Since today was a Veteran's Day Holiday, I heard a re-broadcast of a story on NPR about this book: This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin.
The web-site for the book has some fun interactive features including mp3s of the songs mentioned in the text.
I've just started the book, but here are some of my favorite quotes from the introduction:
Nowadays there is a great emphasis on technique and whether a musician is "good enough" to play for others. Music making has become a somewhat reserved activity in our culture, the rest of us listen.
Music listening, performance, and composition engage nearly every area of the brain that we have so far identified, and involve nearly every neural subsystem.
It's a shame that many people are intimidated by the jargon musicians, music theorists, and cognitive scientists throw around...in the case of music, music experts and scientists could do a better job of making their work accessible. That is something I tried to accomplish in this book. The unnatural gap that has grown between musical performance and music listening has been paralleled by a gap between those who love music (and love to talk about it) and those who are discovering new things about how it works.