Music and BrainPresenter: John Miller

Date: Monday, Nov. 9

Time: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: C’mon Inn

Side Trip Info: What goes on in your brain during the perception and performance of music? What are the physiological correlates of your physical and emotional reactions to music, from chills to nausea? Why does some music seem sad, and other music seem happy? This field of inquiry is intrinsically multidisciplinary: it attempts to unify theories from neurology and neurophysiology (how the brain is structured and how it functions) with music theory, linguistics and psychology. There has been a great deal of interest in emotional communication through music that extends beyond verbal language, and we will explore this realm of human communication. For those who would like to read about this area (either before or after the lecture), a great book is: Music, the Brain and Ecstasy by Robert Jourdain (ISBN 978-0380782093)

Instructor Bio:

John MillerJohn Miller is an Emeritus Professor of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at MSU, and was a College of Letters and Science Distinguished Professor. His primary research focus was on the biological mechanisms underlying information processing in nervous systems. He received a BA in Physics at UC Berkeley, and a PhD in Biology at UC San Diego. After postdoctoral research in Computational Neuroscience at the National Institutes of Health, he returned to Berkeley where he carried out neuroscience research on a variety of subjects, served as the Chairman of the Graduate Group in Biophysics, and co- founded the Journal of Computational Neuroscience. Dr. Miller established MSU’s Center for Computational Biology. He served on several national committees, including President Clinton’s Information Technology Advisory Committee. He has a long-standing interest in the cognitive science of music, and co-instructed a course in Music and the Brain with Greg Young and Shane Colvin.



Kathryn Earley 2When my husband and I were looking for our place to retire, one of the places we visited was Bozeman.  While we were here we went to the library, where I happened to pick up a Wonderlust brochure.  Here was university-quality instruction by experts in a huge number of subjects.  No homework, no exams, no papers, just a chance to learn new things or review things we’d already studied.  It was also an opportunity to meet people with a wide variety of interests.  I was hooked! Over the past several years, I’ve come to feel strongly about supporting this valuable community resource for lifelong learning, and fortunately there’s a community of dedicated volunteers who feel the same way.

This past year was our first as Friends of MSU Wonderlust, whose mission is to support and promote MSU Wonderlust.  We’ve contributed funds to getting a new projector at Hope Lutheran Church, where many of our classes are held, and to Gallatin Community Radio, which broadcasts many of our Friday Forums.  We’re also sponsors of and taking part in Active Aging Week and the Prime Age 50+ Expo.

In January Friends will sponsor the MSU Wonderlust reception.  Join us at the Country Bookshelf on January 9, 5 pm – 7 pm, where you can meet instructors and other people interested in learning.  

Kathryn Earley, President of Friends of Wonderlust