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The Music Instinct: Science and Song - Documentary Review

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by itsjay (subscribe)
Recounting the adventures in Sydney and beyond! :)
Published February 6th 2015
A must-see documentary

Looking for something insightful to do over the weekend? Well, look no further!

For anyone who is even remotely interested in the connections between science and music, a documentary I strongly recommend watching is The Music Instinct: Science and Song. The two-hour documentary aired on ABC in 2010 and provides an overview of all the different ways listening or playing music can affect our brains, emotions, development and how it can be used as a rehabilitation tool. I first viewed this documentary in a music cognition class I took in the final semester of my university degree. I think I've watched it about three times till date and every time I watch it, I manage to gain something new out of it.

What I like a lot about this documentary is that it is easy to understand because the neuroscience and music jargon is kept to a minimum. It's easy enough for anyone who doesn't have a neuroscience background to understand but also informative enough for someone like me a person with some basic neuroscience knowledge.

Throughout the documentary, you get to meet a bunch of amazing musicians and neuroscientists, including Oliver Sacks and David Levitin, who have inspired me to venture into this field of research. Barenboim and Yo-Yo Ma both make an appearance and speak about the emotional aspects of music performance. Being a pianist, Barenboim's appearance was a stand-out to me as I personally think many of his Beethoven performances are breathtaking. Evelyn Glennie is an inspiring deaf musician who demonstrates how music does not only rely on auditory perception as she can enjoy music through the physical vibrations produced by her percussive instruments. There are so many more wonderful things that this documentary touches on that I do not have the time to write about here, which is why I strongly urge you all to take a look at it!

Two-hour documentaries are not always easy to get through but I think that there is something that everyone can learn from The Music Instinct, because you have to admit that music does play a significant role in many of our lives today.
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Why? An insightful, must-see documentary for music lovers
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