Tami VanDusen has studied music for more than 25 years. She is the owner of TaVaci School of Performing Arts, a national children’s music and arts program. She has identified four situations when music could have a huge benefit in our lives and have research to back up why.
MUSIC HAS POWER OVER THE BRAIN
• Research has proven, time and again, that music is a non-chemical drug that greatly enhances the brain’s abilities. If introduced at an early age while the neuron’s are still vulnerable to connection, music can help connect and stimulate areas in the brain that are responsible for spatial reasoning, mathematics and logic, reading and creativity.
• With not a clear understanding of why, it has been shown, time and again, that music enhances abilities of patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The memory can be triggered with music better than any drug!
• Playing music formats the brain for orderly storage and recovery of data.
Suggestion: Teachers, parents, adults and children would all do well to establish a music library full of music that enhances brain development and also helps the mind to utilize his/her abilities to their fullest extent. Every generation has its own “fun” music and this is as it should be. However, studies show that in a learning environment, classical, instrumental music, played at a low level, enhances and accelerates learning. Some of my favorite “essentials” are attached.
KIDS WHO STUDY MUSIC DO BETTER ACADEMICALLY
• Plato once said that music “is a more potent instrument than any other for education.” Now scientists know why. Music, they believe, trains the brain for higher forms of thinking. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, studied the power of music by observing two groups of preschoolers. One group took piano lessons and sang daily in chorus. The other group did not. After eight months, the musical 3-year olds were expert puzzle masters, scoring 80 percent higher than their playmates did in spatial intelligence.
• Music students achieve a higher score on the ACT and other college entrance exams.
• In a recent study, 66% of music majors who apply to medical school are accepted, the highest percentage of any group. Only 44% of biochemistry majors are admitted.
• Hungary ranks among the highest in academic excellence in the world, yet is one of the world’s poorest countries. Could it be that they have a mandatory music study requirement of kindergarten through grade nine? In Hungary, the first four hours of each day are set aside for music, orchestra and choir. In the afternoon, when they student math, language and history, they are able to achieve higher grades because their brain has been formatted for orderly storage and retrieval of information by music study.
Suggestion: If your children are in public education, encourage teachers to use music in their classrooms. Teachers can enhance memory by having music softly played in the classroom. When my son was studying for a spelling bee, he remembered the words studied with Baroque music playing in the background much better than when there was silence.
LISTENING TO MUSIC CAN HELP US THINK MORE CLEARLY AND CREATIVELY
• The left hemisphere of the brain is the reasoning side. It is the part of our brain that enables us to walk and talk. The right hemisphere of the brain is the creative side. Research shows that when a person sings or plays a musical instrument, both hemispheres of the brain are called to work together. No other activity we can participate in achieves this same result.
• Using music in daily life, most people will realize its ability to help them create better, and allow patterns in the brain to flow together more freely. Music helps “line up” brain patterns to cross so that information started in the right creative side of the brain can flow more easily into the left structured side.
Suggestion: In the morning hours, start the day off with a Violin Concerto by Mozart or Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Don’t have the volume overwhelming, but as an added background.
MUSIC HAS AN ABILITY TO CALM US AND HAS POWER OVER OUR MOODS
• Research has shown that music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing a sharper concentration and more alert thinking, and a slower tempo promoting a calm, meditative state. Research has also found that the change in brainwave activity levels that music can bring can also enable the brain to shift speeds more easily on its own as needed, which means that music can bring lasting benefits to your state of mind, even after you’re stopped listening.
Suggestion: When making critical decisions or when you are under stress, it would be wise to put on a Bach Concerto and allow it to do it’s magic!
Albert Einstein’s fifth grade teacher told his parents that he was “stupid” and incapable of learning. Albert had demonstrated an inability to take tests and to get passing grades. His teacher recommended they place Albert in a workhouse. Sometime later, he began to study the violin. Years later Albert credited his genius to the violin. Whenever he would get stumped while working on a formula, the answer would come to him while playing his violin.
When asked to write the Constitution of the United States, Thomas Jefferson struggled to find the right words to express his heart. After many restless days, he wrote his wife requesting that she send his violin to him. The landlord under his small office in Philadelphia states that she would hear Thomas pacing. Then she would hear music from his violin followed by silence. After playing his music, Thomas was able to sit at the desk and write the foundational doctrine for our government, so eloquently worded and complete.
Tami Van Dusen, currently lives in Brigham City, Utah with her husband, Steve. They are the parents of four children, Chelsee, Michael, Tara and Melody and the grandparents of seven. Tami is co-founder and owner of TaVaci, School of Performing Arts, Inc.; a national children’s singing and performing organization. She also has many students studying voice and the performing arts in her own personal studio located in Brigham City. She has participated in many musical theater productions at Box Elder High School as the vocal coach. An avid fan of theater, she enjoys excursions to attend new productions. Tami loves trips to Lake Powell, camping, reading good books, community service, and doing almost anything with her husband and children.
For more information about TaVaci, School of Performing Arts, Inc. visit: www.tavacischool.com.