We wish all our readers a very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving. Classical music has the power to motivate, inspire, educate and soothe pain. No one is immune from the power of music. Many of the world’s 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. This is the 253 anniversary of Mozart’s birth. Classical music has tremendous healing power. In newspapers across the United States, music is being used to help patients relax after having surgery, help critically ill patients in intensive care units to mend, volunteer musicians are playing concerts at the bedside of patients and students do their homework after school, while listening to classical music in the background.
This month we have included the famous story of “Captain Murderer” by Charles Dickens , three articles on dealing with difficult people, and Dr. Frank’s case study of a six year old boy who goes from failing out of school ,as he is unable to read and write, to learning the violin and becoming a model student who enjoys learning.
For a review of our August 2009 issue dedicated to teachers, principals, and students for starting their year the right way click on the following link:
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 December 2009 newsletter.
Madeline’s Musical One Minute Radio Show for November 2009
How does Classical Music play a part of Charles Dickens life as an author and musician and what instruments did he play?
Click here for Your Radio Show: https://www.madelinefrankviola.com/madelines-one-minute-radio-show/
Question of the Month: Who was Charles Dickens?
Charles Dickens (B. February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth- D. June 9, 1870 at Gads Place Hill) was an author, playwright, social reformer, free lance reporter, junior clerk in a law office, played the accordion, and was the father of 10 children. “He wrote about the ills he saw around him: poverty and prostitution, homelessness and orphans, corruption and venality in the government, including the courts system.”
What influenced Charles Dickens?
Dickens said, “One person fired up my imagination and gave me the tools to be a writer.” At the age of 3, Charles was so full of energy that he never wanted to go to sleep. His mother had a maid named Mary Weller who worked for 3 meals a day and a warm place to sleep in front of the stove. She did not clean the house. Her job was to “find a way to keep Dickens in bed at night. She told the best blood and guts tale of terror horror stories.” She knew 125 stories but Dickens favorite story was “Captain Murderer” and he asked for this story all the time.
Engels, E. (1997). Dickens for Kids. North Carolina: Authors Ink. http://www.authorsink.com/
At 11 years of age, the debtor’s police hauled Charles father off to Debtors Prison in front of Charles. He said, “I shall never be poor again.” His mother and brothers were sent to Marshalsea Prison and during this time Charles was sent to work at Warren’s Blacking Factory for ten hours a day. He had to wear five pairs of socks, while working at the factory, so he would have some protection from the rats that bit through his socks at the factory. His traumatic experiences, feelings of alienation and betrayal are themes of his books “David Copperfield” and“Great Expectations”.
Charles Dickens “mother did not immediately remove him from the boot-blacking factory.” This incident convinced Dickens’s “that a father should rule the family” and a mother should “find her proper sphere inside the home.” Dickens said, “I never afterwards forgot, I never shall forget, I never can forget, that my mother was warm for my being sent back.” Because of “his mother’s failure in his eyes, requesting Charles return to the blacking factory, contributed towards his demanding and dissatisfied attitude towards women. Resentment stemming from his situation and the conditions under which working class people lived became major themes of his works, and it was this unhappy period in his youth to which he alluded in his favorite and most autobiographical novel, David Copperfield”. Dickens said, “I had no advice, no counsel, no encouragement, no consolation, no assistance, no support, of any kind, from anyone, that I can call to mind, as I hope to go to heaven!”
When Charles finally attended the Wellington House Academy which he immortalized in “David Copperfield” as a school with a headmaster who was brutal and sadistic with poor discipline and in general a run- down school. “In May 1827 Dickens began work in the law office of Ellis and Blackmore, attorneys, of Holborn Court, Gray’s Inn, as a junior clerk.” He continued working with the attorneys through November 1828. Charles “worked energetically in his spare time to acquire Gurneys system of shorthand” and left “to become a freelance reporter.”
Story of the Month: Charles Dickens favorite story as a child of three-four years of age was “Captain Murderer”. His babysitter would tell him the story everyday as it was the one he always asked for. To read “Captain Murderer” click on the following link:
The following 3 articles are suggestions for dealing with difficult /toxic people whether they are teachers, principals, staff, parents or others:
1) “Dealing with Difficult People They Can Help Clarify Your Mission.” (September 2007) by Eamonn O’Donovan. Lucy Hansford, communication specialist in the Jackson Schools, hosted a session called “Seven Habits of Customer-Service-Focused Administrators”. Ms. Hansford said, “Let people have their say without interruption. … Venting is necessary to allow the … ..move to a solution. Express empathy for the ideas shared. You don’t have to agree. Avoid a standoff . Move around obstacles to focus on what you can do. Suggest solutions and affirm the steps you will take. Follow through on what you agreed.” To read more click on the following link:
2) “How to Deal with A Problem Principal: Know Your Rights, Focus On Your Students” by Beth Lewis, About.com. For the six suggestions click below:
3) 14 Steps to Teacher Assertiveness: How to Cope with Difficult Parents, Principals and Staff Members” (May 2003) by Mike Moore. Mr. Moore says, “Always stand at eye level with the person you are confronting. Respect the toxic person and always expect respect in return. Remain calm. Listen attentively. Don’t argue or interrupt, just listen. Don’t accuse or judge, just state how you feel about the situation. … Put your qualifications on display.” To read more of Mike Moore’s Assertiveness training click on the following link:
Dr. Frank’s Case study of the Month:
A child, six years of age, was failing out of first grade. He was unable to read or write. When G’s mother called Dr. Frank on the phone she said, “G is stupid.” Dr. Frank asked “her not to say that and to please never say that in front of her child.”
G started studying the violin with Dr. Frank. She taught G how to hold the violin and bow, how to read the musical notes on the page, and how to take care of his violin by cleaning it after each practice session. Dr. Frank asked G’s mother, “If her son played computer games and watched a lot of TV during his free time?” G’s mother answered, “Yes, he is always playing computer games and watching TV.” Dr. Frank told G’s mother, “to have G do his homework after school, practice his violin for half an hour each day, and then G could have a half hour of TV or computer games.” By limiting computer games and TV G had time to do valuable work. Each week G was spelling and reading new words for Dr. Frank and his mother. He enjoyed his violin lessons and was actually beginning to enjoy learning. Within 3 months G was reading and writing, and doing grade level school work. By the end of the year he was an excellent student and enjoyed playing the violin.
Dr. Frank I. Luntz’s new 2009 book What Americans Really Want …Really The Truth About Our Hopes, Dreams, And Fears published in New York by Hyperion has tapped into the “Six Steps Parents Really Need to Know” (p. 257). Dr. Luntz says parents should have dinner with their “children at least 5 days a week”, take their “children to church or synagogue weekly”, check their “child’s homework nightly”, demand “the truth from their children”.. know “exactly where their children are on Friday and Saturday nights”, take their “children on vacation for at least a week.. switching..portable devices..off”, and “encourage them to participate in a team sport”.
Dr. Frank agrees with Dr. Luntz’s “Six Steps” and would like to add her “Seventh Step” of studying a music instrument by taking private lessons and/or playing in the school orchestra or band. Many of the world’s 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.
“Special Report: DHS Technology Getting More of a Human Touch” (August 25, 2009) by Jason Miller from the Federal News Radio.com.
The “third project looks at helping federal air marshals get more restful sleep and become more alert when they are awake. The program, called Brain Music, plays classical music while the marshal is asleep. Sharla Rausch, director of the Human Factors division says, “Brain Music uses the individual’s own neuro feedback when in a rested state. The goal is to figure out how we can help them get into a better state of alert or rested state. DHS is testing the concept…. and they should have results by the end of the summer.” Rausch goes on to says, Everything we do here is a tool to support the operational people. Human factors are important in all the work we do and as we develop indicators and signatures, those are things they would use in sifting through the large amount of information to make sense of it all.”
“Music That Heals” (August 24, 2009) by Fran Sikorski from the Hersam Acorn Newspapers. Don Martocchio of New Canaan is a banker, cabaret performer and pianist. “He uses his skills generously as a board member and a parent involved with Arts for Healing, a not-for-profit human services agency at 24 Grove Street in New Canaan.” Mr. Martocchio says, “Through the practice of therapy in music we aim to help our clients fulfil their potential, improve the quality of their lives, and the lives of their families.”
Karen Nisenson studied piano at the Juilliard School of Music and “earned a degree in music theory and taught at NYU in addition to the Nordoff-Robbins Music Center in New York City, while auditing classes in psychology. Ms. Nisenson saw the need for music therapy in Fairfield County, and the result was Arts for Healing, which she and Josephine Mason founded in 2000.” Ms. Nisenson says, “I have so many beautiful stories to tell about clients who have been transformed that I am planning to write a book. My experience with Don Martocchio’s daughter Julia has been unique. We have been able to access personality and intelligence through improvisation, music and singing, and she can feel herself at her core, and there’s a wonderful spirit in there, free from disability. That’s what music does. I make up personal songs for her physical limitations. I put her into fairy tales and she’s Cinderella’s friend. I access her mind and make her laugh, and she has a deep laugh.”The Arts for Healing Center provides services to “children and adults with learning and developmental disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, pervasive developmental disorders and other neurological dysfunctions.”
“McHenry is Top Teacher Finalist” (August 26, 2009) from the The Daily Times Summerset Herald.
“Westover– Somerset County’s Teacher of the Year Heather McHenry is one of the seven finalists for 2010 Mary-land Teacher of the Year. McHenry, Crisfield High School band teacher, is a 2001 graduate of the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education, has been the Instrumental Music Director of Crisfield Academy and High School for the last 8 years. She has led her band to win 25 first place awards throughout the Delmarva region. As a mentor teacher for University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Somerset County Public Schools, she provides guidance to both new and aspiring teachers. McHenry is also a delegate to the Maryland State Teachers Association, a member of the Eastern Shore Band Directors Association and her school’s Leadership and School Improvement teams.”
“Why It’s Healthier to Sit Down to Family Meals Together with Classical Music in the Background”(Sep. 20, 2009) by Anne Hart from News: Health & Science. What are the benefits of families sitting down to dinner together and listening to instrumental Classical music? The benefits are creating “harmony, serenity, and joy. The music works great on the brain to produce a feeling of joy of life. This might put a smile on the face of each family member at the dinner table.”
“The Mind -Body Connection for Gifted Children” (August 15, 2009) by Shannah B Godfrey from theExaminer.com, Norfolk , Kansas City Gifted Children Examiner. “There is a mind-body connection that is important to understand. There are many examples of times when body movement optimizes mental ability. Since the goal of most parents is for their gifted children to be well-rounded people, the mind-body connection is important to consider. Playing an instrument such as piano improves mental functioning. Music definitely improves space and time understanding, which maximizes learning in all areas. Likewise, hearing classical music from Brahms, Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart has been proven to increase intelligence in infants and children. There is something about the compositions from these four geniuses that increase the necessary neuron paths required for higher-level thinking. Wise parents incorporate music into their children’s lives, by both listening and playing instruments.”
“Leading Area Pediatrician Dies” (August 21, 2009) by Kyle Feldscher from the Bay City Times.
Dr. Thomas Wright for 44 years “promoted health and well-being for the children he treated out of his Bay City practice, becoming one of the area’s leading pediatricians. Dr. Wright has played the piano since childhood. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati and finishing his residency at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Wright and his wife, Florie, moved to Bay City in 1950.”
While “at the Allen Medical Building, he would become a promoter of various vaccines and safety measures for Bay County’s youth, his son Bill Wright said. Wright was one of the pediatricians in Bay City who widely distributed polio vaccines when they first came out. Bill Wright said his dad would often burn his clothes before entering the family home after dealing with a case of the disease to make sure he wouldn’t bring the virus to his family.”
“Bill Wright said his father always savored times when he could gather his family together.
Family was very important to him. He’d always try to get the whole family to come over. He loved every one of his kids and grandkids. Wright was an accomplished pianist, who would often entertain his family with classical music after he got home from a day at work.” Bill Wright said, ” he could often tell what kind of day his father had at work by how hard he hit the keys.”
“Education Matters: Music That Moves Minds” (Sep. 24, 2009) by Dan Kimber from the Glendale News Press. The power of Classical music to educate plants, animals, and humans to grow healthier and happier. “At a clinical level, laboratory rats that listen to Mozart seem to get smarter. Compared with other rats that listened to heavy metal,” the Mozart listening rats “navigated a maze nearly four times faster. Other tests on the effects of music on living organisms besides humans have shown that special pieces of music like, for instance, “The Blue Danube” aid hens in laying more eggs and cows in yielding more milk.” In the former Soviet Union and Canada researchers have”found that wheat grows faster when exposed to special ultrasonic and musical sounds.”
What is the power of Classical music on plants? Two terrariums were set up by the experimenters, “each containing a variety of plants, and each connected to an audio speaker. In .. one terrarium they played classical music, and in.. the other they played hard rock music. After a time, the plants exposed to the classical music leaned toward the speaker; but, the plants exposed to hard rock music leaned away from the speaker.”
When President Thomas Jefferson was writing the “Declaration of Independence” and ” he could not summon the words or phrases he desired, he would stop and play his violin. The music, according to his own words, helped him get the words he sought onto the paper.”
“Four-Time Grammy® Award Winning Musician Michael Feinstein Headlines the IMNF 2009 Music Has Power TM Awards Benefit at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency” (August 22, 2009) from the Beth Abraham Family of Health Services, Bronx, N.Y., P.R.com.
On September 9th “the healing power of music and the helping power of musicians” performed a concert with “acclaimed four-time Grammy®Award winning musician Michael Feinstein” headlining “the 9th Annual Music Has PowerTM Awards benefit, with two-time Tony-Award® winning actress and singer Christine Ebersole, at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency – The Nightclub of New York.
IMNF Executive Director Dr. Concetta Tomaino said,”We are proud to honor Peggy Rice and Dr. Aniruddh Patel for their continuous guidance and support of our efforts to bring attention to the powerful role that music plays in improving overall physical, emotional and neurological health and well being. The Music Has Power Awards fundraising benefit gives us the opportunity to thank the people who have been instrumental in our current success and continue to stand by us in our future endeavors to explore the efficacy of music to enhance the lives of people suffering from neurological disorders, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”
“New LA Phil Conductor’s Goal: Music for Everybody” (Oct. 5, 2009) by Raquel Maria Dillon from the Associated Press,Forbes.com. Conductor Gustavo Dudamel, new conductor of the LA Phil worked “patiently with beginner musicians from South Los Angeles’ working-class neighborhoods. Most of the musicians of the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles picked up their instruments for the first time two years ago.” Dudamel says “he is dedicated to bringing the project to the US and using classical music to help disadvantaged children transform their lives.”
This November if you have a question about the power of music for education and healing … what would your specific question be? Click on the link below and look on the left side to where it says ask Madeline a question:https://www.madelinefrankviola.com/contact-madeline-frank/
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.” (Sep 24, 2008)
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..” (Dec 1, 2008)
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 3 children, ages 16, 12, and 8 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”