Music improvisation shuts down our inner (brain) critic

Wouldn’t you love to tell your inner critic to quit it sometimes?

It turns out that when musicians improvise, that pesky inner voice that tells us “don’t say that” and warns “what will happen if you’re wrong?” goes quiet. It makes sense, Thelonious Monk said “wrong is right” in jazz and if this is so, we would need to shut down the part of our brains that tells us otherwise.

Get your students talking about the affects of their brains on music with our poster sets! Check them out here!

Another group who were tested using the same hypothesis were rappers. When performing a scripted rap versus an improvised rap, their brain activity looked very similar to an improving jazz musician.

Here are some questions – if we can shut down our inner critic when we improvise, does that mean we could transfer that idea across to other parts of our lives. And, what does that mean for classically trained musicians?

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