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Spontaneous Street Piano and Violin Duet in NYC

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Spontaneous Street Piano and Violin Duet in NYC

When you learn the language of Music you can speak it freely with others. Music has helped me connect with thousands of people around the world, even if they don't speak your native tongue. 

I just met this cute girl while playing piano on the streets of New York City. Here name is Ada Pasternak and she is an incredible violinist. This is one of the greatest videos I've ever released. Have a listen to our spontaneous jam session. 

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Addiction to Music is as Real as Addiction to Drugs

The human response to music is widely recorded and integral to the well-being and identity of every culture throughout history. While we understand the importance of music, we don’t fully comprehend how music affects the brain, or to what degree it is actually addictive. A recent scientific study offers evidence that music addiction is as real as drug or sex addiction.

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Why do humans love to listen to the same types of music, or even the same songs, over and over? A study by Valorie Salimpoor and Robert Zatorre, neuroscientists at McGill University, investigated the ways in which dopamine affects the brain while music is playing. They also measured body temperature and heart rate.

With their brains under observation via Position Emission Tomography (PET) subjects listened to their favorite music while scientists observed dopamine release. The subjects were instructed to press a button during times in the music when they felt chills or excitement. Researchers recorded an increase in dopamine when the subjects were anticipating certain parts of their favorite music. The brain’s limbic system, which governs its response to emotion, reacted to the peak moment when subjects pressed their buttons to signify that they were experiencing a music-induced high. Salimpoor notes, “the euphoric ‘highs’ from music are neuro-chemically reinforced by our brain so we keep coming back to them. It’s like drugs. It works on the same system as cocaine.”

The human response to music is well documented throughout history. Research into the physical effects of listening to familiar music and the topic of music addiction is fairly new, however. Dopamine release is commonly associated with a human response to the fulfillment of needs. This type of brain activity is a hard wired survival mechanism. The McGill University study shows us that music, an abstract stimulus, is worthy of further study, as is the human response to aesthetic stimulus. Humans are likely evolving to better process and enjoy this type of external stimulus, making it crucial to achieving a higher quality of life.

Humans go to great lengths and spend vast amounts of time, money, and effort, in order to experience the ideal musical experience. One modern example of a deep seated fan culture is the legendary Deadheads. This group of people followed the Grateful Dead all over North America throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, in an effort to see as many shows as possible. This community eventually began using the term “X Factor” to express how their experiences at Grateful Dead shows became something more than just listening to music. Blair Jackson, Jerry Garcia’s biographer said, “for many Deadheads, the band was a medium that facilitated experiencing other planes of consciousness and tapping into deep, spiritual wells that were usually the province of organized religion ... [they] got people high whether those people were on drugs or not."  

The collective obsession with replicated music via high-end stereo systems and expensive portable electronics illustrates the overwhelming need to keep favorite music, including motivational or comforting playlists, close at hand. According to a recent Nielsen study, 40 percent of Americans claim 75 percent of music spending. Could the 40 percent be music addicts? This group of super-fans also indicate that they are willing to spend more. Premium services like pre-orders, limited editions, original lyric sheets from the artist, and other exclusive extras prompt them to open their wallets wider for a better music-buzz.

Thankfully, there is no conclusive research proving that our collective addictive response to music is harmful. In fact, dopamine release is vital to humanity’s survival and ongoing happiness. While addictive drugs may break down the human body in various ways, music only lifts spirits and encourages community.

SOURCES: 

Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music

http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v14/n2/abs/nn.2726.html

Addiction Watch: If Love is a Drug, Can Music be One Too?

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/01/11/addiction-watch-if-love-is-a-drug-can-music-be-one-too/

Blair Jackson

http://www.blairjackson.com/about.htm

Nielson Study: Music fans could spend up to $2.6B more annually

http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2013/turn-it-up--music-fans-could-spend-up-to--2-6b-more-annually.html




 

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Pop music forces a homogenous sound upon the masses; They don’t seem to mind

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Pop music forces a homogenous sound upon the masses; They don’t seem to mind

While tastes in music vary widely from one generation to the next, with each complaining about the unsuitability, volume, or subject matter of the others’ favorite tunes, our suspicion that the overall quality and originality of modern pop music is declining rapidly is now supported by science.

In Measuring the Evolution of Contemporary Western Popular Music, a study conducted by Joan Serra at the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute in Barcelona, we see hard evidence that music offers less diversity and more volume than in years past. In fact, fans of the genre experience roughly the same ten chords, a decrease in recording technique diversity, narrowing of instrument types, and a near total loss of unusual transitions within the music.

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Piano Lessons Make Kids Smarter

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Piano Lessons Make Kids Smarter

While we know that Einstein grew up in a household were music was highly valued, and as a child and adult he dearly loved playing the violin and the piano, the exact correlation between practicing and learning a musical instrument and an uptick in intelligence was relatively unknown until recently.

Researchers at the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children’s Hospital published the findings of their study in September of 2015. They set out to answer questions about the differences between the cognitive function of children with years of musical training, and children who have not taken any music lessons.

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10 Jazz Musicians Every Music Lover Should Hear

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10 Jazz Musicians Every Music Lover Should Hear

Jazz has often been referred to as America’s classical music.  A fairly young genre of music when you consider the comparison to classical, but Jazz has been around long enough to evolve over time.  Throughout its transformation, its distinctive sound has won the hearts of minds of millions across the globe for decades.  Sadly, many Americans have overlooked this music and that is just a human tragedy.  Count me among the lovers of Jazz and as such, I’d like to help you avoid that tragedy with you 10 Jazz musicians every human should hear.

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10 Musicians Who Were Awarded the MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant”

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10 Musicians Who Were Awarded the MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant”

Not all accolades in the music industry consist of record sales and Grammys.  Granted, those would be nice, but the music industry consists of more than pop stars.  It is any individual with a passion for music and the audacity to chase it.  The MacArthur Foundation is an organization dedicated to advancing society by supporting those with the potential to contribute to it in a significant manner. The Fellowships come with a stipend of $625,000 over five years—No strings attached. It is definitely one of the greatest grants a musician could ever desire. Let me introduce you to 10 Musicians who were awarded the Macarthur Foundation Genius Grant.

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