Milne first came to the attention of Bettermann when neurologist Jim Toole, M.D., reported to her what he had seen at an impromptu concert by the musician. Milne, while playing the piano, had performed three different time signatures simultaneously and effortlessly, all while carrying on a conversation with people standing nearby. Toole said that what Milne was doing was “impossible” because he was using both sides of his brain simultaneously.
Bettermann tested Milne’s abilities while monitoring his brain through an MRI. What she discovered was a complex, multi-faceted ability never seen before in regards to internal “listening” to music, an ability that neither she nor Milne himself can explain.
Bettermann conducted 40 hours of memory tests on Milne, including four and a half hours of brain wave tests with the MRI facility, and more than 100 hours of interviews. With the comprehension of her results, she is hopeful that neuroscientists, gaining further understanding of brain function, may ultimately be able to help the recovery of patients who suffered from a brain injury. Her presentation at Lycoming will summarize highlights of her research on Milne in brain function and music.
Milne is the founder and director of the Frankenmuth Ragtime Festival in Michigan. He is an active “musical ambassador” for the U.S. Department of State, and has performed numerous times in Japan, including the Okinawan Islands and Hokkaido. He has also performed in this capacity for members of the Swiss Parliament at the U.S. Embassy in Berne.
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