Music has the power to motivate, inspire, and to soothe pain. In a hospital , a patient finds her voice after a stroke when her favorite song is played. She sings the words to the song and remembers her voice.

Students in a elementary school classroom listen to classical music, played softly in the background, while doing creative writing assignments and problem solving in math. It creates a calm atmosphere conducive to problem solving and creative thinking as well as an appreciation of music that they might not have experienced. Throughout history, during the darkest days of war, orchestras have performed in war zones to bolster their troops; the siege of Leningrad and Israel’s war of independence are examples. In Africa, music is used to celebrate the harvesting of crops, tribal victories, praising hunters, and preparing for battle. No one is immune to the power of music. Einstein developed his Theory of Relativity while playing on his violin and piano. Schweitzer played on his organ in the wilds of Africa to help him think better. Music has the power to touch all of us where nothing else can.

I saw this first hand, last month, when I played a benefit concert in memory of Daniel Pearl, martyred international journalist and Romayne Leader Frank, my mother, a family advocate supporter and lawyer. The concert was a benefit to raise money for the Tzedek -Tikum Olam-Homeless Initiative and for the Troops’ Passover in Iraq /Afghanistan. An audience member wrote how “very moving ,inspiring, .. and very expressive” the concert was and another audience members said “you have no idea how healing this concert was.” Performing with me was pianist Lynda Gilpin and Hillel Director Geoffrey Brown, the narrator for “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” one of the three pieces we played in honor of Daniel Pearl . He enjoyed playing Blue Grass music on his fiddle and electric violin. In honor of Romayne Leader Frank we played two Tangos, La Cumparsita and Hernando’s Hideaway . She enjoyed dancing and singing to Tangos and hearing Autumn Leaves sung by Edith Piaf. We also played many classical favorites by Mozart, Bach, Dvorak, Kreisler, Puccini, Chopin, Brahms, Debussy, Gardner, and others.

We concluded our concert with what an audience participant called our “superb Sing Along with the College of William and Mary student musicians …Fiddler On the Roof selections reached a spiritual realm with Sabbath Prayer.” The concert took place at one of the oldest historical buildings on campus, The Great Hall, Wren Building designed by architect Christopher Wren. The building has high ceilings and is made of stone with large windows with beautiful historic paintings of Jefferson, Monroe, King William, Queen Mary and others . We played music from around the world and through the centuries. Our program included a variety of music that would appeal to everyone in the audience and a sing along where every one could express themselves through music. Dr. Raymond Macdonald of Saga Health News says, “Singing is one of life’s great joys, whether or not you can stay in tune… Sing whenever and wherever you can…. It’ll help relax you and lift your mood . Singing music helps our choir “sing through their pain says Geoffrey Butler, artistic director of the Toronto Choral Society. On one final note, Dr. Mike Lowis, psychologist, of the University College Northampton says that “to activate both sides of the brain music needs to be complex” and in using music as medicine “just half an hour of soothing music is said to be ..equivalent to 10 mgs of a tranquillizer such as Valium-but without the side effects”.

For April my readers will find a new and improved web site and if you have not re-signed up for my newsletter please re-sign up on the left side of the home page for your future newsletters (we’re using a new, and improved system–thanks in advance for your patience).

Mr. J’s question: He asked if there is a related case involving a broke hip? He broke his hip while ice skating and his hip was operated on and he began physical therapy after leaving the hospital but his doctor decided to stop the physical therapy for 8 weeks to allow his hip to heal completely. In a related case, Dr Sacks, neurologist and author of “Awakenings” and Concetta Tomaino, a music therapist, had an elderly patient with a complex hip fracture . “ The surgery had been successful, but, strangely, her leg remained inert and useless. The muscles of the leg, indeed, showed a complete “electrical silence,” and “evoked potential” studies in the brain showed that it was no longer represented in the sensory areas, and had completely dropped out of body -image; and yet, it was a good leg, with no residual injury.( Sacks& Tomaino, 1991, pp.10-12). They asked if “ the leg had ever moved since the injury(p.10)?” She said it had “kept time “ when an Irish jig was played at a Christmas Concert. “This showed that, if there were the right musical stimulus, the leg could respond, and could move. Ordinary physiotherapy had been useless, and they wondered if music therapy could accomplish what physiotherapy had failed to do (p.10).” Music therapy was successful in eliciting “strong automatic responses to music and rhythm, to get the patient to make dancing movements, and, finally, to walk (p.10)”. This April if you have a question about the power of music for education and healing … what would your specific question be? Tap on my web site below and look on the left side to where it says ask me a question.:

No matter what your occupation, we all have one thing in common, we get stiff holding one position for to long. A few examples of this are working at a computer, working at your desk, and bending to pull out weeds in your garden .Have you ever watched an athlete do stretching exercises before a game? The reason for these exercises is to warm up muscles before getting into action. This is the same thing I do before I begin to practice my viola or sit at my computer to work on my articles. In an article entitle “Hands-On Music, Once Again” (March 22, 2007) by Susan Elgin from the Daily Iowan. International pianist, Leon Fleisher, 77, has finally recovered from his dystonia ,which caused him to lose the use of his right hand at the age of 37 . Botox injections have relieved his symptoms and he is playing with both hands after a 35 year hiatus . “ When teaching master classes, Fleisher imparts health wisdom to his students in the hope of preventing injuries from “the dangers that lurk in the practice room,” he said. “When you go to the ball park, you see guys stretching, right? But no one tells piano students to stop every half hour and stretch-but that’s very important.”

In the following two articles, two busy professionals continue playing their music as a hobby:

“Local Mom Works with A Smile On Her Face and a Song in Her Heart” (March 8,2007) by Jennifer Priest-Mitchell from The TimesTigard in Portland, Oregon. Jenny Klotz has a business management degree from Concordia University and works as an Employee Recognition Specialist for the Oregon Health and Science University. On week ends she plays in a band called the Pressure Point. She began playing classical piano in first grade and has continued ever since with her piano. For 16 months she played a tour with a Youth Christian Band out of Minnesota and was awarded a scholarship to California Lutheran University. She later transferring to Portland State University teaching piano and voice privately.

“Local Dentist Plays French Horn During Down Time” (March 6,2007) by Michele Tjin from Media News at San Jose Mercury News in California. Len Brothers is a respected dentist by day and plays his French horn in two community orchestras at night. He began playing the trumpet in the fifth grade and switched to French horn during his junior year of high school. Len Brothers says, “I play because it’s fun. I’m a journeyman French horn player. I’m not a professional, but I’m competent. …” “Musical Training Affects All Aspects of Learning” (March 7, 2007) by Travis M. Whitehead from the in McAllen, Texas. Students and teachers at Brown Middle School and McAllen Rowe High School tell how studying music has helped them to concentrate better , to organize better by participating in musical programs, by learning mathematics through the rhythm of music, by teaching them creativity ,innovation and problem solving, and by teaching them to interpret symbols, which is a reading skill. Studying music leads to better grades in their academics, higher scholastic test score and removes stress helping them to relax.
The complete article is below:

“Pilot Music Program Strikes Chord with Students” (March 5,2007) by Chris Gullick staff writer of the Oroville Mercury- Register Online. This new after school program for 4th ,5th and 6th graders .The “Chapman School was chosen as the site of the pilot because of its low test score averages. It was designated a “program improvement” school and significant changes are being made to try to improve student achievement. Roby explained that learning music has been shown to improve students’ learning in academics, such as reading and math. “We’re seeing whole schools turn around when they start a music program,” he said. One of the goals of the pilot program is to determine if it has an impact on students’ academic learning at Chapman, he said.”

“Solano Leaders Shadow Principals” by Andrea Wolf/ Times Herald correspondent March 21,2007, Vallejo, California. Glen Cove Elementary School, Principal Greg Allison has his undergraduate degree in music and teaches his students choir on Fridays and has them perform at the end of the year for their parents. “A pianist, he also makes a point to play classical music and invite” musicians from the symphony to perform. The complete article is below:

Classroom Update On Using Classical Music in the Public School Classrooms and while doing homework after school:

“Solano Leaders Shadow Principals” by Andrea Wolf/ Times Herald correspondent March 21,2007, Vallejo, California. Glen Cove Elementary School, Principal Greg Allison has his undergraduate degree in music and teaches his students choir on Fridays and has them perform at the end of the year for their parents. “A pianist, he also makes a point to play classical music and invite” musicians from the symphony to perform.

Northside Middle School in Norfolk, Virginia using classical music in halls and class rooms with very good success. “Classical Music Plays at Norfolk School”

  • Mrs. J has 3 children, ages 15, 11, and 7 who have been listening to Mozart and other classical music while doing their homework after school for 8 months, since March 05. She has seen them become more focused and relaxed , finishing homework quicker, with more accuracy which has led to higher grades.
  • Mrs. JC had her fourth grade reading class , 22 in the class, listening to classical music, Mozart, 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. 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. where nothing else can. 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 five year.

Performing at Hospitals, Rehab Hospitals, and Retirement Homes

  • Madeline Frank, violist has shared her music with patients at local Hospitals and Rehab Hospitals in Virginia. If anyone has an experience they would like to share on the benefits of classical music please write and I will include it in the May 2007 newsletter.

Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy Easter and Passover from your Non-Invasive Medicine…Music Expert, Madeline