Today, my friend, Dr. Susan Larson Kidd, gave one of her fabulous music presentations where she made the connection between music and the mind both clearer and more mysterious. She pulled out her locally famous depictions of the human brain, artistically rendered and sliced this way and that. We all listened as she explained that music activates the brain in some predictable and some unpredictable ways. Music vibrates down the nerves altering how we perceive the things around us and how we perceive ourselves. Together, we, the workshop participants, demonstrated that music moves the body as we swayed or tapped in time to music that she had us listen to, feel, and reflect upon. As mysterious as music is, we discovered we all know quite a bit about it--even the barely musically literate among us--namely me.
Why would sound waves hitting the ear drum have such a profound emotional impact on human beings? I still don't understand that mystery. But, I resolved, once again, to try to use music more in my work with children who have autism. If music will help calm the limbic system--then I should be using it. If music will wake-up the frontal cortex--then I should be using it. Regulating, organizing, emotionally supportive music is the least expensive and surely the happiest therapy tool around.
Interesting Science Program related to music and the brain: