February 10, 2016

Notes: Random Power of Music Facts

Why should music be an integral part of our journey in life, or part of our mortal education?
It is powerful! It has been shown to integrate so many parts of our brain and really sink deeply into our mind, heart and body (physically penetrating!).

Here are a bunch of random points about music that I find interesting...
  • the sing-song language used by mothers to communicate with their infants, relies on a variety of musical features to communicate basic emotional information. Using exaggerated melodies and rhythmic repetitions, mothers can attempt to communicate positive and negative feelings to their infants, and appraise infants' internal states by the way they respond. (from here)

Here is a short article on the power of music... (about Elena Mannes' book, "The Power of Music")

  • She says scientists have found that music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function. That's why she sees so much potential in music's power to change the brain and affect the way it works.
  • Mannes says the cries of babies just a few weeks old were found to contain some of the basic intervals common to Western music.
  • Daniel Bernard Roumain, a young cross-genre violinist who is known as DBR, thinks one reason music is so powerful is that sound actually penetrates our bodies: "You know when someone says that a piece of music 'touched me' or 'moved me,' it's very literal. The sound of my voice enters your ear canal and it's moving your eardrum. That's a very intimate act. I am very literally touching you, and when you speak to me, you are literally touching me. And then we extend that principle to the sound of a violin."
  • The conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim believes that our early connection to sound is another reason for its power — one that in today's world we sometimes forget. He thinks that because we live in a very visual society we're more aware of what we see than what we hear. But he reminds us that the latest scientific evidence reveals that the ear, which we now know is active in the womb, has an advantage over the eye. He also says: "The ear has a head start over the eye, which doesn't see anything until it comes out. The eye is also something that one can control more fully. If you don't like the way I look, and you don't want to see me, you close your eyes and I disappear. But if you don't like my voice and you're in the same room, then you cannot shut your ears in a natural way. Sound literally penetrates the human body."
  • music has the potential to help people with neurological deficits. (example: "A stroke patient who has lost verbal function — those verbal functions may be stimulated by music")
  • infants prefer "consonant intervals, the smooth-sounding ones that sound nice to our Western ears in a chord, as opposed to a jarring combination of notes."

Left-Right Brain Balancing 101

Are you more left or right brained?

Did you know that the best learning isn't with one or the other, but the synergy of both? Whole learning requires this integration and when the brain is off-balance it actually makes full learning harder. But there are many ways to balance the left and right hemispheres of your brain.

First establish where your strengths and weaknesses are...

Being aware of the different parts of the brain and their functions is also helpful.

Here is a picture of the brain and the parts associated with the senses. As we work on areas involving the senses and get multiple senses and parts of the brain engaged we strengthen our brain and those associated senses of the body. We build greater awareness and synergy in mind and body.

So What can we do to strengthen our left and right brains to work together? Use multiple senses to cross all over the brain! mullti-sensory experiences are how we were born to learn. Not at a desk by a giver of facts. Our brains my be sponges, to some extent, but they weren't made to passively absorb. They were made to make connections and adapt and explore in three dimension! :)

Here are some activities we already do that we can try to get in a little more....
  • reading, writing and performing poetry
  • listening to classical music like Mozart or Bach
  • playing an instrument
  • creating art or observing good art (I read somewhere that William Turner paintings have a great effect on balancing the brain...but I can't find that source.)
  • exercise where we cross all the different planes:

great article: http://www.npr.org/2011/06/01/136859090/the-power-of-music-to-affect-the-brain

side notes:

Here is a simple article about how focusing on improving motor-coordination and brain-balancing will improve writing faster than focusing on handwriting in and of itself.

And here is a short article about needing both left and right to be a good artist:

Also, Brain Gym is a specific approach that teaches how to exercise the brain so the left and right hemispheres are working together--synergy. If you want to learn more about that and specific activities you can do, you can read more about that post. (there are more and more approaches coming out, so don't feel limited to that one)

Here is a taste...
Brain Balancing Techniques
If both hemispheres of the brain are in balance or in 'sync', then a natural electromagnetic shield is put up by your brain for protection from negative influences.

Your non-dominant hand is the hand with which you DO NOT normally write. Your dominant hand is your primary writing hand.

The reason we are learning to use both hands here is to establish a cross-dominant brain process. Every time you use both hands at the same time, you help your brain to be more balanced, and as a result, you can achieve a higher level of focus for any endeavor you might choose. 

Any physical activity involving movements that cross the mid-line of the body can help your brain become more balanced. Here are just a few examples:
·           Cross-country skiing
·           Rollerblading
·           Walking with arms swinging in rhythm with the opposite feet
·           Bicycling
·           Hiking
·           Dancing

Below are some exercises you can try which will help you to balance your brain.

Lazy 8s: Use a large sheet of paper and markers or crayons. Starting at the middle of the paper, draw a horizontal 8 with your dominant hand. Then draw another one with your non-dominant hand. Finally, with a marker or crayon in each hand, simultaneously draw a lazy 8 with each hand.

X Marks the Spot: Draw a big X on a piece of paper and study it. It can remind you that both parts of your brain are connected and can send messages back and forth.

Double Doodles: Using both hands simultaneously, doodle as much as you like for 3 minutes on a clean sheet of paper. Don't forget to breathe! Use different colored markers or crayons.

Hookups: Cross one foot over the other and one wrist over the other. Put your palms together, bend your elbows, pull your crossed hands to your chest and take about 10 deliberate breaths. Stay in this position until you are feeling calm and centered. This is an especially good exercise to perform before a potentially stressful event.

Book Notes: What is Emotional Intelligence?

The ultimate goal of raising children should not be simply to have an obedient and compliant child. Most parents hope for much more for their children they want their children to be tomorrow and responsible people who contribute to society who have the strength to make their own choices in life who enjoy the accomplishments of their own talents, who enjoy life and the pleasures it can offer who have good relationships with friends and successful marriages and who themselves become good parents.

In my research I discovered love by itself wasn't enough channeling that carrying into some basic skills that parents practice. as if they were coaching their children in the area of the emotion was enough. The secret lay in how parents interacted with their children.
Emotionally intelligent children and people are better at shooting upset calming down their hearts faster and because of the superior performance in that part of their physiology that is involved in coming themselves they had fewer illnesses they were better at focused attention. They were better at understanding and had better friendships.
Ocean within this context motion coaching parents only set limits and miss behavior is no longer the major concern compliance obedience and responsibility comes from a sense of love and connectedness the children feel within their families in this way emotional interactions among nation for instilling values and raising moral people. Children behave according to Family standards because they understand with their hearts that is expected and that living right is off of belonging to the clan.The key to successful parenting is not found in complex series elaborate family room convoluted and affection for you demonstrated simply through empathy and understanding good parenting begins in your heart then continued on a moment to moment basis by engaging your children when feelings run high when you're sad angry or scared the heart of parenting is been there in a particular way when it really counts. 

In the last decade of scientists have found that even more than IQ your emotional awareness and ability to handle feelings determines your success and happiness in all walks of life including family relationships. Children learn most lessons about emotion from their parents it includes the ability to control impulses delay gratification motivate themselves read other people's social cues and cope with life's ups and downs.

Family life is our first school for emotional learning. Parents to teach their children strategies to deal with life's ups and downs are called emotion coaches they don't object to their children's displays of anger or sadness or fear nor do they ignore them instead they except negative emotion as a fact of life and they use emotional moments as opportunities for teaching their kids important life lessons and building closer relationships with them.

Parents who failed to teach kids emotional intelligence fall under three categories:
1. Dismissing parents who disregard ignore or trivialize children's negative emotions.
2. Disapproving parents who are critical of their children's displays of negative feelings and may reprimand or punish them for emotional expression.
3. Laissez-faire parents who excepts their children's emotions and empathize with them but failed to offer guidance or set limits on their children's behavior.

5 Steps of emotion coaching:
1. Become aware of child's emotion (emotion awareness)
2. Recognize the emotion as opportunity for intimacy and teaching (relationship opportunity)
3. Listen empathetically validating child's feelings (empathetic validation)
4. Help child find words to label emotion (name emotion)
5. Set limits while exploring strategies to solve the problem (strategic limits)
Extra Help for setting limits...

Set Behavior Tolerance Zones:
Green Zone = acceptable behavior that lifts and builds.
Yellow Zone = leeway both for learners (age-appropriate) and for hard times (unusual circumstances and stressors)
Red Zone = unacceptable behavior that can not be tolerated (can be destructive--physically, morally, etc.)

Set Consequences
Children should understand consequences are not bad in and of themselves. Good behavior will get happy consequences/rewards. Poor choices will unhappy consequences. Regardless of whether they are happy or sad, consequences must be three things: Consistent, Fair and Related.

When used correctly, children are briefly isolated from positive interactions. A Time-out can be an effective way to help childre...
1. stop their mis-behavior (stop action)
2. calm down (feel)
3. start again on a more positive note (think how to change: make it right)

Short-term: the threat may stop mis-behavior immediately, but without discussion... putting off chances to teach the child self-control and problem-solving
Long-term: spanking may not work at all, but rather make the child feel angry and humiliated more often causing retaliation and denial.

Work Together to Find Solutions
Identify some options. kids under ten may need to focus on trying one at a time until they find one that works)
Try role playing and fantasy play. Little kids are better at acting their part through a character and feeling free to experiment their actions. You can try experimenting with a right and a wrong version to see which seems helpful or correct. 
Brainstorming Session. For our children, a regular brainstorming session should work. Remind the child that no idea is too silly, and just throw any ideas out on the table.
Recall the child's past experiences and victories. This will bring confidence and help them visualize trying something new.

Help Your Child Choose a Solution
Feel free to share your past experiences and feelings similar to your child's situation...sharing mistakes and decisions, etc. don't be afraid to let them make a choice you wouldn't. If things don't work out, she can learn and try something new. And you can guide them in analyzing why it didn't work out. Regardless of the outcome, be supportive and help the child develop a plan for the choice made.

Many well-meaning parents dismiss children's fears and upset as though they didn't matter in these cases the child begins to except the adults estimation of the event and learns to doubt her own judgment. if adults constantly invalidate a child's emotional feelings, the child will begin to lose confidence in himself.

Taking children's emotions seriously requires empathy been listening skills and a willingness to see things from their perspective. It also takes a certain selflessness. (but when a parent is stressed or otherwise distracted a child's incessant and sometimes irrational demands can drive the parent wild).

Many parents are letting go of the strict authoritarian models which they were raised and living with the growing believe in the intrinsic goodness of children more parents now believes their role is to assist children to develop according to their own interests needs and desires.

Parents must show genuine respect for their children's feelings. They should not tell children what they ought to feel, because that simply makes children distrust trust their feelings. Kids' emotions do not disappear when parents say "don't feel that way." And while not all behavior is acceptable, all feelings and wishes are acceptable. therefore, parents should set limits on acts, but not emotions and desires. parent should honestly express their emotions, provided that it is directed at a specific problem and does not attack the child's personality or character.

As helpless as babies are they can learn from our response to their discomfort that emotion has a direction that it is possible to go from feelings of intense stress, anger and fear, to feelings of comfort and recovery. When babies get upset they lack any sense control. And without a guide to take them from distress to comfort they can't self-soothe; instead their negative emotional experience becomes a black hole of anxiety and fear.

The first step parents can take toward raising emotionally intelligent children is to understand their own style of dealing with emotion and how that affects their kids. 

Situations when Emotion coaching may not work...
1. When you are pressed for time
2. If you need to deal with a serious mis-behavior
3. If your child is faking an emotion to manipulate you
4. When you are too tired or upset to be productive
5. When you have an audience