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4.6 out of 5 stars
The Music Instinct: Science and Song
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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2009
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I recorded this recently from PBS on my DVR and was spellbound from beginning to end. In summation, I wasn't too surprised at the science of the brain discovered in live MRI's of listening and performing music - because music is my air and I must have it in my life all the time. This is a comprehensive look at how the brain reacts in performance, just listening, atonal music, the sensory reactions from person to person, instrument, voices to others - the mic and camera into the uterus of a pregnant woman showing the baby smiling and hearing the music - all subjects confirming what we music makers have always believed - we are hardwired to appreciate and perform music with the cortex of the brain showing white hot light in the MRI - the brain on music. Very exciting program and all the more sad and depressing when it also shows the importance to our childrens' education in all subjects when they learn to play music before the age of 10 and we have cut music and art as non essential subjects. This should be seen by all educators and send a copy to your representative and senator and demand music education be returned to our schools. More important, if you have a young child, prekindergarten age - get them lessons to play an nstrument, sing and learn to read music. It will give them discipline and a distinct edge in their learning - throughout their lives. Music can heal and the images of the brain on music certainly shows its power.
This DVD belongs in any music lover's collection - it proves what we musicians have always known and wish others understood. Great production!!!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2010
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This is one meaty video! It's thankfully free of the 2-second sound bites, and in its 2 hrs (!) deals extensively with the science of music and the brain (lots of MRI images), and how music affects us. This DVD probably will be best used by the rarified group of musicians/listeners who think about music instead of just using it as aural wallpaper. One thing I particularly appreciated about it is that all of the excerpts of pieces that were featured in the main narrative were included in full in the special features section. This DVD functions well as a companion to Levitin's "The World in Six Songs", which is also highly recommended. I thought the lighting used for some of the music scientists' group discussions was a little over-dramatic, but who knows--maybe this subject is more important and deserving of dramatization than anybody knows!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2009
Format: DVD
I recently saw this on PBS and immediately started searching for the DVD. Very convincing neurobiological argument for the significance of music as inherent to humanity. The program demonstrates that in a real sense WE ARE MUSIC! I just got DVD in mail today and can't wait to watch it again! BUY IT!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video
As a music teacher and fan of Bobby McFerrin, I've been wanting to watch this for a long time. The video was exactly what I expected. It explores the connection between music and the brain. There is a lot of science in this video, but explained in a way that most people would be able to understand it. Bobby McFerrin is in the video a good bit, but this is no Bobby McFerrin concert. He's in less than half of the video. It was very interesting and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning about the connection between music, music education, and the brain.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2009
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Terrific documentary validating what many of us believed, and now scientifically know about the power of music and the brain.
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20 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2011
Format: DVD
There's 2 hours of my life I will never get back. This is a rambling series of interviews with musicians who know little about science and scientists who know little about music. Nothing is covered in sufficient detail to be meaningful and no conclusions are ever drawn. Whenever some cogent theory is developed, it is promptly dismissed with little explanation, such as the relation between the normal human voice and its musical intonations. Ironically, this was dismissed with a very musically intoned voice. The final straw was when they brought string theory from abstract physics into the mix. I then concluded they were just dragging this out to get a full 120 minutes. I would recommend this to anyone who has a weak background in both science and music. Otherwise, you may find the lack of focus rather annoying.

It may be PBS but it is definitely not NOVA material.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2009
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
The Music Instinct was a delight. I caught the last five minutes last July on a PBS public television broadcast and was simultaneously frustrated and intrigued at the eventual prospect of viewing it in its entirety once it got its proper release as a DVD. So just a few weeks ago I had the chance to see it. I watched it with a friend. She was blown away, as I was. Truly a ground-breaking program. Highly recommended.
I teach at a LA public high school and the fact that music programs are being cut is heartbreaking in the light of the insights provided by this program.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Very helpful and informative documentary. It got a little bogged and esoteric near the end as it discussed animal "singing" though. Not much scientific basis for the claims it makes at that point but the rest was well supported and presented.
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Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Buy this fantastic DVD is you are interested in the brain and in music. i've loaned it to several people. The last one hasn't returned it. :(
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on March 23, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This is the best (of what's out there on DVD) that I have seen about the field of neuroscience and music. You can see a lot of excerpts from this DVD at pbs website if you search for the music instinct. I love having the DVD because it is absolutely amazing to watch with my music colleagues and music students.
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