In this video we talk about the brain and what each of the hemispheres do. The left side of the brain is for logical reasoning, analytical skills, mathematics etc. The right side of the brain is thought to be the artistic side, and the realm of the musician. It’s expressive and creative. Many traditional musicians were thought to be right brain dominant, hence their musical skill.
The operative word there is “traditional”. For the modern electronic musician, this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you look at any computer music program like Live, Cubase, Logic, Pro Tools, Reason…they all are highly mathematical. In fact, they don’t resemble musical instruments at all. They are computer programmers, with a graphical user interface. Many times this graphical user interface looks more like accounting software than an instrument! Excel and Ableton’s Session View share some similarities in this area ;)
So what does this mean? When you are producing electronic music, you are engaging both hemispheres of the brain rather than operating dominantly in just one. For example, when you are synthesizing a bass sound you are using the right hemisphere of the brain to devise the melody and perceive if the notes you’re playing fit with the song. But simultaneously you are using the left hemisphere of the brain to select the correct waveforms for your oscillators, map modulation targets, and set filter cutoff frequencies and envelope stage times. What you are asking the brain to do is highly complex and requires a high degree of collaboration between the left and right sides.
The part of the brain that connects the left to the right is called the corpus callosum. It has been proven to be dramatically enlarged in musicians. So it stands to reason that the larger your corpus callosum is, and the better your brains hemispheres are collaborating, the more musical horsepower your brain has access to. This is correct. Armed with that little knowledge bomb, we can surmise that a path to growth will be to intentionally enlarge the corpus callosum. Sounds impossible right? An old dog can’t learn new tricks, as the saying goes. Complete BS!
You can, at any time, being to effect dramatic changes to the structure and neural connections in your brain. It’s called neuroplasticity. It’s how we learn new skills and it can be done at any time and at any age. The enlarged corpus callosum phenomenon found in musicians was attributed to just this. How did they achieve it? It’s simpler than you may think. Practice! Scientists discovered that musicians who practiced more than one hour per day were able to influence the size of their corpus callosum.
As electronic musicians, we can embrace and benefit from this as well. Instead of going into the studio sporadically or only when “inspired” to write a tune, try going in on a daily basis. Instead of attemping to create a piece of music, just jam. Play scales, practice sound design, learn a new synthesizer plugin. Anything aimed at improving your technique. Similar to a gym routine where you go on a schedule, whether or not you want to, the regular stimulus will help to achieve the result you want.