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.

The new study also credits musicians with higher levels of moral reasoning and more transcending “peak experiences” emotionally.

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Does society have greater moral expectations for athletes than for musicians? Even a flawed, evolution-based presentation of such a question can be thought-provoking. And, in the nature of blogs, the readers’ comments are often more enlightening than the original post. For example, one “D. Bachmann” writes:

To assume that “musicians” were less powerful in paleolithic society than “athletes” to my mind also reflects a very simplistic image of such a society. Indeed the development of music (and language) was what shifted us apart from the animal kingdom and gave us almost godlike powers compared to other primates.

While she’s talking about actors, she speaks clearly to the mission of musicians as I conceive it.

Tip of the hat to Catherine Pisaroni

neda-bbc The young woman, Neda, who died from gunshot wounds while unarmed and unaggressive on the street in Tehran, died in the arms of her music teacher.

I can’t be the only musician who is moved by this.