How playing a musical instrument benefits your brain

We knew it had to be good, but never realised it was this good.
Well presented TEDEd animation – engaging and concise.
time to get back to learning those Bach lute suites again…

Lesson by Anita Collins
Narration by Addison Anderson
Music by Peter Gosling
Animation by Sharon Coleman Graham

Jorge Caballero on mistakes and interpretation Interview 3


When I was at the Iserlohn Guitar Symposium this summer, I was happy to see Jorge Caballero again, and managed to spend some time picking his incredible brain on subjects such as technique, learning, focal dystonia and why he chose to transcribe a very difficult Mozart Sonata for solo guitar. The interview is in three parts, but unfortunately the camera ran out of steam during the third part, so this ends with Jorge playing “Malaga” from Iberia by Albeniz. This is from his stunning concert at the Goldsaal Schauburg, Iserlohn this year.

Jorge Caballero on Focal Dystonia Interview 2

Jorge CaballeroWhen I was at the Iserlohn Guitar Symposium this summer, I was happy to see Jorge Caballero again, and managed to spend some time picking his incredible brain on subjects such as technique, learning, focal dystonia and why he chose to transcribe a very difficult Mozart Sonata for solo guitar. The interview is in three parts, but unfortunately the camera ran out of steam during the third part. However, what there is is still fascinating and gives an insight into the mind and method  of one of the great guitarists and musical thinkers of the 21st century.

Jorge Caballero on technique Interview 1

Jorge Caballero

When I was at the Iserlohn Guitar Symposium this summer, I was happy to see Jorge Caballero again, and managed to spend some time picking his incredible brain on subjects such as technique, learning, focal dystonia and why he chose to transcribe a very difficult Mozart Sonata for solo guitar. The interview is in three parts, but unfortunately the camera ran out of steam during the third part. However, what there is is still fascinating and gives an insight into the mind and method  of one of the great guitarists and musical thinkers of the 21st century.

Chinese meditation IBMT prompts double positive punch in brain white matter (eh?)

This interesting observation from the University of Oregon means something like this:

Scientists studying the Chinese mindfulness meditation known as integrative body-mind training (IBMT) say they’ve confirmed and expanded their findings on changes in structural efficiency of white matter in the brain that can be related to positive behavioral changes in subjects practicing the technique regularly for a month.

So this might be a good way to reprogram me those bad habits and possibly even Focal Dystonia, as it seems that real physical changes happen in the brain’s white matter.
As you can see from this brief explanation of IBMT, there is much overlap with Body Mapping.
There are measurable increases in axon density and myelin formation after 11 weeks of meditation.
Neural plasticity change is the key here. It is a term that refers to changes in neural pathways and synapses which are due to changes in behavior, environment and neural processes, as well as changes resulting from bodily injury. So the brain is no longer seen as a static object.

Read all about it here

Music touches places nothing else can reach

In its onward march, science is always trampling over folk-wisdom. But sometimes a piece of research comes along which shows folk-wisdom might have a point after all. There’s been one in the past week, in a paper given at the European Society of Cardiology Annual Conference in Amsterdam. Professor Deljanin and her colleagues in Belgrade discovered a 19% improvement in a vital bit of heart tissue in patients with coronary artery disease, when they listened to their favourite music,

…We are not brains in vats, we are embodied creatures, and ‘mind’ – that is, the experience of being a living, feeling thing – is surely spread out through that body. In any case, the musical experience doesn’t stop at the boundary of the individual person. Music is a social thing, connected to dancing and singing. It becomes most vividly alive in those moments when we do it, rather than passively witness it, says Ivan Hewett

Read more

Thanks to Alison Smith for bringing this to my attention