We want to wish all of our readers a Happy Valentine’s Day! Remember to start your Romantic Day right by listening to Classical music which has the power to improve your mood, make you smarter, help you work faster with more accuracy, improves health and healing, grows healthier plants in fewer days, increases sales in stores, and can soothe your mind preventing crime. If school cafeterias and school buses played Classical Music, the students would be calmer and more focused without violent tendencies.
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 March 2011 newsletter
Article for February 2011: “Eye Ball to Eye Ball” by Dr. Madeline Frank
Do you like to look people in the eye, eye ball to eye ball, to judge their honesty, integrity and commitment? Could looking eye ball to eye ball keep you alive? I have always felt that the eyes are “the windows of the soul!’
Madeline’s One Minute Musical Radio Show for February 2011
How did Classical music play a part of Louis Braille’s work and what instruments did he play? Click here for Your Radio Show:
Question of the Month: Who was Louis Braille?
In 1824 Louis Braille invented Braille. A system for the blind to read and write by passing the finger tips over “one to six embossed points.” He was also a teacher of the blind and a musician.
On January 4, 1809 Louis Braille was born in Coupvray, France to Simon-Rene’ and Constance Braille. Louis’s father was “a harness and saddle maker”. He had an older sister and two older brothers. When Louis was 3 years old he went to his father’s repair shop and was using his father’s tools, “an awl, a sharp tool for making holes, and the tool slid and hurt his eye. The wound got infected, and the infection spread, and soon, Louis was blind in both eyes.” He attended the same school as his older siblings as there were no other choice for a blind child to learn at that time. At the local school he was a good student who listened carefully and had a good memory. At this time, the school required all students to be able to read and write and Louis was completely blind. He was frustrated in school as he wanted to read.
The local Priest, Abbe’ Palluy and Schoolmaster Becheret asked the local nobleman, Marquis d’Orvilliers to help Louis continue his education. At the age of 10, in 1819,. Louis was given a scholarship to attend the National Institution for Blind Youth in Paris. He was the youngest student at the school and on his bed was the number 70.
The school was run by Dr. Guillié, who “referred to blind people as degraded beings, condemned to vegetate on the earth.” The school “was dank, cramped, and in poor repair, with narrow stairwells, tiny rooms and walls clammy to the touch. It smelled of mildew and other putrid emanations.”
The school was actually a workhouse out of a Dickens novel. The products the students made were sold in shops in Paris. The students made buggy whips, straw chair bottoms, slippers, and fish nets. Under a separate contract they wove sheets for public hospitals. One of these hospitals’s had over 10,000 inmates. They also wove their own uniforms.
Guillié relied on older students “to give lessons verbally to younger students.” Guillié obtained “government support for the school and received a small stipend for the older students’ instructional time, which he personally pocketed.”
Students worked and attended classes for thirteen-hours day. They had a bath once a month, very little heat, muddy water from the Seine River to drink, and porridge and beans to eat. For disobeying the rules students served “up to two days” in solitary confinement and diner consisted of dried bread.
One positive note: Guillié’s loved music and “music lessons were compulsory for all students. He cheated the students out of heat and food, but “he spared no effort finding instruments for a school orchestra and recruiting excellent volunteer teachers from among local musical professionals. For students who were naturally talented, this was probably the happiest part of their school years.” Louis learned to play the cello, the piano and later the organ.
At the school students learned to read very heavy embossed books that were made by soaking paper to form raised letters ” so that the tactile shape of the specially crafted large round cursive letters remained after the paper dried. Pages were then glued back-to-front to produce a two-sided sheet. These books were, ..slow and difficult to make–and .. slow and difficult to read, since the shape of each letter had to be traced individually.” When Louis arrived at the school there were a total of 14 embossed books.
Charles Barbier, a former soldier in 1821 visited Louis’s school sharing “his invention called “night writing,” a code of 12 raised dots that let soldiers share top-secret information on the battlefield without even having to speak”. The code was very difficult for soldiers, “but not for 12-year-old Louis!” He took the 12 dots of Barbier’s code and trimmed it to 6 to fit under a finger tip. Louis worked late at night on his Braille.
During this time he won prizes in mathematics, geography, history and piano. At school he worked “as foreman of the slipper shop at the school.”
Pignier , the new head of the school, “appealed to the Ministry repeatedly over the next several years” to repair and replace the old decaying building. Even “though medical inspectors visited the school in ..1821 and 1828 and reported dutifully and ineffectually that “mortality among the students is high.” He was denied assistance on repairs to the building.
“Pignier arranged for Louis to become an organ student at a local church.” Louis was an “exceptionally talented musician was heard and praised by Felix Mendelssohn, and a few years later obtained the first of several jobs as a church organist.”
In 1824 at 15 years of age Louis had finished his Braille system.” Louis was “the first blind apprentice teacher at the school” He taught geography, algebra, music and grammar. During this time Louis developed “a way to copy music in his new code” leaving out the dashes. In 1829 at the age of 20 he published his first Braille book. “Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged for Them”.
Louis Braille, Gabriel Gauthier and former student Hippolyte Coltat, “became the first blind full professors at the school” a few years later. Being professors at the school gave them more freedom. “They could leave the school occasionally without asking permission” and had their own rooms. “All three new teachers used the new alphabet in their classes.”
As a teacher Louis Braille was popular and generous with his students in giving them gifts and loans to buy themselves better quality food and warmer clothing from his meager salary as a professor at the school. He saved enough money to purchase “a piano so he could practice whenever he wished.”
Louis developed tuberculosis in his twenties because of his many years of living in the unhealthy school building and eating the bad food and drinking the polluted water. Throughout his life Louis would have “periods of health and energy interspersed with terrifying hemorrhages and near-fatal collapses. Still, despite his illness, teaching load, and several jobs playing the organ, he worked on at refining the code.”
Pignier arranged in 1834 “for Louis to demonstrate his code at the Paris Exposition of Industry, attended by visitors from all over the world. King Louis-Philippe of France presided over the opening of the show and even spoke with Louis about his invention, but, like other observers, including officials from the Ministry of the Interior that supervised the school, did not seem to understand what he saw.”
In 1837 Louis revised his Braille alphabet book. This was also the year “the students at the school published the first Braille textbook in the world, a three-volume history of France.”
Blind students would have to ask a sighted person to write a letter home for them so Louis in 1839, invented “Raphigraphy” It was”a system which represents the alphabet with large print letters composed of Braille dots. Raphigraphy was labor-intensive–the letter “I” alone required the Braillist to punch 16 dots.” In 1841, Pierre Foucault, a blind inventor and former student at the school returned and “saw what Louis Braille was doing.” He “invented a machine called a “piston board,” to punch complete dot-drawn letters. In 1847, he would invent the “keyboard printer” ,essentially, a typewriter, enabling blind people to write to sighted people in black type. Louis Braille used it to compose letters to his mother back in Coupvray.”
Throughout history there have always been dishonorable persons who wanted to take away someone else’s hard earned work. The Iago of Shakespeare’s “Othello”. Such was the Assistant director P. Armand Dufau. He did not like Louis Braille’s code. He felt it made the blind “too independent.”
Dufau had Director Pignier removed from his position at the school so he could take over. Dufau worked hard to remove all Braille materials in the school. Students were outraged and continued writing in Braille using nails, forks, and knitting needles in their secret diaries. Older students taught younger students Braille.
Dufau’s punishment for students using Braille for reading and writing was to starve and slap students to keep them from using Braille. Joseph Guadet, Dufau’s assistant watched the students and taught himself to read and write Braille. He became an advocate of Braille and changed Dufau.mind about Braille.
At the school’s new building dedication in February Louis’ was finally publically honored. “Louis Braille’s system of writing with raised dots” was described and students gave “a demonstration. An official in the audience cried out that it was all a trick, that the child writing Braille and a second child (who had been out of the room for the dictation) reading it back must have memorized the text in advance. In reply, Dufau asked the man to find some printed material in his pocket, which turned out to be a theater ticket, and to read it to the student Braillist. The little girl reproduced the text and another child read it back flawlessly before the man even returned to his seat. The crowd, convinced, applauded wildly for a full six minutes.”
During the last eight years of Louis Braille life he was in declining health. He continued teaching “and Brailing books for the school library”. Inquiries were made from around the world about Louis’s Braille code.
Louis Braille died in Paris, France on January 6, 1852 “just two days past his forty-third birthday, not a single Paris newspaper noted his passing.”
Two years after Louis Braille’s death in 1854 his Braille System was finally accepted.
Helen Keller wrote: “Braille has been a most precious aid to me in many ways. It made my going to college possible–it was the only method by which I could take notes of lectures. All my examination papers were copied for me in this system. I use Braille as a spider uses its web–to catch thoughts that flit across my mind for speeches, messages and manuscripts.”
“Building On Hope Not Only for The City’s Children, But Also for the Orchestra” (January 6, 2011) byPeter Dobrin from the Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia Public Schools began a new orchestra program in the fall to help inner city children take pride in themselves and improve their school work by learning to play a musical instrument in an orchestra. The concert in Dec. 2010 was a success. The musicians radiated glee and quiet pride. Parents looked tickled to hear what their children had been up to, siblings maybe a bit envious.”
“What is a Provost? U.C.’s Newest Administrator Offers a Musical Analogy” (Dec. 2010) by Deborah Rieselman from the University of Cincinnati Magazine
Provost Santa Jeremy Ono became the new Provost in Sep. 2010, “the chief academic officer of the University” of Cincinnati, the Professor of pediatrics and biology at U C, and is an accomplished cellist and “award winning medical researcher”.
Provost Santa Ono “compares his job to being an orchestra conductor” and says, ”You cannot have the percussion section playing whatever they want yet you need the percussion as much as you need the brass. The provost needs to understand the contributions of different parts of the university and coordinate it to achieve the full power of what a university can deliver to society.” To read the article click on the following link:
Classical music has the power to organize the brain while listening to it as background music while you are doing your homework, to help you relax after a hard day of work or while doing exercises.Begin listening or playing your musical instrument for 30 minutes at a time. It helps because of its highly developed mathematics and therefore exercises the brain as physical exercise exercises the body.
For more scientific evidence, medical evidence, test results, and true stories of the world’s scientists, medical doctors, and mathematicians who have studied and played musical instruments since they were children go to
“The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. Click on the link:
“Ten Tips for a Healthier 2011” (Jan 6, 2011) by Sonja Rosen, M.D from the Health, Santa Monica. Dr. Rosen says to “Listen to classical music! In addition to personal enjoyment, studies show that classical music helps heart health and also can reduces stress, anxiety, and tension.”
“Musical Notes On Math” teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun way, through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award. For more information click on the following link:
For Tips on how to use “Musical Notes On Math” click on the following link:
Evidence & Articles supporting the benefits of classical music in your daily life, in the Public School Classrooms, and while doing homework after school:
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 would play 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.
Northside Middle School in Norfolk, Virginia is using classical music in halls and class rooms with very good success. “Classical Music Plays at Norfolk School”