Music Research

Mindfully Applied to the #FutureofWork

Neural Substrates of Spontaneous Musical Performance: An fMRI Study of Jazz Improvisation >

" This distributed neural pattern may provide a cognitive context that enables the emergence of spontaneous creative activity."

Result > " Spontaneous improvisation was in each case associated with a highly congruous pattern of activations and deactivations in prefrontal cortex, sensorimotor and limbic regions of the brain."


" Creativity is a quintessential feature of human behavior, but the neural substrates that give rise to it remain largely unidentified."


" Our data indicate that spontaneous improvisation, independent of the degree of musical complexity, is characterized by widespread deactivation of lateral portions of the prefrontal cortex together with focal activation of medial prefrontal cortex. This unique pattern may offer insights into cognitive dissociations that may be intrinsic to the creative process: the innovative, internally motivated production of novel material (at once rule based and highly structured) that can apparently occur outside of conscious awareness and beyond volitional control."


" The process of improvisation is involved in many aspects of human behavior beyond those of a musical nature, including adaptation to changing environments, problem solving and perhaps most importantly, the use of natural language, all of which are unscripted behaviors that capitalize on the generative capacity of the brain."

Sound Health: An NIH-Kennedy Center Partnership >

Music can get you moving, lift your mood, and even help you recall a memory, but can it improve your health? The National Institutes of Health and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts have partnered to expand the scope of an initiative that NIH has had with the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) for several years called Sound Health. The partnership, in association with the National Endowment for the Arts, aims to:

  • expand current knowledge and understanding of how listening, performing, or creating music involves intricate circuitry in the brain that could be harnessed for health and wellness applications in daily life,

  • explore ways to enhance the potential for music as therapy for neurological disorders,

  • identify future opportunities for research, and

  • create public awareness about how the brain functions and interacts with music.

Music Therapy Research Spotlight by the Global Wellness Institute >

A collection of 6 impressive studies on the impact of mindfully used to address anxiety reduction, family coping skills (which do apply to colleagues!), depression, enhanced social behaviors in autistic children, the beneficial effects on blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, anxiety, and pain. The overall take-away:

Music is good medicine when mindfully performed and participated in by the audience.

In Tune: Music as the Bridge to Mindfulness by Richard Wolf >

“Anyone who has ever taken a music lesson knows that practice is the key to success. The same is true for another transformative discipline—meditative mindfulness—and yet, so often the two fail to harmonize. In Tune syncs these practices to heighten the benefits of each and increase composure, clarity, creativity, leading to a deeper appreciation of your whole experience.”