A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Science Shows How Guitar Players’ Brains Are Actually Different from Everybody Elses’

guitar_brainHere’s an interesting article that speaks about possible differences in guitarists’ brain functionality as opposed to that of non-guitarists. (And just for the record, I’m not of the mind that a bass is a guitar – I subscribe more to the idea that electric bass descended from upright bass. Yes – posting guitar stuff does make me feel defensive.)

I don’t believe everything this article, but its makes for an interesting read. I think that a lot of the attributes that Jordan Taylor Sloan writes about apply to most musicians, not just guitarists. I think that the idea of guitarists’ brains synchronizing during play is really an ability to anticipate changes and understand the chord progressions of a song and then improvise around it.

The idea that the part of the brain that deals with big-picture goals shuts down and their unconscious takes over is also what I always see experienced players talk about on Talkbass. They’re usually speaking about learning music theory to a point that you can “forget it” and just play, and that you’ll be able to reflexively/unconsciously use that information from either muscle memory or an ingrained second nature. I’ve seen that with video gamers and martial artists as well, so maybe its 10,000 hours all over again.

She also mentions that guitarists are more spiritual and intuitive than other people and says that guitarists learn more by seeing and repeating than by reading from sheet music. I think most musicians can see the holes in that. Not all guitarists are self-taught or visual learners, and naturally playing from sheet music, playing by ear, playing from tablature and improvising are all different skills.  To me, its like comparing truck drivers with car drivers and then both with stunt car drivers.

Finally, the neuroplasticity thing that she mentions at the end – I think that’s also been reported to happen to the communication center in the brain. I think I read somewhere that if certain areas of the brain are damaged, other areas are able to reconfigure themselves to take on those tasks, and speech was one of them.

Interesting article though.

The image used in the article came from this site, btw:

Also – apparently this is my 200th post. 😉


One response

  1. It was an interesting read, for sure. I didn’t know that about the brain shutting down. I’m in awe of all the fascinating things the brain does.

    May 4, 2014 at 7:31 pm

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