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Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain Before I read this book I thought music was just something that we as people would just listen to for entertainment. After reading this book I realized it had answered a question that most of us would wonder. How important is music and how does it affect us? Oliver Sacks splits Musicophilia into 4 parts that explain the effects of music in different stories from hearing a life changing experiences help us appreciate music to the explanation of having two ears.

Listening to music is what most people do to entertain themselves or simply because it’s their passion. Others don’t like listening to music as much but Oliver Sacks writes about how a few people began to appreciate music after experiencing a life changing situation. Sacks mentions that in their case when that situation happened something in their brain was triggered to begin to like a certain melody or remind them of a certain situation. This proves that our brain is connected to us that even it chooses what we like and what we want to continue to listen to.

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Also in the first part of this book Sacks was mentioning a case of a sixty year-old woman who would have seizures and was put on a medication that would help her with them but before she was put on the medication she hated the sound of her husband or daughter playing the violin or piano but afterwards when she began taking the medicine she began to appreciate the sound of it and would even scold a person if they were making too much noise to hear the sounds.

When I read about the lady I thought “so it’s not only on us to appreciate the sound of music but also the way our brain works that can change it”. Sacks points out how our brain responds to music if it’s a fear when hearing a familiar part knowing something is about to happen like a seizure or maybe even a black out or just a trigger of a bad memory. Olive Sacks does a good job in pointing out not only how music affects us but how our brain responds and is able to respond to what is just “meaningless tonal patterns”, as he puts it.

As a pianist I may not agree on most of what Sacks mentions in the book but I do agree that music does have effects on us and our brains though people don’t pay attention to it as much. An ordinary person isn’t going to say “oh my intensified functional connection between perceptual systems in the temporal lobes and parts of the limbic system involved in emotional response has triggered” (p. 11) if they are put under a medication for various reasons.

When I read this book I felt that it was written for someone that greatly appreciate music; like me or maybe a passionate musician or someone that would like to know how our brain functions to simple things that a person does every day. This book seems that it was written to explain how a dramatic change in life could lead to what Sacks call a “musicophilia”. This book has really opened my eyes and new doors of our brain works and I would definitely recommend it to one of my friends not just because they are a fan of music but for them to see in a psychological perspective of what “musicophilia” really is.

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