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Music and the mind

I just received a copy of __The Strangest Song__, a linkurl:book;http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9781591024781&itm=1 about Gloria Lenhoff, a 51 year old woman with William?s Syndrome whose father Howard left the biochemistry bench to study cognitive neuroscience and foster his daughter?s remarkable musical abilities. I wrote about linkurl:Howard?s work in 2001,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/12726 and I remember how driven he was in getting his

By | November 21, 2006

I just received a copy of __The Strangest Song__, a linkurl:book;http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9781591024781&itm=1 about Gloria Lenhoff, a 51 year old woman with William?s Syndrome whose father Howard left the biochemistry bench to study cognitive neuroscience and foster his daughter?s remarkable musical abilities. I wrote about linkurl:Howard?s work in 2001,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/12726 and I remember how driven he was in getting his message out. Williams is a rare genetic disorder, a 20-gene deletion on chromosome 7 leaves individuals with puckish facial features, heart problems, and an average IQ of about 60. While Gloria and many like her struggle with many simple mental tasks, they have extremely gregarious personalities and in some cases an uncanny aptitude for music. I haven?t read the book, yet, but something in the release notes certainly piqued my curiosity. It speaks of ?the extremely single-minded, perhaps manipulative, campaign of Howard Lenhoff,? indicating this work by Orange County Register journalist Teri Sforza might portray his story with warts and all. Howard Lenhoff has made quite a bit of noise about the connection between music and Williams, sometimes to the chagrin of researchers who have said the science doesn?t quite support it. He?s understandably careful about the way the press portrays him and his family. Regardless, Lenhoff has worked quite hard developing an academy of music for people with this and other disorders. Passion drives people, especially passion for their children, and the book looks all the more interesting for it.
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Avatar of: Howard Lenhoff

Howard Lenhoff

Posts: 1

November 29, 2006

Thanks for looking at and commenting on The Strangest Song by Teri Sforza. Even though I prefer the adjective persistent or relentless rather than "manipulative," one must be [pick any of the three] when promoting the interests of the intellectually impaired - especially with researchers who, in their claim that music is one of the hight functions of the human brain - can not accept the fact that a good number of those who are labeled by society as retarded, have some music abilities equal to or greater than those possessed by normal professional musicians. I have only attempted to quantify the level and incidence of absolute pitch; anecdotal observations suggest people with Williams syndrome possess other strengths in music, such as timbre and rhythm, but so far there seem to be no takers by music researchers.
Avatar of: Don Silvius

Don Silvius

Posts: 1

December 6, 2006

Interesting!. \n\nMy wife, of almost 50 years, died of a stroke 9 years after her diagnosis of Alzheimers - still "in ther early stages.." We were both insrumental & voca lmuscians . We were working on our 54th song for memorized presentation, 3 ladies & 2 fellows. Jean's pitch, tamber, entrances & blend had never declined. Of course, when working with nusic you are using 4 of our 5 modalities of learning and expression. I had developed a protocol of amino acids, mega-vit&min & herbs, (having a background in both behavioral & biological science, I used behavioral rating scale each 15 min & vitals 3 times a day), which evidently prevented the destruction of more brain tissue. She donated 2 kidneys & liver so she is still alive i 3 other foik.\n\nKeep up the good work

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