Tuesday, September 05, 2006

This Is Your Brain on Music

I found this review of This Is Your Brain on Music by neuroscientist Daniel Levitin interesting. If this blog has a meta-narrative it is about the connection between music, memory and emotion, so this is very much the kind of topic in which I am interested.

Also, because I have two kids, I'm interested in the relationship between music and overall cognitive development. I recognize the so-called "Mozart effect" is bunk, and I'm not one of those annoying parents trying to breed super-geniuses through a steady diet of "Baby Loves Mozart" CDs. But I am interested more generally in how early experiences with music effect cognitive development. For example, this weekend my son asked me about "that record store near the pizza shop we used to go to." He was referring to Rick’s Records in Providence, which closed over two years ago. My son, who is four, claims to have no memory of the apartment we lived in at the time, but somehow he remembers a record store he visited with his father. This amazes me. Why have so many memories from his early development been lost while something like this sticks in his head?

I have other thoughts on children and music, but I’ll save those for another day. In the meantime, this looks like something I'm going to put on my "to read" list despite the book's unfortunate title. When I get around to reading it I'll post my thoughts.

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