How Music Shapes the Brain

Indre Viskontas – University of San Francisco

In the relatively short history of the United States, there have been many turning points and landmark movements that irrevocably altered the direction of the nation and signaled the dramatic start of a new historical reality. Some took the form of groundbreaking political and philosophical concepts; some were dramatic military victories and defeats. Still others were nationwide social and religious movements, or technological and scientific innovations.

What all of these turning points had in common, is that they forever changed the character of America. Sometimes the changes brought about by these events were obvious; sometimes they were more subtle. Sometimes the effects of these turning points were immediate; other times, their aftershocks reverberated for decades. Regardless, these great historical turning points demand to be understood

Neuroscientist and opera singer/director, Dr. Indre Viskontas, illustrates the wide-ranging power of music to shape our brains, heal our pain and strengthen our communities. The musician’s brain is hailed as a model of neuroplasticity, because of the many ways that learning and performing music changes it. But even listeners’ brains are altered, as brainwaves entrain to rhythms and brain activity and neurochemistry track the rise and fall of the music.  In this talk, Dr. Viskontas will explain the magical way in which music can bring us together–even in a pandemic.

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