Friday, November 2, 2007

Mind, Music, Mystery

Today, my friend, Dr. Susan Larson Kidd, gave one of her fabulous music presentations where she made the connection between music and the mind both clearer and more mysterious. She pulled out her locally famous depictions of the human brain, artistically rendered and sliced this way and that. We all listened as she explained that music activates the brain in some predictable and some unpredictable ways. Music vibrates down the nerves altering how we perceive the things around us and how we perceive ourselves. Together, we, the workshop participants, demonstrated that music moves the body as we swayed or tapped in time to music that she had us listen to, feel, and reflect upon. As mysterious as music is, we discovered we all know quite a bit about it--even the barely musically literate among us--namely me.

Why would sound waves hitting the ear drum have such a profound emotional impact on human beings? I still don't understand that mystery. But, I resolved, once again, to try to use music more in my work with children who have autism. If music will help calm the limbic system--then I should be using it. If music will wake-up the frontal cortex--then I should be using it. Regulating, organizing, emotionally supportive music is the least expensive and surely the happiest therapy tool around.
Interesting Science Program related to music and the brain:


Niksmom said...

Again, thanks for this wonderful information, especially the link to the music stuff! I've bookmarked that one! Um, if you ever come to Delaware, please email me...I'd love to meet you (and try to convince you to move here to set up your practice! LOL)

Tahirih said...

Thank-you! I will look you up if I ever get to Delaware. You never know. I am going to Belgrade, Serbia to consult next week! My daughter is a special education teacher over there and up a week of work for me and my friend, Sheila Merzer--who is a far more well-known autism consultant than I am. Tahirih

Anonymous said...

Excellent, excellent workshop on Friday! So glad you convinced me to come.

You know, after Susan's presentation, I suggested that S and TJ listen to Mozart yesterday while they played versions of the "Builder/Foreman" game you showed us. S said TJ was on task the whole afternoon!

Anyway, I'm thinking after Friday that music is an area I have not used much, but should - a lot more. TJ has been listening to George Winston since Friday night at bedtime and sleeping so well!

I'm so glad you have put together the website and are blogging. Another thing I took away from the workshop was just how visual we all are. Your website and blog are giving me important visual reminders to go back to for reviews of what I've learned over the past year.

Many thanks, Tahirih!