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Using Music for Brain Food

School is very competitive these days. Actually life is very competitive. Everyone is looking for a way to get a little edge over the next guy or gal. Although I believe that cooperation and not competition is the way to go, maximizing your brain's potential certainly can't hurt. Today there is ample research documenting that that music is far more than just entertainment. And yet we know that when school officials cut the budget, music is one of the first things to go. In a recent study headlined "TEXAS ALL-STATE MUSICIANS SCORE 196 POINTS ABOVE NATIONAL AVERAGE ON THE 2000 SAT" the Texas music educators association reported that students involved in orchestra, band, or chorus had higher scores on their SAT's than students who were not involved in a music program. The students who scored highest were those in the schools' string orchestras.

Another interesting story comes from The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 11, 1997. In an article entitled "For The Sake Of Science: The Arts Deserve Support," Robert S. Root-Bernstein, Professor of Physiology at Michigan State University makes many fascinating points about how science and the arts have intersected in order to make our world a better and a safer place. For example, Music can also produce insights useful to science and technology. Take "frequency hopping," in which coded signals are sent along a constantly changing set of frequencies so that the signals can be neither intercepted nor blocked. In 1942, the composer George Antheil and the actress Hedy Lamar suggested using the melody of a song as a way of sending signals in Morse code. The person receiving the message would already know what song was being used and constantly retune his receiver to the frequency of the next note in the song to hear the Morse-code version of the next letter in the message. Someone who didn't know which song was being used would have no idea what frequency to listen to. The concept has spawned hundreds of patents and is the basis of many of the secure communications systems now used by the U.S. military.

Of course, no one can guarantee that getting your child involved in music will produce astounding results or great inventions or discoveries. What I can almost guarantee is a lot of fun, satisfaction, and a boost in self-esteem for child and probably for parent. Again, research has shown that students who are actively involved in music programs (and other programs at school) are less likely to become involved in gang activity and other negative behaviors because they have discovered and reinforced positive behavioral skills.

About Author Dr. Alice Cash: Helping people to use music for Healing and Wellness. Dr. Cash stresses the use of music for health, learning, motivation, relaxation, energy building, or well-being. She is known internationally for her work with music and pregnancy, surgery, addictions, and Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Cash can be reached through Healing Music Enterprises. (www.healingmusicenterprises.com)

You may reproduce Dr. Cash's articles as long as your use the complete version without editing including the last paragraph.
Music and the Brain; Dr. Alice Cash

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