If you have twenty minutes to spare…

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About four minutes in, they talk about how speech and playing music use the same part of the brain. Another little mystery solved…

I <3 RadioLab!

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Ok, this is ridiculous. It’s like his brain has been completely unlocked to accept sound however it comes to him.

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My brother realized, accidentally, that he could whistle one melody while humming another, simultaneously. He can also read a full page of an orchestral score—multiple instruments—at a glance.

And I’ve played with all sorts of musicians who can play complex music and carry full conversations at the same time. I can do it on some instruments, particularly 5-string banjo and finger-picked guitar, but am limited when playing fiddle to speaking short phrases.

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Just now, listening to the clip above, I could clearly hear two symphonies out the four, but lost the other two.

I wonder if that’s a result of teaching a lot of music, where students often wander when we play together. And playing in sessions, listening to the individual instruments and players around a circle. And also writing 3 books while raising two boys (14 months apart) in a 1,000 square foot home.

It doesn’t feel like multitasking so much as just parallel tracks running in synch.

But Bob Milne’s abilities are way cool!

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The thing is Will, that they aren’t musically parallel. The symphonies were in different keys and at different tempos. I don’t remember if she mentioned different time signatures and rhythms as well, but i think she did.

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What amazed me was that he was imagining them, not actually listening to them, yet he still managed to get all four note-perfect when asked to stop. The brain is indeed unexplored territory.

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Jerone, if it’s music, it’s parallel. The rest is just minor details.

One way to learn how to speak while playing is to sing what you want to say along with the melody you’re playing. When that gets easy, then you can try it without the singalong.

gam, I liked that he had a movie in his head of the orchestras playing each piece, right down to the color of the floor! I suspect it helps to associate multiple stimuli engaging all the senses. Instead of overload, you get integration.

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P.S. gam, thanks for posting this—made my day to learn about Mr. Milne.

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@ gam

This is indeed very interesting!
Thanks for sharing it with us! 🙂

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Four symphonies at once eh? Geez - now I feel really stupid for forgetting the B section to Otter’s Holt last Sunday night.

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JNE, yes but were your session mates actually playing Sweeney’s Buttermilk at the time? 😎

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She must have tried five symphonies. I wonder what happened.

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Utter ball hugs —————->….<About four minutes in, they talk about how speech and playing music use the same part of the brain. Another little mystery solved> They may have said that but it is a myth, don’t believe it… I don’t like "the brain" people…. Can’t be true, they say love is "in" the hypothalmus, when really it’s a just a fighting fleeing feeding and f’ing gland… they learned how to use the equipment with their brains… learn to learn by heart!!!!!

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Thank you gam for posting this link. Fascinating stuff!