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, mathematicians, writers, and teachers have studied and played musical instruments since they were children. These eminent individuals have integrated music into their thinking process. This is the 254 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 story of “The Teacher and Little Teddy Stoddard”.
For a review of our August 2010 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 2010 newsletter.
Madeline’s Musical One Minute Radio Show for November 2010
How does music play a part of Carl Sandburg’s life as a biographer, historian and poet and what instruments did he play? Click below for Your Radio Show:
Carl Sandburg was a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and “The Daily News”, biographer of Abraham Lincoln, historian, poet, author of children’s books” Rootabaga Stories”, novelist, private in the Spanish-American War, wrote for several newspapers and magazines, and was a musician. He was a devoted husband to Lillian Paula Steichen Sandburg and was a father and grandfather.
Carl Sandburg was born on January 6, 1878 in Galesburg, Illinois. Sandburg wrote, “My father and mother left Sweden before its modern awakening; my father could read but not write; he made his mark when signing documents; the mother could read and write, had a wide acquaintance with books and often amazed us with her English vocabulary.”
Carl’s father August Sandburg, originally Sandberg, he described as “a black Swede, having straight black hair with eyes black and a hint of brown, deep -set in the face. His skin crinkled when he smiled. He was below medium height, weighed around 150 pounds, and was well muscled. No sports interested him , though he did make a genuine sport of work that needed to be done”. Carl said his mother , Clara Mathilda, had hair “the color of oat straw just before the sun tans it- eyes light blue, the skin light as fresh linen by candlelight, the mouth for smiling. She had ten smiles for us to one from our father.” (Callahan, 1987, pp.1-2).
In Galesburg where Sandburg grew up there was a large Swedish community where Tufve Nilssohb Hasselquist, minister, headed the Lutheran Church. Also the Hemlandt Newspaper,the first Swedish-language newspaper was established in the United States in Galesburg, Illinois.
Carl’s father August read this newspaper and the Swedish Bible.
He had a happy childhood. One day walking to school he found laying on the sidewalk, covered in dirt, a book about “Major General P. T. Beauregard of the Confederate Army”. The cover of the book had a picture of the Major General in color. Carl wiped the dirt off and read the 13 page. This was his first biography and started him thinking about the Civil War and the men involved in the war. He found that these biographies were included in the purchases of cigarettes and had his older friends purchase them so he could read the books and own the biographies.
Music was part of the Sandburg household and there was a piano in the house which his sister Esther played. Carl sang in a musical group and later made his own banjo and also played the guitar. He was a lifelong musician.
Carl at the age of thirteen, after finishing the eighth grade, he dropped out of school and for almost ten years worked at different odd jobs. He worked as a bricklayer, drove the milk truck, worked as a farm laborer, hotel servant, and as a shoe shine boy. He was meeting people while being educated through his experiences.
In June of 1897 he worked in the wheat fields of Kansas and traveled by railroad to different places working as a waiter, chopping wood, picking apples, and doing other jobs along the way. Sandburg called this “his hobo days”.
He joined the Sixth Infantry Regiment as a Private in the Spanish-American War in April 1898. When he returned to Galesburg he attended Lombard College in Galesburg, Illinois where he started writing poetry encouraged by Professor Wright. He never graduated.
Sandburg joined the staff of the Chicago Daily News for 13 years in 1919, wrote poetry collections, and published his 6 volume biography of the “Life of Lincoln” (1926-1939).
Carl Sandburg “celebrated the common American experience and was appreciated and read by the masses and scholars alike. He won three Pulitzer prizes, one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln, and two for his Poetry.”. Sandburg observed: “I’ll probably die propped up in bed trying to write a poem about America.”
Carl Sandburg died on July 22, 1967 at the age of 89 in the morning in Flat Rock, North Carolina in his home “Connemara” with his wife, Paula Sandburg, beside him. She said he “slowly breathed away”. Adding, “I thought it was a wonderful way of going. He had a beautiful passing.”
“Carl Sandburg Home” by Paula Steichen
“Carl Sandburg: His Life And Works” (1987) by North Callahan
Two articles on “Women’s Leadership Success” & “Guaranteeing Women’s Financial Success” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D.
The following 3 articles are suggestions for dealing with difficult /toxic people whether they are teachers, principals, staff, parents or others:
- “Dealing with Difficult People They Can Help Clarify Your Mission.” (September 2007) byEamonn 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:http://www.districtadministration.com/viewarticle.aspx?articleid=1271
- “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:http://k6educators.about.com/od/professionaldevelopment/a/gfh.htm
- “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:
“Stem to Steam: Should the Arts Have a Place Among Today’s Innovative and Much Emphasized High-Technology Disciplines?” (Oct 14, 2010) by Kendra Ratliff from the Business Lexington.
“In 2009, 51 percent of U.S. patents were awarded to non-U.S. companies. China has replaced the United States as the world’s top high-technology exporter. Almost one-third of U.S. manufacturing companies responding to a recent survey say they are suffering from some level of skills shortage. Such statistics raise compelling concerns that America is steadily falling behind as a competitive force in the global economy – and all that this implies for the nation’s well-being.” The response in Lexington, KY is that the STEM task force is missing the A for the arts.
“Involvement with the arts leads directly to measurable cognitive gains, according to a growing body of empirical evidence. Research has shown that music instruction enhances verbal memory and spatial skills. Other studies have found that involvement with art sharpens powers of observation and analysis, improves questioning skills, encourages more focused concentration and teaches that problem solving can arrive at multiple answers.”
“While Albert Einstein’s reputation is firmly rooted in his scientific contributions, this great physicist and theoretician also was an avid musician who revered Bach and Mozart, and is known to have once said: “I know that the most joy in my life has come to me from my violin.” Einstein’s mother Pauline Einstein , a pianist, realized her son needed the discipline of playing the violin to be a good student in school. It made the difference in his life and work.
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.”
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..”
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 4 children, ages 18, 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”
Symphony Spotlights Music Suppressed by Nazi Germany (Oct. 1, 2010) by Richard Nilsen from The Arizona Republic. A children’s opera will be presented “by children’s book illustrator Maurice Sendak but underneath, it tells a horrible story of the 20th century.”Michael Christie, the symphony’s music director says, “It’s a fascinating picture of culture just before and at the beginning of the Nazi era. It’s a great musical snapshot of history. It is also part of a season long look at the issue of composers either killed or exiled by the Nazis, including music by Erwin Schulhoff, Marcel Tyberg, Pavel Haas, Mieczyslaw Weinberg and Kurt Weill.” Christie also said that Felix Mendelssohn’s music will be included because his “works were banned in Germany during the Nazi era” as “his family was Jewish. We thought it would be a good series, hearing music by composers who didn’t survive and those that fled. We are looking at it from the musical side and working with the ASU Jewish Studies Program for lectures into this very deep topic and the very big questions that have to be asked.”
“Teaching Method Earns Fairfield Educator Top Honors” (Oct 3, 2010) by Linda Conner Lambeck, Staff Writer from the CTPost.com. Keith Smolinski, a science teacher at Roger Ludlowe Middle school combines “a love of music and science.. to help his students learn biology, memorize science vocabulary and perform better on tests. He was able to strike a balance between entertainment and education and was able to verify the academic improvement with the help of professors at the University of New Haven.” Smolinski ” is one of five grand prize winners in a contest run by Walden University, the Minnesota-based university where he earned his doctorate degree.”