This article originally appeared in The American String Teacher, the journal of The American String Teachers Association.
In our excitement to understand how the most complex system we know of, the brain, goes about learning we’ve internalized a type of ‘folk knowledge’ as to the role music plays in developing our learning capacity and efficiency. If as many people who say they do actually believe that music makes you smarter did, music enrollment would be bursting at the seams.
There is a gap, a chasm really, in between the media promotion of scientific work and the public genuinely understanding it. We watch videos of the brain lit up like a Christmas tree while engaging in music without thinking why this might be good, or if it even is. The good news is that sustained music participation under good instruction does change the brain for the better in profound ways that are central to the learning process. If we are going to get excited about a YouTube video or news report then that is great, but it does nothing to elucidate what is actually going on during the learning process. What you will find here are the answers to that without hyperbolic neuromyth.
Below are three versions of my overarching initial presentation on high efficiency learning, how it works, what talent means, how one can discipline oneself to do the work, and much more. If you are looking for a previous presentation from a conference or site visit I did this one contains everything since my first general presentation in Providence, RI in 2013, and all additions after. If you would like a specific previous version please message me and I’ll send you the PDF. Right now there are three groups I tend to work with. I plan to add a business consulting version soon.