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How Music Can Improve Your Life and Create Flow
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Differences between musicians and non-musicians in neuro-affective processing of sadness and fear expressed in music

Differences between musicians and non-musicians in neuro-affective processing of sadness and fear expressed in music | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

Not sure what the sample size was but this was super interesting.  Musicians and non-musicians brains were compared when listening to music that conveyed three different emotions: happiness, sadness and fear.  Seems that musicians find sadness and fear way more arousing than non-musicians whereas happy music had little effect!

 

 

I can't Sleep - digital-art by balt-arts on Flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/balt-arts/5036427345/

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Why we love repetition in music – Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis – Aeon

Why we love repetition in music – Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis – Aeon | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Why do we listen to our favourite music over and over again? Because repeated sounds work magic in our brains
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

This is a fabulous article and includes some simple experiments that are really quite eye - or should I say ear opening.  Building on the idea that repetition is fundamental to how we experience music, the author weaves a compelling story that most will find really interesting and insightful.

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Linda Alexander's curator insight, March 19, 2:27 PM

So true!

Angie Mc's curator insight, March 19, 2:45 PM

Fascinating article! Yet one more reason to include music in family life.

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Does music training enhance working memory performance? Findings from a quasi-experimental longitudinal study

Does music training enhance working memory performance? Findings from a quasi-experimental longitudinal study | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

So now we're getting into the nitty gritty of how music training actually affects the brain.  In this study fromGermanywe're looking at how musical training affects memory performance.

 

Groups of 50 children between the ages of 7 and 8 were tracked over an 18 month period.  One group had 45 minutes of weekly instrumental music training whereas the control group had 45 minutes of natural science training.

 

I'm not going to get into the details of Baddely's working memory model (you can read more about it here) but suffice it to say that the music group saw superior development in a number of aspects of working memory when compared to the control group.

 

Image credit: Katie and her flute - Simon Whitaker - Flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chubbybat/46498257/

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The complete guide to listening to music at work

The complete guide to listening to music at work | Music to work to | Scoop.it
If you’re reading this article at work, there’s a decent chance you’re wearing headphones. It has never been easier to tune in to your own customized soundtrack—or more necessary to tune out your open-office coworkers, cubicle mates, and fellow coffee-shop denizens. But not all music is created equal, especially when there's work to be done. How...
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

A nice overview from Quartz with some basics on how music affects your brain at work.  Some good tips and even a few recommended tracks and playlists.  

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Chills and thrills: why some people love music – and others don't

Chills and thrills: why some people love music – and others don't | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Think of your favourite piece of music. Do you get shivers when the music swells or the chorus kicks in? Or are the opening few bars enough to make you feel tingly? Despite having no obvious survival value…
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

Quite a few articles last week on this Study out ofBarcelonathat identified the Music Anhedonic - i.e. - someone who doesn't get pleasure out of music.  This article breaks it down very well, going into the neurobiology and also extends the discussion into the reasons behind why we like particular types of music - well worth the read. 

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Why We're Happy Being Sad: Pop's Emotional Evolution

Why We're Happy Being Sad: Pop's Emotional Evolution | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Every Top 40 hit in 1965 was in a major key and had a fast tempo. In 2009, more than half of the Top 40 songs were in a minor key. Has there been a shift in the emotional content of music in the past five decades, and why are we drawn to sadness and ambiguity in music?
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

Following on from Vicky Williamson's piece last week - here's a more in depth look on NPR from Glenn Schellenberg that looked a little more closely at the whole major / minor - happy / sad aspect of music.  I found his hypothesis interesting - that people are becoming more sophisticated musically and therefore the culturally complex idea of combining seemingly odd aspects is pleasing to us - which is why music in a minor key has become more prevalent.  All interesting stuff! 

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Vanderbilt study shows mother’s voice improves hospitalization and feeding in preemies

Vanderbilt study shows mother’s voice improves hospitalization and feeding in preemies | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Vanderbilt study shows mother’s voice improves hospitalization and feeding in preemies. Premature babies who receive an interventional therapy combining their mother’s voice and a pacifier-activated music player learn to eat more efficiently and have their feeding tubes removed sooner than other preemies, according to a Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt study published today in Pediatrics. The randomized clinical trial performed in the Neonatal Intensivekeep reading »
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

I was watching the Dalai Llama the other day talk about the relationship between Mother and baby and how amazing it is.  In this study the recorded voice of the mother singing a lullaby is attached to the correct sucking behavior on a preemie's pacifier.   So - when the infant does it right - they get to hear their mother sing and in turn more quickly develop their ability to feed.  I wonder if Pavlov had any idea that his work would end up in something like this!

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How Music Hijacks Our Perception of Time - Issue 9: Time - Nautilus

How Music Hijacks Our Perception of Time - Issue 9: Time - Nautilus | Music to work to | Scoop.it

One evening, some 40 years ago, I got lost in time. I was at a performance of Schubert’s String Quintet in C major. During the second…

Andrew McCluskey's insight:

I loved this article - from the Nautilus magazine's issue on "Time" - the writer Jonathan Berger, Denning Family Provostial Professor in Music at Stanford University, uses the musical world and its constructs to look at the how we perceive time.  It's  pretty accessible but does get a bit technical (musically) at the end.  If you're into how we experience the world and have an appreciation of music - it's well worth a read. 

 

I too have a deep personal attachment to the piece of music he bases it around - Schubert's String Quintet in C Major.  I was fascinated to see how he explained the impact of the piece with theory.

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Sticky Tunes: How Do People React to Involuntary Musical Imagery?

Sticky Tunes: How Do People React to Involuntary Musical Imagery? | Music to work to | Scoop.it
PLOS ONE: an inclusive, peer-reviewed, open-access resource from the PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE. Reports of well-performed scientific studies from all disciplines freely available to the whole world.
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

Earworms - those annoying musical snippets that stick in your head - have been popping up all over the place in music research recently.  We scooped a piece last week that looked at the neuroscience behind how earworms and musical hallucinations might work - but this article is more concerned with the actual reported prevalence (lots!) and how to get rid of them.  In essence people use three methods:

 

- replace the earworm with another song

- sing or listen to the full track of the earworm

- just not be bothered by it.

 

For those of us unlucky enough not to be able to use option three - the other two techniques might just work.  I have personally thought of singing another song but there's always that danger that the new track will become a new earworm and then you're doubly buggered - but apparently from the study for the majority of people that use a substitute track - it doesn't become an earworm.  I'll be trying both these approaches the next time I have to deal with one.

 

Image Credit: Earworm by Flats on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/70flats/4577609883/

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The Hidden Structures of Music Are Universal Patterns of Nature

The Hidden Structures of Music Are Universal Patterns of Nature | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Nature is rich in structure, which defines the properties not only of the tiniest pieces of matter, but of galaxies and the universe itself. That structure explains both the sound of music, and what is embodied in our DNA. Our world consists of complex hierarchies of about 100 different chemical...
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

This is fascinating and sends shiver's down my spine when I think of the implications.  What the scientists are doing is swapping out the core "building blocks" of the protein construction process (the amino acids etc) with musical building blocks (melodies and tones) and then listening to the result.  Bizarrely and amazingly enough - the poor quality amino acid chains sounded aggressive and harsh - whereas the higher quality (stronger fibers) sounded softer and more fluid.

 

Think about that for a moment - that's absolutely amazing!!!!

 

Over the years we've watched as people have taken obscure data sets - such as the stars in the sky or particle movements in quantum mechanics (even the sound of a "road trip!") and translated the data into music.  Most of the time it sounds rather plinky and plonky and is very dependent upon the musical parameters that the scientists set - interesting, amusing even but of seemingly little worth.  But this project shatters that premise - and potentially throws wide open the doors into nature's hidden architecture.

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Correlations in the population structure of music, genes and language

Correlations in the population structure of music, genes and language | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

It's an interesting concept to think of music as being as unique to a population as its language or even its genes.  This quick overview of a larger study of nine indigenous Taiwanese  populations showed that music is more closely correlated to genetics than language.  Opens the door for anthropologists to spend more time focusing on a populations music... 

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A brain basis for musical hallucinations

A brain basis for musical hallucinations | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

Time for some deep music psychology with Dr. Vicky (cue the theme music...)  Musical Hallucinations - Earworms - what the hell's going on and why is this interesting?  Well - if the expression "hierarchical prediction model of the musical pathway" doesn't scare you - go read the article - it's fascinating.  If it  sounds a little complex then rest assured that even though we really don't have a clue what's actually going on in the brain - there are some very smart people out there developing and testing hypotheses that are opening doors into the mystery -  and not just into music - but into human consciousness itself! Wow!

 

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tommpouce/8904666145/

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Music Customized For Your Heartbeat : DNews

Music Customized For Your Heartbeat : DNews | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Streaming music services could match your tunes to your heart rate. Continue reading →
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

And so the race starts to heat up - yesterday's launch of Beats music put Pandora and Spotify and Rhapsody and god knows who else on notice that this space is going to get brutal.  But - brutal is good for the consumer so I'm super interested to see what happens as sensor technology joins the recommendation algorithm - can't say that I've been terribly thrilled so far - so maybe this will make the difference - we shall have to see...

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Music, emotion and the brain

Music, emotion and the brain | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

More from a busy Vicky Williamson as she breaks down a recent article in Nature Reviews Neuroscience on Music evoked Emotions.  The data seems to support the idea that music can evoke specific emotions and looks at the areas of the brain that may play a part.  The big idea here is the secondary feedback loop - i.e. - if music can make you feel good, then you might smile, and the act of smiling in turn makes you feel good and then you're in a virtuous circle - all triggered by a specific piece of music.  This has huge implications to the music therapy world.  A complex but ultimately easily digestible summary!

 

Image credit: Music Therapy by emanuela franchini on Flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/flea_ef/2018883978/

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How the brain recognizes familiar music | Newsroom - McGill University

How the brain recognizes familiar music | Newsroom - McGill University | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

More memory related work, this time on the production effect - the idea that you will remember something better if you actually do it - say it out loud or play it - rather than just listen to it.  This study demonstrated it with 20 pianists wearing groovy skullcaps!

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How Background Music Can Affect Your Attention

How Background Music Can Affect Your Attention | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

Study at Lisbon University that shows how background music will affect what you choose to look at.  Relatively small study but interesting data

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MRI scan study shows link between music and language

MRI scan study shows link between music and language | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Jazz musicians are famous for their musical conversations - one improvises a few bars and another plays an answer. Now research shows some of the brain's language regions enable that musical back-and-forth much like a spoken conversation.
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

More music and language investigation - I like this study as the idea of having jazz pianists inside an MRI machine and playing a plastic keyboard through a series of mirrors is just well, intriguing!  In essence when the pianists inside the MRI were "trading phrases" with another musician in the control room - the brain areas lighting up were the same ones that process the syntax of language.  What was interesting to me though was that even though these areas were being activated, at the same time areas that process the meaning of words were being tuned down.

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[Guest Post] Emerging Research: Music Therapy and Disorders of Consciousness

[Guest Post] Emerging Research: Music Therapy and Disorders of Consciousness | Music to work to | Scoop.it
UK music therapist Julian O'Kelly shares his research exploring music therapy and assessment for individuals with Disorder of Consciousness (DOC). A fascinating read!
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

A summary article that looks at the efficacy of music therapy and tackles the challenge that although we all know it works - we don't have enough decent data to really understand it.  Julian O'Kelly a music therapist and PhD. student is looking at neurophysiological and behavioral changes with patients dealing with disorders of consciousness - the early data is encouraging but there is much more work to be done.

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NME Blogs | The Science Of Music - Why Do Songs In A Minor Key Sound Sad?

NME Blogs | The Science Of Music - Why Do Songs In A Minor Key Sound Sad? | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

A piece for NME by one of my favorite music scientists Dr. Vicky Williamson - and the answer to the question is culture - with a little bit of physics thrown in.  Interesting to read the NPR link that western pop may be moving away from predominately major music; perhaps future generations won't feel the association quite so much!  Oh - and you haven't yet experienced Losing My Religion in a major key - the track is embedded on the page - definitely worth a listen!

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Alex Cowans's curator insight, February 27, 7:01 PM

I found this article very interesting because I have always wondered why major toned usually meant happy and minor toned usually meant sad. I wasn't surprised by the preliminary results that explained that because we grew up listening to  music and being  taught that major means happy and minor means sad. What I was surprised about was the secondary result which said that the nature of our music due to our own human speech tones and timbres when we are happy/sad. I was interested in the recent development that more music is in a minor key but we as a culture are not necessarily less happy. Very informative! I'm very happy to have came across this article! 

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Instrumental Music Better than Lyrics for Knowledge Workers

Instrumental Music Better than Lyrics for Knowledge Workers | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

Over 100 participants in their early twenties were given concentration and attention testing within different audio environments.  Background music with lyrics had a significant negative effect on performance.

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Listen while you work: What music does to your brain

Listen while you work: What music does to your brain | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Mikael Cho is the co-founder of ooomf, a network that connects short-term software projects with handpicked developers and designers. Mikael writes about psychology, startups, and ...
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

Nice article and summary and pretty much sums up the whole approach behind music2work2. The bit that cracks me up is the fact that in many cases just having some kind of aural stimulation can achieve close to the effect of good instrumental background music. I did my undergrad thesis on the effect of sound on performance (using clear tones and reaction time boxes) and saw a direct relationship between performance improvement and the introduction of sound - you can read more about it here:

http://music2work2.com/music2work2-music-to-work-to/why-listening-music-makes-you-smarter

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Linda Evans's curator insight, February 13, 2:56 PM

The World's Largest Solar Plant Started Creating Electricity Today 

Louise Quo Vadis's curator insight, February 14, 3:51 PM
Great article here on how music affects your brain. Worth reading, really. Happy Valentines everyone.
Ike Cerrada's curator insight, February 15, 4:13 AM

Something is clear. Music helps you go through boring tasks smoothly, but, is it as wonderful for every situation?

Read and find out.

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Does music make you exercise harder?

Does music make you exercise harder? | Music to work to | Scoop.it
When you enter any gym or workout facility around the world you’ll probably notice the loud music that’s playing over speakers right away. Music is so common in places where people regularly work o...
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

We've seen a few of these studies over the years but this is a nice overview document of some of the benefits you'll get if you actively incorporate music into your training regime.  Interesting anecdote about Leonard Ayers and how he noticed performance improvement in cyclists when a live band was playing nearby.

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Hidden hierarchy in music revealed

Hidden hierarchy in music revealed | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

Not so much how music affects us and more so how music affects the music makers.  Really interesting study in how groups of musicians work together - subconsciously - in order to produce the music.  Bands (or chamber groups in this case) are just like any other human organization - there are hierarchies and behaviors at play even if we don't consciously acknowledge them.  This line of study may open doors into the power of live performances - which would be fascinating.

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Linda Alexander's curator insight, January 29, 8:35 PM

Orchestras are often used as metaphors for the ebb and flow of an organization.  Here is a wonderful explanation of why…

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How Language Helps Us Understand Music Without Words - Pacific Standard: The Science of Society

How Language Helps Us Understand Music Without Words - Pacific Standard: The Science of Society | Music to work to | Scoop.it
Without harmony, our brains don't know what to hear.
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

More music and language - this time a study that looked at whether music uses hierarchical building blocks in a similar way to language processing - and yes - apparently the brain does process music in a similar way.    The argument here is that we "naturally" (commas intended) perceive complex structures in music - we can process complex pieces because we have an innate familiarity with simpler musical building blocks.  Not exactly earth shattering but it is another piece of the puzzle and will add more grist to the mill of the language / music discussion.

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The Benefits of Listening to Music at Work [INFOGRAPHIC] | CareerBliss

The Benefits of Listening to Music at Work [INFOGRAPHIC] | CareerBliss | Music to work to | Scoop.it
If your workplace allows you to listen to music on your headphones, there are many reasons to take advantage of this little office perk! Music is a lot...
Andrew McCluskey's insight:

Infographics are fun - we like infographics!  This one is pretty straightforward and not terribly earth shattering - however - if you're in a situation where you're trying to get your boss to allow you to wear headphones at work then this is a great visual tool to help convince them!

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tulasiraolanke's curator insight, January 23, 1:21 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4x_LU6szyg&feature=youtu.be

Christopher Coleman's curator insight, January 23, 3:46 PM

Just think how great it is if your work IS music!  Oh.  Doesn't work that way?

Celia Castillo's curator insight, January 24, 6:06 AM

Una manera molt gràfica de representar els beneficis d'escoltar música a la feina :)