Our blog and Radio Show celebrate the life of Noah Webster, Jr. who gave America its own written language and gave America its own education system. Our article of the month for February 2015: “Road Emergencies: New Year ‘s Goal” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM. Also included are two articles on the work of Dr. Hudziak and his team on children that study musical instruments are better students academically.
Dr. Madeline Frank’s Musical One Minute Radio Show for February 2015: How did Classical Music play a part of Noah Webster, Jr.’s life as the “Father of American Scholarship and Education”, Schoolmaster to a Nation, lexicographer, textbook author and what musical instrument did he play?
Our blog features Noah Webster, Jr. the “Father of American Scholarship and Education”, “Founding Father”, schoolmaster to a Nation, lexicographer, spelling reformer, textbook author, journalist, lawyer, soldier, served in the Connecticut House of Representatives, county judge, father, son, friend, and musician.
Noah Webster, Jr. was born on Oct. 16, 1758 in West Hartford, Connecticut to Noah Webster, Sr. and Mercy Steele Webster. Noah Jr. was the fourth of five children. Noah, Jr.’s father, Noah, Sr.’s great grandfather, John Webster, was Governor of Connecticut. Noah Sr. “was a farmer, soldier, Deacon, and Justice of the Peace.” Noah, Sr. found a book society, the predecessor of “the public library.” http://westhartfordlibrary.org/research_tools/local_history/west_hartford/noah_webster
Noah, Jr.’s mother, Mercy Steele Webster was the great-great granddaughter Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. Mercy read to her children, played her flute for them and taught them to love reading and to play the flute. “Each evening she led the family in singing the popular psalm of Isaac Watts after her husband’s bible reading. The Children all became skilled readers, strong writers, and gifted flutists-and all knew the Bible intimately.” (Unger H. G, 1998, p.23)
(“Noah Webster: The Life and Times of an American Patriot” by Harlow Giles Unger )
Mercy Webster also “spent long hours teaching Noah and his siblings spelling, mathematics, and music.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah_Webster
He attended at age 6, a “one room school house” that “he described the teachers”, years later, “as the dregs of humanity” and said “the instruction was mainly in religion.” This experience would later motivate Noah, Jr. to “improve” primary school education for “future generations” of students.
Noah, Jr.’s parents both “prized education.” Noah, Sr. saw how much his son, Noah, Jr. loved studying and reading books. Noah, Sr. had Noah, Jr. , at the age of 14, study with Dr. Nathan Perkins, a Yale College graduate, who was the Pastor of the Congregational Church. Dr. Perkins prepared Noah, Jr. to enter Yale. During this two-year period Noah, Jr. studied Greek, Latin, history, ancient classics, and scriptures. (Unger H. G, 1998, p.28)
Noah, Jr. was admitted to Yale before his 16th birthday on September 1774. Noah Webster, Sr.’s granddaughter said, “The father was deeply interested in his son’s career, for he mortgaged the farm to pay his college expenses, and more than once rode the fifty miles on horseback to New Haven to bring his boy home, once walking back and letting his son ride, saying that he was best able of the two.”
In 1775 Noah, Jr. played on his flute with his Yale musical classmates serenading Commander in Chief, George Washington when he was traveling through “New Haven on his way to Boston.” https://www.noahwebsterhouse.org/discover/noah-webster-timeline.htm
Noah Webster, Jr. graduated from Yale College in 1778.
In 1779, Noah, Jr. taught school and read law with “Oliver Ellsworth, the future U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice.” In 1780, Noah, Jr. traveled to Litchfield, CT to continued reading law and taught school in Sharon, CT. In 1781 he “was admitted to the Bar of Law in Hartford.” http://westhartfordlibrary.org/research_tools/local_history/west_hartford/noah_webster
Noah Webster, Jr. saw the need for American textbooks to teach American students:
Noah Webster, Jr. taught in and began a school in Sharon, Connecticut (July-Oct. 1781). From 1782-1783 he taught in Goshen, New York. His schools were one-room schoolhouses where the pay was inadequate. The small classroom had 50 to 70 students in the class ranging in age from 6 to 16. The class was held in a run down dilapidated building with little light, no heat, no desks, and poor quality textbooks from England. The old school motto was “spare the rod and spoil the child”. Noah, Jr. said instead the motto for student should be, “ spare the rod and encourage students to learn. Students should have nothing to discourage them.”
Noah Webster said, “Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country.”
From 1783-1785, Noah Webster, Jr., published his 3 volume textbook “A Grammatical Institute of the English Language”, opened his Hartford, CT. law office, worked on “copyright legislation”, later moving to New York City to found “The American Magazine”:
Noah Webster, Jr. saw first hand that Americans needed their own textbooks. He researched and wrote his own textbook to meet the needs of American students. He published his three volumes series entitled “A Grammatical Institute of the English Language”, beginning in 1783 with his ‘Spelling Book’.
“The Speller was arranged so that it could be easily taught to students, and it progressed by age. From his own experiences as a teacher, Webster thought the Speller should be simple and gave an orderly presentation of words and the rules of spelling and pronunciation. He believed students learned most readily when he broke a complex problem into its component parts and had each pupil master one part before moving to the next.” The last two pages of Noah Webster, Jr.’s “Speller” included the most important American dates in history starting in 1492 with Columbus and concluding in 1781 with the battle of Yorktown.
During Noah Webster, Jr.’s lifetime there were 385 editions of his Speller and the title of his book was changed several times. Because of its blue cover it was known as the “Blue-Backed Speller”. He received “a half-cent per copy”.
“For the next one hundred years, Webster’s book taught children how to read, spell, and pronounce words. It was the most popular American book of its time; by 1837 it had sold 15 million copies, and some 60 million by 1890—reaching the majority of young students in the nation’s first century.”
The second volume of his “A Grammatical Institute of the English Language”, was his ‘Grammar Book’ published in 1784. His third volume of his “A Grammatical Institute of the English Language”, was his ‘Reader’ published in 1785. This book included “the Necessary Rules of Reading and Speaking, a variety of essays, dialogues, declamation pieces, moral, political, and entertaining; divided into lessons for the Use of Children.” http://westhartfordlibrary.org/research_tools/local_history/west_hartford/noah_webster
Noah, Jr. campaigned to pass copyright laws in different states, as there were no copyright laws to protect authors’ works. He traveled to different states lecturing and selling his textbook to obtain support for copyright protection for it. By January and March of 1783 some states had passed copyright laws including Connecticut and Massachusetts.
On October 26, 1789 in New Haven, Connecticut, Noah Webster, Jr. married Rebecca Greenleaf. They had a long happy marriage together and had eight children, 6 girls and two boys.
In 1790-1791, Noah, Jr. published his “A Collection of Essays and Fugitive Writings. On Moral, Historical, and Political Subjects”, “The Little Reader’s Assistant” and the “Prompter”, anonymous work similar to his friends Benjamin Franklin’s “Sayings of Poor Richard”.
In 1793 Noah, Jr. and his family moved to New York City where he started and edited two newspapers, “The American Minerva” and the “Herald”. He continued working with these newspapers until he and his family moved to New Haven, CT. in 1798. He was elected in 1800 and 1802-1807 into the Connecticut House of Representatives.
Noah Webster, Jr. published in 1806 his “A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language”. His life as an educator brought him to this point. His dictionary contained 37,000 words, “Tables of Money”, “Tables of Weight and Measures”, “List of Post Offices”, “Chronological table of the Most Remarkable Events intended For the Outline of American History”.
The spelling is Americanized. He spelled the words so they were easier to pronounce and added new American words such as squash and skunk. For example: British dictionaries spelled the word color “colour” , the word theater –“theatre” ; the word tumor “tumours”. Noah Webster, Jr. made them easier to sound out and pronounce.
Noah Webster, Jr. continued his work on research for his new editions of his dictionary moving his family to Amherst, Massachusetts. He helped start Amherst College, later moving his family to New Haven, CT. and traveling to England and France, 1824-1825, to research in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and in the great libraries in Oxford and Cambridge. Noah, Jr. returned to New Haven, CT. on June of 1825.
In 1828 Noah, Jr. published his American dictionary masterpiece “An American Dictionary of the English Language”. He worked and researched for 20 years studying 28 languages. His American Dictionary included “70,000” words.
Noah Webster, Jr.’s father, Noah Webster, Sr. had mortgaged his farm to send his son, Noah, Jr. to Yale back in August of 1774. Noah Webster, Jr. was just as passionate as his father about education and he too mortgaged his home to publish his second edition in two volumes of his “A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language” in 1940.
Noah Webster, Jr. was passionate and determined to educate Americans and was willing to mortgage his home for the future of educating Americans.
“Webster emphasized his strong nationalism, his pride in the United States, and his insistence that America was developing, and was entitled to a “language” of its own, by stressing that his was an American Dictionary. Webster gloried for the nation in placing “Franklin, Washington, Adams, Madison, Jay, Kent, Irving and other” . . . as authorities ” (Scudder, p. 240) (Warfel, p. 362) http://westhartfordlibrary.org/research_tools/local_history/west_hartford/noah_webster
Noah Webster died several days after revising his appendix of his second edition on May 28, 1843 in New Haven, CT. at the age of 85.
Noah Webster was passionate about his family and educating America’s children giving them a language of their own. This was his work, his music to America. He was the “Father of American Scholarship and Education”, “Founding Father”, schoolmaster to a Nation, lexicographer, spelling reformer, and textbook author.
“Road Emergencies: New Year ‘s Goal” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM
You are in your car and it suddenly dies on a highway. Do you know what button to push in your car in an emergency? Is your car ready for a winter snowstorm? Have you decided on your “one” goal for the New Year?
Recently my almost 13-year-old car, “Little Red” died in the middle of the highway in rush hour traffic in early evening while the sun was still out. When Little Red suddenly went from the speed limit to 0, I immediately put my finger on the emergency blinker lights.
Cars were zooming around me at top speeds. I quickly called the Automobile Club on my cell phone and looked up my location on my I-pad to tell them what roads I was near so they could send a tow truck. I explained where I was and that I needed immediate assistance because of “Little Red” being dead in the middle of the highway.
As I was speaking to the Auto Club, a policeman knocked on my window and asked, “Why did you stop your car in the middle of the highway?”
I explained, “My car’s died.” He said. “Put the car in neutral and try it again!” I did and it was still dead. He said, “You can’t stay here. Let me push the car to the right side of the high way. And he did!
Shortly after that the tow truck from the Auto Club arrived to tow “Little Red” to the dealer.
Thank heavens I remembered to push the emergency blinker lights “button”. It saved my life and all the other drivers speeding around me. The policeman was a wonderful person for helping to move “Little Red” out of the center of the highway.
I was thinking, “What if my car had broken down in a snow storm? What should you always keep in your car for all emergencies?
Experts say in addition to a full tank of gas, you should include the following in your Emergency Road Pack:
- Charged Cell phone: Cell charger
- Scraper with small broom
- Flash light with extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Necessary medicine
- Extra clothes, blankets, extra socks, gloves, hats, scarves
- Bottled water, snack food including energy bars, raisins, candy bars
- Road salt, Sand or Cat litter, (for extra traction), shovel
- Emergency flares and reflectors,
- Wind up radio
- Booster cables
- Emergency tire sealant
Now you know what you must have in your Emergency Road Pack in case of a snowstorm. You also know what “button” to push if your vehicle dies on the highway.
Have you finally decided on that “one thing” you want to accomplish as your goal for this New Year?
It is never to late to set your “one” goal!
Write your goal down; write down your plan of how you are going to accomplish it, and a date by which you plan to reach that “one” goal. Place that sheet in front of your computer where you can see it every day so that you can reach for that one goal.
I’ve decided my goal is to buy a new car that will last more than 13 years. I’ve already started looking for it and saving for it. I should have it in 5 months by May 1st at the latest! So what’s your goal and what date do you plan on reaching it? Get started today! © 2015 Madeline Frank
Contact Madeline Frank for your speaking engagement at email@example.com
The following two articles confirm scientific findings from 20 years ago that children who study musical instruments learn more than the music they play:
“Playing Music Benefits the Brain” (January 14, 2015) by D. Balasubramanian from the Hindu .com http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/playing-music-benefits-the-brain/article6789363.ece
The team of medical professionals at the University of Vermont College of Medicine analyzed 232 brain scans of children who study musical instruments from ages 6 to 18. The Journal of the American Academy of Children & Adolescent Psychiatry has published Dr. Hudziak’s 2014 finings.
Dr. Hudziak’s team “ found evidence they expected – that music playing altered the motor areas of the brain, because the activity requires control and coordination of movement. Even more important to Hudziak were changes in the behavior-regulating areas of the brain. For example, music practice influenced thickness in the part of the cortex that relates to “executive functioning, including working memory, attention control, as well as organization and planning for the future.”
Balasubramanian said, “The Hudziak experiment points out that playing music actually is as much an exercise to the brain as working out in a gym is to the body, and that it is not one-off or temporary, but offers long term benefits.”
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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:
“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” https://www.madelinefrankviola.com/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. For your cd of ”Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” click below:
Wishing you and your family a happy Valentine’s Day 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.