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Why do you only post links to your blog? I think it would more helpful to post your actual thoughts so we can discuss them here.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Why do you only post links to your blog? I think it would more helpful to post your actual thoughts so we can discuss them here.


Kreisler :

I have had similar thoughts ever since this poster started using this method of communicating. I have wondered, sceptic that I am, if this is as much a way of attracting attention to her blog as it is to sharing. While posts linking to the blog may elicit comments, it certainly implies a distancing of the poster from the discussion.

While this may not be a fair assumption on my part, it is the constant impression that I have every time we are invited to view a post on Shirley's blog.

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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Why do you only post links to your blog? I think it would more helpful to post your actual thoughts so we can discuss them here.

Originally Posted by BruceD
....While posts linking to the blog may elicit comments, it certainly implies a distancing of the poster from the discussion....

Shirley: I've had the same reactions. I'm usually very interested in the things you write (and I do often look at them!) but the form of your posting doesn't draw us in as much as if you did more like what Kreisler is saying. It doesn't mean you have to, or that there's anything 'wrong' with how you're doing it, and if the thing is that this is just what you're interested to do and that's it, by all means. But it doesn't draw us in as it otherwise might.

Anyway, about this article: I saw it too and almost posted about it but figured somebody else would, and you did. smile
Of course it catches the eye of people like us, and pleases us. I'm not sure I buy the idea that it's quite like how the article characterizes it, but I do know that music has enabled me to grasp and think of almost everything else better than I otherwise would. The trouble is, I'd say the same about other things too -- like, for example, baseball.
I'm serious. smile
Does baseball do it equally?? I don't know, probably not. But it could be close.

So, assuming that this is true for music, maybe the real thing that should be said is that there are various different kinds of interests and endeavors that do this.

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Agreed with others on directing us to the blog. The blog link can appear in the OP's signature, but it should be a secondary thing, not the main thrust of the topic.

As for the article... "Look carefully and you’ll find musicians at the top of almost any industry..." sigh.

Certainly music correlates with success, but the article's silly title implies that it causes it, and: Correlation Does Not Imply Causation! Correlation Does Not Imply Causation! Correlation...

[Linked Image]



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Not exactly the same line of thoughts but somewhat relating to the post above. I posted the same thing in ABF earlier in the month.

http://www.psmag.com/blogs/news-blog/want-quick-accurate-thinking-ask-musician-66844/

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I too agree about the blog posts.

Answering your question from a high school biology teacher's point of view: the vast majority of my honors students are musicians. My overall impression is that my student musicians have better cognitive skills and a better ability to think deeply as compared to non-honors students. Student musicians have a greater ability to stay focused for long periods of time. They are not daunted by large tasks and have learned to approach them with small steps. Experience has taught them that patient repetition results in better grades. They tend to be more mature, responsible, hardworking and reliable than their non-musical peers. I attribute many of these qualities to the discipline required of a musician.

When I attempted to start a classical piano club at my school, all the classically trained students were too busy. They were already highly involved in after school sports and they wanted to get home as quickly as possibly to start their homework. My club was a failure because these students were too busy being successful.


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Originally Posted by beet31425
Agreed with others on directing us to the blog. The blog link can appear in the OP's signature, but it should be a secondary thing, not the main thrust of the topic.

As for the article... "Look carefully and you’ll find musicians at the top of almost any industry..." sigh.

Certainly music correlates with success, but the article's silly title implies that it causes it, and: Correlation Does Not Imply Causation! Correlation Does Not Imply Causation! Correlation...

[Linked Image]




Thanks for that cartoon - I needed a good laugh.

Oh, wait, maybe the laugh just happened to occur randomly after seeing the cartoon, and the juxtaposition tricked me into thinking the cartoon actually was the cause. Hmmm...I dunno.




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Originally Posted by beet31425
Agreed with others on directing us to the blog. The blog link can appear in the OP's signature, but it should be a secondary thing, not the main thrust of the topic.

As for the article... "Look carefully and you’ll find musicians at the top of almost any industry..." sigh.

Certainly music correlates with success, but the article's silly title implies that it causes it, and: Correlation Does Not Imply Causation! Correlation Does Not Imply Causation! Correlation...

[Linked Image]



One of my favorite cartoons. grin

To the direction of the thread, I feel the same way. One of the reasons I haven't clicked on the blog yet.. does this poster interact with other posters in the thread once the discussion has started? If not, I would call it blatant advertising of her blog. But I've had very little interaction with this member..


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
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Originally Posted by gooddog

Answering your question from a high school biology teacher's point of view: the vast majority of my honors students are musicians. My overall impression is that my student musicians have better cognitive skills and a better ability to think deeply as compared to non-honors students. Student musicians have a greater ability to stay focused for long periods of time. They are not daunted by large tasks and have learned to approach them with small steps. Experience has taught them that patient repetition results in better grades. They tend to be more mature, responsible, hardworking and reliable than their non-musical peers. I attribute many of these qualities to the discipline required of a musician.



I think it is not only the discipline per se, but that the brain is physically affected by music training. That the interconnection between the two halves of the brain is more developed in musicians than non-musicians is not mere accident. I don't know that any studies have shown that musical activities actually develop or grow those connections, but it seems that research is pointing in that direction.

Tangentially, I read an article just a few days ago that said that recent research has shown that Einstein's brain had an unusual amount of interconnecting tissue between the two halves. And, he was a musician. I'm not jumping to any conclusions about all that, but it is interesting.

On the other hand, when I was young, it was a commonplace saying that "all musicians are crazy". Maybe that, too, had something to do with how musicians' neural systems differ from the rest of the population.




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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by gooddog

Answering your question from a high school biology teacher's point of view: the vast majority of my honors students are musicians. My overall impression is that my student musicians have better cognitive skills and a better ability to think deeply as compared to non-honors students. Student musicians have a greater ability to stay focused for long periods of time. They are not daunted by large tasks and have learned to approach them with small steps. Experience has taught them that patient repetition results in better grades. They tend to be more mature, responsible, hardworking and reliable than their non-musical peers. I attribute many of these qualities to the discipline required of a musician.



I think it is not only the discipline per se, but that the brain is physically affected by music training. That the interconnection between the two halves of the brain is more developed in musicians than non-musicians is not mere accident. I don't know that any studies have shown that musical activities actually develop or grow those connections, but it seems that research is pointing in that direction.

Tangentially, I read an article just a few days ago that said that recent research has shown that Einstein's brain had an unusual amount of interconnecting tissue between the two halves. And, he was a musician. I'm not jumping to any conclusions about all that, but it is interesting.

On the other hand, when I was young, it was a commonplace saying that "all musicians are crazy". Maybe that, too, had something to do with how musicians' neural systems differ from the rest of the population.



Well, yes, but to refute my own theory, maybe they became musicians because they already had those qualities so the demands of mastering an instrument were within their reach. The chicken or the egg?


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Originally Posted by gooddog
Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by gooddog

Answering your question from a high school biology teacher's point of view: the vast majority of my honors students are musicians. My overall impression is that my student musicians have better cognitive skills and a better ability to think deeply as compared to non-honors students. Student musicians have a greater ability to stay focused for long periods of time. They are not daunted by large tasks and have learned to approach them with small steps. Experience has taught them that patient repetition results in better grades. They tend to be more mature, responsible, hardworking and reliable than their non-musical peers. I attribute many of these qualities to the discipline required of a musician.



I think it is not only the discipline per se, but that the brain is physically affected by music training. That the interconnection between the two halves of the brain is more developed in musicians than non-musicians is not mere accident. I don't know that any studies have shown that musical activities actually develop or grow those connections, but it seems that research is pointing in that direction.

Tangentially, I read an article just a few days ago that said that recent research has shown that Einstein's brain had an unusual amount of interconnecting tissue between the two halves. And, he was a musician. I'm not jumping to any conclusions about all that, but it is interesting.

On the other hand, when I was young, it was a commonplace saying that "all musicians are crazy". Maybe that, too, had something to do with how musicians' neural systems differ from the rest of the population.

Well, yes. But to refute my own theory, maybe they became musicians because they already had those qualities so the demands of mastering an instrument were within their reach. The chicken or the egg?


It's an interesting question. Some scientists do seem to be interested in trying to figure it out, so maybe someday we'll know. Or at least know more.




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I would say I practice now more than ever and my husband might say I am crazier than ever.

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Originally Posted by gooddog
Well, yes, but to refute my own theory, maybe they became musicians because they already had those qualities so the demands of mastering an instrument were within their reach. The chicken or the egg?


Students who still play until they are in high school are those who have the brain, persistence, and passion for playing instruments. Children who do not have those three qualities would have quit from taking lesson within one to three years.
From my personal observations, learning musical instrument well will helpful to learn other things. The brain ability will not change, however, kids can apply the same method to master other things.

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Anyone look at the article I posted above about studies of cognitive changes resulting from music lessons? They are directly addressing that "chicken vs. egg" question and comparing against control groups. The studies are still ongoing, but apparently early results do suggest significant positive effects from the musical training.


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The title of the NY article is very unfortunate, I think. There is a huge difference between saying that studying music might help brain development vs. saying it's the key to success. The article lists many successful people who have studied music but does anyone doubt one could find just as many successful people who haven't studied music? Does anyone doubt one could find many other pursuits besides music that could be linked to high achievement in many professions? Finally, as several have mentioned, the chicken or egg problem makes it impossible to tell whether music study was the cause of high achievement in some other area.

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The case these people should be making is that music is a natural and important part of human existence, and the rest of your being benefits from having music as a part of it.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Hi JDW,

The article you linked is interesting. I actually have a friend who is an instructor for the Harmony Project in LA, and have met a few of the most impressive kids in the group who were awarded a special scholarship to attend a music camp I attended this summer. The Harmony Project is a much better study of music training vs. no music training with fewer other variables different between the groups (as all of the kids are low SES, urban minorities in LA). However, there is still plenty of self-selection in that some kids are offered the opportunity to participate and refuse it, or start but quit.

It's hard to find a study that really addresses this sort of thing without built in confounding/effect-modification (most of which is biased in the direction of showing positive performance differences in kids who play music). It's very tempting to believe these sorts of studies, and I'm sure most of us have personal beliefs along these lines, but we have to keep the limitations of any study, and our own biases in mind when we read about this topic.


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