What does new research show us about music and the brain? This is the subject of a fascinating DVD from the PBS show “Nova,” available at Edmonton Public Library.
The show focuses on a musical savant with major challenges yet who can play back music easily on the piano, a man with extreme Tourette’s syndrome who can control it when he plays the drums and who leads drumming classes for other people with Tourette’s, a surgeon who was struck by lightening and became a concert pianist, and a woman who could not dance or feel the beat,
I was intrigued with the examination of music in nursing homes. One of my jobs had been playing piano and organ in nursing homes, where residents often could no longer recognize their own children yet they could still sing music from many previous decades, which shows how music can stay in our brains differently than other things.
There is one glaring error in the show (connected to a Suzuki piano piece) and I would be curious as to whether other watchers agreed that the savant played back a jazz piano piece note-for-note, but I would still recommend this one-hour DVD.