Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity: Chapter 3 Music and Lies?

Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity: Chapter 3 Music and Lies? November 23, 2019
Screen cap from You Tube of that Blizzard of Ozz, Mr. Ozzy Osbourne, brain strangeness ahoy, coolest gramppa on the planet and prince of darkness. Whenever I think about bad brains and rock and roll poor Ozzy comes to mind!

Being that it’s Saturday we’re examining another chapter of Debi Pearl’s horror show of a book on brains “Create a Better Brain Thought Neuroplasticity” Too bad Debi isn’t educated enough to pull real conclusions legitimate research. This is all pure Debi’s take on what music does to your child’s brain. Last week’s post here.

Debi makes a number of claims about music that have actually been debunked. Including on about how all little children develop perfect pitch because momma and daddy have exposed them to ‘quality’ music all the way back in the uterus.

Dear Debi – ALL BABIES ARE BORN WITH PERFECT PITCH!!!!!!!!! The tricky part is keeping it afterward because they start to lose it by about 8 months old. It has more to do with how we develop and process language in our brains than any amount of exposure to good, bad or indifferent music.

There are websites and methods that claim to train your child to have perfect pitch, but it’s all with mixed success. No one really knows why some folks keep that perfect pitch while most of us lose it. The jury is still out on brain training for infants to retain their perfect pitch abilities.

The gist of this entire chapter is making your children listen to the “right” kind of music and play a musical instrument raises their IQ scores. And……….. the jury is still out on this one. After years of making those claims there’s been a few recent researchers that say it’s not the music per se, it’s the exercise of the brain and effort extended during the learning that causes the IQ boost more than the actual music itself. There are benefits, just not entirely the ones Debi claims in the book.

Interestingly enough the type of music preferred by people with high IQs tends to skew towards instrumental music, not vocals. Debi does mention “quality” music a number of times and mentions Mozart as an example.

But then we move on to that evil rock and roll. Really? Are we still fighting over syncopated rhythm music being the Devil’s playground? Didn’t that die off in the 50s? She’s all about Mozart.

Debi never mentions rock and roll here, just the “right” kind of music, and makes claims that even white noise like fans can permanently damage the hearing of a child. Funny, I cannot sleep if I don’t have a fan humming and blowing on me. White noise is helpful for some people.

Sound waves get trapped!!! Oh NOES! And damage hearing. No headphones or that ubiquitous teenage accessory ear buds either. She thinks if you listen with earbuds that the sound waves are trapped and endlessly bouncing around in your ear causing damage.

Then Debi goes on to claim that the noise levels at daycare are extremely damaging to thin-skulled infants and kids and that they are sound bathed in emotionally exhausting noise trauma ALL. DAY. LONG!  She claims it causes not just hearing loss, but brain damage and lower IQs.

I wonder if Debi would fall for those hucksters here who hold ‘sound garden healing’ sessions that sound like complete hooey and cost a bundle? Costa Rica is filled with weird woo solutions for everything.

All this is followed by Debi making all sorts of claims about healing via music. She cites the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords without stating that Gabby was shot by some right wing nutbar raised on the same conspiracy theories she and Mike preach, and then explains that Gabby only regained her speech by learning to sing the words. For once Debi is not exaggerating or extrapolating. This is truly how Gabby recovered.

And lastly Debi tells a tale of talking with a friend whose husband has advanced Parkinson’s Disease, telling her to sing and play “quality” music to help him. Her friend blew her off as a nutbar.

Not everything in this chapter is wrong, or poisonous. I have seen legitimate musical therapy at work in treatment facilities, and it does seem to help for some conditions. It’s just not the huge panacea for everything that Debi seems to think it is. She repeats a few lies about IQ improvement just by listening, insists you play the “right” kind of music all the time around your babies to develop their brains.

So what’s the ‘right’ kind of music? Classical and hymns according to the Debster. In no way is any other kind of music mentioned. She misses the brain benefits of exposing your children to many different kinds of music, world music, instrumentals, songs from musicals, and yes, even some of that evil rock and roll has been shown to help.

Next week : Roadmapping the brain. Yeah, that is how she terms it, right down to a drawing of a brain overlaid by a city map. The stupid, it burns.

All of this reminds me of Audio Adrenaline’s “The Houseplant Song”

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.

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