Blind Piano Prodigy Is Extremely Talented That Scientists Are Studying His Brain To Learn More About HIs Musical Ingenuity


A young piano prodigy from Hackensack, New Jersey that is blind has had wonderful successes in his life by entertaining fans from all over the world since he was just 11-years-old. Scientists have started studying his brain to figure how exactly he has been so amazingly talented with that musical instrument.

Matthew Whitaker entered into this world prematurely at only 24 weeks. Not only was he born blind, but he also had various healthy problems wherein doctors told her parents he had less than a 50 percent chance of surviving infancy. Whitaker had already undergone 11 surgeries even before his second birthday. By a miracle, Whitaker survived and by the age of three, he was already skilfully playing the piano and even writing his own songs – without any professional teacher to guide him.

Now, at the age of 18, Whitaker is a universally praised tunesmith and jazz pianist that has experienced performing in the most prestigious stages like the Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center and the Apollo Theater. This musical genius can play any melody by ear, from Beyonce to Dvorak.

Because of his miraculous talent, the virtuoso is now the focus of a medical study that aims to conclude how the brains of brilliant musicians throughout time function and how they differ from an average person.


Dr. Charles Limb, a neurologist and fellow musician is heading the research where he conducts MRI exams on Whitaker on different occasions when he just listened to music, and when he was playing the keyboard as well.

Dr. Limb shared with 60 minutes that:

“I think anytime somebody watches Matthew play piano the first thing that you think is, ‘How does he do that?’Except rather than just wondering, I’m actually trying to answer the question.”

A shocking discovery that Dr. Limb found out was: Whitaker’s brain had apparently repurposed the visual cortex in order to develop other neurological pathways. When Whitaker listens to his favorite bands, his visual cortex is activated.

“Because he is blind we looked at his visual cortex. And we didn’t see any significant activity there at all [during a dull lecture]. Then we switched the soundtrack for him and we put on a band that he knows quite well… This is what changes in his brain. It seems like his brain is taking that part of the tissue that’s not being stimulated by sight and using it … to perceive music. It’s sort of borrowing that part of the brain and rewiring it to help him hear music.”

While Whitaker was interested in learning about the findings, he wasn’t surprised that his brain was illuminated in the scans when he was listening to music. He simply said: “I love music.”


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