My piece in this morning’s Wall Street Journal is about the brain connection between music and sports.
As someone who writes about and plays music, I would be the last to disagree with William Congreve that music hath charms. But silence has charms, too, and it’s getting hard to find. When Congreve wrote his famous line, circa 1700, people who wanted music had to make it themselves or go find it. The technological revolution in the past century changed that. Now music pursues us in the supermarket, the gas station, The Gap, the dentist’s office, the elevator, even the street. That’s bad news when I’m trying to think, let alone write. But it’s good news when I’m on the NordicTrack; the steady beat of music makes the workout easier. And I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Sorry, I can’t link you to the rest of the article. If you’re a WSJ subscriber, you’ll find it in the print edition and on line. Otherwise, a dollar at the newstand will get you the piece and bonuses including the day’s news, stock market reports and artsjournal.com blogmate Terry Teachout‘s theater reviews.
Bill Crow says
I stopped working out at a local health club because the music was so insistent. Always reflected the musical tastes of the young folks who run the place, even though most of the customers are gray- (or bald-) headed. I like to work out to my own rhythms, not to the pounding of Madonna’s drummers.
On the plus side, both my dentist and my periodontist, once my preference was made known, switch off the house music in the room I’m being worked on. My dentist once told his assistant, “He prefers jazz.” I told her, “I prefer the music that is playing in my head.”
Gary Rowe says
I’ve been doing a lot of research about the effects of music as part of a development agreement with a public television station for a series of programs on classical music and children. Of course, every other form of music must be included as part of the presentation. I value my subscription to the WSJ because of the way I randomly find wonderful, often unexpected contributions like yours. If we get beyond our R & D grant to move to pre-production I would value an opportunity to get in touch with you about your work.
(My dentist, a cultured man, plays jazz of the Brubeck era for his own pleasure. I swear it eases anxiety and transports me back to my college days when I stood in the wings of our auditorum and watched the Brubeck Quartet perform)!
Eric Felten says
I loved the Lucky Thompson bit. How music affects athletes is one question, but I wonder if the reverse is a phenomenon as well. That is, I wonder how blowing for pugilists affected Thompson’s playing? I had a teacher years ago who had cut his teeth as a young saxophonist playing at a strip club (back in the days when burlesque had jazz bands). As he told me, “If you couldn’t learn to swing there, man, forget it.” Does playing for boxers bring out a certain jabbing or lunging quality in one’s bebop lines?
Madison Styles says
Music, noise as some call it affects everyone, can it be annoyance or emotionally, music is part of intellectual enrichment