An NIH-Kennedy Center Initiative to Explore Music and the Mind

Link to full article:

(I know how to embed a link inside text – just chose not to do it that way this time, thanks for the advice, folks).  Here’s a couple of quotes from the article:

Music is fundamental to the human species in ways that reach beyond entertainment or pastime. In Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks noted that music can “calm us, animate us, comfort us, thrill us, or serve to organize and synchronize us at work or play, [but] it may be especially powerful and have great therapeutic potential for patients with a variety of neurological conditions.”

. . .

Processing music is one of the most cognitively demanding tasks our brains undertake, and creating and performing music is even more complex. We are just beginning to understand what neural processes underlie the effects of active music making, and a better appreciation of these processes would likely enhance understanding of brain responses to other stimuli and tasks. There is already compelling evidence that in children, music training assists development of language skills, auditory processing, and educational achievement compared with untrained peers,2– 4 and anecdotally, many top professionals across different disciplines have musical training in their background.

The article describes the beginning of this initiative and why it is important – it will be interesting to follow this topic in the future.

Here’s the reference list from the article. More good info there.



Schlaug  G.  Musicians and music making as a model for the study of brain plasticity.  Prog Brain Res. 2015;217:37-55. doi:10.1016/bs.pbr.2014.11.020PubMed


Hallam  S.  The power of music: its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people.  Int J Music Educ. 2010;28(3):269-289. doi:10.1177/0255761410370658Article


The Arts and Human Development: Learning Across the Lifespan. National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with US Dept of Health and Human Services. 2011. Accessed April 5, 2017.


Moreno  S, Bialystok  E, Barac  R,  et al.  Short-term music training enhances verbal intelligence and executive function.  Psychol Sci. 2011;22(11):1425-1433.PubMedArticle


Bailey  JA, Zatorre  RJ, Penhune  VB.  Early musical training is linked to gray matter structure in the ventral premotor cortex and auditory-motor rhythm synchronization performance.  J Cogn Neurosci. 2014;26(4):755-767.PubMedArticle


Patel  AD.  Why would musical training benefit the neural encoding of speech? the OPERA hypothesis.  Front Psychol. 2011;2:142. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00142PubMedArticle


Norman-Haignere  S, Kanwisher  NG, McDermott  JH.  Distinct cortical pathways for music and speech revealed by hypothesis-free voxel decomposition.  Neuron. 2015;88(6):1281-1296.PubMedArticle


Limb  CJ, Braun  AR.  Neural substrates of spontaneous musical performance: an FMRI study of jazz improvisation.  PLoS One. 2008;3(2):e1679.PubMedArticle


Salimpoor  VN, Benovoy  M, Larcher  K, Dagher  A, Zatorre  RJ.  Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music.  Nat Neurosci. 2011;14(2):257-262.PubMedArticle

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