Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Miles Davis, Child Charmer

Last week was a typical day in the Stunt Ben household. Buddha was kicking and rolling around on a play mat and Monkey was building and wrecking marble machines (if you don't know what a marble machine is check this out). I was setting up Pandora on my internet TV, making my own ruckus. The first station I setup was Miles Davis and in seconds the room was filled with the child chilling sounds of "Freedie Freeloader (False Start)" from the Kind of Blue Legacy Edition. Almost immediately, Buddha calmed down and started to examine his hanging toys over the mat. Monkey grabbed the iPad and sat on the couch, surfing YouTube for marble videos. For about an hour all was cool and we just hung out, as if we were in a coffee shop or book store. I was amazed at how some cool jazz could calm the usual frenzy.

This got me thinking about the other benefits of music. We've all heard about how certain types of music can make the brain smarter, kids better in math and some of you may even be aware that in Ancient China a musical scale was imposed on the people that was void of dissonant intervals for fear it would invoke revolution.  The Catholic Church even called a certain interval (the flat 5) "the devils interval" which interestingly enough is prevalent in both metal and jazz today.

There is no denying the emotional rewards of music to children and adults alike. My experience with Miles Davis reaffirmed that music should be a part of both mine and my kids lives. But I wondered if the talk about music making us smarter or better in math also had any validity. I found an article at that cites a study by some guys at the University of Vienna (they should know something about music). They debunked the so called "Mozart Effect" that listening to Mozart or classical music had any long term effects on the brain that could make a person "smarter" so there goes my $300 investment in the Baby Mozart videos.

I'm OK, that jazz, classical or any other music won't make me or my kids smarter or on the flip side motivate them to worship the devil. I think it better that music simply treats the heart and soul and I plan to give my kids a big dose of it whenever I can.

How about you? Do your kids have any favorite artists or albums for kicking back and relaxing?
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