Ockham’s Razor: The Neuroscience of Singing

May 5, 2015

Source: Ockham’s Razor, Radio National

Robyn Williams: Music, language, go way back in human evolution. You know there’s a suggestion that talking came from humming and less obvious ways of communicating with each other, back then in the cave. And its effects on the brain are telling. Susan Greenfield also tells of a story of musicians whose practice measurably changes their brains. And, get this, sometimes all they have to do is think they are playing, rehearsing or singing to get the same cerebral result. Tania de Jong lives in Melbourne where she sings, records and mounts international conferences on innovation and creativity. And she starts with a song.

Tania de Jong: There was a time when everyone used to sing. We sat around campfires, at church and at school. We sang our stories and our dreams. We sang alone and we sang together. Nowadays not many of us sing. We think we can’t because someone at some time told us not to sing, or we think we’re not good enough. We worry that people will think we are strange or that we will be judged and not as good as the celebrities we idolise. So I have a question: Who has been told by their parents, teachers, kids or partners or anyone else that they should not sing? There will be at least 85% of you putting up your hands! That is the average of people who have been told not to sing…

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