Friday Flick: Your Brain on Improv

Ever wonder why it feels so different to do something you’ve memorized rather than something you’re making up on the fly? Ever notice that in certain activities you might do one better than the other?

Charles Limb, surgeon and creativity researcher, put musicians in an fMRI and studied their brain activity while they performed memorized music and improvisations.

Great presentation: accessible, interesting, and humorous.

Fascinating results. (Especially for me. My composer son is incredibly improvisational, in jazz piano or saxophone, and in life. I have long wondered what really happens in that brain!)

Charles Lamb on stage with slide of jazz pianist Keith Jarrett
Charles Limb's TED talk: "Your Brain on Improv"


  1. Fascinating post! I’m only sorry that my name here gets automatically generated as “linkuniverse”. That is the parent blog of “With Six You Get Eggroll” ( You were kind enough to stop by there and comment on my post, “Silence is Golden” and may have thought I didn’t bother to reply. “Linkuniverse” replied and it was me. But I don’t know how to change the settings to show Egg Roll!

    Just as well, it brought me back here again. I’ve been lurking every now and then but unwilling to post a comment or like since it may look like it’s coming from the wrong blogger. But I can remain silent no longer. You have too much interesting stuff.

    Thanks for a wonderful blog.

    – Egg Roll


    1. Egg Roll! Great to meet you again. You’re brilliant!

      You made my day! It’s so easy to mistake silence for anything but enjoyment. But you proved silence can be beautiful communication as well.


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