Today, he appeared in an article in the Arts section of the National Post entitled "Hear My Song". As always, the remarks are insightful, illuminating and entertaining. On the issue of a person's desire NOT to learn too much about what is going on as they listen to their favourite music (in hopes of keeping the mystery alive), Dr. Levitin responds in kind:
"I've heard that from a lot of people before they start reading about music and the brain, that they're afraid of learning too much. I've never heard from anybody afterwards that they regretted it because they don't enjoy music any more. In fact, I think people are curious by nature. You go to a magic show, you want to know how the trick was done. Usually when people meet a musician they'll ask, 'What were you thinking when you wrote that song.' I think that understanding the complexity of it increases one's appreciation."
And from his recent book, The World In Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature, the "music doctor" professes as follows:
"The brain learns music and language because it is configured to acquire rules about how musical and linguistic elements are combined; its computational circuits (in the prefrontal cortex) 'know' the rules about hierarchical organization and are primed to receive musical and linguistic input during the early years of development. This is why the child who is denied exposure to music or language before a certain age (believed to be somewhere between 8 and 12) will never acquire normal music or language skills - the pruning process has already begun, and those neural circuits that were waiting to be activated become eliminated."
Ah, it may seem so dry, but it is a basic building block... my daughter has been "writing" music since she was 3 - humming melodies and writing lyrics to everyday situations... and I can't remember when I didn't do so either... let the Muse be with us...