April 2006

Healing Music Ezine

  1. Olympic Music
  2. Mozart and Standardized Testing



Olympic Music

Of all the music played during the Olympics, what stands out in your mind?

Do you remember some of the music that people skated and ice danced to? One of the things that really bothered me was that when they were playing a beautiful piece of music, like Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto, they rarely identified the music. Then there were some
really nice popular pieces that I wanted to know the name of, but alas the name wasn't announced and I could not find it online anywhere! Very frustrating. Nevertheless, I thought it was quite interesting to see what the skaters chose to skate to in the Olympics. I was so happy the the Japanese girl who won the gold, skated to a beautiful violin concerto.

I also enjoyed hearing the nine-year-old girl sing the Italian national anthem at the very beginning and again at the end. There were also several fantastic performances that first night with Italian musicians performing famous symphonic and operatic excerpts. I never get tired of hearing Andrea Bocelli and he's singing again at the final concert and processional of athletes and the Torino chorus singers in their beautiful costumes.

Now the games are ending and I'm watching the closing ceremony and wondering what Vancouver will bring us, musically, in four years. I believe that the music chosen by the athletes that use it has a powerful effect on their ultimate success. I'd love to hear YOUR opinion on this. What do you think?

Hope you enjoyed the Olympics!

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Mozart and Standardized Testing


You probably know that April is an important month in the U.S. for students of all kinds top take standardized tests.  Students from elementary school on up through graduate school, law school, medical school and more are sweating bullets over whether or not they will get the required score to attend that school or university of their choice.  Not only admission, but scholarships and grants hinge on whether or not the student attains a certain score.  Now many exams that were supposedly "objective" multiple choice tests now have a very subjective essay component.  Testing is a whole science in itself and at this point in history it is very far from perfect.  However, as important as these test scores are, parents and students alike want to do everything possible to prepare and win a top score.


Of course my angle is music and how it might help the test-taker to do her best.  The documentation is there folks.  High school juniors and seniors who listened to the Mozart Sonata in D Major for Two Pianos, K. 448 did better on the SAT by 8 or 9 percentage points than their peers who listened to either no music, or their favorite pop music.  Why?  Apparently the music of Mozart is highly structured and somehow enables the brain to get itself organized, as least for the time the student is taking the test.  In the research at UC Irvine the students listed to the above-mentioned Mozart piece for just 10 minutes before going in to take the test, but the results were significant.


If you want to know more about all the Mozart research that has been done, I highly recommend the site http://parenting-baby.com/Parenting-Baby-Music-Research/Music-Research.html .  You can get the CD of this particular Mozart Sonata at http://www.amazon.com/.


Use the above link for the specific recording that I recommend.  Enjoy this beautiful music and also let me know what you think!  I've set up a blog just for this purpose.  You can find it at http://healingmusicenterprises.blogspot.com/

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Alice H. Cash, Ph.D., LCSW

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