Good Music Brighter Children is written for parents, educators or anyone who wants to build a bigger, better brain using music. Scientific studies indicate that children introduced to classical music at a young age read earlier and perform better on achievement tests. Adults can also revive tired brain cells using music. This book gives you a step-by-step program that any parent or individual can follow. You’ll discover how introducing your children to good music can accelerate language development, improve math and science skills, enhance physical coordination, strengthen memory and reading retention, and benefit children with learning disabilities. Discover how to choose an instrument and music teacher for your child; how to get your kids to practice and how character traits such as confidence, responsibility, creativity and teamwork are taught when learning a musical instrument. Learn how to introduce your child to the music community and how to appreciate all kinds of music. Last, if you want to advocate for music in your schools, this book gives the ammunition and data to do so. Also includes a 35-page Resource Section on the best music, books, and DVDs for kids.
Chapter Eight: Music’s Impact on Cognitive Delays and Physical Disabilities (pages 205-208)
For the past thirty years, I have had a particular interest in music’s impact on children with learning disabilities because of personal experience. In 1982 our third son, Brandon, was born. It was a traumatic birth. Born six weeks early, Brandon was too high in the birth canal, and as a result he was literally dragged out by forceps. He was an unhappy baby and cried all the time. He had constant ear infections that included a build-up of fluid in his ears, and despite being on daily doses of low-grade antibiotics, the infections persisted. Over time, this constant fluid buildup affected his hearing at a critical time in his development and caused him to experience sounds and language as if he was in a vacuum. I was reading to him daily, playing music for him, and taking him to “mommy and me” classes, yet his language and communication skills remained poor. After having him tested by a professional, we determined Brandon needed speech and language intervention. I naively thought once his language problem was fixed, everything would be fine. I was wrong—this was just the beginning.
When Brandon was six, his kindergarten teacher expressed concerned about his ability to learn. He was not able to do the classroom work and seemed frustrated and distant. We had him tested both at our public school and privately by a child psychologist. The results were grim. Brandon was diagnosed with auditory processing, visual motor, visual perception, sensory motor, and attention deficit disorder. The difference between his oral IQ and written IQ was thirty-eight points, indicating severe learning disabilities.
This team of experts told us that school would be very difficult for him. We were told that he may not graduate from high school, that college was out of the question, and that a trade school would be more appropriate. They said Brandon was “high risk,” meaning that as he got older, he could be a candidate for dropping out of school, experimenting with drugs, or worse. Why? Because kids need a measure of academic success. He needed to experience some kind of school success to increase his confidence level. But how do you help a child achieve academic success when he can’t read, write or spell? When he does not understand even the simplest of math concepts? When he has difficulty paying attention and following directions, and sports confuse and frustrate him?
It was a daunting challenge, and in the beginning I was overwhelmed. I did not know the first thing about learning disabilities, but I was determined to find out and to help him because I wanted Brandon to love learning—not just for success in school, but for a rich and meaningful life….
About the Author
Sharlene Habermeyer, MA has spent over twenty-five years researching the effects of music in the brain development of children. She is passionate about how people of all ages learn and how music is a catalyst for learning. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Art from Utah State University and a Masters degree in Education from Pepperdine University, Malibu, California.
In 1999, she started the Palos Verdes Regional Orchestra (now the Palos Verdes Regional Symphony Orchestra). It currently boasts over one-hundred members.
Sharlene’s initial inspiration for Good Music Brighter Children came from the extensive work she did with her severely learning disabled son, and finding that music was his strongest catalyst for learning she began passionately researching the effects music had on the developing and mature brain.
A college instructor, a popular speaker, and a consultant, she is the mother of five boys and lives with her husband in Torrance, California. She has spoken at parent conferences around the United States including the Parents as Teachers Conference (PAT) and the Crucial Years Conference in Missouri. In August 2014, she will be speaking at BYU Education Week.
Praise for the Book
Largest Independent Book Reviewer in the U.S.: Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media, LLC
“With a scientist’s eye and an artist’s voice, Habermeyer examines everything from the benefits of music for the developing brain to music’s ability to improve cultural awareness. This is an encyclopedic, invaluable resource for anyone who believes in music education. A magnum opus, fact-filled and inspiring on the benefits of music.”
-Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media, LLC
National Music Organization: Music and the Brain
“A great resource for both parents and teachers. Anyone interested in music or the overall well-being of children will not be able to put this book down.”
-Lisha Papert Lercari, Director, Music and the Brain
University Professor: Dr. James Catterall
Sharlene Habermeyer outlines why music is important to learning, and provides parents with excellent suggestions for launching and sustaining a musical influence in the lives of their children.”
-James S. Catterall, professor of education and co-director of Imagination Project at UCLA
Mother/Lawyer/Ballet Teacher: Shauna Bird Dunn
“Carefully researched and highly readable, Good Music, Brighter Children is written for musicians and non musicians alike. It is filled with wisdom, insight and helpful tips to bring music into the home for all ages and stages of childhood.”
–Shauna Bird Dunn, JD, MPA
Utah Young Mother of the Year, 2010
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