Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Benefits of Music’ Category

I realize that  it’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything.  Life just got extremely busy, and something had to go on hiatus else I totally lose it.  After reading a blogpost from the Mayo Clinic,  though, I knew I had to take time to share this.

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, is world-renown for its medical expertise and care.  I found it interesting to note that they have a grand piano in the atrium of the Gonda building that is used frequently by individuals who want to share the gift of music.

Watch this video of a delightful, older couple and the joy and laughter they bring to the patients and families passing through the atrium this particular day.

Then read these words by a loving daughter who gives you a much deeper insight into the powerful gift that music provides there at the Mayo Clinic, and view this video of Jodi Hume with her mother, Sharon, as they talk about that day at the clinic and the joy that they found in the sunny atrium, watching and listening to Fran and Marlo Cowan, married 62 years, as they gave an impromptu performance.

Jodi wrote:

And then we heard the piano and the laughter. From the balcony we could see an older couple sitting side by side at the piano playing together and entertaining a host of people. Some were in wheelchairs, others were sitting with canes beside them or standing. Everyone was smiling with all burdens forgotten for the moment. The joy was absolutely indescribable. When we asked them to play one more for us, Fran and Marlow Cowan, who have been married for more than 62 years, treated us to an exceptional performance that is now a “youtube” sensation.

And watch this video of Jodi and her mom,  Sharon, as they sit in a porch swing and talk about that day at the Mayo.

To read Jodi’s post in its entirety, please visit the Mayo Blog here.

Read Full Post »

This really cracked me up and provided a badly needed laugh for my day.  Enjoy!  😀

Read Full Post »

I don’t honestly remember how I first found TED.com.  I guess it was a link sent by a friend or one of those days I was surfing the web, traveling from link to link, reading whatever caught my interest.  In any event,  I was so fascinated by the expansive offerings on TED that I subscribed to their newsletter.

This week’s e-newsletter shared one of the three winning TED wishes ($100K prize) this year  – that of Dr. Jose Abreu of Venezuela,  a 70-year-old retired economist, trained musician, and social reformer who founded “the system” (El Sistema) in 1975 and has built it with religious zeal, based on his belief that what poor Venezuelan kids needed was classical music.

Abreu’s wish?  To take El Sistema to other nations, including the United States.

El Sistema is all about children,  many from neighborhoods which are so poor, desperate and crime-ridden, that hope is often extinguished in children at an early age, living in areas where residents don’t walk alone day or night.  And it’s focus is about saving them – hundreds of thousands of children – through music.

According to Dr. Abreu, music is a social system that fights poverty and overcomes it by the spiritual richness that music provides, becoming a vehicle of social change.

Each day, children from some of the poorest of the poor slums in Venezuela line up for free lessons at their local branch of El Sistema.  Beginning as early as two years of age, they start learning the basics, like rhythm, and the language of music.  (Sounds like Kindermusik!)

By the time they’re four, they’re being taught how to play an instrument. By the time they’re six or seven-year-old veterans, they’re playing in orchestras.

Through hard work and the assistance of fifteen thousand trained musicians as well as gifted kids who teach other kids, the system uses classical music to instill in the kids self-esteem and confidence.

In the thirty-four years since El Sistema was first founded, over eight hundred thousand children have passed through the organization.  While the majority of them do not continue on to be professional musicians, all of them are changed.

Dr. Abreu is quoted as saying,

“Music produces an irreversible transformation in a child. This doesn’t mean he’ll end up as a professional musician. He may become a doctor, or study law, or teach literature. What music gives him remains indelibly part of who he is forever.”

When asked if he thinks the system could work in the United States, one Sistema branch manager said:

“Yeah. But I mean, kids are kids. It doesn’t matter where they come from. And if you can help a poor kid in here, you can help a poor kid everywhere. It doesn’t matter the culture, it doesn’t matter the race. I mean, it’s music. Everybody love music.”

Make sure your computer is hooked up to a good set of speakers, turn up the sound, sit back, and prepare to be completely blown away by the power and beauty of  the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra (Sinfónica Juvenil Teresa Carreño), the national high-school-age youth orchestra of El Sistema, directed by Gustavo Dudamel,  newly named musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and product of El Sistema himself.   The two selections are Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, 2nd movement, and Mexican composer Arturo Márquez’ Danzón No. 2.

To learn more about Dr. Abreu, El Sistema, and making Dr. Abreu’s wish come true, please visit TED.com here.

To view the El Sistema segment by Bob Simon on 60 Minutes, please follow this link.

Read Full Post »

I read an interesting article today about enhancing your well-being through purposeful mental training such as that done by Buddhist monks in Tibet.

Written by Brian Maffly of the Salt Lake Tribune, it is a fascinating look into current scientific research done by Communications Psychology professor Richard Davidson of Madison University, using the latest technology such as magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, to document the startling control the monks demonstrate over their emotional states.  His resulting ideas about “neuroplasticity” — the notion that we can enhance brain function through purposeful mental training — threaten to upend conventional psychoterapy, which has little scientific basis.

Davidson is quoted as saying:

“We were all taught that the brain is different from other organs in the way it changes over time.  We thought the process was one of irrevocable death,”  Davidson said.  “We now know that view is definitely wrong.  The brain is capable of generating 7,000 to 9,000 cells a day.”

Recruited by the Dalai Lama, monks who participated in this study had spent, on average, 34,000 hours in intense meditation and were considered masters of the faith.   By using scans that tracked brain function, Davidson was able to track high levels of activity in the areas of the brain associated with emotional well-being.   Further studies documented measurable changes in brain activity after two-week sessions of mental training.

The most interesting part of this article for me is directly related to music.  Davidson states,  The brain is the only organ designed to change in response to experience.   Musical training changes the structure of the brain and when it begins earlier in life the greater the influence. (emphasis mine)

Come join us in our Kindermusik classes and create some well-being of your own for you and your child.  We gladly offer pro-rated tuition when joining after the beginning of the new semester!

For our class schedule, please visit our website.


Read Full Post »

Nothing needs to be said here.  Simply enjoy it!

Then check out why it was created here.

Read Full Post »

I love hearing what parents have to say about Kindermusik!  After all, I’m biased – I know that it’s the very best early childhood music and movement curriculum there is!  And I know that it’s *so* much more than just music.

But to hear what a parent has to say – well, that’s a glimpse into the other side of the equation in the Kindermusik classroom – the parent and their participation in class, too.

This article by Beth Britton in Clarkesville Online shares all this, but also points out another big plus for Kindermusik parents – the Kindermusik community of other parents that are right there with you in the classroom.

beth-britton

Read what this mom from Clarkesville, Tennessee had to say about Kindermusik and the eye-opening insight she received about her own daughter while in the classroom.   Where would we be without the free thinkers of this world?  Your child *just* might be one of them!

It’s not too late to register for our upcoming Kindermusik semester which begins *next* Saturday, January 24th.    We’ll be singing Mother Goose rhymes, walking along with a dog named Rover, visiting “Cities – Busy Places, Friendly Faces” as well as playing the “Rhythms of the Land”.  Come join us!

Read Full Post »

A colleague of mine, Jenn Horak-Hulk of Waukee, Iowa, recently posted a video of Kindermusik parents who explained why they chose Kindermusik for their children.  Each one has a different perspective to offer that is well worth hearing.  And the kids are just darn cute!  Enjoy!
This highly qualified parent (Early Childhood PhD) explains why she chose Kindermusik for her own children.
Our new semester begins in just two weeks!  Home materials are being ordered today.  Have you registered your child yet?

Read Full Post »

I’ve seen this kind of thing before.  I know how music can change a person’s life.  I’ve seen it up close and personal in our own family.  But it never fails to amaze me when I see it again – changing someone else’s life – especially in such a dramatic way.  Enjoy!

Read Full Post »

Research done by Nina Kraus at Northwestern University’s Auditory Neuroscience Lab provides a fascinating look into why  musical training as a child will actually enhance your child’s language skills.  And you don’t have to become a professional musician to benefit!  Enjoy!

Many thanks goes to Debby Pool, Vice President of Product Development at Kindermusik International, Evanston, Illinois. 

Read Full Post »

Most babies come into this world with only a few notable abilities at first, namely eating, sleeping, crying, and, well,……elimination, to be blunt, although not necessarily in that order.  One of the constants in that first year of life is growth – physically, mentally, and emotionally – on a scale that is only matched again in the early teen years when, yes, they’re again extremely good at the same basic skills.  Well, at least the eating and sleeping parts!  😉

However, in an article from the Daily Mail Online, dated 23rd September, 2008, researchers now tell us that even from day one, infants have a strong sense of rhythm as well as pitch and melody.   Experts now say that introducing a child to music at an early age could possibly enhance these innate musical abilities and also help them learn to talk.

The fledgling musical talent was discovered by Hungarian researchers during a study of more than 100 boys and girls who were only one or two days old.

They played the babies music as they slept and measured their brain activity.

The researchers found that their brains computed changes in beat, tone and melody.

For instance, if a key beat was missed from a rhythmic pattern, the baby’s brain registered the change.

A change in pitch, similar to that between male and female voices, also provoked a reaction.

The Hungarian Academy of Sciences study was part of a three-year European project on how the brain processes music and other sounds, co-ordinated by Dr Susan Denham, of Plymouth University.

She said: ‘What is perhaps most significant is that not only do babies’ brains register changes in beat, pitch and simple melodic patterns but they do so more or less automatically, as they are fast asleep during these experiments.

‘People come into the world with brains that are wired-up to detect patterns’.

Dr Denham added: ‘A lot of music reflects the rhythms and contents of speech. If you are listening to music you will also probably be more sensitive to speech rhythm.’

This really does make sense when you think about it.  After all, a baby spends 9+ months in utero, listening to a steady beat 24/7 of his/her mother’s heart.  I’ve also had numerous Village moms tell me that their babies seemed to recognize not only their mothers’ voices shortly after birth, but also other voices heard consistently pre-natally, such as dad or siblings. 

One Village mom in particular told me just last year that when she was pregnant the previous year, she tended to listen to one particular artist on a regular basis, almost daily.  She had an album she enjoyed listening to, with one song that was a favorite, listening to it over and over again. 

After the birth of her daughter, with all of the adjustments and changes in the family routine that results from a firstborn, listening to albums was not high on the daily schedule – until the day that mom turned on the CD player for some badly needed relief from a crying, inconsolable baby. 

Without really consciously thinking about it, she chose the album and song she had listened to frequently during the pregnancy.  Amazingly enough, the baby stopped crying within a few seconds of the beginning strains of the song.  I don’t honestly remember the song title, but I do remember laughing with Yolanda at the time; both of us agreeing that it wasn’t the usual lullaby-type song you would expect an infant to enjoy and relax with. 

Give your baby a head-start by joining us next Saturday, October 25th, or Monday, November 3rd, as we begin Dream Pillow  in our Village classes.  Online registration is available for your convenience here.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »