A MULTI-SENSORY APPROACH TO VISUAL LISTENING


Making a room too quiet for comfort is a common mistake. Extremely quiet rooms can produce a feeling of sensory deprivation. Music, on the other hand, can soothe emotions and excite enthusiasm, while giving students a sense of cultural identity.

New studies suggest that playing music—and even just listening to it—may improve learning, memory, logic and general creativity. Plato once said, "Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education." As with visuals, music is a terrific carrier of meaning and it is readily available for learning. The new research describing the "Mozart Effect" tells us that music may be a powerful way to build reasoning, memory and intelligence. Music can be used as a mood enhancer to get learners in a better state of readiness for learning. Music activates emotions and long term memory and fully engages the brain's most receptive states. The brain is naturally designed to optimize all the senses. Combining Visual Learning and Music creates a powerful synergy as it helps to regulate the brain's rhythm, which balances the specialized powers of the left and right hemispheres.

As part of his state budget, Governor Zell Miller of Georgia proposed that approximately 100,000 newborn children a year would be sent home with a CD or tape of classical music. "No one doubts that listening to music, especially at a very early age, affects learning. I believe it can help Georgia children to excel." When his proposal was challenged, he turned to the business sector. The Sony Corporation agreed to distribute 110,000 CDs and cassettes of classical music to Georgia's newborns. "I believe in this," said the governor. "I was determined."

Just as the brain produces visual images, it also composes music. The "Mozart Effect," a study that began in 1990, began feeding the brain's electrical patterns into a musical synthesizer. The results were recognizable patterns of music—some sounding Baroque, some like Eastern music, others like folk music. In other words, the "communication" neurons (nerve cells) "play" music, much in the same way the envisioning "communication" process is brought to life through imagery.

The Six Methods of Visual Listening
Children learn by seeing
Babies detect dissonant musical tones
See the music
Listen to the images


Visual Learning: "Investigating" - Using images to learn about and better understand the world.
Music: Various styles of music evoke various styles of learning. Music has built-in peaks and valleys, engaging fantasy and emotion, creating anticipation or excitement.

Visual Learning: "Chronicling" - Freezing moments in time through documentation.
Music: A song on the radio that brings back special memories of a first love.

Visual Learning: "Communicating" - Using images to share information with others.
Music: Musical soundtracks are used to enhance sadness, joy, fear and love, etc. To better understand their impact, try watching a movie with the volume off.

Visual Learning: "Expressing" - Images used to reveal thoughts and feelings, translating the abstract to the concrete.
Music: The "Mozart Effect" tells us that music may be a powerful way to build reasoning, memory and intelligence.

Visual Learning: "Inspiring" - The power to express and to communicate in order to change behavior or attitude.
Music: Music influences the rhythm of the heartbeat; effects physical energy with changes in metabolism; relieves fatigue and low energy; and stimulates creativity, sensitivity and thinking.

Visual Learning: "Envisioning" - Encouraging new connections and relationships through imagery.
Music: Many of us learned the alphabet through flashcards/visual symbols. Yet, how many of us included the melody of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" before we actually mastered it.

How is it that many children struggle to memorize using visual aides in a learning environment, yet few have difficulty singing along with the radio to lyrics or printed words they have never even seen—only heard.

Music was around centuries before photography. As a global community, we take great pride in the sharing of our cultural diversity because music gives us identity.

A picture is worth a thousand words.
Spread the word.
Then listen.

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