The musical brain: a study of cerebral activations in classical musicians

    Activiteit: Oral presentation


    Classical musicians are a unique population. Unlike other musicians, they learn their skills with the use of sheet music, right from the beginning. Investigation of brain response may help us understand how educational methods influence learning in this group of musicians. In this study, we hypothesized that improvising musicians would exhibit enhanced top-down effects on aural perception which could be associated with their (procedural) learning style. We found, when comparing improvising with non-improvising musicians, enhanced activation of auditory cortex while listening to music. We also found a shared left-hemisphere network of activations which could be associated with the ability of both groups to read music. In addition, however, we found a unique right-hemisphere dorsal network in improvising musicians, which can be associated with enhanced pitch-to-space-to-movement transformations. The enhanced activations in auditory cortex can be explained by these transformations. The presence of top-down effects on audition is supported by behavioral studies showing that improvising musicians exhibit improved aural skills. This study has corroborated those results. While improvisation has been shown to have benefits in terms of career possibilities, creativity, and personal development, it also has effects on the development of aural skills. The results of this study suggest that conservatory curricula should include the development of improvisatory skills.
    Periode24 mrt. 2015
    EvenementstitelThe musical brain: a study of cerebral activations in classical musicians


    • improvisatie
    • hersenfuncties
    • procedureel leren
    • auditieve vaardigheden
    • top-down effecten