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Every Brain Needs Music - by Lawrence Sherman & Dennis Plies

Every Brain Needs Music - by Lawrence Sherman & Dennis Plies - image 1 of 1
Every Brain Needs Music - by Lawrence Sherman & Dennis Plies - image 1 of 1
$32.49 when purchased online

About this item


  • Whenever a person engages with music--when a piano student practices a scale, a jazz saxophonist riffs on a melody, a teenager sobs to a sad song, or a wedding guest gets down on the dance floor--countless neurons are firing.
  • About the Author: Larry S. Sherman is a professor of neuroscience at the Oregon Health and Science University.
  • 288 Pages
  • Science, Life Sciences


About the Book

"Learning, performing, and listening to music all place tremendous demands on the human brain. Learning to play a musical instrument is among the most challenging activities for the human nervous system, involving cognitive, sensory, as well as fine and gross motor functions. Music composition and improvisation also engage the human nervous system in remarkable ways. Understanding how the human brain functions and changes when engaging with music provides unique opportunities for understanding the nature of human creativity; the ways that the brain integrates sensory, motor, and cognitive activities; the characteristics of strong learners and teachers; and the ways that music can contribute to brain development and healthy brain aging. This book by Larry Sherman, a neuroscientist and life-long musician, and Dennis Plies, a professional musician and music teacher, explores the processes of teaching, learning, practicing, listening, composing, improvising, and performing music from the standpoints of behavioral, cellular and molecular neuroscience as well as the perspective of music pedagogy. The book surveys current neuroscience literature in the context of musical learning and teaching experience to explore how music literally changes the structures of our brains"--

Book Synopsis

Whenever a person engages with music--when a piano student practices a scale, a jazz saxophonist riffs on a melody, a teenager sobs to a sad song, or a wedding guest gets down on the dance floor--countless neurons are firing. Playing an instrument requires all of the resources of the nervous system, including cognitive, sensory, and motor functions. Composition and improvisation are remarkable demonstrations of the brain's capacity for creativity. Something as seemingly simple as listening to a tune involves mental faculties most of us don't even realize we have.

Larry S. Sherman, a neuroscientist and lifelong musician, and Dennis Plies, a professional musician and teacher, collaborate to show how our brains and music work in harmony. They consider music in all the ways we encounter it--teaching, learning, practicing, listening, composing, improvising, and performing--in terms of neuroscience as well as music pedagogy, showing how the brain functions and even changes in the process. Every Brain Needs Music draws on leading behavioral, cellular, and molecular neuroscience research as well as surveys of more than a hundred musical people. It provides new perspectives on learning to play, teaching, how to practice and perform, the ways we react to music, and why the brain benefits from musical experiences.

Written for both musical and nonmusical people, including newcomers to brain science, this book is a lively and easy-to-read exploration of the neuroscience of music and its significance in our lives.

Review Quotes

Every Brain Needs Music provides an interesting foray into music and the effect it has on the brain.-- "Choice Reviews"

Witty and informative, Every Brain Needs Music evokes the love of music in more ways than one.-- "The Hindu"

Every Brain Needs Music shares priceless information garnered from the life experiences of the authors as artists, scientists, and educators and provides unique insights and a treasure trove of knowledge that all readers can benefit from. This valuable and informative book will help readers recognize the critical need for music education and the role it serves by enriching our aesthetic and cognitive lives.--Yakov Bergman, music director/conductor of the Portland Chamber Orchestra, the Walla Walla Symphony, the Siletz Bay Music Festival, and the McCall SummerFest

Every Brain Needs Music is a thorough, but approachable primer for music lovers, music students, music teachers, and music therapists looking to understand how music is processed in the brain. The book presents a wide scope of music neuroscience literature, but in a way that makes it feel understandable. The complex topics are presented in a way that keeps readers' attention, and helps readers make connections to their own inherent musicality. Music students and teachers will find this book helpful, and so will music therapists as a great refresher and quick-access guide for clear explanations to communicate to others the neuroscientific mechanisms underlying our clinical work.--Brea Murakami, director of the Music Therapy Program, Pacific University

A work of scientific popularization drawing on brain-mapping studies, insights culled from composers and performers, and the authors' own experience with music making. Illustrators often go unheralded, but Susi B. Davis makes following the anatomical connections much easier; all due props, then.-- "Inside Higher Ed"

Engaging and insightful, Every Brain Needs Music illuminates the connection between art and science and shows us the miraculous way our bodies and brains listen to, practice, and create music. From the architecture of music and the brain to the artistry of a transcendent musical performance, each chapter reveals why, for many of us, music is as essential as breathing or eating.--Valerie Day, lead singer of Nu Shooz and Grammy nominee

Every chapter became my favourite and this is one of my favourite books! It's a five out of five on the enJOYment scale, highly recommended, and I hope I get to read these authors again.-- "Moonglo Texas"

Witty and brilliantly informative, Every Brain Needs Music evokes the love of music in all ways, and is the first book I will recommend to everyone who wants a deeper appreciation of music and life. From the deeply detailed description of our brains to concrete examples and strategies of improvement and learning, this book will benefit beginners and seasoned musicians alike.--Mei-Ting Sun, professor of piano, Royal Academy of Music, and winner of the first Piano-e competition and the National Chopin Competition

About the Author

Larry S. Sherman is a professor of neuroscience at the Oregon Health and Science University. An enthusiastic piano player since age four, he has published widely on brain development, aging, and disease, and given lectures on music and the brain throughout the world.

Dennis Plies, who was for many years a music professor at Warner Pacific University, has been involved with music for his entire life. Starting at the age of seven, he played marimba for audiences and on television, and he has recorded albums in genres including gospel, classical, and jazz.

Susi B. Davis began painting watercolors in her early teens. She continues to paint in watercolors and acrylics in her studio in Portland, Oregon, where she also teaches painting. She has previously illustrated several books, including children's books about animals and a hiking guide featuring flowers and plants in the Pacific Northwest.

Dimensions (Overall): 8.6 Inches (H) x 5.6 Inches (W) x 1.1 Inches (D)
Weight: 1.0 Pounds
Suggested Age: 22 Years and Up
Sub-Genre: Life Sciences
Genre: Science
Number of Pages: 288
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Theme: Neuroscience
Format: Hardcover
Author: Lawrence Sherman & Dennis Plies
Language: English
Street Date: May 16, 2023
TCIN: 87711576
UPC: 9780231209106
Item Number (DPCI): 247-15-8488
Origin: Made in the USA or Imported
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Shipping details

Estimated ship dimensions: 1.1 inches length x 5.6 inches width x 8.6 inches height
Estimated ship weight: 1 pounds
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