Music is a universal stress buster, mood lifter and much more to many people. It is rare to find someone who does not tune into some genre of music; it is also clinically proven that music is therapeutic at many levels. Studies also show that musicians or anyone who listens to a lot of music have a more refined ability to communicate and recognise rhythm which helps in shaping the brain. In a hierarchy of brains, they can be listed on the higher section because of their exposure to rhythm, tunes, and notes.
However, some researchers learned that our brain responds differently to different genres of music, for instance, the genres of jazz and classical. Psyche Loui, an assistant professor of Music and director of the Music Imaging and Neural Dynamics Lab at Northeastern University studied the brains of the jazz and classical ensembles of Northeastern to learn their brains’ response to mistakes in notes and improvisation of music. According to her, “mistakes are very different to these people” as to a “jazz musician a wrong note is a new direction” or a chance to improvise but to a classical musician, it is a “red alert” as this genre is based on sheet music which is rehearsed or premeditated.
Psyche told the News@Northeastern reporters Emily Arntsen and Aria Bracci that jazz music emphasises on improvisation which is more like a “real-time conversation” and classical music is like “reciting a poem”. Psyche recruited three groups (jazz, classical, and untrained) of people to conduct her research, where she showed that the jazz musicians’ brain took only two hundred milliseconds to respond and accept any wrong chord progression while the other two groups responded much later. Evan Bennett, the music director of the University’s Symphony Orchestra says that the music training mainly teaches to embrace the “accident” and react to it smartly as an escape route.
Researches are yet to discover if the ability to improvise is acquired by birth or training. Psyche and her team might find many more fascinating facts about brains on music.