Singer Renée Fleming unveils healing powers of music in new book,
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Renée Fleming, renowned opera singer and a five-time Grammy winner, delves into the therapeutic effects of music and arts on health in her new book, “Music and Mind.” The book, which includes contributions from scientists, artists, and healthcare professionals, explores the profound impact of music on human health and well-being.

Fleming, a 2023 Kennedy Center honoree, said during research for her book, she found that there are particularly strong benefits of introducing music early in children’s lives. 

“There’s a whole section on music education for children, which is really important,” Fleming said.

She highlighted a chapter by neuroscientist Dan Levitin that details how music engages complex brain circuitry more than any other activity, enhancing language processing and spatial-temporal reasoning.

Fleming’s interest in the cognitive benefits of music was sparked during her time attending presentations at the National Institutes of Health by scientists, therapists and researchers.

“After about five years, I said I wanted to share this with the public. So this is kind of my gift to the field,” she said. 

The book has 41 chapters, allowing readers to select topics of personal interest.

“You can just pick and choose what subjects you like,” said Fleming.

The soprano recounted an anecdote from the book’s foreword by Francis Collins, which describes an impromptu sing-along at a dinner party attended by three Supreme Court justices.

“It was a little tense, it was a week of the marriage equality decision. So the justices weren’t particularly engaging with each other that night. But then they did after we all sang together,” she said. 

Addressing the state of music therapy, Fleming noted that while insurance coverage varies by state, there is a growing recognition of its benefits and need for a standardized approach to ensure the broader adoption of music therapy.

“This is a relatively new field in terms of having the rigor and efficacy that science needs to be able to ensure it,” she said. 

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