Your Musical Brain0
Your brain is a neuroplastic organ which creates new neural connections according to learning, experiences or thoughts. Although their functions are distributed in different areas, they are not isolated from each other as though they were watertight compartments. Rather, they are formed into an integrated whole: the brain, an organic system closed in itself, which is divided into three main parts with their respected roles – the survival, the emotional and the rational-, fully interconnected.
Brainstem: automatic survival functions (breathing, heartbeat, etc).
Limbic centers: emotional functions.
Neocortex: rational functions.
If we talk about the mind, then we refer to the activity of your own brain. The mind is not something separate from the brain, then “thinking, feeling, being excited or perceiving the world are functions of the mind (B., Ignacio Morgado, The Factory of illusions)”. However, art and music in particular, are products of the mind.
A musical work, is a sound vibration system closed within itself, which is structured around three core elements: rhythm, melody and harmony. In music, analogous to the tripartite structure of the brain, these three elements with their functions are closely intimately interrelated, for example: the harmony integrates the rhythm and melody; harmony and rhythm integrate emotion; and nothing in music escapes, to either a greater or lesser extent, the rationality of the brai.
The natural hardware of this ” sound vibration system ” that we call a musical work, is the “organic system” that produces it: the brain. In both systems the three basic functions correspond to each other:
Brainstem and cerebellum: automatic functions: respiration, pulse, etc. : Rhythm
Limbic centers: emotional functions: Melody
Neocortex: rational functions: Harmony
In this relationship between functions, designed and developed by Ars Musicalis, we have based our technique on consciously immersing ourselves in a piece of music, a technique which we have called: Music Awareness Training.
When you practice Music Awareness Training, consciously immersing yourself into the sonar planes of the musical work, both of these two systems, the organic and the sound, can come into a functional empathy, enhancing each other through feedback.
With proper preparation, “immersing” your conscious mind in music, focusing your attention on a particular sonar plane, your brain can enter a state of “neuronal harmony” (D. Goleman, Focus).
In this state, also called mindfulness, it is easy to allow any involuntary thoughts to distract you, because we lose the pleasure which the music produces. Then, as in meditation, just observe that thought, without judgment, let it pass, and return your consciousness to the music.
This simple exercise when repeated, makes you believe in the habits of “awareness” or “realisation” in various everyday situations in which your mind works automatically. Training your brain, with dedication and patience, as if you were studying a musical instrument, you can manage at will your thoughts, emotions and behaviours which you want to improve.
Ignacio Botella Ausina.