Has anyone ever told you to pick one major
or choose one career? Well, it doesn’t have to be an “either or” situation. We went to the conservatory of music and met
someone who didn’t have to choose. Meet Indre Viskontas, a soprano opera singer who also happens to have her PhD in cognitive neuroscience. There’s a real disconnect between the neuroscience
of learning and how musical training is taught. I felt that that might be a way that I can
actually bring the two together. Alright, so today we’re going to talk about
learning versus performance. And so that’s what I started to do is build
this program where I can help musicians develop more effective practice strategies using neuroscience,
but at the same time I can share that passion for neuroscience with people outside of music,
too. I think i figured out I had an opera voice
pretty early on when I was the loudest singer in all the choirs that I joined. I wasn’t
always the one in tune but I was always the loudest, so I could definitely project across
the room. I really discovered science in high school.
But it wasn’t until I started reading the books of Oliver Sacks. His writing really
showed me the human side behind science, in particular neuroscience. And that’s what got
me really passionate about the brain. Bipolar, right? Cause it has two projections.
What about this one? My area of study in neuroscience was memory.
I was really interested in how we learn and remember. In particular how do we remember
the details of our lives that make up our identity? As a person who was really interested
in opera and characters, I was really interested in how we form identity and how we form our
own characters. A lot of times, I get letters from students,
especially high school students, who are trying to decide what to study in college, and they’re
often torn between some type of artistic pursuit and a scientific interest, and I really want
to encourage them to continue to pursue both. Science opens up a lot of doors. There are
a lot of opportunities, and nowadays too, I think, with the advent of technology and
all the major changes, people are much more open to the idea of art and science connecting
and it’s a really exciting time to be both an artist and a scientist. What did you think of Indre’s story? Do you
think it’s possible to be an artist and a scientist? What do you love about art and
science? Comment below and let us know what you think.