Brain Waves and Music
Brain Waves & Music
How many times we heard "I was practising and when I checked the time, three hours have passed!"
This statement is not only heard by our piano students but by us as well. We, as piano tutors, well know that music creates a different state of mind and being when we play music. It is not only "being busy"; it is just another quality of time, in which the time itself changes, or at least, our perception of it.
Scientists, or better said, neurologists, have been researching these phenomena quite intensely in the last years. They found that this different perception of the quality of time is due to the different brain waves our brain produces when performing any given task.
Laura Bevan, a teacher at WKMT, who performed an experiment at Goldsmiths University, drew this conclusion about the experience: "The more alpha waves present, the less active the brain is. This shows that when we are doing something we know very well, such as playing music, we do not involve the frontal areas of the brain as much. These areas have been linked to self-monitoring and may be involved in making oneself feel self-conscious during a performance. Feeling self-conscious would directly cause problems during a performance, so turning off the activity of the
frontal areas of the brain is like getting out of your own way, enabling smoother and more confident performances".
Also, there was another conclusion by the same team, which as musicians we know is true. However, it is noteworthy that know scientists are baking up with research: Music, when it is performed with a certain degree of skill, produces dopamine in our brains, which is the neurotransmitter of happiness; it is the powerful conclusion as it explains we put ourselves through so many hours of hard practice with our instruments, the reward levels were seen as very high!
Read about the full experiment on: