A further introduction into how an understanding of the two brain hemispheres can help us with aspects of musicianship that are normally considered ‘unteachable’!

Show Notes

  • [2:30] Summing up important concepts from the last episode
  • [6:35] The neuroscience of the hemispheres is still in a (sometimes controversial) process of discovery- what may be most useful for musicians is to explore the two distinct ways of perceiving the world as laid out by Iain McGilchrist, and explore their practical usefulness
  • [15:50] How can we begin to use these ideas in a practical way?
  • [16:45] Self awareness and choice of type of focus while performing
  • [21:30] Confidence is linked to wide-focus
  • [22:20] Dealing with distractions- a consequence of narrow focus. Different types of meditation. Seeing but not focusing on fingers or keys- instead relying more on a visuospatial sense of where everything is in 3 dimensional space.
    Sight-reading & right-brained focus. One of main sticking points & frustrations in students is left brain stubbornly not letting go & trying to carry out tasks better suited for right brain things itself
  • [36:10] Experiment with sensations & awareness
  • [38:20] Hemispheres and language. Left hemisphere= main language centre, but right hemisphere= prosody- emotional content of way things are said
    Right hemisphere- metaphor- connected to the body. Embodied cognition- all language is metaphoric. Left Hemisphere- binary categories
  • [45:45] Words are labels to categories. Right hemisphere= raw experience, no labels. Left hemisphere sorts experience from the right hemisphere, sorts into categories & labels. Right hemisphere= prosody, prosody= music. All obvious perhaps that right hemisphere is best for music, but students often justifying why *need* to be in left hemisphere state
  • [49:15] The perception of being observed & judged usually causes strong left hemisphere activation
  • [53:20] Left hemisphere= tool usage. Counterproductive for music-making. Language= a tool to manipulate understanding of the world
  • [56:50] Left hemisphere responsible for grasping & gripping tightly, holding on to tools & objects.
    Left hemisphere dominance often reflected by use of words which talks about owning, grasping, holding, etc Left hemisphere is intensely practical!

Book References:

The Master and His Emissary- Dr Iain McGilchrist

The Inner Game of Music- Barry Green

Further Notes:

The intro/outro music is my jazz arrangement of the Rachmaninov Adagio from Symphony #2, you can watch the whole thing here if you like: https://youtu.be/hMqREAngb4s