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Musical Creativity

May 21, 2014

Musical creativity could be good for the aging brain.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Improvising the brain. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Thelonious Monk was a noted jazz improviser. (William P. Gottlieb Collection/Library of Congress)

Thelonious Monk was a noted jazz improviser. (William P. Gottlieb Collection/Library of Congress)

(SFX: Jazz piano riff)

Extensive musical training could make the brain more efficient, especially if musicians make up new tunes on the fly. Karolinska Institute neuroscientist Ana-Luisa Pinho and her colleagues asked trained pianists to improvise tunes on a miniature piano while measuring their brain activity inside an MRI machine. They found that musicians with the most improvisational training activated fewer brain regions than less experienced musicians, but showed greater connectivity between different regions.

ANA LUISA PINHO (Karolinska Institute):

They require less resources from the brain. So the brain is more efficient.

HIRSHON:

Pinho says the study adds to a growing body of evidence that musical training helps protect the aging brain.

PINHO:

Music can work like medicine in terms of prevention of aging effects.

HIRSHON:

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.