What Was Your Favorite Class In School? Music and Mathematics Are Related.
My favorite class or subject in school changed somewhat from early childhood through college, but I found that the different subjects were really quite well-related.
I also learned that language is inseparable from personality and one's culture and that music and art inter-mesh with all of this in human development. My first interest was in art and patterns and this has apparently never changed, even though my interests grew through arts and music, onward through mathematics and sciences. It is all art and music to me. I can look at a graph or the inside of a spiraling seashell and literally hear music.
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Learning about our new world begins the moment we are born and it is important for parents, siblings and extended families to encourage this learning in every way.
Extensive research has shown that talking to the baby in earliest childhood onward, as well as movement, music, and art all prepare the brain and the Central Nervous System to learn at its best. Deaf children can still be prepared through movement. In fact, the leading percussionist in the world, Dame Evelyn Glennie, is deaf, and she plays beautiful xylophone music (see links below).
A baby is not "finished" when he or she is born. Just as the body grows, the brain and entire Central Nervous System continue to grow and expand, to develop new ner cells called "neurons." It never stops - white matter grows at a quick rate in middle and old age. The brain and nervous systems apparently never stop healing after injury as well; we simply cannot live long enough in some cases for healing to be completed. Music and art can help in this healing, making them even more important.
My earliest favorites in the classroom and at home were reading, art and music. This helped me to be able to recognize patterns, parallels and analogies in all subjects. it was this art and music that helped me to learn logic later on.
MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL
During these years, I continued to enjoy art, but increased my interest to match my abilities in science and mathematics. The most fun I had in math classes was constructing a variety of graphs, diagrams and solid (three-dimenional) geometric figures. Later I added fractal plots. This was all artistic as well as number-related. It all worked together.
My Favorite Class: John Philip Sousa
My favorite class in high school was marching band. I had a late start in instrumental music, two years later than the other children in elementary school, but was able to advance quickly and receive the John Philip Sousa Award.
I played first chair cornet/trumpet and sometimes filled in on French horn as well. I could not handle the trombone, though --My arms were not long enough to reach the last two slide positions.
We did not have band camps, because they were too expensive, but we practiced and drilled all summer long with out ban director, who was a retired US Navy Officer.
Beginning a week after classes let out in June, we attended two hours of classes three times a week until August, at which time we began practicing four hours daily in the mornings Monday through Friday.
When school began, we continued to practice three hours a day, from 7:00 AM - 10:00 AM or 11:00 AM, Monday through Friday, throughout football season. Sometimes we went to school to begin practice at 6:00 AM. Our other classes were scheduled after marching band.
It was in band practices that I developed good physical coordination and memory. We memorized all of our musical pieces and many intricate marching drills, most of them to John Philip Sousa marches and popular music.
We marched to make flowing pictures on the football field, one image melting into the next.
Physical coordination, memory and concentration helped me to be able to do complicated mathematics problems in geometry and calculus in my head - A teacher asked me how I arrived at the correct answer for one problem and I said I did not know. We figured out that my brain had been able fulfill all the steps unconsciously and go straight to the answer. Harvard has been studying the effects of music on learning and the brain and their results are at the link:
More Music Research
- Listen to Music - It Can Save the Brain
Educational and medical research agree with extensive findings of major universities and the Kennedy Center for the Arts. This research shows that music, the arts, and speaking to infants and young children - and even the brain damaged adult and olde
Evelyn Glennie - Percussionist
Evelyn Glennie is Scottish and has been named a Dame (by the UK), the equivalent of Knighthood and the title "Sir." She received this honor for her work in music, although she is deaf.
Dame Glennie became the first fulltime solo percussionist in the world. I have watched her play the drums and the xylophone barefooted so that she can feel the vibrations of her instruments, knowing in that way how they "sound."
One of my other favorite musicians is Irish -- one of the group called The Irish Tenors, Ronan Tynan. He is a physician and a double leg amputee that won many medals in the Paralymics. His link is here:
If the deaf and the injured can accomplish so much, how much more should we who can hear and run be able to achieve?
"Clapping Music" by Dame Glennie
The John Philip Sousa Marches I Memorized
Music continues to be important to me. Certain types of music can increase my concentration in other tasks. The styled of music that are most effective are Baroque, some forms of percussion, Native American Flute, and Asian Flute.
In addition, I remember many of the John Philip Sousa Marches I memorized and here is that list out of the 136 marches he wrote:
- America First
- El Capitan
- Columbia's Pride
- The Directorate
- Esprit de Corps
- The Federal
- The Gladiator
- King Cotton
- The Legionaires
- The Liberty Bell
- Mother Goose
- The Occidental
- Old Ironsides
- Semper Fidelis
- Sound Off
- The Stars and Stripes Forever
- The Thunderer
- Wisconsin Forward Forever
- The Wolverine March