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Central California Life Magazine

Connecting our hearts and our ears through music and wellness

Jun 28, 2014 02:16PM ● By Cen Cali Life Magazine

Connecting our hearts and our ears through music and wellness

by Jami De La Cerda

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.
                                                        -Victor Hugo 

Take a step with me down the path where music joyously accompanies the components of learning, wellness and communication.

Music is a key factor for learning and communication for all people, especially those with developmental disabilities or traumatic brain injury. Recently, this subject was brought to the forefront with the remarkable recovery process of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Music was an integral part of her rehabilitation.

Each component of music affects a different part of the brain. For example, a familiar song activates the left frontal lobe; timbre (tone quality), the right frontal lobe; and pitch, the left posterior. One side of the brain processes the word while the other processes the music. Activating the entire brain ensures better retention.

Music provides people of all ability levels an outlet for self-expression. Musical therapy is not only recreational, but it is also scientifically shown to have a wide variety of benefits. 

In Fresno, the students in the Diamonds in the Rough Band personally exemplify the remarkable accomplishments that music can bring, guiding the students to a higher level of wellness, for a happier, confident and more fulfilling lifestyle. The power of music should never be underestimated. 

Music is the art of thinking with sounds.

Musical training helps develop areas of the brain related to language and reasoning. It is thought that brain development continues long after birth, and far into adulthood. Studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain's circuits in specific ways. Linking familiar songs to new information also can help imprint information into minds of all cognitive levels. This is vital to people’s self-esteem in education, as well as to their safety and wellbeing.

There is also a causal link between music and spatial intelligence, which is the ability to perceive the world accurately and to form mental pictures of things. This kind of intelligence in which one can visualize various elements that should go together is critical to the sort of thinking necessary for everything from solving advanced math problems to being able to pack a book bag with all that is needed for the day.

Inspirational and factual, music holds a deeper meaning to all those who experience a silence due to a cognitive learning disability, and for those still seeking a means of expression and accomplishment.

The value of music in shaping individual abilities and character is evident.

When you hear the magical sounds of The Diamonds in the Rough Band, you will immediately become a believer! This group is a band like no other. When the lights go down and the curtain goes up, rock and roll classics such as, “Ride, Sally, Ride” ring out, and next you are captivated by the incomparable melody of Louie Armstrong’s, “It’s a Wonderful World.” It’s impossible not to be swept away by the musical talents of these musicians, ranging in age from youth to adult and with a host of developmental challenges.

Typical musicians … I think not!

Join me in our collective journey of instruction, guidance, compassion, and support of musical therapy so that these individuals may achieve pride and self-fulfillment through the gift of music.