Archive for July, 2009

Recent book review – July 09

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

this_is_your_brain_on_music musicophilia outliers

I’ve just finished a string of music-related books that I very much enjoyed.  I can heartily recommend checking them out from your public library.  I’ve returned my copies to the LAPL system, so they’re happily waiting for the next reader.  (The LAPL holds system is incredible!  Any book in the whole Los Angeles system can be sent to your nearest LA library, for free!  Now *this* is what taxes are all about!)

The take-home messages from these books for me are:

  • Experiencing music is a whole-brain endeavor.
  • The ears are wired to multiple regions of the brain.
  • Emotional responses to music are partly hard-wired and thus similar across cultures.
  • Savant-like musical skills are the product of the brain’s extreme specialization and sometimes have a down side.  (A person might have perfect pitch, but difficulty following melody.  Another might be able to sing fluently in dozens of languages, but not be able to add simple numbers.)
  • Master musicians (and masters of anything) are a  product of their surroundings, circumstances, and luck.  Plus 10,000 hours of practice.
  • Expertise in any field requires an array of skills working together.  An IQ of 200 does not substantially increase one’s chances of winning a Nobel Prize.  Everyone over 100 or so, is “good enough”, but the Nobel Prize winner has the fortune and luck that their various, good-enough skills all work together toward the prize.
  • Music provides insight into humanity.  Practicing music provides personal insight.

Read on for brief reviews of the books.


Last chance to vote for Jon Goldman

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

There are only three more days till the end of the Netflix Find Your Voice competition and Jon Goldman’s film: Paul Sussman’s Eleven-Step Guide to Self-Actualization is right on the verge or making it to the next round.  If you haven’t voted for his film please vote!  Jon is using a track that we did with Patrick Graham for his entry and having his film win would be fantastic for us and for Jon!

Vote here: email up and running… for good?

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

I’ve transferred our email management to google hosted for the time being. Email sent to me or shoji at should make it through with no problems. Sorry about the downtime! email down again. Argh!

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

I’m very sorry to say it appears the problems with the email server are back, and significant. I can’t get the machine to turn on at all. This is actually not such a bad thing — a mechanical failure is usually pretty easy to fix — but it will take me a bit of time to get things back up and running.

My sincere apologies for the inconvenience! If you need any of us urgently, please call my cell phone – 310-350-8825.

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