We want to wish all of our readers a very Happy and Healthy Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year. Remember to start your day right by listening to Classical music. No one is immune from the power of music. Many of the world’s scientists, medical doctors, mathematicians, writers, and teachers have studied and played musical instruments since they were children. These eminent individuals have integrated music into their thinking process.
If anyone has an experience they would like to share with our readers on the benefits of classical music please send it and it will be include it in the January 2011 newsletter.
Article for December 2010: “Is Simple Courtesy Dead?” by Dr. Madeline Frank
During Chanukah and Christmas it’s a time to remember to give thanks to our family, friends, teachers, and mentors for their generous gifts to us.
Madeline’s One Minute Musical Radio Show for December 2010
How does Classical music play a part of Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s life and what musical instrument does she play? Click below for Your Radio Show:
Question of the Month: Who is Dr. Condoleezza Rice?
“Dr. Condoleezza Rice was the sixty-sixth U.S. Secretary of State and the first black women to hold that office. She was also the first women to serve as national security advisor. She has served as provost of Stanford University and was the Soviet and East European Affairs advisor to the president of the United States during the dissolution of the Soviet Union.( Condoleeza,2010, p.321)” She is also an award winning teacher and accomplished classical pianist. She is the second Secretary of State to enjoy playing a musical instrument, the first being Thomas Jefferson who also enjoyed playing his violin in chamber music groups throughout his life and political career. She won a student piano competition at the age of 15, performing Mozart’s D minor Piano Concerto with the Denver Symphony Orchestra.
At 15, she attended the University of Denver, “as a music major”, “having skipped the first and seventh grades” (Tommasini, 2006, P.1-3).She attended the Aspen Summer Music Festival in Colorado at 17 and afterwards decided to focus on international relations, the Soviet Union, instead of music. She has played piano with her piano quintet, all lawyers and musicians, for nine years, rehearsing every two weeks and has played concerts with them at the British Embassy and at other concerts. Her favorite composer is Brahms. When cellist Yo-Yo Ma received the National Medal of the Arts at Constitution Hall “he requested that Ms. Rice accompany him”. They played an arrangement of the Brahms’s Violin Sonata in D minor for cello and piano, the slow movement.
Dr. Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama on Nov. 14, 1954. On her mother’s side, she is a “fourth generation pianist.” She began the piano at three years of age taught by her maternal grandmother Mattie Ray who was a piano teacher and her first musical influence. In a black suburb of Birmingham, her mother, Angelena Rice, “taught music and science at an industrial high school” (Tommasini, 2006, P.1-3).Dr. Rice says “My mother was a church musician, and she read music beautifully….” Her father, John Rice, also loved music, particularly big-band jazz, was a Presbyterian Church minister in Birmingham like his father. John Rice’s father was a son of slaves. Dr. Rice says “Classical music became her passion from the day her mother bought her a recording of Verdi’s “Aida”. “My little eyes like saucers” listening to the “Triumphal March” (Tommasini, 2006, P.1-3).
Dr. Rice earned her bachelor’s degree in political sciences in 1974 from the University of Denver, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. In 1975 she received her master’s from the University of Notre Dame and in 1981 she received her PhD from the University of Denver Graduate School of International studies.
Dr. Rice was professor of political science at Stanford University beginning in 1981 where she won the 1993 School of Humanities and Sciences Deans Award for Distinguished Teaching and the 1984 Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching.
For six years, 1993-1999, she was Provost at Stanford University where she was “the institution’s chief budget and academic officer. As Provost she was responsible for a $1.5 billion annual budget and the academic program involving 1,400 faculty members and 14,000 students.” (Bio. Rice, Jan. 28,2005, p.1)
Dr. Rice was the first African American, first women, and was the youngest by twenty years when she became Provost at Stanford University. When she took office the budget had a $20 million deficit. She worked a grueling schedule continuing to teach her classes as a political science professor and working as Provost to “turn the budget around creating a $14.5 million reserve.” (Maxwell, 2007, p.230)
Dr. Condoleezza Rice has just written an inspiring new book on her life called “Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me”.
Her book is available through amazon.com
The New York Times article “Music; And On Piano, Madame Secretary” & “Condoleezza Rice On Piano” (April 9, 2006) by Anthony Tommasini
Maxwell, J. (2007). The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership. Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.
“The Brain” (Oct. 2010) by Carl Zimmer from the Discover Magazine.(p.28-p.29). The value of listening and participating in playing music to improve different health conditions such as stroke and Parkinson’s. Carl Zimmer says, “Scientists are scanning the activity that music triggers in our neurons and observing how music alters our biochemistry.”
“Houston Ballet and Houston area Parkinson’s Society Dance for Parkinson’s program Expands to the Woodlands” (Nov. 8, 2010) from the Woodlands Villager. In Houston the Dance and Singing Classes have been quite helpful in improving the muscle memory of those with Parkinson’s. “The goal of the class is to override the muscle freezing that occurs with Parkinson’s where the patient’s brain tells them to move but their muscles won’t let them. The class helps develop participants’ muscle memory. Kathleen Crist, LMSW, director of social services and program development, for HAPS said, “HAPS has received incredible feedback about both the Dance for Parkinson’s and ParkinSING classes which have been met with booming success. Both classes have found a place in the hearts of those who attend weekly and the students are as eager as HAPS and Houston Ballet to expand this program to reach those living with Parkinson’s in the outlying areas.”
“The Curious Theatre Takes a Kate Light Poem About Einstein and Mozart, Adds Mozart” (Nov 15, 2010) by A. H. Goldstein from the Denver Westward Blog
“The music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was both a haven and an inspiration for Albert Einstein. When the physicist would get stuck on a particularly puzzling problem regarding the nature of the universe, he would pick up a violin and turn on a different part of his brain.”
Barbara Hamilton-Primus, the artistic director of the Colorado Chamber Players said, “There’s something about playing an instrument that takes the mind elsewhere from our normal state.”
Evidence & Articles supporting the benefits of classical music in your daily life, in the Public School Classrooms, and while doing homework after school:
Mrs. I’s fourth grade reading, writing, and math class in the York County Public School District in Virginia. “During the summer of 2008, I taught students from all the schools in the county. About the middle of the term, I decided to start playing classical music while students worked independently. I noticed that students were more focused on tasks than they had been previously while doing independent work. They also talked to each other less. One day, when I forgot to turn on the music, a number of the students came up to me and reminded me to turn it on. At the end of the term, all the students had reached their academic goals in both subjects, (reading and math) and most had gone way beyond their goals. (Most of the student’s scores went up 15% to 36% higher.) I know that the atmosphere that was created by the classical music contributed a lot to this.”
Mrs. S teaches 7th grade Math at Davis Middle School in Hampton, VA: “Students perform better on tests and quizzes while listening to Mozart Symphonies in the background…”
Mrs. C’s high school math class in Colorado: “The students asked for music in class. I told them I wouldplay only Mozart. At first they objected but soon decided they liked the music, because it made them feel better and able to focus more on their lessons. Consequently, not only did the grades get better, so did the discipline. Then the students began requesting Mozart.”
Mrs. G had her fifth grade students listening to classical music, played softly, while the children did creative writing assignments and when they did problem solving in math. It created a calm atmosphere conducive to problem solving and creative thinking as well as an appreciation of music that they might not have experienced. The results were so good that she incorporated this into her teaching for the last five years of her teaching career.
Mrs. JC had her fourth grade reading class of 22 students, listening to Mozart and other classical music during class for the entire school year .The children have consistently made 100’s on tests and work. These are just average students not exceptional.
Mrs. J has 4 children, ages 18, 15, 11 and 7 who have been listening to Mozart and other classical music while doing their homework after school since March 05. She has seen them become more focused and relaxed, finishing homework quicker, with more accuracy which has led to higher grades.