Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Review of "This Is Your Brain On Music" by Dr. Daniel J. Levitin

This is a book that had sat on my "to be read" shelf for too long.  I finally pulled it down, and I am so glad that I did.  Daniel J. Levitin comes at his examination of how music impacts the brain from two perspectives.  He trained as a musician at Berklee College of Music, a few blocks from where I sit writing this review.  He then went on to receive a Ph. D. in neuroscience, and is a leading expert in the field of Human Cognition.

"This Is Your Brain On Music - The Science of a Human Obsession" provides answers and clues to our very human propensity to make music and to listen to music - since before recorded history.  What comes through very clearly in his writing are his twin passions for music and for scientific inquiry to solve mysteries of how we think and feel in response to specialized stimuli such as music. There is enough detail in this book to keep the scientist engaged and the musician intrigued.  Yet the concepts are also explained in such a way that they are accessible to non-scientists and non-musicians.

I have long been a music lover, and reading this book has given me a deeper appreciation of what is happening within my brain and spirit as I listen to such diverse works as Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Handel's "Messiah," or Don MacLean's "Starry, Starry Night."



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