Music has the power to motivate, inspire, educate and soothe pain. No one is immune from the power of music.
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Many of the worlds scientists, medical doctors, and mathematicians have studied and played musical instruments since they were children. These eminent individuals have integrated music into their thinking process. It has been found that children who take up a musical instrument learn discipline, cooperation, teamwork, motivation, concentration and self esteem. Recent medical research has determined that when you play a musical instrument, all four lobes of the brain and the cerebellum are being stimulated. By playing a musical instrument the brain cells are strengthened and form new connections.
When Alan Greenspan was around 11, he “built a collection of railroad timetables from all over the country”(Greenspan, 2007, p22). At the age of 12 , he began his “other great passion with music”(p.23). He played the clarinet, studying classical music and jazz, and after high school attended the Juilliard School in NYC, working as a professional musician. Later he attended New York University earning his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in economics . He later served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board from 1987-2006 and has written a new book entitled “The Age of Turbulence: Adventures In A New World” (2007). Classical music has been a life long pursuit for Alan Greenspan, Oliver Sacks (M.D. Neurologist & pianist), Albert Einstein (Ph.D. in Physics & violinist), Albert Schweitzer (M.D. & organist), Margaret F. Pinkston (PhD in Biochemistry, Chemistry & violinist), Francis Rauscher (Ph.D. in Psychology & cellist), and Barbara P. Schick (Biochemist Ph.D & cellist), Judith Resnik (Astronaut, Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, biomedical engineer & pianist).
“Musical Training Found Important for Communication Skills” (Oct. 24,2007) hosted by Bob Doughty and Pat Bodnar from Science in the News Radio Broadcast.
Bob Doughty : “American scientists say musical training seems to improve communication skills. They found that developing musical skills involves the same process in the brain as learning how to speak. The scientists say that could help children with learning disabilities. Nina Kraus is a neurobiologist at Northwestern University in Illinois. She says musical training involves putting together different kinds of information. She says the process involves hearing music, looking at musical notes, touching an instrument and watching other musicians. She says the process is not much different from learning how to speak. Both involve different senses.”
Pat Bodnar: “Professor Krauss says musical training and learning to speak each make us think about what we are doing. She says speech and music pass through a structure of the nervous system called the brain stem. The brain stem controls our ability to hear. Until recently, experts have thought the brain stem could not be developed or changed. But Professor Krauss and her team found that musical training can improve a person’s brain stem activity. Their study was reported in the Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences.”
To read the transcript and hear the radio broadcast go to:
“Mental Music” (OCT 26,2007) by Linda Stewart from The Times Record News.
At the Harrold Independent School District in Vernon the Superintendent David Thweatt has just made band mandatory in grades five through eight.
“Thweatt said it has been proven that the IQ of students involved in music programs increase by about 15 percent.” His “school system has never had any type of band.” To read more about this new program go to:
“Traditional Music Good for Humankind” (Sep 26,2007) by Xin Fei from the Epoch Times.com. Dr. Jason Liu, M.D., director of the Mind-Body Science Institute in California on August 30, was interviewed “about the benefits of the first International Chinese Vocal Competition to be held by New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) in New York in October 2007.” Dr. Liu believes “music and songs…express pure truth, pure goodness, pure beauty are capable of redressing the heart and repelling diseases, playing a role not to be replaced by medicine….Dr. Liu has treated many patients with music. ….A beautiful piece of music can unite heaven, earth, and man into one and purify a person’s spiritual realms, so his or her body becomes healthy naturally. In fact, a person’s body and mind are one, and to treat one’s body, it’s inevitable to adjust his mind first.”
“Classical Concert to Benefit Library” (Oct 6,2007) from The Cedar Creek Pilot.com Cedar Creek Lake, Texas. On Saturday at 6:30 pm on Oct 13, cellist, Eugene Osadchy, Principal cellist with the Plano Symphony and the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, will give a Classical Concert. Daradjan Baya Kakouberi, pianist , winner of the IBLA International Competition in Italy will be performing with Mr. Osadchy. The Concert entitled, “Sounds of Cedar Creek Lake” will be at the home of Dr. Mark and Kathy Hughes of Tool. The concert will be given to benefit the Endowment Fund for the Library at Cedar Creek Lake. Tickets are $100 each with 100 % of the ticket sales going to the Endowment Fund for the Library. Only 100 tickets will be sold.
“Music Can Heal” (Oct 1, 2007) from articleboy.com. The power of music to heal through the use of music therapists. To read the full article go to:
“Play @Work: Fun Turns Out to Be Serious Biz for IT Cos” (Oct 6,2007) from The Economic Times. India Times. com. “Almost all large IT companies plan days when employees get into play mode- from annual days, week and month-long fests to dinners and movie outings. Music, dances, skits, fashion shows, theme days and mini contests….Cognizant Chennai even has a 20 piece band Euphony , complete with three keyboard artists, two rhythm guitarists, two percussionists, two classical instrument players and the rest vocalists, chosen from 400 employees who participated in a talent hunt a year back.” To see the full article go to:
“Home Schooling Popularity Grows in WNC” ( Oct 14,2007) by Ashley Wilson from the Ashville Citizen -Times Voice of the Mountain, N.C. “We have classical music playing all day long. We have National Public Radio in the background. It’s amazing how cultured your children can become…” To read the article go to:
“Concerts’ Offered in Lobby of Shady Grove Hospital” (Oct.10,2007) by Contessa Crisostomo from the Maryland Community Newspapers On Line Gazette.net. Ron Benfield is the CFO of the Shady Grove Hospital and every month he plays a concert on his cello with Marianne Scriven at the piano. Ms. Scriven works at the hospital in the human resources department. Both began playing on their instruments at the age of six. Scriven says, music “ aids in the whole rehab process and puts people’s minds at ease.”
Benfield says, “Actually, it’s not really a concert… We want to be apart of the environment.” Carol Chandler, a nurse and the hospital’s Planetree coordinator says, “We …put together an experience that’s as healing as we possibly can. It transforms the healthcare facility from institutional to inviting and warm. When people feel vulnerable and there’s a loss of control , we put comfort back in.” To read the article go to :
“Better Than Any Pain Medicine” (Oct. 12,2007) by Meredith Grenier from the Daily Breeze.com . At Torrance Memorial Medical Center music is played 7 days a week from 10-4 pm. by 22 volunteer pianists including physician, Dr. Frank An, a family practitioner at the hospital. For stroke patient Joe Burrow music has been a godsend for him, “I was very depressed when I first got there, and the music made a huge difference. I arrived Saturday and listened to the music. By Sunday I began to believe I’d be all right. After that I wheeled my chair out to the lobby every day.”
“Music’s Mending Powers” (Oct. 14,2007) by Charles Osgood, host of Sunday Morning CBS News. Dr. Oliver Sacks, noted neurologist and a pianist since childhood, shares his incites on his new book “Musicophilia” with Charles Osgood. “Dr. Sacks has found a way to combine two his greatest passions- music and the brain. ..He has spent years exploring the effects of music on the brain ”, says Charles Osgood. In Sacks’ 1969 book “Awakenings” he “tried using music to arouse the catatonic victims of a rare brain disease”. The book was later made into a movie with Robin Williams as Dr. Sacks. He says, “These were people who couldn’t generate any movement or any speech for themselves, sometimes until or unless they heard music….And then suddenly they’d be able to flow, to dance , to sing . It was miraculous to see them, amazing…. I see patients with all sorts of neurological conditions who could be greatly helped by music….People with Parkinson’s disease who can’t generate a sense of rhythm of their own, who can’t move but you give them rhythmical music and they can discover their own lost rhythm.”
To see and hear excerpts on video of Dr. Sacks talking about his “Musicophilia” go to:
Two articles on the benefits of singing and listening to music are “How Singing Improves Your Health (Even if Other People Shouldn’t Hear You Singing)” and “New Study Confirms It: Music is a Must for Your Good Health … and Your Brain” by www.SixWise.com (Oct. 17,2007) To read the full articles go to:
The question of the month: Mrs. M asked, “How can I encourage my children to do their homework?”
My Answer: Play the music of Mozart, that’s Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on your CD or IPOD and have them do their homework with Mozart’s music playing in the background. This is the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. . Several teachers in Virginia have been playing the music of Mozart , Bach and other Classical composers in their public school class rooms. Also parents have been successful with having their children listen to classical music while working on their homework.
Classroom Update On Using Classical Music in the Public School Classrooms and while doing homework after school:
- 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. 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.
- 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 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”
- “Granite Falls Educator Is Nation’s Teacher of the Year” (April 26,2007)
by Lynn Thompson from the Seattle Times Newspaper. The nations teacher of the year is Granite Falls music teacher, Andrea Peterson. Andrea Peterson, 33, teaches choir and music classes at Monte Cristo Elementary School. She plays “almost every instrument in the orchestra , sings, composes music, writes lyrics for her students on subjects as diverse as ocean ecology and Shakespeare.” Superintendent Joel Thaut, says, “Music isn’t a subsidiary subject in Granite Falls. It’s part of everything we do.”
- “Music Saved the Street Children of Venezuela-Could It Work for Scotland
Too? (Aug. 13,2007) by Ben Hoyle from the Times Online UK. “ In the violent slums of Venezuela, free classical music lessons have transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and created an unlikely production of virtuosos. For 32 years El Sistema (the System) has tackled the “spiritual poverty” among some of South America’s poorest street children by teaching them to play Bach, Beethoven and Mahler in orchestras.” On Friday at the Edinburgh International Festival the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela , one of over 200 orchestras reaching over 250,000 children, will play a concert arranged by project organizers who hope to “rescue a generation of children on one of Scotland’s most notorious housing estates.” At the rehearsal will be families from the Raploch estate hoping to change the lives of their children. Raploch has “widespread unemployment and parents are scared for their children…To d for their children.” The families want “to keep their children off the streets …drinking… Tonic Wine.” From the Youth Orchestras of Venezuela have come Gustavo Dudamel, 26, the new music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and from the ghetto of Caracas, Edicson Ruiz, “17, the youngest –ever member of the Berlin Philharmonic.” The transformation project will start slowly with a 120 Million Pounds for new schools, nurseries, 900 new homes, sports facilities and health facilities. Venezuela’s, El Sistema began “humbly with a handful of children playing in a garage”. Today the Youth Orchestras of Venezuela attract “more than 15 Million Pounds a year of government funding”. For the article go to
- “Music Is A Lifeline”(Sep 26, 2007) from Artslink.co.za News. What was accomplished in Venezuela could be done in Africa.
- “How the Arts Make Kids Smarter” (July 7, 2007) by Mary Belle McCorkle
and Shirley Kiser from the Tucson Citizen, Tucson, Arizona. Gene Jones, a retired businessman moved to Tucson in the spring of 2000 and “became president of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra board, attended a national conference for people running symphony orchestras. There, he heard of an experimental program in North Carolina that brought orchestra players into the classrooms not just to expose kids to the pleasures of music, but also to help classroom teachers impart curriculum and teach basic skills.” This North Carolina program was so successful in raising children’s test scores that Jones decided to fly several of the Tucson educators to North Carolina to see the program at work. They were so excited about the North Carolina program that they decided to implement a similar program in Arizona . “Seven years later, Opening Minds through the Arts, the program they excitedly sketched out on their way home, is in 36 TUSD schools, serving 17,000 students for 32 weeks a year. It’s been so successful at pleasing teachers and parents, and raising test scores, that Harvard University has studied it as a model for arts integration.”
For more scientific evidence, medical evidence, and musical therapy refer to my book The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music: Go to www.madelinefrankviola.com to order.
“Musical Notes On Math” teaches your child fractions and decimals the fun way through the rhythm of music, the Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award. To see a one page math to rhythm tip sheet here tap on link: www.madelinefrankviola.com then tap on, at the top of the page, “Musical Notes On Math” and click on tips on how to use my book
This November 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
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 me and I will include it in the December 2007 newsletter.
Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy Thanksgiving from your Non-Invasive Medicine…Music Expert, Madeline
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