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Musical Brain

3.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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(Sep 04, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

Why are certain songs so important to us? Does music make us smarter? Why do we feel like dancing when we hear a beat? Inspired by Dr. Daniel Levitin's book, This is Your Brain on Music, international recording superstar Sting agreed to put his own musical brain to the test to find out how various types of musiccomplex and simpleaffect him, on an emotional and a physical level. In addition to discussing his passion for music, he and Dr. Levitin looked to state-of-the art technologyincluding an FMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machineto understand just what Sting's musical brain reveals about him. Also featuring candid interviews with Michael Buble, Feist, and Wyclef Jean, THE MUSICAL BRAIN is a unique inside look at what these musicians have learned about the power of music in their lives.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Pbs (Direct)
  • DVD Release Date: September 4, 2012
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0081NAUOY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,522 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

This 50-minute medical/musical documentary was made in 2009 for the National Geographic Channel and may have aired on some PBS stations as well. It revolves around the research of Dr. Daniel Levitin who was a record producer in the 1970s (he engineered albums by Steely Dan and Blue Oyster Cult, among either) and, in his 30s decided to go to medical school and became a cognitive therapist and behavioral researcher. He has his PhD.and he teaches at McGill University in Canada.

Levitin did a lot of research on how the brain reacts to music but want to test what the brain does when a musician is composing music as well. He needed a "guinea pig" and who did he find? Sting - the rock star and former lead of the band The Police. Sting agreed to be wired and tested while in an MRI unit.

The film includes lengthy interviews with Sting as well as Haitian musician Wyclef Jean, singer (Leslie) Feist and Canadian superstar Michael Buble'. You'll hear brief performances of their hits, but most of the time the film focuses on Levitin's theories. The 50 minutes goes by quickly.

There are no bonus features but the film itself is interesting and takes a new approach to how music affects our attitudes as well as our health.

I enjoyed it, and I think others will too. It's similar to programs that PBS shows on it NOVA series.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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This wonderful documentary will teach you how the brain responds to music in terms that are scientific without being so technical that you can't understand it. Now retired, I used it in my music therapy groups with adult psychiatric patients. Although it was over the heads of a few, most were able to learn a lot from it (me, too!). Music is a powerful therapeutic tool and lights up our brains in a way that no other activity does. In the early days of music therapy, there was nothing beyond "galvanic skin response" (sweaty palms!) to show the physical response to music. With modern technology shown here, we're finally able to show what happens inside our brains when we listen to & play music. I highly recommend this to music teachers, choir directors, band directors & music therapists. I guarantee you will learn something yourself. It will engage and enlighten your students/patients/clients and will deepen your appreciation of the connection between music & your brain.
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Great for music lovers and people with an interest in neuro science. It was very enlightening to read about. Great.
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We've all heard about the importance of music, the healing benefits of it, the learning benefits of it ("music makes you smarter", etc.). There are many research papers and studies done. There are now tons of videos on YouTube to explain it... a good short cartoon one is this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0JKCYZ8hng

There are a number of DVD's explaining this too, including others made by the same people showcased in "The Musical Brain". Some of the the others are longer and go into more detail.

However, this 1-hour made-for-TV (PBS) show perfectly summarizes the impact of music on our brain (and overall well being). It is interesting, factual (you'll learn about and see some of the scientific testing involved) and entertaining (showcasing several modern artists, such as Feist and Sting). It provides an excellent explanation, backed with scientific proof on why there needs to be more support for instrumental music programs in our schools.

From the womb to the tomb, in sickness and in health, music plays a larger role in our lives than we realize.

Highly recommended.
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