Music, an ability that distinguishes homo sapiens from all other species, can help shape the developing as well as the adult brain by activating and expanding parts of the brain that can also serve other purposes. We have learned how these parts connect and strengthen with practice and study. Dr. Ellenberger addresses why we like certain kinds of music and why playing and listening can exercise the brain at all ages. Music can be a risk-free treatment of a range of human disease. This book and Blog argue that, especially when learned early, music can enable us to engage the full spectrum of human understanding necessary for individuals and societies to achieve their fullest human potential.
Thank God the void left by the sublime Oliver Sacks has finally been filled. –Maria Corley, Concert pianist from Juilliard
THE book I'm reading when I'm on tour. As a musician and a composer and a human being who has walked the planet for 67 years with some observation skills, I find the book to be very interesting. –Chris Brubeck
I got carried away. The words flow with a lot of charm and effortlessness. –Dan Stolper, Oboist, Past Editor, The International Double Reed
I think musicians and non-musicians alike will get a lot out of the information in its pages, but it’s also entertaining and very well written. –Nancy Bean, former Associate Concertmaster, Philadelphia Orchestra
. . . the most important book on music to appear in years. –John Poynter, professor of History and pianist
I devoured it with pleasure and admiration for the thorough, educated research into the effects of music on the brain. –Justiniano Campa, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurology
It’s clear he knows his stuff, and he makes the science of music understandable throughout this work. –Kirkus Reviews
Tremendously interesting and enjoyable. Dr. Ellenberger's ear, trained for the flute, obviously extends to the music of the English language as well. –Phil DeMuth, Psychologist, musician, investment advisor
Seldom do you find an author so competent in two fields and with the ability to integrate them in such a way that the reader is awestruck. This is a wonderful read. –Diane Ross, Professor Emerita, Cal State
A fascinating and personal account of the relationship between music and the brain ranging from the development and plasticity of the brain in children to music as an adjunct to treatments of dementia and Parkinson's disease. –Annette Jordan, NetGalley Reviews
This book raises many compelling ideas about music: its joys and its effects on mind and body, increasingly important as funding is cut as we see funding cut for music in schools, rise in dyslexia and hyperactivity among kids, and increases among baby boomers of diseases linked to aging. –Richard Arnold, Australian Radio
I actually quite enjoyed reading how learning music can be beneficial to a developing brain and how the benefits continue as the brain ages. –Melise Gerber, NetGalley Review
What a great book! I learned a lot about the relationship between music education and neuroscience. I also enjoyed the latter, more biographical section. A must read for musicians and non-musicians! –Johanna Byloff, NetGalley Review
Introduction to the Book
Part One: Music in the Brain
1. Why There is Music?
2. Why We Like Certain Music, Or None at All
3. Can Learning Music Make Us Smarter?
4. Can Music Heal?
5. Music vs. Alzheimer’s Can Music Delay Dementia?
6. Music and Dance vs. Parkinson’s
7. The Flute and The Stethoscope
8. Usher Me Out With Music
9. Treasure Your Hearing You Will Never Regain What You Lose
10. What's Your Temperament?
11. Musicians With Dystonia When Practice Makes Imperfect
12. What's the Matter With Classical Music?
13. Disdain for Classical Music
14. Love: A Neuromusical Rhapsody
15. Sex and Classical Music Better Marketing Through Chemistry
16. "Purple Brain" (2016)
Part Two: Reflections on a Musical Life
17. A Model for Arts Education
18. There’s No Place Like Mt. Gretna
19. Is There a Doctor in The House?
20. Old Goats Playing the Flute
21. Russian Festival (Gretna Music, 2014) A Weird Slice of Music History
22. The Village Bach Festival
23. The Audubon String Quartet
24. A (Funny) Polymath
25. Thomas Jefferson & Music
26. He Commandeered A Villa But Not Just Any Villa
27. The Rubato Queen of Shaker Heights
28. My Illustrious Career as a Non-Pianist