Archive: December 2017

How Classical Music Benefits Children With Learning Disabilities

We have long known about the ability of classical music to provide pleasure and stir up deep emotions. Undoubtedly, music has a powerful impact on the brain. Studies have shown that classical music can also help children with special needs through a variety of significant improvements including reduced stress, increased IQ, and improved ability to concentrate. Further, music can make children feel more positive and improve their creative thinking. The bottom line is that classical music can make a huge difference in the lives of those with disorders like autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, ADD and ADHD and mental retardation.

The Mozart Effect and the Power of Music

The term “The Mozart Effect” has gone mainstream, as now there are a variety of products including everything from CDs to toys that use Mozart’s music to improve a person’s ability to perform mental tasks. A wide variety of experts theorize that listening to Mozart can actually boost intelligence too. Don Campbell who wrote The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit has declared that the Mozart Effect is “an inclusive term signifying the transformational powers of music in health, education, and well-being.”

An issue of Nature Journal in 1993 published remarkable findings from studies at The University of California at Irvine. In one study, group of students listened to Mozart while a second group listed to a tape with suggestions for relaxation. A third test group just had 10 minutes of silence. When these students were given a test on spatial IQ, those who listened to Mozart showed to have a significantly higher spatial IQ.

Some scientists speculate that complicated sounds like classical music boosts the operation of firing patterns in the brain’s cortex. Studies have also shown that those even with Alzheimer’s disease do better on spatial IQ tests after listening to Mozart. One of the reasons that classical music is so powerful in contrast to other forms of music is that it has sequences that repeat throughout a musical piece. Often these sequences appear about every 20 or 30 seconds. Due to the fact that brain wave patterns also take place in 30-second cycles, this type of music can provide the most powerful type of response.

The Mozart Effect has very real implications for those with learning disorders. Listening to classical music will not only boost IQ, but it will also help children concentrate better and memorize new information. When a child hears classical music, it can create the ideal conditions for learning and creativity.

One additional boost to the implications of classical music’s positive impact on learning and the brain occurred in 1998 when the governor of Georgia Zell Miller included over $100,000 annually in the budget for the state for tapes and CDs of classical music for all of children born in Georgia. He was persuaded to take this bold step due to the various studies that listening to classical music spurs intelligence.

Music Therapy

Classical music can positively impact everything from emotional development to motor skills to cognitive functioning. There is an entire field of psychology called Music Therapy where therapists improve the health of their clients through using music. Professionals like teachers, physicians and psychologists regularly refer children for music therapy. Music Therapists can even help rehabilitate people who have had strokes through the power of music.

Kids with learning disorders like ADD, ADHD, and autism can benefit from Music Therapy, as it will help them to feel calmer and less impulsive. Further, many children will feel more comfortable opening up about their feelings when they are exposed to music. At this point, therapists can help children to overcome their frustrations and assist to boost their self-esteem.

Distractions and Music

One thing that many children with learning disorders have in common is that they are easily distracted. Different noises can take their attention away from a task at hand. However, when classical music is used therapeutically, it changes the way the ear functions and stimulates the brain.

Children with a variety of learning disorders including autism are experiencing positive results from Tomatis Listening Therapy. During therapy sessions, classical music is sent into the right ear and the sound is also vibrated through the bones in the body. One of the goals of this therapy is to get the ears in sync and re-balance the system. The philosophy behind this treatment is that it can allow its recipients to begin performing to the best of their abilities.

Many children have also improved their ADHD conditions through learning to play a music instrument. The act of practicing playing classical music and listening to it at the same time can teach kids to lengthen their attention span.

The Calming Ability of Music

When children with special needs listen to classical music, it provides a positive and relaxing experience. Remarkably, classical music can also reduce stress and ease frustrations. Further, it can reduce muscle tension and slow down the heart rate. When these changes occur, the mind is more open to learning and also to communicating with others.

One study at the Baltimore St Agnes Health Care by Raymond Bahr, MD showed that when doctors played classical music for their heart patients it had the same impact as a 10 mg dose of Valium! The implications of this study for those with special needs are clear. When children with autism, cerebral palsy, ADD, ADHD, and mental retardation are able to relax and calm down, dramatic changes in their behavior become possible.

Jazz Music and Its Significance in US History

Jazz music which is thought to be an art creation of the American blacks during the early decades of the twentieth century has been an important subject of the social history of US. It gained popularity not only as an art form but it also helped the hapless blacks, who were the offspring of the enslaved African origin blacks brought into America by the white settlers to exploit them for their labor needs, to gain a social standing through the power of music. They, with the help of influential jazz music, brought to limelight the miseries that they are suffering because of the racial hatred.

Initially the jazz music flourished in the South American region. New Orleans was especially very dear to this art. From there it traveled to all parts of America. In the beginning years there was strong resistance seen on the part of whites who could not see the blacks progressing in some field. But despite all their malicious efforts to suppress the jazz music being spread into society, they themselves were vanquished by its influence. It made itself as a hallmark of the US culture. Whites and immigrants from other regions of world were seen getting into this music.

The music when adopted by people from different ethnic backgrounds living in the multicultural society of US groomed further and many other variations were developed of it. All these happenings with the jazz were signifying the growing influence of the Negroes. The lyrics of their songs, especially the improvisation technique used in the Jazz which allows the singer to sing without even the tune, were expressive of their true emotions and their social sufferings on being the isolated and neglected portion of the society. It, in a sense, played a considerable role in reducing the racial differences. Other people of different ethnicities also used it to raise their voice.

Jazz was setting its roots in the music landscape and became popular in all people. Because of its rapid development people started calling it the rise of ‘Jazz Culture’ in America.

It was just after the end of slavery in US the Jazz music started to grow. The slave trade, though it was ended by the American law, had profound effects for the US society. It generated a milieu of hatred for blacks toward whites and vice versa. This legacy had to last for generations and according to the recent studies there is still a huge tendency of racism that exist in American people. In addition to this there were immigrants from other regions of the world that further amplified the diversity and nationalistic feelings among people who were now living together in the multi-ethnic society of US. In such an atmosphere the empowerment of blacks through the help of their arts movements was a historic marvel. It was not just music that was their sole part of the black arts movement. Other genres of art like poetry, fiction, fashion were also distinctively used by them

In the city of New Orleans where the Jazz music was born there was a peculiar tradition among people. During the funerals the people were consoled by these jazz singers who used to play funeral songs that soothed the family and friends of the dead person. This practice was becoming more and more prominent and was taking a shape of a must element of funeral processions. Moreover the people of New Orleans were very fond of holding music parties, concerts, balls,etc. that further paved the way for jazz to get fame among people. In this way the city of New Orleans mushroomed jazz culture and is therefore called the mother city of jazz music. One of the most famous and much cherished jazz singer Louis Armstrong also belonged to that place.

From New Orleans Jazz was entering into the boundaries of New York and Chicago. These cities also proved to be welcoming for it. So large was becoming its influence that many recording companies, who initially were not providing equal opportunity to black artists to record their albums, started to give access to these jazz singers to prepare their albums in the recording houses. That rapidly boosted the growth of jazz music. Firstly the recording companies which were mainly owned by whites were skeptic that the jazz would be liked by the greater masses.

The things got contrary to their expectations. The jazz music was even adopted by whites who fell in love with it and made their own variations of the jazz. It was becoming the voice of the people. After its commercialization and likeness by the people more black singers were encouraged to release their albums. In this way they were assimilating their identities with other segments of the society. They were listened, played and copied. Their message that began to come in front of mounting audience helped to eliminate the prejudiced thoughts directed toward them.

Jazz music was a quintessential part of the famous Black Arts movement and its efficacy to bring the voice of blacks to the limelight proved more good than other arts. There were singers like Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, etc. who played a superb role in utilizing Jazz as a platform to express the miseries, fears, dangers, hatred and negligence the blacks face on the hands of whites. Initially, when the jazz was being adopted by white singers, the runners of Black Arts movement considered it as a threat and protested the involvement of non-blacks in it.

After the 1950s the Asian-Americans were also seen getting into Jazz. They too uses jazz to raise their voice which helped them to raise their social status. They were able to cast a political influence on the higher powers as well.

Jazz was a wonderful addition in the field of music and had been a healthy form of entertainment. A music that grew at a place where the subjugated class–blacks–had little opportunity to compete with the self-supposed superiors–whites–who could have set obstacles for the Jazz music to start its drive to nadir before making any rise. And in fact initially the intentions of the whites were not different than this but as the outburst of emotions can not be stopped they realized that the Jazz had to cross limits.

As the people of America have had love for music, the jazz not only became an entertaining music for them but it was to become the very part of the US culture and the way of American Life. Magazines, Newspapers, and the Television provided considerable space to the stuff related to jazz. Why the jazz made such a glorious fame was because of the characteristic of jazz which allows the intensity of emotions to be interpreted in the music. Now many other form of jazz are developed which testifies it has a potential to win more hearts and last forever.