I read some time ago Oliver Sack’s book Musicophilia. This was quite a fascinating book, I would recommend any musician to take time reading it, or think about the issues the book raises.
Oliver Sacks is actually a neurologist, and he has been involved with all kinds of strange states concerning brain and music. Usually after some kind of internal brain damage or accident, various people have strange problems concerning music and audio. For example, one person was struck with lightning, after this he became so passionate about music (not before) that he is constantly composing and playing, hearing songs in his head.
Others have annoying music loops playing over and over in their heads after an accident or problems. Some become totally tone deaf.
The book really points out that there are sections in the brain that controls the level of musicality for persons. A damage and it’s over. Or then something else strange happens and new patterns emerge. It would also explain how composers such as Mozart constantly heard music, all they needed was to write it down. And why for some others they can’t really hear much, even to a point that they attend American Idol and believe their voice is godlike, while they can’t even hold a tune.
It might even explain why I’ve had bass licks and melodies that suddenly started playing in my mind in mid-December, hence I’m nowadays a bass player.
Anyway, in practical terms it means that for us musicians, we need to take care of our brain. Never go out biking without a helmet. Use aspirin every day to make the blood elastic to avoid any sudden blood bursts in the brain. Check your blood pressure, take it down with all means, if something bad happens — like a bursted blood vessel — it might be the last time you could create music. Take down the overall weight. Take care of your brain.
Here’s another article on the web talking about how jazz musicians turn off certain sections of the brain and enact other when jamming together.
Anyway, there’s still the mystery why some get the right wirings in the brain and become amazing musicians — supposedly nobody in Steve Vai’s family is a musician — so there’s more than genes in action. And it can’t be just random patterns, that’s not logical. But that’s another deeper philosophical issue.