Do Musicians Have Bigger Brains?

In this piece about the Van Cliburn amateur competition, jury chair John Giordano speaks about the relationship between music and intelligence. Giordano points to the fact that the highly proficient amateur pianists who flock to Fort Worth to compete often gave up playing music for other exceptional achievements in other fields. Sure music can teach young students lessons about discipline and perseverance that translate to other fields, but as it turns out, there may be some science to back it up this relationship between music and smarts. From the Freakonomics blog:

New research shows that musicians’ brains are highly developed in a way that makes the musicians alert, interested in learning, disposed to see the whole picture, calm, and playful. The same traits have previously been found among world-class athletes, top-level managers, and individuals who practice transcendental meditation. . . .

Musicians also exhibited higher levels of moral reasoning and had more frequent “peak experiences”– intense moments of happiness and feelings of transcending limitations.

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