Category Archives: Music Cognition

Dance, sing, draw

A few years ago one of my students, who usually played with a great deal of musicality, found herself struggling with a Chopin Mazurka that just didn’t seem to “click.”  All of the notes and rhythms were there, but it sounded stodgy – not at all like a dance.  One day, I suggested that we actually dance to the music.  I hadn’t known until I made the suggestion that she had studied ballet for years and dancing was second nature to her.  Continue reading

Most complex cognitive activity

In my first post, I wrote that many neuroscientists believe that “making music is the most complex cognitive activity that a human being engages in.”  Some readers wondered why, so let’s talk about it.    After the research that’s been done in the past two or three decades, neuroscientists believe that the processing of music in the brain happens in multiple separate modules or neuronal networks – each processing some aspect of music, all working together to make it possible to listen to, and to perform, music.  Imagine for the next few paragraphs that you are playing an instrument and let’s look at a very simplified version of what is happening in your brain. Continue reading