Remember to start your New Year right by listening to Classical music which has the power to 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 prevent crime. If school cafeterias and school buses played Classical Music, the students would be calmer and more focused without violent tendencies.

This month we have an interview and radio show with  Dr. Jonathan Rathsam, Reasearch Aeorospace engineer at NASA Research Center and  musician. Our article of the month is   “Accountability and Responsibility Go Hand in Hand”  by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM.  Also included is an article on how studying a musical instrument makes a student smarter.

Many of the world’s scientists, medical doctors, engineers, mathematicians, teachers and writers have studied and played musical instruments since they were children. These eminent individuals have integrated music into their thinking process. Music is a powerful tool for motivating, inspiring, educating and soothing pain.

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Radio Show Feature Question for January 2014: “Dr. Jonathan Rathsam how does Classical Music play a part of your life as a scientist and structural acoustics engineer at NASA and what musical instruments do you play?”

Our blog features Dr. Jonathan Rathsam,  Research Aerospace Engineer at NASA Langley Research Center, pianist, and Cantor. Dr. Rathsam is passionate about family, science, music, and helping others.

Dr. Rathsam is a third generation musician with his brother, as both of his parents play musical instruments, his grandfather played violin, and both grandparents were founding members of a synagogue choir in San Diego.

Dr. Jonathan Rathsam was born at Zion Hospital in San Diego and was raised in a suburb in San Diego , California. His parents Alan and Laurie Rathsam now live in Ashland, Oregon. His mother plays the flute and his father the clarinet. Jonathan’s brother studied the violin for 10 years and the guitar for several years with a private instructor.

Dr. Frank: When did you begin studying the violin and the piano?

Dr. Rathsam: “My musical journey started with classical violin lessons at the age of 4.  I have an early memory of playing a bluegrass violin duet with my brother, accompanied by my mother on the guitar at the Julian Banjo and Fiddle Contest outside San Diego.  According to my mother, I asked if I could switch to taking piano lessons when I was 6.  I studied violin privately for 2 years, and piano privately for 10 years.”

Dr. Frank: When did your family play together as a musical quartet?

Dr. Rathsam: “At my brother’s Bar Mitzvah, my family formed an ensemble and performed together at the reception.  My mother played flute, my father played clarinet, my brother played violin, and I played the piano.  (This was the only time we all played together.) There always seemed to be classical music playing on the radio at home while I was growing up.”

Dr. Frank: Did you sing in school chorus in elementary, middle school, and in high school?

Dr. Rathsam: “I sang in a junior choir at my synagogue during elementary school.  My elementary school had a 5th grade band for all students, and I played the flute.  After performing in a middle-school musical (“The Music Man”), I began singing in the school choir in 8th grade.  In high school, I continued singing in choir, joining a chamber group (“The Madrigals”) of approximately 20 singers.  By 10th grade I stopped taking private piano lessons and began taking private voice lessons, which I have continued periodically since then.”

“I have many wonderful memories of my high school chamber group, including winning a major prize at a national choral festival in Washington, DC, and performing at The Kennedy Center.  Recently 8 members of the chamber group performed at the wedding of a Madrigal alumna.”

Dr. Frank: “When did you become interested in mathematics? What grade were you in and how old were you?”

Dr. Rathsam: “I remember really wanting a calculator watch in the second grade.  This may be my first memory of really liking math.  In middle school and high school I enjoyed solving math puzzles.”

Dr. Frank: When did you become interested in science? What grade were you in?    

Dr. Rathsam: “My first indication of really liking science was during high school physics.  I was 15 years old.  I took another more advanced physics class my senior year of high school, and it made sense to me intuitively.  I was hooked!”

Dr. Frank: What was your favorite subject in high school and did you have a favorite teacher who inspired you? 

Dr. Rathsam: “I was lucky to attend a public high school with extremely good teachers.  It is hard to pick only one of them.  My German teacher, Barbara Ix, gave me an advanced textbook for study.  I wrote her letters in German, which she corrected and returned to me.  This was a very creative way to keep me from getting bored in class.  I am still in touch with Frau Ix, and I visit her and her husband when I am in San Diego.”

Dr. Frank: Did studying the violin, piano and taking singing lessons help you to be a better student in school?

Dr. Rathsam: “I believe that practicing helped me develop skills of discipline, concentration, and patience.”

Dr. Frank: Did you receive good grades in elementary , middle school, and high school?

Dr. Rathsam: “Yes, I did receive good grades throughout school.”

Dr. Frank: Where did you attend college and what was your major and did you continue to study singing?  

Dr. Rathsam:   “I attended Grinnell College (Iowa) and majored in Physics.  At Grinnell I took voice lessons and sang in the chorus.  I also served as cantor for the college’s Jewish student group.”

“Earlier this month I was at Grinnell to share my research, advertise NASA internships, and excite students about careers at NASA.  During my stay I visited with several of my professors: Dan Reynolds (German), Harold Kasimow (Religious Studies), Marc Chamberland (Mathematics).”

Dr. Frank: Where did you work as a research assistant?

Dr. Rathsam: I was primarily a research assistant in graduate school at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln. 

Dr. Frank: What did you learn from studying singing? 

Dr. Rathsam: “One important lesson I have learned from studying singing is the importance of allowing things to happen naturally without trying to control them.  If a singer tries to control the voice too much it sounds forced.  A free sound is much more pleasant to the ear.  To get a free sound, you have to breathe naturally and allow the vocal system to operate without forcing it.”

Dr. Frank: When and where did you begin working in “Structural Acoustics”?

Dr. Rathsam:My junior year of college I studied abroad in Berlin, Germany and had an internship with three cantors from the Jewish community.  I returned convinced I would attend cantorial school.  In the fall of my senior year, I was contacted by a friend of mine who had graduated two years earlier from my college.  He had gone to pursue a Ph.D. in acoustics, and his advisor was looking to hire an additional acoustics Ph.D. student.  He contacted me to ask if I was interested.  After visiting the program, I realized that a fully-funded Ph.D. in acoustics was too good of an opportunity to turn down so I accepted the offer.”

Dr. Frank: When did you begin working at NASA in “Structural Acoustics”?

Dr. Rathsam: “After graduate school I worked as a research fellow at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel.  Afterwards, in 2009, I began working at NASA.”

Dr. Frank: What do you do at NASA?

Dr. Rathsam: “I am a research engineer in acoustics.  My current research project is making supersonic flight practical for commercial aircraft.  In order to do this, the federal law forbidding sonic booms must be changed.  I run research studies using local volunteers in sonic boom simulators to determine noise standards for quiet sonic booms.”

Dr. Rathsam: “When I was growing up it seemed like only old people (for example, my grandparents) liked classical music.  I was afraid that if I didn’t listen to it with them, no one else would.  In high school, after watching the movie “Shine”, I became really interested in piano concertos by composers like Rachmaninoff and Schumann.    “At the same time I was singing classical music in high school choir and in college.  I found classical music to be beautiful, fascinating, and expressive.”

“Sometimes at NASA, my colleagues and I will form a music ensemble and perform at the annual holiday party.  One of my current hobbies is to sing classical choral music with the Virginia Chorale.”

Accountability and Responsibility Go Hand in Hand by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM

When you make a promise do you keep it? Can your employer, your family, and your friends depend on you?

What does accountability mean? Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 says, “Accountability is the state of being liable to answer for one’s conduct; to receive reward or punishment for actions.” Accountability means you can be counted on. You are dependable, honest, trustworthy, and you won’t let your company, your family, your friends, your teachers or your mentors down. You can be relied on!

President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk at the White House that said, “The buck stops here.” As a leader, President Truman accepted responsibility for his actions.

In his farewell address to the American people, President Truman said, “The President-whoever he is- has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job.”

President Truman was saying a leader, a President, must take responsibility for his or her actions and be accountable for them. A leader does not pass the blame on to someone else.

Do you want your employees to work as a team and be responsible and accountable for their areas of expertise? Of course you do!

Recently my colleagues and I attended an Educational Conference, which each of us paid a considerable amount of money to attend. The Educational Conference included meals. Ten of us went into the dinning room to find there was no place for us to sit and eat our meal. We went to speak to the head of the Conference in charge of food service and the hotel dining room staff to have them put up another table. No one wanted to step up and be accountable for this problem. For over 30 minutes we waited while everyone else was eating their dinner. The Conference head in charge of dinning did not take responsibility to solve the problem quickly. Finally, after waiting 40 minutes the hotel staff put up another table with a tablecloth, napkins, silverware, and glasses. After this experience several of us said, “Never again would we attend this Conference.”

Would you like to attend a Conference where no one was accountable for his or her actions?  Of course not! You want to surround yourself with people who are accountable like President Harry Truman.

In a fancy New York City restaurant in a well-known hotel off of Park Avenue, my Mom ordered a cup of coffee during the buffet meal. The waiter brought half a cup. When she asked for more coffee the waiter never served it. When the bill arrived Mom paid the bill leaving a small tip. The server came over demanding a larger tip. Mom said, “If you are not satisfied with the tip give it back. Tips are for excellent service. Your service was not.”

Each person should be accountable for his or her actions and needs to be taught by their employers, family members, and friends the significance of being accountability and responsible for their actions.

What are the 3 things you need to remember about accountability?

1) To be counted on you must be dependable, honest, and trustworthy, and reliable. You won’t let them down! When you make a promise you keep it! Mark Twain said, “Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

2) Teach accountability to your employees, your family members, your students, and to those around you.

3) Darren LaCroix, World Champion of Public Speaking says, “It’s not about you.”  Help others and always do the right thing by being accountable and responsible so people can rely and depend on you.

When you say you are going to do something, follow through, and do it by the due date you promised. Jeffrey Gitomer, best selling author and top sales trainer says, “Your word is your bond.” Start today to be a leader that is accountable and responsible for your actions. Remember a sign of maturity is accountability! (C) 2014 Madeline Frank

Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking engagement at  [email protected]

“Music Training Sharpens Brain Pathways, Studies Say” (Nov. 25, 2013) by Sarah D. Sparks from Education Week.

Ms. Sparks says,“New research suggests that the complexity involved in practicing and performing music may help students’ cognitive development. Studies released last month at the Society for Neuroscience meeting ” found  “that music training may increase the neural connections in regions of the brain associated with creativity, decision making, and complex memory, and they may improve a student’s ability to process conflicting information from many senses at once.”  The earlier your children begin studying a musical instrument the better they will do in school.

Dr. Gottfried Schlaug, Director at Harvard Medical School’s “Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory” says, “It’s really hard to come up with an experience similar to ….an education intervention. Not only does it require attention and coordination of multiple senses, but it often triggers emotions, involves cooperation with other people, and provides immediate feedback to the student on how well he or she is progressing. Music, on its own, has also been shown to trigger the reward area of the brain.”

Studying a musical instrument teaches students to “multitask” and to be “creative.”

Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is now available through Click on the following link to order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget”

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 read “The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. Click on the link:

Madeline’s Midnight Melodies- Music From around the World” . This CD complements her books with a blend of dance music, gigues, tangos, ballet and favorites including “Danny Boy”, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”, Debussy’s “Claire De Lune” and others. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” is music to relax by and to move by for music therapy. For your cd of  ”Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” click below: 

“Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank 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:

Wishing you and your family a very happy healthy, and prosperous New Year from your Non-Invasive Medicine Music Expert, Madeline

Madeline Frank, Ph.D. an Amazon. Com Best Selling author for “The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” and “Musical Notes On Math“(teaching fractions and decimals to children K-5) winner of the Parent-to-Parent Adding Wisdom Award.

For over 25 years, Dr. Madeline Frank has helped children and adults overcome problems through music. Dr. Frank, a strings teacher, college professor, researcher, speaker and concert artist has found a scientific link between studying and/or listening to musical instruments and academic and societal success. Madeline Frank earned her Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Her education has included scholarships at the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the University of Cincinnati and she has a violin performance diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts. (C) 2014 Madeline Frank