Can Music Make You Smarter

For The Love Of Music

As hard as I tried to control them, involuntary tears welled in my eyes in the darkness of the theater. I couldn’t escape from the emotions the music was stirring within me. I closed my eyes and let the music take over my soul. What a night.

The other evening I attended Klezmer Concert that fed my hunger for music and released any stresses that had occurred during the day. It was joyful, plaintive and everything that music does to me, all rolled up together to take me to a better place, if only for 90 minutes. But I know I am not alone in my love of music in all forms.

The influence of music on society can be clearly seen from modern history. Music helped Thomas Jefferson write the Declaration of Independence. When he could not figure out the right wording for a certain part, he would play his violin to help him. The music helped him get the words from his brain onto the paper.

A little known fact about Einstein is that when he was young he did extremely poor in school. His grade school teachers told his parents to take him out of school because he was "too stupid to learn" and it would be a waste of resources for the school to invest time and energy in his education. The school suggested that his parents get Albert an easy, manual labor job as soon as they could.

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His mother didn’t think that Albert was “stupid”. Instead of following the school’s advice, Albert’s parents bought him a violin. Albert became good at the violin. Music was the key that helped Albert Einstein become one of the smartest men who has ever lived. Einstein himself says that the reason he was so smart is because he played the violin. A friend of Einstein, G.J. Withrow, said that the way Einstein figured out his problems and equations was by improvising on the violin.

In general, responses to music are able to be observed, not always through tears filled with emotion like mine last night. It has been proven that music influences humans both in good and bad ways. These effects are instant and long lasting.

Music is thought to link all of the emotional, spiritual, and physical elements of the universe. Music can also be used to change a person’s mood, and has been found to cause like physical responses in many people simultaneously. I have seen both at great music halls and during my son’s rock concerts. Different responses surely, but definitely reaction to what they were hearing.

One cannot deny the power of music. High school students who study music have higher grade point averages that those who don’t. These students also develop faster physically. Student listening skills are also improved through music education. The top three schools in America all place a great emphasis on music and the arts.

Hungary, Japan, and the Netherlands, the top three academic countries in the world, all place a great emphasis on music education and participation in music.

The top engineers from Silicon Valley are all musicians.

In the end we have to leave it to Napoleon to understand the enormous power of music. He summed it up by saying, “Give me control over he who shapes the music of a nation, and I care not who makes the laws” .

DOLLY PARTON-HATS OFF TO YOU!

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If there’s any woman in the music business that I really admire, not only for her talent, but for all of her accomplishments, you may be surprised at my answer. It’s Dolly Parton. When you see Dolly, the book cover that you’re looking at is not really what you get.

This year she is celebrating 50 years in the music business. She is smart beyond brilliant, an excellent musician and lyricist and savvy businesswoman. Dolly has it all rolled up under her big curly wig. With Dolly, if you think she’s a Tennessee back woods woman you better think again. In her industry she is a force to be reckoned with. That’s for sure.

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Dolly has sold more than 100 million records and written more than 3,000 songs, has 17 Grammys and has been inducted into the country music Hall of Fame and as icing, she received the Kennedy Center honors in 2008. Not bad for a Southern country girl I would say.

And if that accomplishment is not enough for one entertainer, in 1986 Dolly became co-owner of a theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee that was renamed Dollywood. It has doubled in size since she bought it. She also has an interest in a waterpark and dinner theaters in three different states.

Please bare with me, we don’t stop there. She’s co-owner of Sand Dollar Productions which produced Father of the Bride, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Common Threads: Stories from Quilts and a documentary about AIDS that won an Academy Award.

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My having been in the entertainment field on a less important level most of my life, a truly testosterone dominated industry, getting respect is a hard earned task. In the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter, the advice that she gave for women going into any business, I just love. It kicked me upstairs.

She said, “If you really believe in what you’ve got to say, or got to offer, what your talent is – and if you believe, that gives you strength. In my early days I would go in and I was always over made with my boobs sticking out, my clothes too tight, and so I really looked like easy prey to a lot of guys – just looked easy, period. But I would go in, and if they were not paying close attention to what I was saying, I always said, ” I look like a woman, but I think like a man, and you better pay attention, or I’ll have your money and I’ll be gone.”

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When asked by the interviewer if she was familiar with Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In she asked what it was. When told Lean In is a book, her reply was just as simple and honest as can be.

“I’ve leaned over. I’ve leaned forward. I don’t know what “leaned in” is. Lean in to God.”

That is pure Dolly. You have to love and respect that woman.

Sitting here at my computer and writing on a daily basis, I realize it’s women like Dolly Parton who have always felt free to be who they are and comfortable in their own skin – they are the women who have paved the way for the rest of us creative types to say it like it is. The freedom to be ourselves. The final truth is, the older I get, the easier it is to be the real me.

Hats off to you Dolly Parton and thanks!

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This nine to five girl hard at work.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.

Read Between My Lines

It’s an inspiring hang with Sandra Hart, former Romper Room teacher, touching on a number of subjects. Heart-felt and funny and often whimsical Sandra shares her personal, profound thoughts that will make you chuckle or give you thought about your own life. A thoughtful collection of essays that is a perfect read by your bedside or in daily doses. Available in Kindle or printed copy at amazon.com
http://tinyurl.com/n9u7mw
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You Should Have Waited

Robin, you really blindsided us yesterday. I would ask why you couldn’t hang on, stay here with all of us who enjoyed your talents. I would ask that if I didn’t know better. If I didn’t know all about your kind of depression. The kind of depression that wouldn’t matter if you had won the lottery, or if you had lost everything in your life that day. The ‘what if’s’ don’t matter. Which ever way the pendulum is swinging, it doesn’t matter. The dark cloud is always there.

I had hoped you would hang on just a little bit longer so that we would not lose another great mind to this devastating illness. There are little people like us working in the background to raise funds for illnesses like depression and other brain and behavior afflictions with the hope that there will be new cures soon. Just wished you would’ve waited, that’s all. We’ll miss you.

Mike Wallace once said the depths of depression can be so deep it seems impossible to climb up and out. And unfortunately the way out in one’s darkest moment would be the temptation to stop the pain by stopping living. So, so sorry you made that choice. You cannot be replaced.

http://bbrfoundation.org

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.

The Joke Is On Us

20140305-152544.jpgHere at the shore I have high-security, Internet and television all in one big blob of a bill every month. Since I don’t watch that much television and I read a lot, I cut down on just the basic cable channels coming into the house.

Last night reluctant to expose myself to all-day-bad news that is on television, I decided to flip the channels to see what else was on. I came across the E! channel at the beginning of a Kardashian series of vacation shows in Thailand. Well, I have been to Thailand a couple of times and I enjoyed it, so I thought I would stay on the Kardashian’s for a while to see what they’re going to show in Thailand.

OMG! What on earth did this family to do to make themselves rich and so famous-unbelievable!
A lot of brainpower going on here? The entire series seemed to be based around Kim’s doing selfie’s naked, half naked, ridiculously posed, or otherwise, for her soon-to-be husband Kanye West.

And the ridiculous, un-empathetic conversations that were going on by the mother and daughters about her son who doesn’t go anywhere and stays in the house because he’s so severely depressed. Poor Rob! Too bad this kid was born into that family! I know enough about mental illness it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand unless he gets help, the right help, he may wind up killing himself. I can imagine the intimidation and stress and living with that house full of narcissistic Kardashian women must be so ‘cuckoos nest.’ Only the older sister Chloe seem to even care or have empathy for his suffering.

In essence I have never watched a group of such self-interested, narcissistic people in my entire life. It was a disgusting display of everything that could go wrong in this country with morals and attitude and greed for celebrity.

And what is most of all frightening to me is that people watch this stuff on a regular basis. The public has made them celebrities. And it all began with the sex tape that Kim did that went viral.

Folks, if I was depressed yesterday about all of the bad news in the world, after watching this show, I have really hit the bottom. And it’s not about the kind of people who act like this, taking from society and never giving, or perform unabashedly like this for money and celebrity exposure, but it’s about the people who are supporting this type of entertainment, if you can even qualify it as that.

And to add insult to injury the fact that Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue and powerhouse in the fashion industry, would put this narcissistic nobody of the Kardashian’s on her front cover is almost inexcusable. Anna has made Vogue no longer a fashion magazine but a celebrity cover magazine.

As my daughter, Brett, said to me this morning over the phone, ” I loved life the way it used to be.”
Amen, Brett. Amen.

Copyright Sandra Hart All rights reserved.

Barbizon Babes

Congratulations to Nina Guzman on her well-written and researched article “Where The Girls Are” in this month’s issue of BUST Magazine. Nina found me through my blog piece I wrote on my Barbizon Years several months ago. She asked me if she could interview me about my life at the Barbizon for her article. (https://twitter.com/sandrashart/status/448230928112828417)
Well, I thought I knew all about living at the women’s hotel, but Nina’s article showed me there was so much more to the history of this landmark than I realized. Thanks again Nina for asking me to share my memories of life “Where The Girls Are”.

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STEEL TOWN ON BROADWAY

( In the process of trying to downsize, it seems as though I am reliving my past all over again. Moments in time, events that I had honestly forgotten about. Will this mean anything to anyone but me?)

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November 17,1994

It was a chilly day. The fall wind was whipping down the famous street as we all gathered in the square of Times Square, in the center on Broadway in New York City. We were all ages, all had our stories to tell, but all 206 of us had something in common. We were actors. We appeared on Broadway. We were from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, all of us.

Christopher Rawson the drama critic at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette at the time, either hatched this brainchild on his own, or was given the assignment by the editor of the Gazette. In any event it was quite a task getting all 206 of us actors at the same place at the same time. And for each of us, it would be a once in a lifetime event. I even wore a red beret trying to stand out in a crowd of 206 actors. That was a laugh because the paper printed it in black and white.

I was 107 in the photo standing next to Lynda Jamison, who started her cabaret career in her forties with the encouragement from the likes of Margaret Whiting and Julie Wilson.

I left the Pittsburgh area in 1972, so it was a long time since I had gone through the tunnel and into the City of Three Rivers and the Golden Triangle. Most of my fellow actors that day had rooted in Manhattan where they could ply their craft but their hearts were still back in their hometown-Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

So a smidgen of The Steel City was standing for a still shot in the heart of Broadway, far away from where they began their journey in a business that is always not so kind to transplants with a dream. Our Pittsburgh town made it happen

(The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reran this story in 2004 )

Copyright 2014 Sandra Hart. All rights reserved.

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