OptimaLearning logo
spacer gif


dots gif


How Music Helps Learning Disabled Students

Email this page to a friend:

Renoir's Two Girls at the Piano
Two Girls at the Piano

order button
by Cinda L. Fisher
Of all of the components of the OptimaLearning® system, I have found the use of music of the OptimaLearning Classics Compact Discs — particularly Reading with Music™, — to be the most beneficial for learning disabled students. Because we are dealing with students who are unusual, it is of paramount importance that we activate every possible reservoir of the brain. We need to allow the brain to work to its fullest capacity to store information, to allow for maximum comprehension and self-confidence. The Reading with Music technique improves performance of the learning disabled child on at least four levels:

Release of Brain Energy: When the instructor reads or talks with music and utilizes the voice like a musical instrument, creating a counterpoint to the music, the result is a global dynamic activation of the whole brain: the conscious and the non-conscious, the left hemisphere, the right hemisphere, and the limbic system simultaneously. The released brain energy then stimulates in turn creativity. "The more you learn, the better you perform, and the more creative you become. As you become more creative, you learn even more and perform better and better..." (Ivan Barzakov). Students are able to assimilate and retain information much better and faster than before. They can verbalize very sophisticated concepts to other students and to adults. A medical professional came in my class to speak on the brain and the central nervous system. He found that he had to redesign his presentation due to the level of sophistication of the class. He found it hard to believe that primary aged, "handicapped" students were so knowledgeable and articulate with such technical material.

Self-Confidence: The structure of the selected Baroque music itself sends a message of stability and confidence. The stream of positive messages which are sent by the OptimaLearning instructor to the child C on conscious as well as on the non-conscious levels C are rendered more powerful because of the music. The child then accepts these messages on a very deep level. Students who previously found it difficult to risk appearing "dumb" are volunteering in regular class discussions and are willing to put their thoughts on paper despite their handicap in the area of written language. My LD students in one fourth grade class are outperforming their non Learning Disabled (LD) classmates in areas that are difficult for them. Some of my students are convinced that they can do almost anything except fly. And some day they may find a way to accomplish that goal too!

Creativity: Reading with Music activates dormant areas of the brain resulting in increased creativity. Some time ago I made a statement regarding the lack of creativity that I was seeing in my students. Now .... my students continuously astonish me with their artistic creations and innovative solutions to problems posed in class. Many of their projects were done on their own time and were not given as a class assignment. I now enjoy comparing their projects with those of students in the ELP (gifted) program.

Concentration: Many students with "learning differences" (my preferred term over "learning disabled") have difficulty staying on task. The use of music in the classroom seems to enable them to "filter" out some of the distractions and allow for increased concentration. As I do a Reading with Music I am always amazed at how focused the students are. The classroom is quiet and students are exhibiting active listening as I read aloud. Another technique which aids in concentration is the use of OptimaLearning guided visualization with music (imaginary landscape). Learning is fun and so is teaching. Together we continue to grow and learn - and have a party all along the way.

NOTE: Indiscriminate playing of music or overuse of the Reading With Music techniques can detract from learning. See how you can learn more about the specialized techniques of Reading With Music through DVD or Compact Discs

© Cinda Fisher, March 1995
Cinda Fisher served as President of the Learning Disabilities Association of Arizona and was a teacher for the learning disabled before her untimely death.

This article appears in The Essence and Impact of OptimaLearning, 1995, published by Barzakov and Associates, Barzak Educational Institute, Novato, CA. For more information see www.optimalearning.com.

line gif

OptimaLearning® Copyright © 2001-2018, All Rights Reserved