Creativity, Jazz and the Brain


In the foreground trumpet of a jazz player, in the background the saxophone player

Live Jazz

Jazz Improv and you Brain

thats a quite interesting article on CNN. A neurobiologist and Jazz Musician studied the brains of  musicians in an MRI while these were playing memorised tunes and while they were improvising.

During improvisation the part of the brain which is responsible for self criticism and self censorship is dormant. I found it nice to see these results confirmed with an MRI. He comes to similar conclusions as Keith Johnstone and other theatre improvisers

He also mentions that creativity needs a high level of expertise and mastery. This can only be achieved through a lot of practice. I think this is indeed really important. Only if we are really very good with the technical side of our craft, we can really let go and stop thinking about how to do things and instead express ourselves uninhibited.

Musicians spend many hours just practicing, playing scales and etudes. A camera is much more easy to use than any musical instrument. But still I think the value of practicing in photography is highly underappreciated. We should also spend hours practicing specific techniques even if it is boring and does not lead immediately to pictures. We should take the time and go out to just practice for example focusing, high and Low key exposure, shooting a specific focal length or BW or ….


Generally I do not like MRI studies of psychological processes and think that the results are often misleading or meaningless in the absence of a good model how our subconscious mind reasons. But still this is really an interesting article about a phascinating research project. Thoroughly enjoyed to read.