Ever wondered what separates great musicians from average ones? ”Brainstruments” is my forthcoming book in which I propose a new theory on what constitutes a musical instrument for a musician – a mental model. The book features interviews with some of today’s leading jazz, blues, classical musicians and neuroscientists who reveal a fascinating universe of multi-dimensional mental models. ’Brainstruments’ will be of interest to musicians and music fans. You can find out more about the project, read a summary paper and follow my progress on this site.
The Central ideas
The central ideas in the book are:
1) A musician’s instrument is not the physical instrument itself but instead a mental model constructed by their brain. I call these mental models ‘Brainstruments’.
2) That some musical instruments aid their integration into the overall mental model through their design more than others. For example, some instruments require a player to create mental representations for things such as where the notes are.
3) The ability to create the Brainstrument is something that separates great musicians from average ones and is an inherent part of what it means to be musical.
4) There is a direct relationship between the quality of the Brainstrument and playing standard.
Approaching musical instruments as mental models will have major implications for enabling both professional and amateur musicians to improve their playing standard and to enhance the way music is taught by educators.
Aritist and Scientist Insight
“Brainstruments” features insight from over 40 world renowned jazz, blues and classical musicians including Martin Taylor MBE, Charlie Hunter, Brian Blade, Randy Brecker and Chris Potter who I have interviewed as part of my ongoing research to explore and validate my ideas. In addition, I have also been fortunate to discuss the ideas with eminent neuroscientists such as Chris Frith, Peter Keller and Peter Vuust. The project endeavours to draw upon the latest neuroscience research and thinking. You can find out more about the project, read my FREE summary paper and follow my progress on this site.