Your Brain on Bluegrass

How playing music affects the brain.

Okay, we know. This is exactly what you’d expect to find on the web page of a ‘left coast’ music organization. Learning bluegrass and/or old time-what does the latest in brain research have to do with that? To be honest, we’re not sure. It’s a relatively new science. Neural Mapping has only been around for a couple decades, if that. But some might find their quest to learn a new instrument, (which of course happens, where else, but in the brain), helped along by cutting edge thinking on how the old gray matter actually works. Here are a few web pages that offer a glimpse at what science tells us about the unique, purely human, relationship between music and our brains. Muscle memory zeroes in on the linkages between what’s going on in our minds and our fingers. This is Your Brain on Music is the quintessential piece on music and how we humans do it. Not much better than this. The Neurobiology of Music, from a biologist’s point of view. MUSICOPHILIA is a book by Oliver Sacks. You’ve got to buy it to read it, and after you’ve read it you might be wondering what the ho’ that all had to do with learning to play the banjo. Who knows, maybe nothing. But Oliver Sacks is, at least today, the world’s foremost authority on how we humans listen to, learn, enjoy and are inspired by a purely human invention-music. Power of the Pentatonic Scale is a very cool YouTube video clip that demonstrates the universality of the pentatonic scale….(World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale)