Richard G. Petty, MD

Music and the Mind

The next book in the Healing, Meaning and Purpose cycle will be entitled Sacred Cycles. One chapter is entitled Music and the Mind. I am in no doubt that music can produce incredibly powerful healing.

I was interested to read about a small study published in the journal Brain.

Canadian scientists from McMaster University compared 6 children aged four to six who took music lessons for a year with 6 children who did had no music lessons outside school. The six who had lessons attended a Suzuki music school, using a Japanese approach that encourages children to listen to and imitate music before they attempt to read it.

They found the musical group performed better on a memory test also designed to assess general intelligence skills such as literacy and mathematical ability.

The investigators also measured changes in the children’s brain electrical responses to sounds during the year. They measured brain activity using a technique called magnetoencephelography while the children listened to two types of sounds: a violin tone or a burst of white noise.

All the children recorded larger responses when listening to the violin tones compared with the white noise – indicating that more of the brain’s activity was being deployed to process meaningful sounds.
All the children responded more quickly to the sounds over the course of the year of the study – suggesting greater efficiency of the maturing brain.

However, when the researchers focused on a specific measurement related to attention and sound discrimination, they found a greater change over the year among the Suzuki children.

In the group having music lessons, there were measurable changes in as little as four months. Previous studies have shown that older children given music lessons recorded greater improvements in IQ scores than children given drama lessons, but this is the first time that such young children have been tested.

Though this is only a small study, it strongly suggests that music is good for children’s cognitive development. I ifnd this particularly interesting after researchers appeard to have dismantled the "Mozart Effect." Perhaps they were premature in doing so.

I also take my hat off the researchers. As someone who’s done a lot of scanning and measurement, I know only too well, that to get young children to stay still enough to get meaningful readings must have been a Labor of Hercules!

I’d also like to mention a conference in November that sadly I shall not be able to attend, but promises to be a splendid event. It’s the International Sound Healing Conference, taking place on November 10-14 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They have a stellar group of presenters, including Jill Purce, Don Campbell, Fabien Maman, James D’Angelo, Master Charles Cannon, John Diamond and a host of other experts in the fields of sound and healing. It should be quite an event!

“Words are the pen of the heart, but music is the pen of the soul.” –Shneur Zalman of Liadi (Rabbi and Founder of Chabad Lubavitch, 1745-1812)

“Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence.” –Robert Fripp (Musician, Guitarist and Spiritual Seeker, 1946-)

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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