Meet Adam Neely

I'm going to try to avoid going back to too many wells as I carry on with this little project, but I can already tell you that my first mention of Adam Neely won't be my last.  After all, he's part of what's inspired me to do this in the first place.

Adam Neely is a young jazz bassist, composer, and educator who lives in Brooklyn.  He is also far and away the best maker of educational videos of any kind that I've encountered on YouTube.  His videos are clear, thoughtful, both informed and informative, frequently clever, and at times they're very funny.  He has two long-running Q&A series where he answers questions about music or critiques compositions and performances that are submitted to him, and it's kind of inspiring to watch him find things to say that are both true and not unkind.

At heart, Neely is passionately interested in understanding how music works.  That is, what happens in our brains as we apprehend music, either as listeners or as performers?  What do we hear?  What can we hear?  How do we translate what we hear into meaning, and is "meaning" even the right word for what we're translating it into?  He's not a guy who's just noodling around with this stuff, either; his videos often cover recent papers in neuropsychology, and he frequently interviews academic experts in the field.  (There's one video where he documents his experience as a test subject.)

His videos almost always include links to the works cited and suggestions for further reading.  (The links of this video contain a section labeled "BOBBY MCFERRIN IS A BEAST", and if you've been following me you've already seen one of them.)

If you want to learn a lot about music, watching Neely's videos is a good way to do it.

The video I've linked to here covers an interesting question:  When you practice, you're developing and strengthening neural pathways in your brain.  How does that work?

To avoid spoiling it, I'll just say that Neely seems genuinely surprised and maybe even a little disconcerted by the results of the experiment that he runs on himself.


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