Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ben Leddy on songs in the classroom

Our daughter Rachel put it this way: “This fifth-grade teacher says he has a superpower. What he reveals next will shock you.” It’s our son Ben at the Boston EdTalks 2015: “A Different Tune: Rethinking Songs in the Classroom.”

comments: 11

stefan said...

Fabulous, Ben, and congratulations! Your talk put an awfully big smile on my face.

misterbagman said...

Now I'm trying to figure out how to do a Bakhtinian critique of Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" to the tune of "Ghost Riders In The Sky." I'll let you know how I do.

The Crow said...

Ben is so cool! That sounds like faint praise, but I am so awestruck by what he's doing with his students that I can't find other words to express what I feel after watching the video.

Great work, Ben!

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for the comments, Stefan, Mister B., and Crow. Ben will be sure to see them.

Fresca said...

This is adorable! And important.
Good on ya', Ben!

I really wish I'd had singing *math* lessons---language arts, history, geography, etc. are reinforced here and there in the adult world, but fractions aren't.

I have no doubt of the effectiveness and staying power of music, having worked with people with dementia who could still sing the songs of their childhoods.

The Crow said...

(Michael,please pardon my using your comment box to say something to Fresca.)

Fresca, do you suppose music or songs that involve incorporating family memories might either open doors to memory closets, or help rebuild memories. I know that for many the slate is wiped clean after a bit, but perhaps singing memory songs at the start of the day could help in the short term, maybe even build new pathways to still viable sections of the brain.

Ben's ideas could - perhaps - be of tremendous help with those of the autism spectrum, too. The human brain is the new frontier, both the healthy ones and the damaged ones.

Makes me wish I had stayed in medicine, gone on to become a physician. Ah, well - in the next life, if I can remember.

Michael Leddy said...

Martha, Fresca pointed me to the documentary Alive Inside, about music and dementia.

I still remember spelling songs from elementary school, one for hippopotamus, one for lollipop.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, all!


Elaine said...

Just 'Wow!' So many gifts. Thanks for sharing!

Michael Leddy said...

It’s a pleasure to share the guy’s work here.

Fresca said...

CROW: That's an interesting question!

I really don't know, but since music is part of a different memory system (not sure I'm saying that right) than talking or reading, I too wonder if it could be harnessed.

After all, people with dementia can learn new things---especially stuff involving "procedural memory" ("body memory"), like how to *do* stuff.

Ah-ha---here, I googled it and found this:

"In 2010, the researchers discovered that Alzheimer's patients had a much easier time recalling song lyrics after the words had been sung to them than they could after the words had been spoken. "It suggested that music might enhance new memory formation in patients," said Nicholas Simmons-Stern, lead author of the study.

... as-yet unpublished results lend hope to the idea, suggesting music will be a powerful tool for the treatment and care of dementia patients in the future."

I also found this interesting tidbit on music & memory:

"Studies have show that musicians tend to have a better memory than non-musicians, not just for music, but for words and pictures too.
Interestingly, they also tend to use different strategies for memorization, being more likely than non-musicians to group words into similar semantic categories, and less likely to verbalize pictures."
--from here: