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A Well-Tempered Mind: Using Music to Help Children Listen and Learn [Hardcover]

By Peter Perret, Janet Fox & Maya Angelou (Foreward By)
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Item description for A Well-Tempered Mind: Using Music to Help Children Listen and Learn by Peter Perret, Janet Fox & Maya Angelou...

Peter Perret, conductor of the Winston-Salem Symphony, chronicles in A Well-Tempered Mind how a brief NPR feature about music and the brain inspired him to create an innovative music education program for first- through third-graders at two elementary schools in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The musicians from his woodwind quintet taught the children to listen to music, detect the roles of the instruments, discern how music is constructed, and even compose their own music.

The effects of the quintets intervention reached beyond the music classes and carried into other academic subjects as well, resulting in a significant improvement in the childrens scores on annual state tests. A Well-Tempered Mind describes how the children and musicians worked together, and explores the brain research that seeks to understand how music engages the brains cognitive capabilities ranging from memory and language and emotional processing.

Perrets Bolton project inspires a host of tantalizing questions such as: Does music physically change the brain? Can music help kids with short attention spans, dyslexia, and other learning difficulties? Does music influence the cognitive abilities needed for reading and math? Perrets engaging and candid narrative, previously featured in Symphony Magazine, tells of a fascinating journey of discovery into the complexities and intricate workings of the human brain. Further, it opens the door to new and exciting opportunities for education, in its demonstration of how music can be a universal language that expands young minds in unforeseen ways.

A Well-Tempered Mind demonstrates that by working together, we can make a difference in our children's lives and replace cultural bankruptcy with a full pocket of good music. Lord knows we need it."---Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center

This book should persuade parents and administrators to give education in music its deserved high priority in the schools under their care.---Walter J. Freeman, M.D., professor in the Graduate School Division of Neuroscience, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California at Berkeley

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Item Specifications...

Pages   239
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.25 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2004
Publisher   Dana Press
ISBN  1932594035  
ISBN13  9781932594034  

Availability  0 units.

More About Peter Perret, Janet Fox & Maya Angelou

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > General
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > African American > Angelou, Maya
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > Elementary School
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > General
5Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Education > General
6Books > Subjects > Science > General

Reviews - What do customers think about A Well-Tempered Mind: Using Music to Help Children Listen and Learn?

The Well - Tempered Mind  Sep 20, 2004
Peter Perret and Janet Fox have made a worthy contribution to education by telling a story of how music can affect children's ability to learn, to listen and to raise their overall performance in school. This book explores the way musicians teach and the way children and teachers learn from the activities described in the ground-braking Bolton Project in Winston Salem, NC.
The writing is engaging and humorous, but also serious and well researched. The book touches on different models of teacher-student relationship, creative approaches to learning, and the sense of vocation and commitment to continuous improvement. It focuses on the realities of the present moment and the sense of accomplishment that results when there is passion for excellence.
The book also touches on some important questions on whether music instruction affects our cognitive abilities, and gives the reader a good overview on the research that has been going on for the last fifteen years. It tantalizes the reader to know more about the subject and makes a good case for adopting new teaching models through music instruction in the early school years.
I highly recommend this book to teachers, parents and to anyone who is interested on new models for effective teaching.
Patricia A. Dixon
Lecturer in Music
Wake Forest University
Well-Tempered  Sep 19, 2004
A Well-Tempered Mind, Using Music to Help Children Listen and Learn by Peter Perret and Janet Fox with a foreword by Maya Angelou
March 2004, Dana Press

"That is what I think the woodwind quintet is doing. Our musicians are playing to a fundamental language of the brain. They are evoking a muse that already lives in every child's head."

Harvard's Project Zero was named that because of Howard Gardner's belief in 1967 that "nothing had been firmly established about the link between the arts and cognitive thinking." Thirty-seven years later, the North Carolina Bolton Project creates a new yet ancient paradigm: live music in classrooms of elementary and middle school students, particularly at-risk ones, causes a dramatic increase in students' standardized test scores, perhaps due to the neurological changes the music catalyzes. This book proves it. And, as the authors point out, the link between music and learning dates back to Plato. Current tests, such as the Audio-Visual Integration test (AVI), were used to substantiate the significant success of the Bolton Project. Since we know most "children who fail to master reading in the early grades rarely learn to read later in life", elementary and middle school educators can find a panacea in this book.

Students listening to live music such as a quintet raised their scores by almost 50%. The authors stress that the quintet wasn't there to teach music but to teach through music, the classroom teacher creating the lesson plan with the music coordinator. Frank Wood, Professor of Neurology at Wake Forest University, states it directly in his introduction: "The Bolton curriculum, I can now say from firsthand experience as a research colleague of Peter Perret and a mentor of Shirley Bowles, has proved effective for enhancing cognitive skills, including the skills that support learning to read." Although the book focuses on music, all performing arts have potential to increase learning.

Far from being a dry read like a textbook, the book tells a success story of a ten-year old project that should rivet educational reformers. The authors also reveal insights into cognitive neuroscience and the learning process. Actual dialog of students enhances the book's readability in addition to showing the spatial-temporal reasoning being developed in students. Humor abounds in the titles and heads of the book, such as allusions "Close Encounters of the Musical Kind" and "Raising Arizona". Even the title of the book connects with the essence of the project.

As a high school English teacher of at-risk students, I'm overwhelmed at the difference this kind of classroom would make. The first thing I teach in 9th grade English is how to think back and forth between specifics and generalizations. If my students had been introduced to this type of teaching in elementary school, their struggle to form abstract ideas from specifics would be far less. Part of my job is to raise the reading scores of students, so when I read the chapter "Is Music A Reading Teacher?" I recognized the incredible value of A Well-Tempered Mind in terms of helping students improve thinking, reading, and, of course, writing skills.

Maya Angelou best expresses my thinking after reading Perret and Fox's book: "I pray the gift of this book, along with the gift of music, will herald the return of art in the classroom. The children need that and so does our world."

An Important Book  Sep 10, 2004
This is an important book for everyone who has a stake in the education of young children, meaning everyone concerned with our country's future. The book demonstrates what happens when a woodwind quintet visits the classroom to play music and actively engages the children in discussions about the music. What happens is the children's brain development is enhanced, together with their ability to learn everything in the curriculum.

This book provides a guide for school administrators and parents to adopt the program in their schools. The program's results are eye-opening: the new listening skills that the program develops help children better anticipate, remember, compare, and imagine. As the musicians and children discuss quarter notes and half notes, the concept of fractions becomes real and tangible. When the children compose music, their self-confidence improves.

The book provides empirical evidence about these results. For those who want it, the evidence is correlated with cutting-edge brain research. To many people, the idea of music in the classroom means music appreciation or learning to play an instrument. This program, far more ambitious, does far more.

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