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How music reveals what it means to be human

You Are the Music: How Music Reveals What it Means to be Human

How does music affect our minds?

Do babies remember music from the womb?

Musical psychologist Victoria Williamson examines our relationship with music across the entire length of our lives.

Does music physically reshape our brains?

Does smart listening improve cognitive performance?

What causes earworms?

Can classical music increase your child’s IQ?

Is music good for productivity?

Can it aid recovery from illness and injury?

All these questions are explored by Victoria Williamson in You Are the Music: How Music Reveals What it Means to be Human.

“Our brains’ party trick of plasticity means that we are born lifelong learners. We don’t need a bolt of lightning or a blow to the head to be able to learn how to play music, sing or compose; we can do it by unlocking ourselves.”

“There are critical periods for learning about music but our flexible brains are still very much capable of learning in adulthood and music education at any age has many positive benefits both for expanding our minds and for our well-being.”

The book gives a general overview of how music plays a part in our lives. I did, however, find it slightly pedantic. For those in the field of musical studies, it may be a nice refresher, but a bit too dry for those just looking for an educating entertaining read (emphasis on “entertaining”). 

It is arguably a good companion piece for those looking at signing up for various music related MOOCs that are available from providers such as edX and Coursera.

I do love the David Bowie quote included in the book, particularly timely in light of the late artist's recent passing: 

“What I like to do is awaken the ghosts inside of me. Not the demons, you understand, but the ghosts.”

Music can be a lifelong friend, offering support and consolation in times of despair, and also a continuous source of inspiration and connection.

You Are the Music: How Music Reveals What it Means to be Human by Victoria Williamson is distributed in Canada by PG Canada. 

Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative and Social Media strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a branding blog:, as well as a lifestyle blog: T: @SukasaStyle) 

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