Creativity: Can Music Change Your Whole Brain?

First, a quotation:

Music gives biologists fits. Its ubiquity in human cultures, and strong evidence that the brain comes preloaded with musical circuits, suggest that music is as much a product of human evolution as, say, thumbs. But that raises the question of what music is for. Read more: Science Journal: Caveman crooners may have aided early human life

Second, how music spurs creativity – and isn’t only for the arts

Einstein and the piano – “The greatest scientists are artists as well.”

The links between musical knowledge and the health (or emotional well being, if you can call it that) of the brain have long been observed, even if they haven’t been entirely understood yet.

So many great thinkers and innovators through the centuries have had musical hobbies outside of their professional lives that allowed them to nurture their creativity in ways that it otherwise might not have been allowed to grow. Condaleeza Rice, for example, trained to be a concert pianist. James Joyce dreamed of being a singer, not a writer. Woody Allen plays with a jazz band. Steven Spielberg is a clarinetist. The former World Bank president James D. Wolfensohn has played cello at Carnegie Hall.

You might be thinking this is a co-incidence…but there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Bruce Kovner is an American businessman who founded Caxton Associates, and is sitting pretty with an estimated net worth of around $4.5 billion (as of 2011).

You might not think a man moving in such fiscal spheres would be musical – but he is. In fact, like the concert pianist Robert Taub, he describes a sort of synesthesia — they both perceive patterns in a three-dimensional way.

Taub, who gained fame for his Beethoven recordings, says that when he performs, he can “visualize all of the notes and their interrelationships,” a skill that translates intellectually into making “multiple connections in multiple spheres.”

So basically what this means is that both of these successful men are really, really good at connecting the dots. There’s a balance in music that allows you to percieve the world in 360 degree vision. When you’re usually so crowded in by worries and reminders and chores, it becomes harder to see the bigger picture. Music helps you do that, by setting you up to see the relationship between things of a mathematical, pragmatic nature and things of a more abstract, emotional nature.

With that in mind, check out Einstein On Creative Thinking: Music and the Intuitive Art of Scientific Imagination and Is Music the Key to Success? 

Then go pick up something you think would be cool to be able to play.

If you’re fresh out of musical instruments or it’s the middle of the night and you really don’t feel like waking the baby up by banging around on the drums, listen to the clips below instead. Jot down any ideas or associations that you might get as you do. My personal favourite is the Alice one!

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to share any thoughts in the comments.

4 songs that I found on YouTube that’ve been setting my creativity glands a-squirming today.

…If you can call them songs. Maybe they’re more…tunes?


College & Electric Youth – A Real Hero

Hotline Miami 2 OST – Blizzard (Light Club)

Anoraak – Long Distance Hearts

Alice | Pogo

A wonderland of chords and voices recorded from the classic Disney film ‘Alice In Wonderland’.

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