On the “Fourth of July” the United States celebrates the publication of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776. It is important to remember that many of our Founding Fathers, our best thinkers and role models, like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, and many others were musicians and began studying musical instruments as children. Studying a musical instrument taught them how to focus, concentrate, and be disciplined. These eminent individuals integrated music into their thinking process. Music is a powerful tool for motivating, inspiring, educating and soothing pain.
This month’s blog includes an article and Radio Show celebrating 4 of our “Founding Fathers” who were musicians and bright thinkers. Also included are articles on how studying a musical instrument improves the educational performance of future doctors, improving movement by dancing to Classical music for patients with Parkinson’s, how classical music lowers your blood pressure, and tips to improve your child’s study skills during the summer. Our article of the month is “3 Ways to Help Your Child Toot Their Own Horn” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM
Radio Show feature question for July 2015: What did Founding Fathers George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Patrick Henry think about music and what musical instruments did they enjoy playing?
Our “Founding Fathers” were amazing thinkers, role models, and musicians: Thomas Jefferson began studying the violin at a young age and later the cello. He regarded music as “a delightful recreation through life” and “this favorite passion of my soul.” Jefferson played chamber music concerts, as a student at the College of William and Mary, at the Royal Palace of Governor Francis Fauqier. Jefferson played on his violin or cello with harpsichordist, Robert Carter, a well to do businessman, and with John Tyler on violin, who was later Governor of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson said of these concerts, “I have learned more good sense, more rational and philosophical conversation than in all my life besides.”
Mr. Jefferson said, his courtship of his future wife, Martha Skelton, began with a musical evening “when she found herself singing and playing harpsichord, while being accompanied by my violin and voice. We shared a marriage filled with love and devotion. It began the evening we made music together.”
To read President Thomas Jefferson’s article /blog from June 2008:
For President Thomas Jefferson’s Radio Show from June 2008: President Thomas Jefferson what did you think of music and how long did you practice on your violin?
Patrick Henry began studying the violin at a young age and later taught himself to play the flute. Thomas Jefferson said, “His first introduction to Patrick Henry came at the home of Nathaniel Dandridge in Hanover County in 1760. Henry, no mean fiddler himself, proved a boon friend over a Christmas holiday.”
Elizabeth Henry Lyons, the Great granddaughter of Patrick Henry said, “Towards the close of day, in summer time, he took the breeze on the lawn around him, played for his children, to whom he was very attached and whom he treated as companions and friends. He was very fond of music, and often-times the sweet notes of his flute or violin echoing on the evening air, broke the stillness of the valley.”
To read Patrick Henry’s June 2009 Article/Blog:
For Patrick Henry’s Radio Show from June 2009: What did Patrick Henry think about music and what musical instruments did he enjoy playing?
George Washington learned to play the flute at a young age. He enjoyed playing duets on his flute with his step-granddaughter at the piano and his wife, Martha listening to their musical concert.
To read President George Washington’s January 2013 Article/Blog:
For President George Washington’s Radio Show from January 2013:
How did Classical music play a part of President George Washington’s life and what musical instrument did he play?
Benjamin Franklin played the violin, guitar, harp, cello, Viola de Gamba, harpsichord, bells, and glass armonica. In his home he dedicated a room to house his instruments and play concerts in. He enjoyed playing duets with Sally, his daughter. She played on harpsichord and he played on his glass armonica.
Mr. Franklin said, “I play some of the softest Tunes on my Armonica, with which Entertainment our People here are quite charmed and conceive the Scottish Tunes to be the finest in the World. And indeed, there is a number of admirers.”
When he was in France, he would play duets on his glass armonica with his friend Madame Brillon, on piano. She was said to be “an accomplished musician and composer. An audience member wrote, “The ear of a mortal can perceive in its plaintive tones the echoes of a divine harmony.”
To read Benjamin Franklin’s September 2008 Article/Blog:
For Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin’s Radio Show from September 2008: What did Benjamin Franklin think about music and what musical instrument did he enjoy playing?
“3 Ways to Help Your Child Toot Their Own Horn”
by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM
From little ones to legends, how can music play a role in your child’s success?
Legendary jazz musician, Louis Armstrong was a latch key kid who came home after school to an empty house. His mom was out working and he was hanging out with the wrong crowd. At the age of 9, Louis was arrested for the first time with five other boys “for being dangerous and suspicious characters” according to the Daily Picayune newspaper. He and the other boys were taken to the Colored Waifs Home on Oct 21, 1910 and on Nov 8, 1910 Louis was discharged to his Aunt.
Louis continued getting into trouble, this time at the age of 11, he shot off a gun, with blanks in it, into the air in New Orleans. The police took him back to the Colored Waifs Home where the new warden, Captain Joseph Jones and assistant, band director, Peter Davis had him join their new band. This time Louis learned to play the cornet in the band. He learned to read notes on the musical score, how to concentrate, focus, be disciplined, and work with others in the band. After 18 months, a year and a half, Louis was released, no longer a youth in crisis. He started playing jobs on the cornet they loaned him at the Colored Waifs Home. Louie Armstrong credited learning to play the cornet in the band with Peter Davis and Captain Jones as the turning point in his life.
Katy Wright’s article “Big Noise Orchestras” of Scotland has for six years worked with underprivileged children, ages 6-13. Researchers have noted the “exceptional achievement” in these children’s academic work.
What are the three ways your child can toot their own horn just like Louis Armstrong?
1) By learning to play that horn or other instrument, your child will learn to read the notes on a musical score, improving their reading skills.
2) Your child will learn to concentrate, focus, and organize their minds, to be disciplined, and to work with others in a band or orchestra.
3) They will also learn the importance of cleaning and taking care of their instrument which will give them self -esteem and self worth.
What are the 3 things you will have to get used to when your child studies a musical instrument?
1) The first sounds coming out of your child’s instrument are not going to sound pretty. So keep an open mind. On a side note, as a child of 8, practicing my violin for the first time, my Momma had to close the door of my room when I was practicing and invested in a mute for my violin so the sound would not carry out of the room. A few years later, when I had improved and began winning prizes and scholarships, she opened the door.
2) Your child will learn to take care of their musical instrument and will begin to clean their messy rooms as well.
3) Your child will begin to get better grades in school.
What are you waiting for? The summer is a terrific time to have your child begin studying a musical instrument. Their future is in your hands. Help them to toot their own horn! © 2015 Madeline Frank
To contact Madeline for your next speaking engagement: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to keep your child’s school skills current during the summer:
1) This summer find out what programs your library has for your child. Share with your child the joys of reading in your home every evening. Read to them and ask them to read to you.
2) Are you planning to take your child on vacation this summer? How about having a journal for your child to write in about their vacation? Ask them what they learned about each place they visited and what did they enjoy most about each place? Dr. John Maxwell always asked his children the following two questions: “What did you love and what did you learn?”
3) Ask your child to help you cook dinner for the family by having them help you with a recipe. They will be reading and assisting in measuring out ingredients, which will help them in both math and science.
4) The local science and history museums offer classes for children. Find one that will be most interesting to your child.
5) Have your child help you make up Flash Cards in bright colors and letters to learn multiplication tables and vocabulary words. Learn one new word a day!
“’Dancing For Joy’ In Middletown To Fight Parkinson’s Symptoms” (May 31, 2015) from the Hartford Courant.
Dancing to the “upbeat music triggers an endorphin release, and the dancing forces people to plan their movements ahead of time, if only just a step or two in advance. That creativity is the key, and it makes all the difference in being able to tell their body what to do.” Jeffrey LaGrange, has been part of the class for eight years and says, “I’ve had Parkinson’s for a long time and the class has helped me tremendously.”
“Hippocratic Overture” (Spring 2015) by Paul Hond from the Columbia Magazine. CUMC Symphony Orchestra is composed of medical students who are excellent musicians. They study at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Medical students are interviewed and share how they came to medical school. To read about these dedicated and amazing medical students who are gifted musicians click on the following link:
“Music & Medicine at P & S: An Inseparable Bond” (2004) by Eric Levy from the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University. When Hilary Spencer was interviewed for medical school at Columbia University he was not asked the typical questions, “Why do you want to be a doctor? What are you looking for in a medical school? What are the qualities that make a good doctor?”
Mr. Spencer, a violinist, was asked by Dr. Quest, Professor of Neurological Surgery and assistant dean for student affairs, and a pianist and trombonist – about his interests in music. Dr. Quest wanted to know about his “avocations, passions, and accomplishments.”
Dr. Quest says, “I personally love music. I like to encourage young people going into medicine to continue their musical interests throughout their career. More important to me than an individual’s specific interest in the arts or humanities is their commitment to such interests.”
So if you want to become a doctor and are a musician you will want to consider Columbia University with its medical students who are musicians. Many medical students choose to join “the Musicians’ Guild, a P & S Club Group that sponsors on-campus concerts and presents a monthly series of performances called Musical Mondays. Members of the guild also perform at Baird Hall Players productions, alumni reunions weekend, events for parents of medical students … and other special events.”
Mr. Spencer, a second year medical student says, “Music to me is priceless, life-changing. Music organizes my mind for my studies-it’s highly structured. It helps if I’m stressed out and I can’t focus on my studies, I play the violin for an hour, get focused and return. It was a big factor choosing Columbia over other schools.” Faculty and students say medicine and music “are similar in that they both apply the rules of logic and demand intense concentration.”
Dr. Truman, professor of clinical pediatrics who plays the harpsichord and bagpipes, says, “There’s a strong emotional component to music. You can fill up a medical school with students who have high-test scores, but you need that humane side too. Dedication to a musical instrument provides that much needed opportunity for expression that translates over the practice of medicine,”
Dr. Cunningham, professor emeritus of clinical pediatrics and clinical public health “was instrumental in the formation of the Apgar Memorial Quartet, consisting of musicians who play string instruments built by world-renowned anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar ’33 and her friend, Carleen Hutchins. The quartet has played at Musical Mondays and at fund-raising concerts for the Head Start programs.” The instruments are available to staff members, faculty, and “students who want to play them.”
At P & S there is also for medical students who are pianist two Mason & Hamlins, a Kawai piano, and the Steinway D Concert Grand that belonged to Rachmaninoff and was “later owned by world-renowned pianist Arthur Rubinstein before arriving at P & S.”
“How Burst of Classical Music Could Lower Your Blood Pressure” (June 8, 2015) by Ben Spencer, Medical Correspondent, Daily Mail. Mr. Spencer says, “If you want to keep your heart healthy, reach for the radio. A blast of Classic FM could be enough to reduce your blood pressure, doctors have found. But you might want to avoid the latest pop and rap hits, which can send it rocketing.” An Oxford University study found that “classical music is in sync with the body’s natural rhythm- and so significantly lower the listener’s blood pressure. Pop, rap, and techno have the opposite effect.”
“Verdi, Beethoven and Puccini Could Help Beat Heart Disease” (June 9, 2015) by Laura Donnelly, Health Editor for The Telegraph.
“Oxford University research suggests that a dose of the right classical music – including a rousing blast of Nessun Dorma – could reduce blood pressure and help stave off heart disease.”
For 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. is now available in book form, and newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook:
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“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 is now available in book form, newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook.
Tips on how to use “Musical Notes On Math”
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. ”Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” CD is now available for purchase by downloading a song, downloading the album, or by CD by clicking below:
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Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is now available through amazon.com. Click on the following Amazon.com link to order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available as an e-book on Kindle or in book form.
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Wishing you and your family a happy and safe July 4th Holiday from Your Non-Invasive Medicine Music Expert, Madeline
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) 2015 Madeline Frank