Part neuroscience, part memoir, Theme and Variations makes the latest evidence about how we process music in our conscious and unconscious mind accessible to every reader. Through his own experiences, the author, a musician and neuroscientist, shows how he came to understand the importance of music in his life – in all of our lives – revealing a number of surprises that will fascinate physicians, musicians, and the music-loving public alike, raising and answering such questions as:
Why have homo sapiens always made music?
Can music make kids smarter or better students?
Can listening to or playing music improve brain capacity?
Why do we like the music that we like?
Do music and sex activate the same parts of the brain?
Can music heal? Delay dementia? Help Parkinson's patients?
Music, Dr. Ellenberger tells us, is an affirmative medium that stimulates us to imagine and embrace our fullest human potential.