Friday, April 13, 2012

Music and Memory ("Alive Inside" excerpt)

This is a beautiful little film that my friend, Nikki, shared with me and has since begun doing the social media rounds. Apparently this excerpt is only a rough cut but it is still very moving. I can't wait to see the whole documentary when it is finished.

(I also secretly wish Oliver Sacks was my uncle. I would corner him at family Christmas and make him tell me musicophilic anecdotes over red wine and pudding.)


Friday, January 27, 2012

Fun Fact #1: Actually, Dancing Will Help

Emma Magenta c/o Third Drawer Down
(AKA Best Tea Towel Purchase Ever)

When you listen to music you like, you're often compelled to move to it. This we know. But did you know that when you move to music, your brain releases dopamine? Dopamine, as Psychology Today's ever-helpful "Psych Basics" tell us is
a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.

So the more we move to the music, the more dopamine will be released, making us love the music that moves us even more.

Speaking of dopamine, if you're after a little mood-booster and don't have your iPod handy, eat a banana. They contain a form of dopamine (this is what makes them go brown, if my research is correct). While this is not actually transferable to your brain via your blood, bananas are said to stimulate the release of serotonin - another feel-good chemical based in a higher region of the brain.

Intro II: Beginning Again

People prone to distraction make pretty unreliable bloggers, as it turns out. I can't believe it's been a year since I set this up and not followed up with a single post.
No, I can.

It seems I am too time-poor to commit to entire, researched and crafted essays but would like to provide some company for that first blog introduction who, after 11 months, must be pretty lonely. So let's keep it simple for now. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Songs for Beginners.
Beginning again.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Songs For Beginners: An Introduction

Hello there. Welcome to the younger (and slightly better researched) sister blog to Maybe Dancing Will Help. Through my blogging on Dancing, I've realised there are three main areas that keep piquing my interest: music, writing and psychology. I thought it might be fun to start a new blog, a research project of sorts, where I will focus exclusively on trying to fuse all three together.

I have always been interested in music but what I have realised is that I am not so much interested in it from a technical perspective (a lack of interest that is, unfortunately, accompanied by a lack of ability): I am interested in it from a psychological perspective. Why and how does music work? More specifically, why does it make us feel the way we feel? Although obviously some technical and theoretical understanding of music will help things along a bit.

There are some terrific (and very accessible) books already published on the inter-relationship between music and the mind, including This is Your Brain on Music (Daniel Levitin), Musicophilia (Oliver Sacks) and The Brain that Changes Itself (Norman Doidge) and these are going to be my launchpad.

Each post will be an essay on a song. I am still deciding what the first one will be and no doubt there will be long breaks between posts but I want to put my training wheels on and get this thing rolling. So here we go with Songs for Beginners...