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How Music Can Impact Our Brain



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The Weston Art & Innovation Center (AIC) is hosting Dr. Lisa Wong on Friday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. for a lecture and performance on music’s impact on the developing brain.

Dr. Wong, a violinist, will be joined by two other musicians – Emily Hsieh on violin and Nikolai Renedo on cello – as they play selections from Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.”

“Over the years, we have come to understand that the brain continues to change and grow throughout our lifetimes. This is known as neuroplasticity,” said Wong, author of “Scales to Scalpels: Doctors who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine.”

“Many parts of the brain are engaged when listening to or even more so in playing music because of its complexity, including the deeper parts of our brain where emotion is processed.”

Dr. Wong is a pediatrician, violinist and arts education advocate dedicated to the healing arts of music and medicine. She joined the Longwood Symphony Orchestra (LSO), the orchestra of Boston’s medical community, in 1985. She served as its president for 21 years beginning in 1991.

“What was remarkable to me,” she said, “was how many medical professionals and medical scientists were also fine musicians. I started to wonder about the connection.

“At the same time, I started to meet many colleagues in the field of music cognition and the neuroscience of music who were beginning to unravel the mystery. Since then, that field has grown exponentially, and we have found more and more connections to our partners in music therapy and music education.”

Wong was instrumental in creating LSO’s signature “Healing Art of Music Program” in 1991, which has benefited over 50 medical nonprofits in the greater Boston area.

A co-founder of the Boston Arts Consortium for Health (BACH), which brings together artists, caregivers and scholars from most of Boston’s major health and education institutions, she is a frequent speaker in conferences and lectures locally and abroad.

As a co-founder and assistant co-director of the Arts and Humanities Initiative at Harvard Medical School and an advisor to Berklee College of Music’s new Music + Health Institute, she works with students and faculty to understand the interdisciplinarity of the arts and sciences.

Dr. Wong has practiced medicine at Milton Pediatrics since 1986. She is a graduate of Harvard University in East Asian Studies and of NYU School of Medicine, and trained in pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital.

She was a visiting scholar in Arts in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2014, and received an honorary doctorate in education from Wheelock College in 2016.

For tickets visit

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