Dr. Frances Rauscher, Ph.D., Psychologist, Researcher, Professor & Musician: Madeline’s Monthly Musical Tips/Article for January 2022
Our Radio Show and blog celebrates the life and work of Dr. Frances Rauscher, psychologist, researcher, professor, and musician.
Many of the world’s psychologists, medical doctors, mathematicians, biologists, chemists, scientists, engineers, writers, teachers, and others have studied and played musical instruments since they were children. These eminent individuals have integrated music into their thinking process. Included are articles on the benefits of learning to play a musical instrument.
Our article of the month is “To Create Unshakable Optimism, Lift the Corners of Your Mouth” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D.
Radio Show Feature Question for January 2022: How does Classical music play a part of Dr. Frances Rauscher’s life as a psychologist, researcher, professor and musician and which musical instrument does she play?
I first read about Dr. Frances Rauscher, psychologist, in 1994 when she was testing 3-year-old children who were studying piano and voice. Before becoming a psychologist, she graduated from the Juilliard School with a Bachelor of Music in cello performance. As a graduate of the Juilliard School myself, I was fascinated by her work.
After training as a concert cellist at the Juilliard School, Frances Rauscher toured the U.S., Europe, and Canada. She then “spent two years as a performer for a music therapist” (Snyder, 1995, p.21).
At Columbia University she continued her education earning her BA, Masters of Art, Masters of Philosophy, and Ph.D. in Psychology. “Followed by a postdoctoral position at the University of California at the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory under Dr. Gordon Shaw, she began investigating the effects of music on the brain.”
Three-year-old children studying piano and voice:
Psychologist, Frances Rauscher at the University of California at Irvine (Center of Neurobiology of Learning and Memory) and Gordon Shaw physicist have been testing three-year-old children who study piano and voice to see if music has an impact on their intelligence. They did a before and after picture using standard IQ tests over a 3-month interval for a year. The tests showed 80 % gains in spatial reasoning which is useful for studying higher mathematics. Playing music “develops the neuropathways and you’re exercising them and making them stronger” (Brandwin, 1994, p. 16). By taking music lessons new neural bridges are built “strengthening the links between the brain neurons” (Elias, 1994, p. 1). Frances Rauscher says “music instruction can improve a child’s special intelligence for long periods of time perhaps permanently” (p. 1).
Mozart Effect: In 1993, Frances Rauscher, Gordon Shaw, and Catherine Ky
“ investigated the effect of listening to music by Mozart on spacial reasoning , and the results were published in Nature . They gave research participants one of three standard tests of abstract spacial reasoning after they had experienced each of three listening conditions: the Sonata for Two Pianos in D major, K.448 by Mozart, verbal relaxation instructions, and silence. They found a temporary enhancement of spatial-reasoning, as measured by spatial-reasoning sub tasks of the Stanford-Binet IQ test. Rauscher et al. show that the enhancing effect of the music condition is only temporary: no student had effects extending beyond the 15-minute period in which they were tested.”
“As a W.T. Grant Foundation Faculty Scholar, she worked extensively with underserved populations, studying the effects of musical enrichment on cognition. Dr. Rauscher has also studied the effects of an enriched environment on maze learning in rats, and is co-editor, with Professor Dr. Wilfried Gruhn, of “Neurosciences in Music Pedagogy.”
“While at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, she received the John McNaughton Rosebush award for excellence in teaching, scholarship and research, as well as several Distinguished Teaching awards, and an Endowment for Excellence from AxleTech International.”
Dr. Rauscher says, “Music instruction can improve a child’s special intelligence for long periods of time perhaps permanently.” (Elias, P.1, 1994)
She recently wrote, “My major goal was to determine the neural processes responsible for enhancement of spatial-temporal reasoning through music instruction.”
She continued, “I believe my most important accomplishment was the discovery that music instruction, and certain forms of exposure, can affect brain mechanisms responsible for both music and spatial-temporal reasoning. This finding supported the notion that enriched early childhood development is critical for optimal brain function throughout the lifespan.”
Dr. Frances Rauscher is a psychologist, researcher, professor, and musician. As a professor and neuroscience researcher she taught over three generations of students. Today, she is Professor emerita (retired) from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and “works as a wildlife care specialist at a wildlife hospital in Wisconsin.”
“To Create Unshakable Optimism, Lift the Corners of Your Mouth” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D.
Churchill understood the power of optimism to set the foundation for victory.
Churchill said in 1910, “I am one of those, ‘who believe that the world is going to get better and better.’ He deprecated negative thinking. In a speech to his officers in the trenches in France in 1916, Churchill exhorted: ‘Laugh a little, and teach your men to laugh. . . If you can’t smile, grin. If you can’t grin, keep out of the way till you can.’”
What can humor do for you?
According to the Mayo Clinic: “Laughter is a stress RelieVER!” Listening to a funny TV show, reading a cartoon in the newspaper or reading a funny article can help you smile and relax, releasing your stress and depression.
WHAT ELSE CAN LAUGHTER DO FOR YOU?
- Laughter “LOWERS your heart rate and blood pressure. Laughter CALMS YOU DOWN, relieves pain, helping your body to produce its own natural painkillers.”
- Laughter helps you “cope with difficult situations and helps you connect with other people.”
How can you remember humorous stories and anecdotes?
When you think of a funny joke, read a funny joke , or hear a funny joke write it down in your humor notebook for things to share with family and friends.
Let’s test out a little humor:
A young couple with very little money gets married in a small ceremony with two witnesses. The new wife says to her new husband “I’d like to go out to eat at the little Scottish place around the corner!”
The new husband says to his new wife, “We can’t afford to go out to a meal and we don’t have any Scottish restaurants here!”
New wife says, “Yes we do. It’s Mac Donald’s and we can afford it too!” (From author, Diana Palmer)
Winston Churchill, “We are all worms. But I believe I am a glow-worm!”
Churchill, “ A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”
So, how can you instantly change your mood?
Try it with me: Lift the corners of your mouth to create unshakable optimism. © 2022 Madeline Frank
If you need a virtual speaker contact Madeline at: email@example.com
“Music Students Do Better in School Than Non-Musical Peers” (June 24, 2019) from Science Daily.
“UBC education professor and the study’s principal investigator, Peter Gouzouasis. “The students who learned to play a musical instrument in elementary and continued playing in high school not only score significantly higher, but were about one academic year ahead of their non-music peers with regard to their English, mathematics and science skills, as measured by their exam grades, regardless of their socioeconomic background, ethnicity, prior learning in mathematics and English, and gender.”
“Gouzouasis and his team examined data from all students in public schools in British Columbia who finished Grade 12 between 2012¬ and 2015. The data sample, made up of more than 112,000 students, included those who completed at least one standardized exam for math, science and English, and for whom the researchers had appropriate demographic information — including gender, ethnicity, neighborhood socioeconomic status, and prior learning in numeracy and literacy skills. Students who studied at least one instrumental music course in the regular curriculum counted as students taking music.”
The study’s co-investigator Martin Guhn, an assistant professor in UBC’s school of population and public health says, “Learning to play a musical instrument and playing in an ensemble is very demanding. A student has to learn to read music notation, develop eye-hand-mind coordination, develop keen listening skills, develop team skills for playing in an ensemble and develop discipline to practice. All those learning experiences, and more, play a role in enhancing the learner’s cognitive capacities, executive functions, motivation to learn in school, and self-efficacy.”
Conclusion: “High school students who take music courses score significantly better on math, science and English exams than their non-musical peers, according to a new study.” (Journal of Educational Psychology) (Journal reference: Martin Guhn, Scott D. Emerson, Peter Gouzouasis. A population-level analysis of associations between school music participation and academic achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 2019; DOI: 10.1037/edu0000376)
“Students Who Take Music Classes Also Do Better Academically, Study Finds” (June 24, 2019) by Daniel Blanco.
“High school students who play musical instruments score significantly higher in science, math and English.”