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Classical Notes: February 19, 2008 Archive

Music: Gift, or learned skill?

Posted at 10:25 AM on February 19, 2008 by Gillian Martin (3 Comments)

An article in yesterday's New Scientist magazine states that "Yet more evidence has emerged that musicians are made through training, not born with the gift." (See the article here.)

This assertion is based on brain scans that show that specific areas of a musician’s brain increase activity when the musician hears his/her own instrument.

“If the brain's response to the music were decided by genetics, [the researchers] argue, brain scans would be similar in all musicians listening to music, regardless of the instruments played.”

I think it is undeniable that some people are more inherently musical than others. (For example, I only recently learned that some of my friends do NOT constantly have music playing in their heads.)

I also know that less-musically inclined people can become more musical with training and repeated exposures to music. But to suggest that musicians are made ONLY through training, not “born with the gift”? Ridiculous.

What do you think?

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