1 The Brain of Musicians 2 The Brain of Songwriters 3 The Brain of an athlete

Brain of a Musician

Musicians may not only have better musical memory but they may have enhanced verbal memory as well. They may be better, for example, at recalling a list of random words. In the study scientists investigated what parts of the brain were involved in this improved verbal memory. They recruited twenty female college students for their experiment. Ten of the students had had no musical training while the other ten had started piano lessons before the age of 7 and continued with the training for a period of more than 8 years. The authors stressed that none of the musically trained students were professionals, and there was no reason to believe they were particularly gifted in music. Many probably learned to play the piano because their parents wanted them to.

This memory task turned out to be pretty easy, and both groups of students did well although the musically trained students did  better.

Long-term musical training is known to re-organize the brain.

New research shows that musicians’ brains are highly developed in a way that makes the musicians alert, interested in learning, disposed to see the whole picture, calm, and playful.

Supporting what many of us who are not musically talented have often felt, new research reveals that trained musicians really do think differently than the rest of us. Vanderbilt University psychologists have found that professionally trained musicians more effectively use a creative technique called divergent thinking, and also use both the left and the right sides of their frontal cortex more heavily than the average

Music is to mental health what sport is to physical health.

The latest study, published in the July issue of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows that musical instrument training may reduce the effects of mental decline associated with aging. The research found that older adults who learned music in childhood and continued to play an instrument for at least 10 years outperformed others in tests of memory and cognitive ability.

A study, 70 musicians and non-musicians aged 59 to 80 were evaluated by neuropsychological tests and surveyed about general lifestyle activities. The musicians scored higher on tests of mental acuity, visual-spatial judgment, verbal memory and recall, and motor dexterity.

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Brain of a songwriter

Brain of a songwriter
Left brain, right brain.

One side of the brain (left) deals with things that are logical, linear, sequential and analytical. The other side, the right side, deals with creativity, empathy, synthesis, contextual thinking and big picture thinking.

A songwriter needs both sides, but here’s the tip, not at the same time.
You must learn to shut off the analytical left brain when you are in the first stage of writing a song. When the inspiration strikes and a melody drops into your head, that is not the time to be analyzing. It’s not the time for your brain to be making judgements.

Here’s the part some often miss. Once a draft is written and the muse has left, start using your left brain. Now the craft of songwriting, the tips and techniques you’ve learned, can be applied. Now is the time for a little analysis, judging, thinking. Let the abilities of your left brain shine. Editing or re-writing is the perfect use of your left brain.
Just remember, whenever you feel a little inspiration coming on, it’s OK to let half your brain go to sleep.

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Brain of an Athlete

The qualities that set a great athlete apart from the rest of us lie not just in the muscles and the lungs but also between the ears. That’s because athletes need to make complicated decisions in a flash. One of the most spectacular examples of the athletic brain operating at top speed came in 2001, when the Yankees were in an American League playoff game with the Oakland Athletics. Shortstop Derek Jeter managed to grab an errant throw coming in from right field and then gently tossed the ball to catcher Jorge Posada, who tagged the base runner at home plate. Jeter’s quick decision saved the game—and the series—for the Yankees. To make the play, Jeter had to master both conscious decisions, such as whether to intercept the throw, and unconscious ones. These are the kinds of unthinking thoughts he must make in every second of every game: how much weight to put on a foot, how fast to rotate his wrist as he releases a ball, and so on. The human brain played a major part as it does for all athletes 

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