My day job is working at one of the Universities in NC doing biology research. While doing this we always get updates about research going on in other areas. I recently received this article on research studying the brain of musicians. The main findings are that musicians brainwaves sync up while playing together, and players that have what we call “Natural Chemistry” brainwaves sync up before they start playing. They sync up by just being in the room together. The study was also able to show when a player hit what we call “The Zone” because the area of the brain that controls conscious decision making would stop lighting up, even though the player kept playing. They also found that the brain will also go into a state of relaxation seen in meditation, at which point the brain uses more of its capacity, and helps heal itself. So music is good for the soul. I will attach two links, one that is the full in depth publication of the findings, and the other is something another site put out giving a simpler to the point explanation of the research. Cuts out all of the science jargon. I thought you guys might find some of this interesting.
I tell you with the amount of playing we do our brains should be pretty well healed. On the other side trying to figure out those Barnes ideas haven’t been good for my liver with all the beer I’ve been drinking. Cool article man! I know music hasn’t created a lucrative living for me but, I generally always feel happy and comfortable with my life. Music in itself creates a good mental stress, funny enough makes other stresses of life easier to deal with.
Just to clarify, the healing(meditation) state only occurs when free thought playing occurs. So when you are playing your gigs, playing just to play, or jamming with friends. It doesn’t happen in the learning process, ie. licks or new songs. The funny thing about learning, most people never realize, is it occurs while the body is at rest. That is why when you put it down and come back to it, especially after a good nights sleep, it all of a sudden clicks. More than 10 minutes of trying to get the fingers to play a lick starts to waste time, and at that point starts to be counter productive.
The part where it mentions Pat Martino is actually from other research. He allowed himself to be studied, and was one of the big reasons for the break throughs that have occurred in helping rehabilitate people with severe head trauma. After he had the accident they mentioned, he could not perform basic everyday tasks. It was thought he would always need the assistance of someone just to live for the rest of his life, let alone worry about picking up a guitar again. After a few years he was back at he previous top form and soon after was better than he ever was. The people that worked with him, and rehabilitated him, all believe if it wasn’t for him being determined to play he would been the vegetable they had predicted. They said they didn’t see the big strides in his everyday function until he started back playing music. Pretty cool I thought. A friend of mine that I will play with down here, knew him and studied with him both before and after the hemorrhage. Very cool man from the stories I have heard.
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