This is Your Brain on Music

Book Discussion

Music is almost its own character in Gayle Forman's Where She Went. Not only are Adam and Mia both musicians, music was what brought them together. It was important to their relationship with each other, but it was also an integral part of who they were individually. Music was part of them.

"Her eyes were closed and her brow was a little furrowed. She was so still, it seemed like she'd taken a brief vacation from her body. And even though she wasn't moving, even though her eyes were closed, I somehow knew that she was listening to music then, was grabbing the notes from the silence, like a squirrel gathering acorns for the winter, before she got down to the business of playing. I stood there, suddenly riveted by her, until she seemed to wake up and start playing with this intense concentration. When she finally looked at me, I hustled away.

After that, I became kind of fascinated by her and by what I guessed was her ability to hear music in the silence." Page 212

I don't have the ability to hear music in the silence. I know that not everyone has it to Mia's ability, but I really don't have it. Adam and Mia probably have more musical ability in their pinky fingers than I have in my whole being. I've long thought that my brain just isn't wired for music. I was a failure at learning to read music. At the time I could have told you what a note was, the same way I could identify the letter "a" before I could read. That didn't seem to help me very much because I couldn't hear the notes that went with the letters. I've forgotten almost everything I ever knew about reading music. I can tell you that note is high or that it's short but that's about the limit of my musical abilities.

girl listening to music

Credit: cinnamon_girl on Flickr

Perhaps if I had attended music lessons when I was younger it might have been different, but perhaps not. I have a hard time remembering music. I can find a tune familiar but be unable to identify the song, even though I've heard it many times. I can sometimes identify bands but not the song. I may remember bits of lyrics and be able to sing along with the song, but turn it off and I'm lost. And unlike many of my friends, most of the time I can't listen to music and write. On the days where I can, I have the most success with instrumental musics. Music with words seems to drive all the words out of my head.

In truth, I've always been rather envious of people like Mia and Adam. Music seems to flow through them. I wish my brain was wired a little bit more like that.

Does music make your brain happy?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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