Corrupted Research – Exposing the Peer Review Process

When you hear about new medical breakthroughs in the news, you will only hear about peer reviewed research. Peer reviewed means that it passed some sort of basic standards for quality. It is the gold standard of research.

But is it real gold, or fool’s gold?

Medical research seems especially mystical and awe inspiring to the average person. The basic concepts of medicine, which aren’t really difficult to understand, are deliberately cloaked in Latin terminology and other confusing jargon, making medical knowledge and theory seem out of reach to the common person.

After all, every profession needs to make you think you need their services. Lawyers make the legal system so complex and confusing that the average person is completely helpless without legal assistance. Accountants help the IRS tweak the tax code to make it virtually impossible for the average person to know it all, understand it all, or follow all the changes constantly being made. Doctors have made it so you cannot request medical tests or take drugs without their prescription. You name a profession, and you can see ways it perpetuates itself by disempowering the public.

What about the medical research profession?

One of the most important things to know about medical research is that, above all else, it is a profession. Researchers make their money usually from both salaries and grants. The job of the researcher is to find a sponsor for their special type of research. The more research projects and publications they get, the more sponsors they have, and the higher their income. And if a researcher comes up with a patentable device or drug, there are intellectual property rights to throw into the compensation package.

This means that researchers do not work for free. They are mercenary. There may be very interesting and, by social standards, very important research that needs to be done that they could do. But unless, and until, they are paid to do it, the work does not get done.

This means that the funding sources of research, be it the government or private sources, determine what research is actually done. Most of the money for medical research comes from the private sector, usually drug companies, which is why drugs dominate modern medicine. Government funding is little different, since it comes from agencies that are highly lobbied by drug companies, and are run by doctors trained and paid by drug companies. Medicine is a public-private partnership, giving the pharmaceutical industry government-like power over the culture and its healthcare research.

Research into non-drug alternatives are rarely done for this reason. It is also why medicine claims it knows very little about the causes of most diseases of our time. They care much more about the treatment than the cause, since treatment is profitable for the research sponsors, while knowing the cause can lead to prevention, which translates in medical terminology into “unbillable”.

Of course, this is a pretty big scam to pull off. Consider its scope. The public is taxed and begged for donations to pay for medical research that goes into discovering drug treatments that the public will later have to pay incredibly high prices to obtain, and only after paying the doctor for an office visit to get a prescription. And if the drug gives nasty side effects it only leads to more calls for more money to find newer drugs with different side effects.

Is the public getting a good deal here? How do you know the research is scientifically valid? Where is the quality control?

Since most people have been conditioned into believing that they cannot judge medical research unless they have a Ph.D., M.D., N.D., or other license, the research is evaluated for you by other scientists in the field. This is called peer review.

Scientists doing research, as with all professions, belong to a club of like-minded researchers in the same business, promoting their services and products. They belong to the same kinds of industries, such as universities or large multinational drug corporations. They have the same education, which means they all think alike. The purpose of their organization is to provide standards of practice that are supposed to assure quality. Any research must first be somehow reviewed by the peers of this club to make sure the quality guidelines are met, before the research can be published.

Yet, despite this assurance of quality, the fact is that most of what is considered true today will be discarded as false in the future. “Ninety percent of what you learn in medical school will be out of date and considered obsolete in ten years,” we were told by the dean of students when I began medical school. This means that most of what doctors learn is wrong. It also means that the new information which will come in 10 years to replace and update current misconceptions and errors will also be considered obsolete in another ten years’ time. This is a powerful indictment of medical research, which seems to produce little more than temporary information.

It also means that the peer review process does not assure truth. It only means that current standards of practice are followed. Currently, this allows conflicts of interest, since most drug research is paid for by the companies that produce and profit from those same drugs. Even research testing drug side effect hazards is paid for by the companies standing to lose, big time, if their drugs are proven unsafe. Since drug companies have their bottom line, and not unselfish service to mankind, as their reason for existing, it is extremely unwise to trust them with research into their own products. Researchers take no oaths of honesty or integrity. They work for whoever pays them, and they are not above fudging the results to get the desired outcome.

This is not good science, of course. But it is science as practiced in a culture that has professionalized research into a profit-making enterprise. It is not, as people fantasize, the sacred trust needed for helping the sick and injured with unselfish devotion. Medical research is about making money coming up with newly patented drugs to replace the ones that have just gone off-patent and are being sold too cheaply by generic drug competitors.

Peer review does not stop the conflict of interest. Medical journals accept conflict of interest, knowing that it is the way medical research is done. Knowing what research is coming down the pike allows these insiders to get a whiff of new drug developments before the public knows, so they can change their investment portfolio mix for anticipated stock price adjustments.

Peer review also keeps out alternative theories and ways of doing research. All innovation threatens the status quo, and those who control the peer review process, like Supreme Court Justices, can decide on which cases to hear and which to ignore. They are gatekeepers of the status quo, which keeps the current powers that be in power. Since the medical peer review boards are the culture’s final authority on quality, there is no way to challenge their decisions. The quality of the research may in fact be poor, which is evident when you see how many research articles criticize other, peer reviewed research as being flawed in some way. Any researcher will tell you that lots of bad research is done that gets published. However, it’s a publish or perish world. Since researchers and their peers are all caught in this same publish or perish demand, and review one another’s work, they subtly collude to get as much research as they can funded and published. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. They argue among themselves in the journals as to the quality of their work, and for sure there is some competition among scientists as they solicit grants from the same sources to do pretty much the same thing. But there is overall an understanding that, as peers, united they stand and divided they fall.

Of course, this means that peer review is nothing more than a political arrangement for research workers, like a guild or union. It’s goal is to keep control over their field, suppress the competition, and assure continued cash flow. It has nothing to do with science, the systematic search for truth, which must not be tainted by financial motives or tempted by personal gain.

So the next time you hear a news story about some new wonder drug, look for the union label. If it is peer reviewed, there’s a ninety percent change it’s wrong.

The Scary Truth About Pesticides

Why should we be concerned with pesticides? Aren’t there plenty of checks and balances in place to make sure the public is safe from harm? With the processes companies go through with Research and Development plus registration with the government, do we really need the additional burden of further research when we have so many other things to worry about?

If the public knew the scientific history of pesticides along with the powerful political and economic battles raged surrounding them, Americans would be aghast. The truth about these toxic chemicals is shocking yet these liquid, granular and powdered poisons lurk everywhere. In the air we breathe, in the products we use and in the food we eat. Not only are these contaminants incredibly toxic but the scariest part is they are pervasive to the point that it is almost impossible to completely avoid them. And the worst part is that the motivation for all this toxicity is monetary.

First of all, a brief history of pesticides… Man has been fighting against bugs since time began in the form of personal comfort (bed bugs, mosquitoes, etc.) and for destructive capabilities (crop damage, termites, etc.). Early preventive measures against insects included using plants and herbs for repellency and began to transform once Man discovered chemicals. The greatest shift in pesticides came after the engineering and scientific explosion of information generated during World War II when nerve gas was perfected.

Most synthetic pesticides on the market today are based on post war nerve gas technology. Scientists discovered that certain chemicals affect brain function and are therefore referred to as neuro-toxins. The effects can be immediate death, targeted to specific functions like digestion or reproduction to cause eventual death, or they can be slow, long-term effects on a cellular level that manifest over a period of time.

Because these neuro-toxins are synthetic, human bodies are not able to metabolize them. These substances enter a human body either through digestion, absorption or inhalation and remain in the body just like plastic will sit for centuries in a landfill. The human body does not have the capability to excrete them as they are not a natural substance so they accumulate in our tissues, in our cells, and in our organs.

So how exactly are we exposed to these chemical toxins? In an average day, Americans are bombarded with pesticides – often unknowingly. Exterminators apply odorless, colorless pesticides in public spaces like office buildings, schools, malls, theaters, grocery stores, etc. on an ongoing basis. As an example, your child’s school could have been treated in the early morning hours to make sure there is adequate drying time and then your son or daughter sits on the floor during circle time wallowing in the odorless fumes of pesticides.

The food we eat is full of pesticides. The most recent figures show that in the United States, more than 877 billion pounds of pesticides were used on crops in 2007 which represents almost 3000 pounds of pesticide per person. These pesticides are NOT just applied to the outer skin of crops which can be washed off – they are often put in the soil which then enters plants through the roots and becomes systemic meaning the pesticide is now inherent in the structure of the plant. You cannot wash that away! Unless you buy strictly organic, you are eating these pesticides.

What is causing this madness? In a word – money.

Obviously a farmer wants to increase crop yield so using pesticides can help make that happen. In theory, there is nothing wrong with a businessman trying to increase profits and I do not fault a Farmer from doing what he or she is assured is the best solution. But here is where this changes from ‘providing for your family’ to just plain wrong…

Farmers are smart people educated in the functions of farming which takes a great deal to balance well. Soil conditions, weather patterns, planting, harvesting, pests, weeds, crop rotation, micro-nutrients, and irrigation are just a sampling of what a farmer must juggle to take a seed to harvest. Each of these areas is broad and complex and produces a multitude of consultants and experts that Farmers rely on for the latest in technology and research. When a chemical company produces the latest, greatest, strongest and most capable pesticide for less money requiring fewer applications, a Farmer will be pleased. The Farmer improves crop yield and the chemical company sells more product. Everyone is happy, right?

Not so fast… What about the long term? What does this pesticide do to the crop that absorbs these toxins through the roots to infiltrate the cells of the fruit? What happens to the soil that is infiltrated with these synthetic chemicals that may take hundreds of years to breakdown? What about the unsuspecting parents buying this fruit and feeding it to their children who then ingest the pesticides to be stored in their tiny little bodies forever?

Well the long term IS manifesting itself in the form of disease – neurological based diseases such as Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s; and degenerative diseases such as Cancer, Heart Disease, and Diabetes. Birth Defects, Learning Disabilities, Depression and other Mental Health issues are all indisputably linked to pesticides. One of the most obvious cause and effect stories of pesticides and their potential damage is quite recent – the Department of Defense has admitted ‘The Gulf War illness is tied directly to the use of chemicals including pesticides’.

And now for the scariest truth about pesticides – they generate obscene profits which in turn buy enormous political influence which then protects the industry from scrutiny.

Political power for the wealthy is nothing new nor is it solely a problem in the world of chemical pesticides. However, we are dealing with the general public health which in the minds of many elevates the responsibility of government agencies to act wisely. To assume that government regulation means something is safe is incredibly naïve. Big chemical companies have enormous clout as well as extremely deep pockets to absorb any fines or fees associated with minor misdeeds like falsified data. Examples are numerous and the trend continues.

So should we be concerned about pesticides? ABSOLUTELY! And what is a Regular Joe to do about these pervasive poisons?

Get educated and demand answers. When and what do they spray at your child’s school? Is this organic or conventional produce? What are the ingredients in this product I am buying? And most of all – spread the word. An educated consumer is a powerful force to reckon with – and your future and that of your children depends on it!

Pursuing A Degree In Political Science

Political science involves studying how the existing systems of government and other regulatory bodies operate and interact with the country, citizens and other organizations. Students who major in this subject can pursue a number of different careers that cover a broad range of industries. This can also be a major that is part of a larger career path leading to a position in business, management or media studies.

Academic Qualities Needed For a Political Science Career

Political scientists must have a love of learning and a strong educational background. The ability to communicate both verbally and through written documents is vital. A well-rounded education that involves a second language and high grades in history and social studies can also go a very long way in college.

Community Involvement

Most colleges and scholarship programs will want to see a strong involvement in the community or a great interest in public affairs. This can mean keeping up with current news stories, understanding local issues or actually participating in the civic systems of a city or state. It can be beneficial for dedicated students to join some of the junior branches of political organizations that are related to personal interests.

Finding A Scholarship

Political science scholarships are available through governmental bodies, activist organizations and some educational institutions. There are several programs that give scholarships for high school students that give awards to those who are living in a certain area or who can help to diversify a particular workforce. Most scholarships will want the student to explain exactly why political science is of interest and what is providing inspiration for a potential career in public service. Many of the programs are seeking to support students who want to become a civil servant or work in the non-profit sector. Some larger institutions provide scholarships to students who want to use their education in order to perform research.

Political Science Jobs

Most of the individuals who graduate with a degree in political science work for the federal government in one capacity or another. This can be as a politician, a campaign aide or as an administrator for a specific office. A large number of graduates find work in scientific institutions performing research and polling. These same scientific institutions often act as a consulting service for politicians, businesses and other industries that need to understand social trends. Some graduates are also able to find work in the education sector. These jobs range from teachers to college administrators.

The Key to Higher Learning

(A look into music and its effect on brain development)

Music brings to each person their own unique experience and emotional response. For each of us enter life with music. From the sound of our mother singing lullabies to the final funeral march; music is a constant in our lives. Have you ever wondered why music is playing in the grocery store, the dentist office, the doctors’ office, and elevators? Why do people feel the need to bring in music that does not relate to their business? Is it that music provides something to our state of mind? I believe that music has a direct influence on our actions. Music impacts who we are and who we will become.

Music cleanses the understanding; inspires it, and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself. ~Henry Ward Beecher

For over fifty years, the link between music education and brain development or intellectual growth has been researched. Several studies have shown astonishing results establishing that music does play an important role in who we become. Music helps “unlock” the learning potential in our brain which is needed to enhance our knowledge. Music aids in developing communication skills, strengthening memory, enhancing creativity, increasing self esteem and social skills, developing perceptual motor skills, increasing learning capabilities, healing the body, providing sensory integration, and motivating or increasing productivity. Music is a part of shaping each and every person’s life. Music does influence us.

The following research supports the theory that music not only can be calming, but also assists in regaining the ability to focus and attend to tasks. This new found attention is what brings us to a higher level of learning. Therefore it is important to include music in the daily activities of children and teens. Music can be a very beneficial tool in every classroom for behavior management, as well as keeping children on task, opening them up for further learning. This is our children’s key to success.

The Mozart Effect:

According to Don Campbell (1997), the power of Mozart’s music came to public attention in 1993 when Gordon Shaw and Dr. Frances Rauscher, and their team at the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory in Irvine, founded “the Mozart Effect”. Rauscher and Shaw hypothesized that listening to a specific music would produce a short term enhancement of spatial-temporal reasoning skills. They chose a particular Mozart sonata which had natural sequences of patterns and symmetries. These patterns actually match the internal structure of the brain. The study of thirty-six undergraduates from the psychology department proved an increase in spatial-temporal reasoning skills. These college students’ IQ increased by nine points after listening to music of Mozart. Although the effect lasted only ten to fifteen minutes, the relationship between music and spatial reasoning skills was evident. The theory developed that listening to Mozart, whose music has a mathematical complexity, will make you smarter. Dr. Shaw and his research partner, Dr. Frances Rauscher furthered their studies by proving that keyboard lessons given to pre-schoolers, over a period of six months, also increased their spatial-temporal reasoning skills by 34 per cent more than pre-schoolers who did not receive the music lessons. Furthermore, this effect would be long term. Dr. Gordon Shaw was quoted as saying, “Mozart’s music may warm up the brain. We suspect that complex music facilitates certain complex neuronal patterns involved in high brain activities like math and chess.” (Campbell, 1997, pg.15-17) Media termed the results of these studies as “the Mozart effect” and the public grew increasingly interested. Hence, further studies were promoted.

A follow-up study was conducted by projecting sixteen abstract figures, similar to folded pieces of paper, on an overhead screen for one minute each, for seventy nine students. The students were tested to see if they could tell how the items would look when they were unfolded. Over a five day period, one group listened to Mozart, another to silence and another group heard mixed sounds, including music, short stories and dance pieces. At the end of five days, the Mozart group scored sixty two per cent higher while the silence group increased by only fourteen per cent and the mixed group increased by eleven per cent. The scientists suggested that listening to Mozart helps to organize the firing patterns of neurons in the cerebral cortex in association with higher brain function. (Campbell, 1997, pg.15-17)

Again in March 1999, Neurological Research published Dr. Shaw’s study reporting that second graders who played the piano scored twenty seven per cent higher on proportional math and fraction tests. (Campbell, 1997, pg.180-181) The connection between playing an instrument and higher grades in math was confirmed once again.

Another study at Bolton Elementary School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina was conducted to challenge the “Mozart effect”. This school was populated with students who averaged an IQ of ninety two among the second and fifth graders. These children had few advantages and not much extracurricular stimulation; as well seventy per cent were poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. The principal hired a quintet for three years to play for the first, second and third graders for two to three half-hour sessions per week. As well, classical music was played over the school’s intercom system in the halls, library and lunch room. After just three weeks, the first grade teacher noticed a difference in her students’ ability to listen. After the three years, eighty five per cent of the students who had exposure to the classical music tested above grade level for reading and eighty nine per cent tested above average for math. This study further acclaimed the incredible impact that music has on children’s learning abilities and academic performances.

Media attention provoked continuous studies. Mozart’s music was known to improve attention and performance in students. Was this increased attention and performance due to the fact that Mozart’s music opens the ear to listening, not just hearing? Listening is an active skill, while hearing is passive. I believe that the theory of the Mozart Effect lives with the awakening of our listening abilities – the ability to concentrate and focus. Once we develop this skill, we are capable of increasing our learning potential.

However, my interpretation is that if we expose children to music, whether as a listener or a player, it is good for the brain. Music stimulates a creative thinking and active listening that can only lead to true learning.

Multiple Intelligences:

Within the essence of true learning, we must realize that we have various strengths working together to reach our potential. Dr. Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard University, created a theory of multiple intelligences in 1983. His theory suggested that the traditional measurement of intelligence, based on IQ testing, is far too limited. Instead, Dr. Gardner proposed eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults. These intelligences are:

Linguistic (word smart)
Logical / Mathematical (number/reasoning smart)
Interpersonal (people smart)
Intrapersonal (self smart)
Bodily-kinaesthetic (body smart)
Musical (music smart)
Spatial (picture smart)
Naturalist (nature smart)

Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences provides a theoretical foundation for recognizing the different abilities and talents of students. This theory acknowledges that some students may not be verbally or mathematically gifted, but may have an expertise in other areas, such as music, spatial relations, or interpersonal knowledge. Teaching and assessing learning in this manner allows a wider range of students to successfully participate in classroom learning. This suggests educating the whole person. In Fowler’s (1990) article, Gardner states, “As important as intelligence is, character and vision and responsibility are at least as important, probably more important”. This, once again, validates teaching to the whole child.

We all use different forms of intelligences combined for optimal learning experiences. However, it is important to note that we may have a higher level of one intelligence than another. These intelligences form our strengths and weaknesses of who we are. Since we all learn differently, music may provide an area in which some students may excel in – an area where they experience a sense of achievement. Music can complete the process of educating.

The intelligences can be linked to each other through developing various skills. Making music helps children utilize, develop, and strengthen several aspects of intelligence. Through listening to music, singing, playing an instrument, our minds gets excited about learning. This, in turn, equates to stimulating young children’s abilities to develop acquisition skills. Turner (2004) also states that singing improves verbal and linguistic ability and promotes communication skills and self confidence. Words and music are linked together because children are acquiring skills in both language and music at the same time. Singing also relaxes children, enabling them to breathe deeper and more frequently, feeding their brain with oxygen, and boosting their sense of well-being. (pg.111-116)

By connecting sound, movement, speech and interaction with a musical component, it is possible to activate and integrate more of the brain than with any other educational tool. By drawing to music, speaking in different accents (the musical quality of language), rapping spontaneously, and becoming aware of both the active (playing an instrument or singing) and passive (listening, imaging, or using music in the background) aspects of music, children can improve their mathematics, language, coordination, social and personal skills. The use of multiple forms of intelligence allows them to integrate and harmonize as well as use their brains to their greatest potential. (Campbell 2000)

Therefore, students who are involved with music in any way, create a positive influence on their overall intelligence.

Brain Activity and Development

Many questions have arisen about the effect that music has on brain development. We must recognize that music has an influence on our brains. It is interesting to note that several studies have acknowledged that musical activity involves nearly every region of the brain.

Trainer (2005) explains that different aspects of music, such as pitch, tempo and timbre, are analyzed by different neural regions. Listening to music starts with the brain stem, the cerebellum, and then moves up to auditory cortices on both sides of the brain. Trying to follow along with familiar music, involves additional regions of the brain. The Hippocampus, our memory center, and the subsections of the frontal lobe, particularly the frontal cortex, are all stimulated. The frontal lobe is associated with planning, self-control, and with perceptual organization. Tapping along with music involves the cerebellum’s timing circuits. The cerebellum is involved in emotions and the planning of movements. Performing music involves the frontal lobes again for the planning behaviour, as well as the motor cortex in the parietal lobe. The parietal lobe is associated with motor movements and spatial skill. The sensory cortex provides tactile feedback when you have pressed the right key on your instrument, or moved the baton where you thought you did. Reading music involves the visual cortex, in the back of your head in the occipital lobe, which is responsible for vision. Listening to or recalling lyrics invoke language centers, as well as other language centers in the temporal and frontal lobes. The temporal lobe is associated with hearing and memory. All areas of the brain respond to music.

Studies continue to show how music influences brain activity with both long term and short term effects. However, further consideration confirms that music effects how the brain develops.

The brain is a very complex organ of the human body. Due to the size of the female pelvis, the brain cannot grow to its full size until after birth. The brain will continue to grow, at the same rate as prenatally, for two years. A process of myelination, which covers the brain’s nerve pathways with a fatty, insulating substance called myelin, enables nerve pathways to improve their performance. As each section of the brain myelinates, that section becomes functional. Interestingly, the auditory nerve in the brain becomes myelinized prenatally which allows babies to hear before they are born.

Studies have shown that fetuses can sense sounds approximately between sixteen to twenty weeks. By the time the fetus reaches twenty-six weeks, they are receptive to music. As well, fetal heart rates slow down nicely in utero when they experience music. (Turner, 2004, pg.41-42) This factor substantiates that babies seem to relax in response to music. With this in mind, some delivery rooms will have relaxing music for both the mother and infant during the birthing process.

As the baby grows and the brain continues to develop, the baby forms perceptions about everything in its environment. Learning occurs through movement and emotional associations; both which music is involved. The continuous brain growth accelerates in the seventh year when the skull expands. After this, the child will start a two year growth period in the auditory area. During this growth, fine discrimination in hearing and producing sounds are developed which makes it the ideal time for music. (Campbell, 2000, pg.189-190) It is within this time, between the second and third grades, children develop more complex skills – listening, processing visual information, and coordinating movement in the brain.

Orff explained, in a typical analogy drawn from the natural world, “It is at the primary school age that the imagination must be stimulated; and the opportunities for emotional development, which contain experience of the ability to feel, and the power to control the expression of that feeling, must also be provided. Everything a child experiences at this age, everything that has been awakened and nurtured, is a determining factor for the whole of life.” (Campbell, 1997, pg.186)

The auditory pathways continue to develop from the ages of nine to eleven, which enhance speech and listening. This is the time when the corpus callosum, the bridge between the left and right sides of the brain, completes its development. Studies have shown that musicians have a thicker corpus callosum which is more fully developed than other people. This validates the idea that music enlarges existing neural pathways and stimulates learning and creativity. As well, the plenum temporal, located in the temporal lobe of the cortex, is also more developed in musicians. This is the area of the brain that is associated with language processing and sound categorization, which suggests a perceptual link between music and language. (1994, Music of the hemispheres) Although, listening to and creating music is primarily a right brain function and learning is primarily a process of the left brain, music links the two halves together. When the two hemispheres are linked together, this connects the memory retrieval mechanisms which enhance learning capability.

Therefore, music does influence brain development and allows for learning to advance to a higher level.

My Own Mozart experiment

Through researching the direct effects of music on the brain, I decided to do my own research with the help of my son, Richard*. The theory of the Mozart Effect particularly intrigued me.

Richard listened to Mozart for fifteen to twenty minutes each night before bedtime. This fit in nicely with our normal routine, as he usually had one hour of reading and listening to music before bed. So, Richard started reading for one half hour and listening to Mozart for one half hour. As well, on occasion, we would play Mozart in the morning during our morning routine before school. I wanted to see if I could see a difference in my son’s behaviour, interest and focus. This research does not have quantitative value and is solely based on my own opinion. Since I based this research on “Mother’s intuition”, my goal was to remain objective.

After a period of three months, I felt that Richard appeared to be more tolerant and more interested in talking in the morning. Previously, our morning routine consisted of my continual persistence in keeping peace between brothers. It had always seemed as though Richard consistently woke up on “the wrong side of the bed”. However, he changed to seem more pleasant and more conversational during the morning. He no longer reacted with an angered response instinctively to teasing.

I also noticed that Richard seemed to more attentive and in control. I believe that the Mozart music has a calming effect which allowed Richard to “slow his thoughts down” and think before he does or says. I also believe that this effected his willingness to listen – which I believe is the key to learning.

My findings are purely subjective. I cannot be sure what cognitive effects that this has had, but I will continue to play Mozart during the mornings. Although, I cannot be sure as to what effect it has on him; it certainly can’t hurt.

Conclusion

Educating children is essential for their growth and development, and music aids in this process.

Music is part of our lives long before we ever take a breath. It is a part of the exquisite universal harmony. It is there – created for us and created by us – to feel, to hear, to enjoy, to treasure through all the moments, hours, days and years of our lives. Our only hope is in keeping the beauty and splendour of music alive is in the legacy we leave our children. (Scarantino, 1997, pg.143)

Music is a necessity, as is music education. It appears that brains are designed to process, appreciate and eventually create music. Music reaches the depths of our brain and body through unconscious systems. Music education, then, is the nurturer of consciousness. It encompasses emotions, politics, cultures, and all dimensions of human life and creates a dynamic world – a world that is full of possibilities.

Music education has a multi-modal nature which reaches all learners. A school that promotes music education may be the happiest and healthiest school of all. Therefore, we must advocate for music education continuance in our schools. For we truly recognize that music is not only part of who each of us are, but music allows us to become who we are. Music education assists all who have the pleasure to experience it. We can say with a sound confidence that music education is a sound approach to advancing our children’s’ learning potential. For music education not only aids in increasing our children’s’ intelligence, but it also allows us all to become well educated. It has been proven that music education promotes higher learning capabilities. Hence, music education is indispensable and the key to higher learning potential.