Notes of News

Being given a life of significance

My soul lies restless with no attachment to this world. Floating invisibly in the black void of space with only the thought of vision in my eyes. The world was not yet ready for me to see, nor be part of; that is until the striking sound of life echoed in my ears and began to poke holes through the darkness. Little by little, piece by piece, my life began.

My creator, my master, made me to be elegant and as thin as a sword, yet heavy enough to be taken seriously. With the assistance of some sort of smooth, metallic-like, cold material with a grainy-like silver appearance. I laid out flat as I was being made malleable by the warmth of the flaming fire. My master formed me using the image of his own hand as if it were intimately laid on the arm of his loved one as he gently caressed her arm with his fingertips. I was carefully planned and created into the circular figure. 

As I lay I asked my master, who was now visible, 

"what is it thou requires of me?" 

My master smiled at me and answered confidently, 

"You will become the tool that will define the difference between those who have elegance and decency around the table, and those who lack the knowledge to know that slurping is not an ideal trait of one who aspires a higher culture"

"I will do what you ask of me," I stated, 

"but.. humbly I ask that I somehow may stay connected to you, my master?" 

I cringed, slightly distorting the perfect circle I had been given, as I feared his anger from being bothered.

"Absolutely," my creator said with a slight chuckle, 

"It will be as you wish."

He than began to again warm me with the flame until I was able to be reformed.

He stretched me from one point, within my present body. Like an arm being raised up to embrace the falling rain drops from the heavens above, yet still keeping to the elegant and sleek figure, he formed me so that I may always reach out towards he who made me with admiration.

"How does that suit you?" he asked.

"Perfectly, sir" I responded in awe as I gawked at his miraculous transformation from within me. "Now," he began, 

"lets make you the crown you deserve."

The creator gently began carving the image of one of his very own appendages, that of one which stretched out from his arm. It was the same object he had used to caress my round shape, as well as to grip the tools he used now. Out of a wood that resembled the hardly noticeable lines of grain within my own skin he created two pieces and lightly added them to my own extending arm. The weight was nearly unnoticeable, yet the pieces certainly gave me much pleasure.

"Thou hath created my image from His own, and brought life from the lifeless." I said in awe and wonder. "I know no other purpose than that which you have given me."

From nothing I was formed. I now lay within the waters of life that keep my creator strong. When the time comes, that I may serve my purpose, I delight in the opportunity to feel my creators warm touch reach out to me, and me alone. He has even now blessed me with a name; an identity. I am His laying lad, assisting my creator as is my purpose. I am His ladle.

Music’s Relation to Emotions and the Development of the Brain

Ever since the beginning of music’s history, people all around the world have adapted some sort of music style to their culture. They also began to understand its important impact on their lives and the lives of the people around them. This importance is one that society today has forgotten and one that needs to be held at a higher importance than it is. Music has the power to affect short term emotions in adults, shape a child’s identity, and cure pain or agony both mentally and physically. With out music our world would certainly not be livable.

Before getting into music’s affects on human emotions, a firm definition and origin of those emotions must be explained. Psychologists still have an extremely hard time describing what emotions really are. Many believed that emotions were just the same as feelings. However Ledwig a psychologist in the Royal institute of technology, states that could not be the case after his close analysis of the different types of feelings. For example:

How can we reasonably explain the fact that the heart starts racing on seeing a bear two meters away, unless this feeling is directed towards this particular bear’s appearance? Of course, other explanations could be found for this bodily sensation in this particular situation, e.g. if five cups of very strong coffee have just been consumed. [...] Then the question arises: are bodily feelings and feelings towards an object identical with each other? This  does not seem to be the case, for the simple reason that bodily feelings as such do not have to be directed at anything. (Ledwig 2006 p.11)

This now poses an even greater challenge in attempting to define what emotions really are as opposed to feelings, and even more importantly where they come from. In the end trying to define emotions is the hardest and most heated controversy through out the highest professional level of psychologists. “For example, it is quite controversial whether cognition cause emotions and/or it is the other way around” (Ledwig 2006 p.11). So without a clear cut answer to the question, what an emotion really is, learning about what effects such a complex human characteristic and how it can be controlled is vitally important. One, highly overlooked, factor is music and its role in our emotional background. 

Humans first musical interaction is believed to happen around four weeks after conception. This is about the time when a baby’s heart starts to beat, giving the baby it’s first acquaintance with the most basic and fundamental aspect of music (Katsh 1985 p.16). Another aid to being introduced into the world of music is the ear. It is fully functional before birth, allowing the baby to hear the pulsing beats from both its own heart as well as it’s mothers. Music is the first thing from the outside world to reach the child, as well as the first thing to impact the child’s character and personality (Wilson 1990 p.12)

People tend to strongly favor patterns, in living, eating, working, etc. which can be also be said about children. The unborn child learns it’s mothers sleep pattern from the slowed heart beat, the tone of it’s families way of life, and gives the child a sense of protection because of the constancy and predictability.  

Katsh claims, “this idea makes sense when you consider the powerful effect that rhythm, rocking, and soothing tones have on easing the distress of infants and small children.” (p.17) These relaxing sounds and rhythms begin forming the child’s way of life, as well as it’s very own personality. For example, if as a child the only sounds you heard were concerts and loud, fast rhythms, you will form a similar personality, of being energetic or upbeat and always on the move. While if you were to grow up, with out the constantly loud sounds and rhythms, you’re more likely to develop into a more mellow,and calm person (Wilson 1990 p.11-12). 

The typical region of music also can create a persons preferred style of music. For many people who weren’t raised listening to western cultures form of music, it sounds extremely unpleasant to their ears(Logue Voice of America 19 Jan. 2007).  Granted there other factors to the growth of your personality, music remains to be the first factor, and ultimately the most fundamental way to express your personality upon others. 

Speaking is as far a baby can tell just a form of musical sounds (Trevarthen Literacy Trust Oct. 2008). Babies learn and adapt those sounds from hearing people around them, and realize that music is a very efficient way to communicate to those around you. After enough time listening and learning children begin to understand how to create those particular sounds that we has adults call languages(Young Nursery World Oct. 2008). Later on through the development of human beings, music still plays an important role in many things including it’s power to temporarily control a mature and psychologically stable adult. 

Music is regarded as, if not the only, the greatest way to express emotions. Radocy states, “Emotions involve perception and memory and always include an environmental factor, present or past.” (1997 p.267) Like emotions people respond to music based on previous experiences to 

that style or styles similar to it. Radocy explains that music’s affect on human emotions depends on it aesthetic meaning, which in any art simply means the expected form of that particular piece of art. In music it is in reference to the chord progressions and the amount of tension maintained in a piece of music. These unexpected sounds cause the tension similar to that of emotions, which were unexpected or unpleasant, and therefore re-enforce those emotional feelings from the past and recalls them (1997 p.268). These emotional feelings are able to be recalled as well as becoming a persons dominant emotion almost simultaneously (O’Donnell Music Power 1999).

Though this usually only last temporarily, or until the song ends, it has been debated whether repeated styles of music can affect even the most mature and fully developed adult. Many argue that it is exactly like the psychology term ‘fake it, until you feel it’ where it is believed that if a person fakes a way of life or even an emotion, it will eventually become engrained into the brain that they will actually begin to feel that way without thinking about it.

This debate also brings up the possibility of using music’s ability to affect emotions to cure people who are either physically or mentally ill, now becoming called music therapy. 

Though this idea, of music therapy, is just now beginning to become a topic worth experimenting, and producing research documents about, it has already lead to many advancements within patients state of wealth as well as reminding psychologists of musics important role with in the human mind. 

A study in London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital focused on whether or not playing music for long term hospitalized children with respiratory and/or cardiac illnesses could improve their well-being. This belief has been assumed to be fact for years, though studies testing it didn’t start originating until the nineteen hundreds (Critchley 1977 p.202, 216). They began this particular study after discovering how much music could enlighten and engage children, in hope that it would distract them from their physical pain. A total of twenty one children took part in the study ranging from newborns to four year olds who had been hospitalized for roughly a month (Longhi Psychology of Music Oct. 2007).

Each day these patients took part in fifteen to thirty minute sessions depending on the child’s demands. The doctors recorded the patients heart rate and oxygen saturation levels before and after each session to better establish what the musical sessions were affecting. The oxygen saturation was increased, while the patients heart rates had improved significantly by the end of each session, proving that music appeared quite effective in  soothing the patient. Though determining whether these sessions will have a long term, lasting effect on the patients is still being studied, the researchers have high hopes after the successful short term experiment (Longhi Psychology of Music Oct. 2007). And though this study was focused on children, adults have also found a use for music as a tool utilized to increase the retention of information.

Years after Mozart’s music hit the shelves psychologists discovered the enormous resemblance between many of his musics beats and the brain wave pattern. With many of Mozart’s compositions containing steady 60 beats per minute, coinciding with the brain waves traveling from both the right to the left side of the brain, allows you to use both sides while 

listening to such music. This ability, in using both sides simultaneously has been proven increase the mind’s processing capacity greatly (O’Donnell Music Power 1999).

A Bulgarian psychologists, Dr. George Lozanov used this belief to form an extremely effective method of learning foreign languages. He claimed that learning could be increased by five times using this method of correlating music with a sixty beat per minute pulse during the attempt to learn languages. 

Using his system, students could learn up to one half of the vocabulary and phrases for the whole school term (which amounts to almost 1,000 words or phrases) in one day. Along with this, the average retention rate of his students was 92%. Dr. Lozanov's system involved using certain classical music pieces from the baroque period which have around a 60 beats per minute pattern. He has proven that foreign languages can be learned with 85-100% efficiency in only thirty days by using these baroque pieces. His students had a recall accuracy rate of almost 100% even after not reviewing the material for four years. (O’Donnell Music Power 1999)

Many scientists and psychologists have done similar studies and have gained very similar results concluding that if students listen to Mozart’s music with that particular pace, or something similar, their memory retention will be largely increased. Two very popularly, successfully proven compositions are, Mozart’s Sonata for Two Piano’s in D Major and Handel’s Water Music Morning Has Broken. O’Donnell also found evidence of two very highly influential men in history who found music to help them conquer their own memory loss issues.

One shining example of the power of order in music is King George I of England. King George had problems with memory loss and stress management. He read from the Bible the story of King Saul and recognized that Saul had experienced the same type of problems that he was experiencing. George recognized that Saul overcame his problems by using special music. With this story in mind King George asked George Frederick Handel to write some special music for him that would help him in the same way that music helped Saul. Handel wrote his Water Music for this purpose. (O’Donnell Music Power 1999).

The fact that even the greatest of men had to fall back on music for their own improvement shows that no matter the person, or where they come from, music will undoubtedly be present.

Music has an undoubtedly strong impact in the lives of humans all over the world. Yet scientists and psychologists have failed numerous times in trying to identify exactly what it is with in the melodies and rhythmic structures that connects to the our civilization so strongly. Ever since it’s creation it has mystified it’s listeners, as well as the composers themselves. Music was actually believed, in the earlier stages of its development, to be so powerful that the religious organizations at the time were keeping tight control on who performed the newly form of art and even who listened to it. However they soon began to realize that they couldn’t keep something so powerful contained, because it wasn’t a real thing, but instead an idea and a voice inside every being.

Music is a miracle. Whether from God or created by man himself, either way, music is something that has the ability to reach the very basis of our existence and form the way humans live and go about their days. Whether it be by forming the emotions and personality of the newborn child, that will last with him/her their whole life, recalling an emotional memory of even the strongest and most mentally stable adult, or healing the souls and bodies of the sick and dying children in ways unexplainable its foot hold in human life is indisputable. We the people often times listen without really realizing how much of a necessity it really is. Without music, not only would the world itself be dark and gloomy but the human civilization would most likely be non existent.

Annotated Bibliography

Critchley, MacDonald and R.A. Henson, eds. Music and the Brain. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas, 1977.

Critchley and Henson both work in the Neurological Department of the London’s Hospital. They demonstrate, with in the text, how music cause changes in a person by both perceptual and emotional experiences. This will help in discussing the effects music can cause in the upbringing of children.

Katsh, Shelley and Carol Merle-Fishman. The Music Within You. New York: Simon and Schuster Inc. 1985.

Katsh and Merle-Fishman are both certified music therapists in New York City, while they are also both instructors at New York University where they have created many different music therapy programs. This book shows how music is used in your everyday life whether you think about it or not, and how music, or “harmony”, plays a natural role in everything you do. This book will help me explain why studying music and it’s affects on us humans are important.

Ledwig, Marion. Emotions Their Rationality and Consistency. New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc., 2006

Ledwig is a researcher at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, with special focuses on psychology, philosophy. This book talks about rationalizing emotions and looks at both past and current emotional theorists and their points. This book will help me talk about emotions in more of a generalized and understanding way.

Logue, Susan. Music Affects Many Areas of Brain. Voice of America. 19 Jan 2007. 12 Nov 2008


Logue is a journalist for the Voice of America magazine who specializes in the field of psychology. Logue explains how people develop tastes for music even before they’re born as well as discussing the role music has as an educational catalyst. This will helps explain the importance of music in children's development of the brain.

Longhi, Elena and Nick Pickett. Music and Well-Being in Long-Term Hospitalized Children. Psychology of Music, Oct. 2007. 28 Oct. 2008


Elena Longhi is a professor at Roehampton University in London where she mainly focuses on communication in early social interactions, and music. The study explained in this journal was attempting to figure out the physiological responses of long-term hospitalized children when exposed to live music. This article will help my study in proving that music has a positive effect on people, because if it can positively affect those who are ill or sick than it would be able to do that and more for those of us who are healthy.

O’Donnell, Laurence. Music and the Brain. Music Power. 1999. 12 Nov. 2008. 


Laurence O’Donnell is a musician from Scotland. This article is a paper produced for his senior year requirement, and has since gained much respect. This article discusses the overall affect that music has on the brain and the benefits and has if used correctly. This helps prove that music has a large part in not only children but adults as well.

Radocy, Rudolf and J. David Boyle. Psychological Foundations of Musical Behavior. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Ltd., 1997.

Rudolf and Boyle is a professor of Music Education and Therapy. Rudolf was a professor at the  University of Kansas while Boyle teaches at the University of Miami. This text explains what type of musical characteristics stimulate certain emotions. This will help me explain the importance of watching what your children listen to as they grow up.

Trevarthen, Colwyn. An Inspiring Story: Child Development PioneerNational Literacy Trust 2008. Published date Oct. 2008. 26th Oct., 2008.


Trevarthen is a professor of child psychology at the University of Edinburgh, focusing his last thirty years on research in communication with infants and toddlers. This journal shows the current debate on whether or not the rumor of, classical music making your baby smarter, has any truth to it. It also gives us some information on why it does help babies even before they’re born. This information will be very helpful, in that it will help explain how babies have an advantage later in life if they are introduced to music at a very young age.

Wilson, Frank and Franz L. Roehmann. Music and Child Development. St. Louis: MMB Music Inc., 1990.

Wilson works at the University of California as the Professor of Neurology, while Roehmann resides in Denver, teaching at the University of Colorado as a Professor in Music. Their book explains how music doesn’t only affect our emotions for short amounts of time but, how they can affect the way we grow up from childhood. This will help me explain that music affects emotion of children that could last forever.

Young, Susan. Hit the Right Note. Nursery World, Oct. 2008. 26th Oct. 2008. <>

Susan Young is a writer for Nursery World magazine and has wrote many journals about music’s significance in a child’s life. This article explains how with out music, a child’s ability to learn language or even the ability to communicate would be largely impaired. This will help me demonstrate how,  with out music, a child’s ability to communicate would be completely diminished, and could cause some major speech problems later on in life.

Crossing the Frontier Land

As I lie in the cool California nights air, with my cousin in his tent, I couldn’t help but think about how “different” this trip has already been. Even though we had just arrived in San Francisco earlier that afternoon, this trip has already proven it’s worth. As I fall through the black space in my head, the past is shaken into focus. 

“Adam! Wake-up”, says my eldest sister as her voice cuts through my sleep. “It’s time to get up, we’re leaving in 30 minutes”

I find it interesting now that, even though I had been anticipating this trip for months, I found it excruciatingly hard to get out of bed. Somehow, unknown to me, I found the will. My mother, both sisters, and my mother’s parents piled into the van, in a rather zombie like manner, and headed off for the train station about an hour away. I slept the whole way there, not even being able to recall boarding the train, but was jerked into consciousness when the train started off on its journey.

For the first two hours most of us caught up on the lost sleep, seeing how we had a seven o’clock train ride, with the only exception being my eight year old sister Leah, who was always a handful. Luckily, for us, she didn’t get bored until after we were awake. My sisters and I spent the next few hours in the observation car watching people board from other stops, as well as playing cards. Unfortunately Rachel beat me in just about every game we played.

Around six in the afternoon we all went to the dining car to eat a diner that was extremely over priced for its contents. After a short time we realized that we had stopped, but not at the usual station. Instead we were stopped over a road in the middle of some town in Nebraska. 

We didn’t think to much about it, and continued talking until the red and blue flashing lights caught our attention as they came down the road. The ambulance occupants leapt out and onto the train only a few cars back. My littlest sister was hysterical.

“ What if there’s something wrong with the train and we’re all going to get blown up and die!” she spilled out, in about the same amount of time it took the rest of us to finish saying her name. After hearing a few rumors from the workers we decided to go back to our seats. 

We stepped into our car and realized that those emergency workers were painstakingly trying to get an older man, only a few seats behind ours, on a stretcher and down the stairs, that were obviously not meant to fit someone laying down. After a few failed attempts they decided that they were going to have to carry him out without the stretcher. Typically it probably wouldn’t  have been to difficult, but this was different. The man they were trying to rush to the hospital was a six foot man weighing probably around 200 hundred pounds and was unavailable to help them due his state of unconsciousness. It took them roughly another five or six minutes, with numerously different, and what looked to me as, uncomfortable positions for both the unconscious and the conscious involved. In the mean time my mother was still attempting to shut Leah up.

“Or what if it was a disease and we’re all going to die! or, or.. some one actually killed him and they’re still on the train!” She yelled, so that all the other little children could hear. No matter what my mom did, it was worthless. Rachel and I, on the other hand, thought it was pretty cool, obviously not for him or his family, especially finding out later that he did actually die. However it at least gave us something to talk about when we met up with the rest of our family in California.

We finally found our seats after the medical crew all left, and with in the next ten minutes were off again, as if nothing had happened. 

The next afternoon was just as eventful. Not another death but we at least got to see some action this time. Somewhere around two or three we stopped at a scheduled stop letting some travelers off while we gained a few others. 

However, along with the people boarding, two boarder patrol policeman boarded the train. Starting with the car in front of ours they scanned the passengers briefly and then came onto ours, where they apparently found who they were looking for. a few seats in front of ours they began questioning a mexican man who looked to be in his thirties. After some sort of argument, in spanish, the passenger apparently decided it was time to go. He tried to push the policeman out of his way so he could run out, but within seconds the police had him pinned down in the aisle and in handcuffs. 

Meanwhile my mom had gone downstairs to use the bathroom, and was missing all of this, but she was met with it a little differently. After coming out of the restroom she saw a mexican like women, also around thirty years of age, quietly yelling in spanish for the two children to hide in a closet down the hall. After watching for a minute, thinking it was rather strange, she joined us back in our seats. By then the three men, both the police and the newly incriminated man, had left. But we were, of course still talking about it so she asked what happened. After filling her in one the interesting event she smiled in disbelief.

“What, you don’t believe us” Rachel stated in a rather stunned tone.

“No, no, I believe you”, our mom said, “It’s just that when I was down stairs I saw a mexican women and her two kids hiding in a closet.”

Sure enough shortly after the train started to move on to it’s next destination, the rest of the incriminated man’s family came back to their seats and sat down.

Later that afternoon, around seven o’clock, we arrived in San Francisco, California with my mom’s sisters family waiting to pick us up. After coming off the train with my duffle bag and backpack, feeling like I should have some sort of theme music playing behind me as I walk boldly down the sidewalk like some sort of secret agent, I greeted the family, and waited for the girls who were following behind me a little ways. 

We settled into the californians van and headed off to their home, a good twenty minutes away. Leah, of course, spent this time telling them all about our interesting trip so far. We would’ve intervened with some corrections to her story if she hadn’t been talking at a few million words a minute.

After having some really good cheese burgers and talking till about eleven that night, my cousin Randy and I set up our tent in his back yard, which is where the two of us were staying for the next few nights. I remember the smell of the smokey grill and of cheese burgers still in the air as we hammered in the stakes, causing the ground underneath us to shake. Shaking me back to reality and into the dark cool Californian air, when I realized I was actually shaking.

“Randy, Randy!”, I shouted waking him from his sleep,” It’s an earthquake!”

He sat up on his elbow a little and listened as the earth returned to it’s level state.

“Don’t worry about it”, he said calmly,” We get little ones like that all the time here.” and fell back to his slumber. “I wasn’t worried,” I said to myself,” I just thought it was cool.”

I smiled as I laid back down, thinking to myself, that this was going to be one awesome vacation.

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