Dr. Gerald Edelman, Nobel Prize winner, Physician, Neuroscientist, Professor, Author, and Musician: Madeline’s Monthly Musical Tips Blog/Article for February 2016

Our February blog and radio show celebrates the life and work of Dr. Gerald M. Edelman, physician, neuroscientist, professor, researcher, author, musician, husband and father of 3 children. The article of the month is “ If You Make A Promise Keep It!” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM.

Radio Show Feature Question for February 2016: How did Classical Music play a part of Dr. Gerald Edelman’s life as a physician, Nobel Prize winner for physiology / medicine in 1972, neuroscientist, professor, researcher, author, musician, husband, and father and what musical instrument did he play?

http://www.madelinefrankviola.com/one-minute-radio-show-2016

“A Dialogue with Dr. Gerald Edelman” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D.

 Professor William Lincer, my teacher and mentor at the Juilliard School, asked me to promise, before he died on July 31, 1997 to have a dialogue with Dr. Gerald Edelman. Dr. Edelman was a physician, 1972 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology /medicine for immunology, neuroscientist for his “theory of the brain”- “Neural Darwinism”, professor, researcher, author, and musician. His interest was in “how the brain worked”.

Professor Lincer during my studies with him at the Juilliard School introduced me to Dr. Edelman’s book “Brilliant Air, Brilliant Fire: On The Matter Of The Mind” and his articles. I was fascinated as I read and studied them. Professor Lincer said, “Dr. Gerald Edelman is the most brilliant mind of this century.”

I sent a letter to Dr. Edelman after Professor Lincer passed away about the research Professor Lincer and I had done on how music stimulates the brain to promote scholastic excellence. Included was an article Professor Lincer and I had worked on together and my research on a study done on a Virginia public middle school of economically deprived students taking string and band classes and monitoring their grades throughout the school year. I summarized my research in my new book, “The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music”.

I asked Dr. Edelman several important questions about students coping with epilepsy, cerebral palsy, brain cancers, Parkinson’s, and neurological diseases.

On September 15, 1997, Dr. Edelman wrote back “I was sad that Professor Lincer died. He was a superb musician and broad ranging spirit.” He went on to say, “ Your enterprise using musical training to enhance the scholastic performance of deprived children is a noble one. Unfortunately, there are at present no firm grounds for answering your medically directed questions. Before looking at patients with various disorders, a sound database on normal subjects will have to be collected. …..A few of my colleagues at Neurosciences Institute are beginning to look into these problems but I’m afraid it will be some time before satisfactory answers are forthcoming.”

Dr. Edelman at the end of his letter said, “You have tapped into some very important issues and your questions are well placed. In any event, your observational data should make a real contribution to the fields of music and education in general.” I treasure Dr. Edelman’s letter and it is in a frame over my computer to remind me to keep searching for answers.

Early Family Life and Education of Gerald Edelman:

Dr. Gerald M. Edelman was born in New York City on July 1, 1929 to Edward Edelman, medical doctor and Anna Freedman Edelman, who worked in insurance. He and his sister Doris were sent by their parents to Carnegie Hall to hear concerts regularly.

Dr. Edelman said,” My father was a general practitioner serving in that role, although he was trained as a surgeon, and he insisted on working in a rather poor neighborhood. He was very dedicated, because he was one of the earliest cases of polio in Philadelphia where he was born- had a great sympathy for disability.” www.webofstories.com/play/gerald.edelman/1

Dr. Edelman began playing the violin as a young boy and thought about being a concert violinist. He studied violin and with many different teachers. He said, “finally landing up with …Albert Meiff, who was a classmate of Jascha Heifetz in St. Petersburg under Leopold Auer.”

www.webofstories.com/play/gerald.edelman/1

Throughout his life Dr. Edelman has continued to play his violin.

Dr. Edelman was educated in the New York public schools. He went on to attend Ursinus College in Pennsylvania studying chemistry graduating in 1950 with a B.S. degree, “magna cum laude”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Edelman

He went on to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and says “the end of the third year, I was lucky enough to be allowed in the Johnson Foundation for Medical Biophysics under Britton Chance and there it was I did the first piece of scientific work I ever did.”

www.webofstories.com/play/gerald.edelman/1

Dr. Edelman received his Medical degree in 1954 from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.” He worked the next year as “a resident at the Massachusetts General Hospital.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Edelman

In 1955 he was drafted becoming “a Captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in 1955 and practiced general medicine at a Station Hospital connected with the American Hospital in Paris, France.”

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1972/edelman-bio.html

While in Paris Dr. Edelman found “the American Library on the Champs-Elysées” and he said, “it had … a good section of scientific books” –… “I found a book on immunology.” While reading “he became interested in immunology, proteins, and peptides.”

http://www.webofstories.com/play/gerald.edelman/9

“In 1957, he joined the Rockefeller Institute as a graduate fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Henry G. Kunkel.” In 1960 he received his Ph.D. at Rockefeller Institute and “remained … as Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies and started work in his own laboratory.” From 1963- 1966, Dr. Edelman was the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. Then he became a full Professor at Rockefeller University working in his lab.

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1972/edelman-bio.html

Dr. Edelman in 1972 won his Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work in immunology. He was 43 years old.

“From the mid 1970’s Dr. Edelman was largely concerned with the brain and the nature of consciousness — “how the brain gives rise to the mind,” as he put it. He rejected the prevalent notion that the best model for the brain was a computer.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/23/science/gerald-m-edelman-nobel-laureate-and-neural-darwinist-dies-at-84.html?_r=0

In 1981, Dr. Edelman founded his Neurosciences Institute (NSI), “a non-profit, scientific” in New York City “as an independent entity” at Rockefeller University “dedicated to learning about the brain”. In 1993, NSI moved to La Jolla, California and to their new headquarters especially built for them in 1995 “designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects”.

Dr. Edelman calls NSI “a kind of scientific monastery”. He has 40 scientists working on research on the brain.

http://everything.explained.today/The_Neurosciences_Institute/

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/nobel-laureate-gerald-edelman-on-consciousness/2989818

Susan S of “The Emergent Improvisation Project”, “Correspondence With Scientist: Dr. Gerald Edelman” on Nov. 15, 2012:

Dr. Gerald Edelman writes to Susan, “First of all, we must recognize Darwin’s theory of natural selection. It states that variation in members of a species provides a basis for selection of those individual variants who are more fit to survive in the environment. Their progeny survive while the less fit die off. Variation and selection is sometimes called the Darwinian two‐step!”

“Clearly, improvisation by the dancer involves variation and presumably also selection on this variation that must take place at some level or other. The fundamentals of the far reaching Darwinian concept inform my global brain theory, (the theory of neuronal group selection), also known as Neural Darwinism. … It states that, in development and function of the brain, variation plays a key role. Instead of Darwinian selection occurring in a population over millions of years, selection occurs among the neural circuits of the brain, which are variable in one’s lifetime. Those circuits that favor value or reward for an act are selected by increases in their connection strengths. These increases occur at so‐called synapses, regions of connection between one neuron and another.”

“Undoubtedly there will be an expected difference in the synaptic strengths in the brain of a dancer following a rehearsed pattern and that brain as it is involved in deliberately indulging in improvisation So if there is a metaphorical link it is provided by the notion of selection and variation. One can speculate further and ask a whole lot of provocative questions. I shall give one example here. Are dreams not improvisations? Or is improvisation related to dreams?”

http://emergentimprovisation.org/Correspondence-with-Scientist-Dr_Gerald_Edelman.html

Dr. Gerald Edelman was a lifelong violinist and performed on a regular series of classical music concerts at his Neurosciences Institute’s auditorium in La Jolla, California.

Dr. Gerald Edelman and his wife Maxine Morrison Edelman understood the value of having their three children study a musical instrument. Their son, Dr. David Edelman said in an interview with Suzan Mazur: “ Both of my parents insisted that I learn, and that my siblings (Eric & Judith) learn, a musical instrument. My father was a violinist. My mother played flute and piano. My parents didn’t care which instruments we chose, as long as we learned to play an instrument. They were very wise in their insistence because the violin has always been something I could lean on in the absence of anything else in my life.”

“Music, was, of course, central to my father’s life. His professional aspirations as a violinist were interrupted by his mother’s insistence that he pursue something with which he could actually make a living. My father steered clear of imposing science on us. He was eager for us to be interested in science, but he wasn’t activist about it.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/suzan-mazur/neuroscientist-david-edel_b_8051746.html

Dr. Gerald Edelman’s Theory of “Neural Darwinism”.

BBC radio interview: “Edelman, who once planned to be a concert violinist, uses musical metaphors as well.”

Dr. Gerald Edelman said: “Think: if you had a hundred thousand wires randomly connecting four string quartet players and that, even though they weren’t speaking words, signals were going back and forth in all kinds of hidden ways [as you usually get them by the subtle nonverbal interactions between the players] that make the whole set of sounds a unified ensemble. That’s how the maps of the brain work by reentry. The players are connected. Each player, interpreting the music individually, constantly modulates and is modulated by the others. There is no final or “master” interpretation; the music is collectively created, and every performance is unique.”

Dr. Gerald Edelman’s ‘brilliant light’ left this earth on May 17, 2014 in La Jolla, California. He was 84.

 

If You Make A Promise Keep It! By Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM

Over your journey through life you will make many promises. How many do you keep?

Professor William Lincer, my teacher and mentor at the Juilliard School, asked me to promise, before he died on July 31, 1997 that I would contact two of the greatest thinkers on the brain in the 20th Century and have a dialogue with them. The two men were Dr. Gerald Edelman and Dr. Oliver Sacks, medical doctors, researchers, scientists, and lifelong musicians.

Dr. Oliver Sacks was a physician specializing in neurologist. He was an author of many books including “Awakenings”, “Musicophilia” and Professor of Neurology at NYU School of Medicine.

Professor Lincer during my studies with him at the Juilliard School introduced me to many of Dr. Sacks’ books. I enjoyed reading and studying them. I sent a letter to Dr. Sacks after Professor Lincer had passed away and included an article on my research for my new book, “The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music”. I asked Dr. Sacks several important questions about students coping with epilepsy, cerebral palsy, brain cancers, Parkinson’s, and neurological diseases.

On December 31, 1997, Dr. Sacks wrote me saying he was “just now making a New Year’s resolution to try and answer all delinquent mail by midnight!”

He said, “You bring up far too many deep questions and issues for me to have ready answers to! I take the liberty of enclosing a paper from a conference we had at the inauguration of the Institute for Music & Neurological Function at Beth Abraham Hospital in 1994. I have been very much for music and music therapy, as you know, ever since I first encountered my Awakening patients in 1966”.

The article Dr. Sacks sent me was about an elderly patient who had broken her hip. She had had an operation to repair her hip and had physical therapy and yet she was unable to walk. The MRI said the hip had not been repaired.

Dr. Sacks asked the patient, “If she had moved her hip recently?” She responded that, “She had kept time to the music at a Christmas concert by moving her leg in time to a dance piece.” Dr. Sacks had a music therapist play dance music for the patient to move to in dance motions to the rhythm of the music. After a month she was able to walk once more.

Dr. Sacks began studying the piano as a small child and has continued playing throughout his life. He says “music has been the profoundest non-chemical medication for our patients. What we see, fundamentally, is the power of music to organize-and do this efficaciously as well as joyfully, when abstract or schematic forms of organization fail.”

Dr. Sacks had a patient suffering from severe Alzheimer’s. The patient “responded to ballroom music by taking his wife in his arms and looking into her eyes and dancing with her.”

One of his patients had a stroke and could no longer walk or talk. Dr. Sacks brought in an accordionist who played a familiar song, and the patient started to sing the song with him. Music has the power to stimulate memory. “Memory says Dr. Sacks, is the key to a sense of self” and music evokes emotion and emotion can bring it’s memory.”

Dr. Oliver Sacks’ Legacy:

Dr. Oliver Sacks leaves a legacy of case studies of his patients observing their uniqueness. He cared so much to help others and teach them that their affliction made them unique. Dr. Sacks said, “I am a storyteller, for better and for worse. I suspect that a feeling for stories, for narrative, is a universal human disposition, going with our powers of language, consciousness of self, and autobiographical memory.”

Dr. Oliver Sacks also said, “In examining disease, we gain wisdom about anatomy and physiology and biology. In examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life. If we wish to know about a man, we ask ‘what is his story–his real, inmost story?’–for each of us is a biography, a story. Each of us is a singular narrative, which is constructed, continually, unconsciously, by, through, and in us–through our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions; and, not least, our discourse, our spoken narrations. Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives–we are each of us unique.” ― Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales

Dr. Gerald Edelman was a physician, 1972 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology /medicine for immunology, neuroscientist for his theory of the brain- “Neural Darwinism”, professor, researcher, author, and musician. His interest was in “how the brain works”. Dr. Edelman began playing the violin as a young boy and thought about being a concert violinist. Throughout his life Dr. Edelman has continued to play his violin.

Professor Lincer during my studies with him at the Juilliard School introduced me to Dr. Edelman’s book “Brilliant Air, Brilliant Fire: On The Matter Of The Mind” and his articles. I was fascinated as I read and studied them. Professor Lincer said, “Dr. Gerald Edelman is the most brilliant mind of this century.”

I sent a letter to Dr. Edelman after Professor Lincer passed away about the research Professor Lincer and I had done on how music stimulates the brain to promote scholastic excellence. Included was an article Professor Lincer and I had worked on together and my research on a study done on a Virginia public middle school of economically deprived students taking string and band classes and monitoring their grades throughout the school year.

I summarized my research in my new book, “The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music”.

I asked Dr. Edelman several important questions about students coping with epilepsy, cerebral palsy, brain cancers, Parkinson’s, and neurological diseases.

On September 15, 1997, Dr. Edelman wrote back “I was sad that Professor Lincer died. He was a superb musician and broad ranging spirit.” He went on to say, “ Your enterprise using musical training to enhance the scholastic performance of deprived children is a noble one. Unfortunately, there are at present no firm grounds for answering your medically directed questions. Before looking at patients with various disorders, a sound database on normal subjects will have to be collected. …..A few of my colleagues at Neurosciences Institute are beginning to look into these problems but I’m afraid it will be some time before satisfactory answers are forthcoming.”

Dr. Edelman at the end of his letter said, “You have tapped into some very important issues and your questions are well placed. In any event, your observational data should make a real contribution to the fields of music and education in general.”

Dr. Gerald Edelman’s Theory of “Neural Darwinism” as a musical metaphor: Dr. Gerald Edelman said: “Think: if you had a hundred thousand wires randomly connecting four string quartet players and that, even though they weren’t speaking words, signals were going back and forth in all kinds of hidden ways [as you usually get them by the subtle nonverbal interactions between the players] that make the whole set of sounds a unified ensemble. That’s how the maps of the brain work by reentry. The players are connected. Each player, interpreting the music individually, constantly modulates and is modulated by the others. There is no final or “master” interpretation; the music is collectively created, and every performance is unique.”

I treasure both Dr. Edelman’s letter and Dr. Sacks’ letter and they are in frames above my desk as an on going inspiration to me to keep asking questions and try to help others every day.

What are the three steps for keeping your promises?

1) Write down the date you make the promise (month, date, & year), and the date you will complete the promise. (Month, date, & year)

2) Write down the obstacles you will have to overcome to make your promise.

3) Place your promise in front of your computer/work station so you can remember to work on it each day.

During the Civil War, Jeb Stuart signed “his reports to General Robert E. Lee “Yours to count on” (YTCO). He meant it and so should you.

Remember it’s never to late to make a promise and keep it! © 2016 Madeline Frank

Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking engagement at mfrankviola@gmail.com

“The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. is now available in book form, and newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook:

com(Kindle)

Barnes and Noble(Nook)

iTunes

http://www.madelinefrankviola.com/the-secret-of-teaching-science-and-math-through-music/

“Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun way, through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award is now available in book form, newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook.

com(Kindle)

Barnes and Noble(Nook)

iTunes

Tips on how to use “Musical Notes On Math”

http://www.madelinefrankviola.com/musical-notes-on-math/

Madeline’s Midnight Melodies- Music From around the World” . This CD complements her books with a blend of dance music, gigues, tangos, ballet and favorites including “Danny Boy”, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”, Debussy’s “Claire De Lune” and others. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” is music to relax by and to move by for music therapy. ”Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” CD is now available for purchase by downloading a song, downloading the album, or by CD by clicking below:

Download Your Copy Today!

Amazon | iTunes | CD Baby

Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is now available through amazon.com. Click on the following Amazon.com link to order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available as an e-book on Kindle or in book form.

Click on the following link:

http://goo.gl/lrJTx

Wishing you and your family a happy Valentine’s Day from Your Non-Invasive Medicine Music Expert, Madeline

For over 30 years, Dr. Madeline Frank has helped children and adults overcome problems through Classical music. Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an award winning teacher, author, researcher, speaker and concert artist. She has found a scientific link between studying and/or listening to musical instruments and academic and societal success. Madeline Frank earned her Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Her education has included scholarships at the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the University of Cincinnati and she has a violin performance diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts. (C) 2016 Madeline Frank.

 

 

 

 

 

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