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June 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts June 2001 Current Issue
June 2001
Short Cuts:
Tunes to learn by

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Music, long relegated to a peripheral role on the meetings agenda, might finally be ripe for reconsideration as a major part of the proceedings. According to Eric Jensen, a former college instructor and now a consultant specializing in brain research as applied to education, “It’s been shown in the classroom that music can induce a heightened state of creativity in some students. The same can hold true for meetings, especially corporate presentations where an audience is primed to receive a message.”

Jensen, author of Music With the Brain in Mind (Brain Store Inc.; www.thebrainstore.com), says it all comes down to stimulating various receptors in the grey matter. “One role music can serve is as an energizer at the start of a presentation. To accomplish this, a selection must have a faster beat than the normal heart rate.” Such a sound, says Jensen, helps boost the brain’s production of norepinephrine, a hormone associated with feelings of urgency and risk. Also effective, he adds, are dramatic orchestral pieces. “Music like Also Sprach Zarathustra, by Richard Strauss, is incredibly effective for creating a sense of anticipation, like it did in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.”

During a presentation, a predictable rhythm works best, says Jensen. “A smooth jazz instrumental is ideal. It creates an ambience that allows you to focus on the message.” And to close the session, there’s what you might call incentive music: “Sounds of celebration, like Aaron Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, activate dopamine, the brain’s pleasure hormone. It’s a great way to wrap things up.”

• J. Sheinman


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