In a new book entitled Every Brain Needs Music: The Neuroscience of Making and Listening to Music, Prof. Larry Sherman explores why we all need music for our mental well-being and how it can even help us later in life. Sherman is a professor of neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University.
Whenever a person engages with music—when a piano student practices a scale, a jazz saxophonist riffs on a melody, a teenager sobs to a sad song, or a wedding guest gets down on the dance floor—countless neurons are firing. Playing an instrument requires all of the resources of the nervous system, including cognitive, sensory, and motor functions. Composition and improvisation are remarkable demonstrations of the brain’s capacity for creativity. Something as seemingly simple as listening to a tune involves mental faculties most of us don’t even realize we have