Expert violinists have learnt to ‘freeze’ certain actions

Title of paper under discussion Learning to Play the Violin: Motor Control by Freezing, Not Freeing Degrees of Freedom Authors Jürgen Konczak, Heidi van der Velden, Lukas Jaeger Journal Journal of Motor Behavior, 2009, Vol. 41, No. 3, pp243–252 Link to paper (free access) Overview Do beginner violinists start with restricted movement in all aspects …

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Clarinettists heighten emotion and extend phrases with their gestures

Title of paper under discussion Performance Gestures of Musicians: What Structural and Emotional Information Do They Convey? Authors Bradley W. Vines, Marcelo M. Wanderley, Carol L. Krumhansl, Regina L. Nuzzo and Daniel J. Levitin Journal 5th International Gesture Workshop, GW 2003, Genova, Italy, April 15-17, 2003 Gesture-Based Communication in Human-Computer Interaction, pp 468-478 Link to …

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‘Blind’ orchestral auditions increase a woman’s chances severalfold

Title of paper under discussion Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of “Blind” Auditions on Female Musicians Authors Claudia Goldin and Cecilia Rouse Journal National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 5903, January 1997 Link to paper (free access) Overview Carried out in the mid-Nineties by two economists now of international repute, this piece of research lighted …

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Mozart, but not Brahms, helps the brain solve puzzles

Title of paper under discussion The influence of Mozart’s music on brain activity in the process of learning Authors Norbert Jaušovec, Ksenija Jaušovec and Ivan Gerlič Journal Clinical Neurophysiology, Dec 2006: Volume 117, Issue 12, pp 2703-14 Link to paper (free access) Overview Listening to Mozart improves your ability to solve mental rotation puzzles, or …

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Can a musician’s superior maths ability be explained by superior timing ability?

Title of paper under discussion Musicians outperform nonmusicians in magnitude estimation: evidence of a common processing mechanism for time, space and numbers Authors Christian Agrillo and Laura Piffer Journal The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, vol 65, issue 12, pp 2321-2332 Link to paper (free access) Overview Could it be that the human brain uses the same …

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Conductors’ brains ‘flash positive’ on hearing a deviant noise in their periphery

Title of paper under discussion The fate of sounds in conductors’ brains: an ERP study Authors Wido Nager, Christine Kohlmetz, Eckart Altenmüller, Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells and Thomas F. Münte Journal Cognitive Brain Research, 17 (2003) pp 83–93 Link to paper (free access) Overview Based in Hannover, Germany, this research team set out to test the hypothesis …

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Did Mozart die in a young men’s ‘strep throat’ epidemic?

Title of paper under discussion The Death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: An Epidemiologic Perspective Authors Richard H.C. Zegers, Andreas Weigl and Andrew Steptoe Journal Annals of Internal Medicine – 2009; 151 (4): 274-278 Link to paper (free access) Overview The cause of 35-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s death in the winter of 1791 has ever since puzzled …

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Music is processed in ‘visual areas’ of a blind musician’s brain

Title of paper under discussion Cortical plasticity in an early blind musician: an fMRl study Authors David A. Ross, Ingrid R. Olson, John C. Gore Journal Magnetic Resonance Imaging, vol 21 (2003) pp 821–828 Link to paper (free access) Overview Blindness is often reckoned to be associated with a high level of musical competence, “perhaps …

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Musicians’ brains use ‘sight-reading area’ to excel at 3D mental rotation

Title of paper under discussion Broca’s Area Supports Enhanced Visuospatial Cognition in Orchestral Musicians Authors Vanessa Sluming, Jonathan Brooks, Matthew Howard, John Joseph Downes and Neil Roberts Journal Journal of Neuroscience 4 April 2007,  27 (14) 3799-3806 Link to paper (free access) Overview In solving freshly presented 3D mental rotation puzzles, members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO) consistently demonstrated levels of skill …

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