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Music, Creativity, And Unlocking Our Full Potential

Music legend Vance Gilbert performing at MATM this Saturday in West Milford

Instead, for $10 a month, you have unfettered access to an online jukebox with tens of millions of songs. What really separates Rdio from the competition is its social backbone. You can follow friends, strangers, musicians, businesses, etc. and get a sense of what they’re listening to. Rdio will also recommend songs and artists for you to check out based on your friends’ interests. That may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re not quite sure what to listen to, this feature is one of the best in helping you figure it out. Another standout Rdio feature is the ability to build an online library full of “your” tracks. With rival services, having your favorite music in front of you means scrolling through hundreds of playlists in the sidebar of the app. It’s less than ideal. Rdio instead presents your collection as a highly visual array of album thumbnails that can be sorted in a variety of manners. But functionality aside, Rdio is just laid out and presented across all platforms (desktop, phone and Web) in manner that’s visually cleaner and easier to process than its competitors.

Christie Taylor

Last fall, I found myself sitting in a cold hotel conference room outside Chicago, drifting in and out of consciousness during a lecture on neurologic music therapy. This is one of those kind of presentations that anyone from outside the field would be hanging on every word, but those who are around it everyday unfortunately take for granted. It’s fascinating subject matter, and our presenter, the very talented and bright Dr. Michael Thaut, is one of the leading research authorities on using music to change the brain. About 30 minutes into the lecture, whatever trace of a languid attitude was present in my mind at the moment was quickly dashed by a bombshell of a thought dropped by Thaut: “The arts are the cognitive base for thinking in abstraction.” Whoa. It was one of those holy-crap-let-me-write-that-down-so-I-can-tweet-it-later (who am I kidding, I was already on my iPad) moments. I kept saying it over and over again in my head. Thaut went on to explain that some of the earliest human artifacts ever found are musical instruments. Modern neuroscience tells us that our brains are hardwired for music . Yet from a survival standpoint, music doesn’t seem to play much of a role. So how and why did it evolve to be such an inseparable part of our being? It really all comes back to Thaut’s tweetable quote; it’s all about thinking in abstraction. The crowning achievement in the evolution in mankind is our ability to think up creative solutions to the problems that plague us. There’s a mounting body of evidence that shows that many of the most successful and brilliant among us have studied music at some point in their life. I don’t necessarily think that music has some magical ability to make us smarter.

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19 concert. Opening the evenings performance will be West Milford native and Berklee School of Music graduate, Paige Califano, with her band: The Dwells. PHOTO COURTESY OF MUSIC AT THE MISSION Contemporary folk legend Vance Gilbert will perform at the Music at the Mission in West Milford on Oct. 19. “To have a true legend like Vance Gilbert grace our stage would make for a memorable evening in and of itself!” said Music at the Mission President Sara Gallmann. “But to be able to bring in Paige Califano – one of West Milford s biggest success stories – with her band The Dwells to open for Gilbert will turn a memorable evening into a magical one!” Gilbert burst onto the singer/songwriter scene in the early 90s when the buzz spread through the folk clubs of Boston about an ex-multicultural arts teacher who was knocking them dead at open mics. By 1992, Shawn Colvin caught wind of Gilberts act and he was invited to join her Fat City tour. “With the voice of an angel, the wit of a devil, and the guitar playing of a god, it was enough to earn him that rarity: an encore for the opener” wrote the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in its review of a show from that tour. Of his album in 2000, “Somerville Live”, the Boston Globe said: “young songwriters should study [his work] the way law students cram for exams.” New York Citys Town and Village praised his 2002 follow-up, “One Thru Fourteen”, calling it: “lively, eclectic, electrifying, and transcending”. As each new album was greeted with glowing reviews, artists such as Arlo Guthrie, Anita Baker, and many more took notice and asked Gilbert to add his talents to their tours. In 2005, Gilbert hit his stride with “Unfamiliar Moon”, a recording the Boston Globe rated #4 among their top ten CDs of the year.