Neuromusical research: An overview of the literature

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With growing interest in the neuroscience of music among both neuroscientists and music educators, the task of reviewing the extant neuromusical research has become more exciting, if not a bit more complicated due to the diversity of topics and the increasing number of available studies. We provide an overview of neuromusical research by discussing its historical foundations (especially with the advancements of imaging technologies), support from ancillary areas (anthropology, ethnomusicology, ethology, and music psychology), support from fetal and infant responses to music, and support from studies of special musicians (prodigies, savants, Williams Syndrome musicians, and Alzheimer's patients). The main section presents findings and implications from recent neuroimaging studies by dividing the research into five categories: (1) Perception and Cognition, (2) Affective Responses, (3) Musical Performance, (4) Learning, and (5) Genetic Factors. Several broad conclusions regarding the state of human musicality are presented in the concluding section. Among these conclusions, perhaps the most valuable evidence that neuromusical research currently holds for educators is that musicality is a birthright of all people and that music processing is inherent to some degree in all humans.

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Neurosciences in Music Pedagogy

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