Why Improvise? Growing The Creative Parts Of Our Brains

Improvisation is a beautiful opportunity for students to grow their creativity and discover their unique musical voice on their instrument. We see this in research, as Charles Limb and associates at Johns Hopkins University highlighted their discoveries around music improvisation. Using MRI equipment, they were able to track what happened in the brain as a musician improvised. In comparison, they also tracked the brain activity of the same musicians playing scales or pieces of music that were familiar to them.

Their study concluded that as the players improvised, the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain would light up, but would not be activated as the musicians played scales and standard repertoire. The medial prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that we use to talk about ourselves, and holds our essence, the parts of us that make us unique.

Charles Limb names “music improvisation as a neurological product”. When we improvise we grow the creative part of ourselves, allowing us to bring our unique voices to all areas of our lives.

Want to learn more about Charles Limb’s research and music improvisation?

See his TEDTalk, Your Brain On Improv

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