The Brain on Improvisation

Hi There,

In my opinion – the most important part of this video – which is really easy to miss – is when Charles talks about

  • the medial pre-frontal cortex (of the brain) going way up in blood flow and
  • a broad area of the lateral pre-frontal cortex going way down. They use something called BOLD imaging to measure the blood flow to different brain areas during brain FMRI scans on Jazz Keyboard Improvisers

I cover this in the first 2 minutes in the video above before Surgeon and Jazz enthusiast Charles Limb does his TED presentation – because

Real easy to miss and
has wider implications in music making..and creativity in general

Why ? Well because this lateral pre-frontal cortex is thought to be involved in self-monitoring (eg critical/ negative thoughts – ” what am I doing, I’m not going to be able to do that, why did I play that arrrghh… You get the idea…

This is one of the reasons why in Immersion Lessons I talk about and also teach techniques and strategies for what I call Priming Your Musical Mind – getting You Out of Life Mode into Music Making Mode.
What I sometimes call Moving The Mind Dial Towards Music (and away from thoughts).

Enjoy the video – Charles does a rap and has jazz keyboard players playing on their backs with their heads inside FMRI scanners monitoring brain activity while they play..

But don’t miss the ” lateral Frontal Cortex Bit” … the most important part – with big implications for not only improvising, but also Music Making and any form of creativity in general.


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