Much of what is now known about neural structures that are important to the musical experience and how the brain processes music, has been learned only in the past few years. For example, while speech and music share some neural circuitry, ech involves different and distinct brain structures. (Sternberg, Barbara, PhD. Music & the Brain. p 16-17. CA: Institute for Natural Resources, Home-Study #2320, 2009).
Playing a musical instrument gives the brain a good workout. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 247. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)
Music affects the thinking portion of the brain. (Restak, Richard, MD. Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot. p 182-183. NY: Harmony Books, 2001.)
Songs can help to coordinate functions between the hemispheres. The right hemisphere learns the melody while the left hemisphere learns the words. (Williams, Linda. Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind. p 162-163. CA: Touchstone Books, 1986.)
Playing by ear or improvising is a right-hemisphere process. Mechanical playing may be more of a left hemisphere process. (Joy, Donald M., PhD. Bonding. p 104. TX: Word Books, 1985.
The human brain is the most important musical instrument of all. (Keith Lockhart, Conductor of the Boston Pops orchestra. (Source)
Studies: The Corpus callosum is 10-15% thicker in musicians who started training before the age of 7 than in nonmusicians. Musical training can impact both how the brain works and how it is built (e.g., can enhance learning, memory, and intelligence). (Brynie, Faith Hickman. 101 Questions Your Brain Has Asked About Itself But Couldn’t Answer, Until Now. p 119-120. CT: Millbrook Press, 1998.)
Playing a musical instrument exercises coordination between eye and hand, and stimulates both the creative and logical parts of the brain. (Bricklin, Mark, et al.Positive Living and Health. p 402. PA: Rodale Press, 1990.)
Music comes from different portions in the brain. (Hempfling, Lee Kent. The Brain is a Wonderful Thing.)
Processing of music occurs in regions dispersed throughout the brain. Listening, performing, and composing music involves nearly every region of the brain so far identified and almost every neural subsystem. (Sternberg, Barbara, PhD. Music & the Brain. p 1-2. CA: Institute for Natural Resources, Home-Study #2320, 2009).
In the brains of trained musicians, the musical center (the brain area activated when playing or listening to music) is in the left hemisphere (as compared to the brains of amateur musicians that tend to have their musical center located in the right hemisphere). (Restak, Richard, MD. The New Brain. p 24-26. PA: Rodale, 2003.)
The brain tends to process individual components of incoming sounds (e.g., pitch, melody, rhythm, location, loudness) and then reassembles them into a whole, including any emotional response. (Carter, Rita, ed. Mapping the Mind. p 147. CA: University of California, 1998.)
The left hemisphere decodes musical notation; the right hemisphere processes musical melodies. (Williams, Linda. Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind. p 26-27. CA: Touchstone Books: 1986.)
Study: An emotional response to music (as distinct from appreciation of musical structure) derives from a different portion of the brain. Music appreciation requires use of both parts. (Storr, Anthony. Music and the Mind. p 38-40. NY: Ballantine Books, 1992.)
The left posterior dorsolateral frontal cortex is activated when an individual is naming notes (sounds). It is activated spontaneously in those with perfect pitch. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 178-179. GA:Bard Press, 1994, 2000.)
Learning to play a musical instrument will change the brain. (Restak, Richard, MD. Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot. p 37-38. NY: Harmony Books, 2001.)
According to Dr. Stefan Koelsch (Harvard Medical School in Boston and the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig) the human brain is designed for music, and all people make music in one way or another. (Source)
Much of the processing music occurs outside of conscious awareness in the more primitive portions of the brain. The enjoyment people experience, however, involves the consolidation of information in the cerebrum. And for a huge percentage of the population, music provides one of life’s greatest and oldest delights. (Sternberg, Barbara, PhD. Music & the Brain. p 20-21. CA: Institute for Natural Resources, Home-Study #2320, 2009).
Studies: both physical and mental responses to music involve changes in brain chemistry in several portions of the brain (e.g., cerebrum, limbic system, brain stem). (Bricklin, Mark, Mark Golin, et al. Positive Living and Health. p 284-286. Press, 1990.)
Study: music is primarily appreciated in the right hemisphere (e.g., sedate the left hemisphere and the person can sing but not speak). It originates from a human brain, not from the natural world. (Storr, Anthony. Music and the Mind. p 34-36, 51-52, 64. NY: Ballantine Books, 1992.)