Your Brain on Music

My wife found me this excellent book about music and the brain by Daniel Levitin. Levitin was a record producter and musician who now works as a neuroscientist. It is a fascinating account of how your brain responds to music, as a ‘passive’ (wrong term) listener or active performer or composer.

There are numerous points of departure for the music educator and perhaps I’ll follow up a few of them in future posts. One chapter (Chapter 7) about musical talent and expertise caught my eye. It reminded me of the very well established research findings about how long it takes to become an ‘expert’ musician (or professional sportsman, writer, chess player or even master criminal!). The answer is 10,000 hours over ten years (that’s approximately 3 hours practice a day) as early as possible in one’s life. Levitin explores this notion (both arguments for and against) and provides some interesting evidence about memory and how it is formed in the early periods of one’s life. Fascinating stuff.


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