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Music and the Mind

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posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 09:24 PM
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I'm interested to hear the boards thoughts on the interaction of music and the mind. I find it interesting that many musicians seem to share a similar set of free thinking ideologies. Until I was about 17 I probably couldn't have told you who my favorite musician was because I didn't really listen to music. One day my dad brought home a guitar from an office christmas party and I haven't put it down since. I couldn't possibly express in words how much I love music and how it has affected my life. As I played and listened more I noticed that I began to intellectually open up. Not that I got any smarter but I felt like I opened my mind to a broader spectrum of thought.

What are the effects of playing music for a few hours a day on the mind? Each day I sit down and attempt to creatively express myself through music. For those that play you'll know how personal and reflective it can be. One of my favorite musicians James Taylor talked about how difficult it is for first time performers because they have to take something so insanely personal and display it to the entire world. I'm a college student so I sometimes have a large amount of free time or just time spent not sleeping. So it's not uncommon for me to play for 6, 7, or 8 hour stretches. But I totally lose touch for the entire time, it's like I don't even notice it.

I'm getting slightly off topic here. What is it about playing music that seemingly opens up the mind? Do you think it helps organize the general problem solving structures within the mind? Is it the availability of a personal outlet to help with anxiety or other problems? Which brings up another topic, depression and musicians. My univeristy had a guest speaker that addressed this issue in some detail. There is a significant correlation between musicians and depression, although it couldn't be determined which direction the correlation moved. It was notable that a study of composers showed that they produced more work during depressive portions of their life as compared to their normal state.

I feel like I'm not quite hitting the head on the nail with this question but I hope I've relayed a general sense of what I'm trying to get at.




posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 09:40 PM
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I've read somewhere that kids who are taught how to play music at an early age are more likely to become smarter when they are older. I'm not sure what the correlation is, whether it is the benefits of learning to play music that helps, or whether it's simply that smart people are more attracted to making music.

I think it's quite possible that it's something to do with how people think when they are playing/composing music. Perhaps (and this I'm just guessing at, since I have zero musical talents) the abilities used in producing music help you learn to think or focus better, kind of along the lines that meditation works for some people.



posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 09:54 PM
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It would be interesting to research the cognitive states of musicians while performing, writing, or practicing. Maybe they do drift to a theta wave like state, such as mediation or sleep. I just can't help but notice the change in my personal beliefs about well, everything, and how much of those ideas I find in the lyrics and stylings of musicians. I could also only be listening to those artists who share my viewpoints, or that theirs shaped mine.



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