Monday, February 18, 2008

Music, Your Brain, and Attention

In this latest research from Stanford, music can be seen to give quite a workout for the brain. Attention and working memory areas have to work hard, with the right hemisphere working much harder than the left. When test subjects listened to a baroque symphony, the ventral network would detect salient features of music (early transition below, or "macro-organization" features of music, while the dorsal frontal-parietal network was more continually activated to keep the listening process going.

Interesting. For many students (and non-students too), music is activating and seems to help with attention and as well as getting tasks done. We know many time-blind people who become more time-aware with music, but because our brains change with what we do with it, the work of listening might really help us with the ease of listening in the long rung, too. So maybe instead of saying, "Stop listening to your music, and do your homework!", it may be better for us to say, "Start listening to your music, so you can do your homework!"

Ansel Adams on music and the training of his mind:

"The world of music was an immediate contrast to my undisciplined life and unsuccessful performance in school...My scatter-brained existence was gradually being tuned to accuracy and musical expression. The change from a hyperactive Sloppy Joe was not overnight, but was sufficiently abrupt to make some startled people ask, "What happened?"

Music Perception and fmri pdf
Science Daily: Music Moves the Brain to Pay Attention

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