How Does a Musicians Mind Work ?
I decided to do some research on the inner functions of a musician’s brain. How are they able to hear music before they even play it ? How are they able to be unique in their methods of expression ? How are they able to feel emotion and then express it through their instruments ? How are they able to play and sing at the same time ? Talking about multi-tasking, its more like multi-processing.
The fact is that music changes lives, because it changes your brain. Repetitious practicing and memorization causes musicians to have skills that alot of people lack. Special hand motor skills are developed and consequently leads to the differences in hand movements and how their brains function.
New research reveals that trained musicians think differently than those who are not musically talented. Psychologists from Vanderbilt University found that professionally trained musicians effectively use something called “Divergent thinking” and they also use both the left and right sides of their frontal cortex, more so than the average person.
Whether they are formally trained or just gifted musicians, they have the ability to use Divergent Thinking. They are able to hear music before they play a note ???
Being naturally creative they are able to think “outside of the box”. Extensive studies showed that creative thinking is part of a musicians everyday life experience. Not surprising that in these studies, their answers to problem solving was much different than others. In one experiment they were asked to identify uses for everyday objects. The studies showed that, not only did they do well in the word association tests, but they found more creative and general uses for simple household objects.
Studies also proved that musicians elevated use of both brain hemispheres enables them to play their instruments with both hands independently. With this skill they are able to read musical symbols (left hemisphere – Language) and then process and interpret it in their own way. (right hemisphere – creative). See illustration below
Now…..if music is a universal language, and can cause the brain to adapt over a period of time with practice, can increase motor skills, aid in focusing, and can increase nervous systems ability to process emotion in sound, then there is no surprise in music being able to help stroke victims and autism in children.
Music therapy can be used as a tool to help stroke victims regain their speaking abilities. Neurologists found that although stroke victims suffer from Aphasia (a disorder that disables the patient from speaking), they are able to sing lyrics, even when they have difficulty speaking words. A speech therapists uses the method of MIT (Melodic Intonation Therapy) by having a patient sing a song while tapping out a rhythm with their left hand. The tapping stimulates the right side of the brain. Although the left side of the brain is where language derives from, both sides are used in vocal uses, thus helping in the recovery process.
Just a few examples of how powerful music is, along with inner makings of a Musicians Mind.