Listen In Nature

Many children in this country have lost all understanding that they are part of nature and are connected to nature.We live so fearfully that children will be nabbed or will get hurt that we keep them inside and away from danger. But ultimately we are harming them far worse by robbing them of the experiences that can only be found outside in nature.

“To become stronger adults, kids need to be outside and allow their bodies to do what they’ve been designed for from the beginning. – Kacie Flegal, a chiropractor in Ashland, Ore., who specializes in pediatrics.

In college I studied Ornithology because I was obsessed with the film maker Peter Greenaway. His film A Walk Through H: The Reincarnation of an Ornithologist change my view of birds, film making and visual experiences.

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Some of Greenaway’s other best-known films include:  The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982), A Zed & Two Noughts (1985), The Belly of an Architect (1987), Drowning by Numbers (1988), and his most successful (and controversial) film, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) also include references to Ornithology, birds and nature.

As a parent this has me thinking about sharing a love for birds with my children and if I want to get them outside to listen more I can start with the sound of various songbirds. Doing this can really can teach a child about the diversity of the natural world.

Once you spend time outside listing for birds why not get creative?  Set up an outdoor creativity studio where you can build and make things! Go grab these Free plans to build a birdhouse for your own back yard from Ana White

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While building your bird house listen to some classic music inspired by birds.

Laboratory5 Inc. is a small business based in Tempe, Arizona

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Music & Productivity – Part 3 – Dr. James Gerber

Written by Amy DeCaussin
Director of Projects & Social Media

This is part three of a three part series on “Music & Productivity” – View Parts One & Part Two Here

Dr James Gerber at the organ

Last week in Part 2 of Music & Productivity, we learned about Joey Salamon, an artist whose work is closely tied to music during its stages of production.  This week I was interested in discussing the subject of music and productivity from an expert in the field of music.  Dr. James Gerber is the Music Associate at All Saints’ Episcopal Church & Day School in Phoenix, a place that is very well known for its phenomenal music program.  I was not disappointed as I found Dr. Gerber to be incredibly insightful on the subject.  While listening to music is a wonderful experience, creating music is an amazing experience as well.

Above is “Herbert Howells: Salve Regina” performed by the All Saints’ Episcopal Church Choir

Formal education in music, such as private lessons requires a great deal of discipline.  The student must practice on a regular basis and repeat the musical phrases over and over in order to get the perfect sound.  As a result, many musicians become intense perfectionists.  “Musicians, as part of their practice process are continuing to work at things–they are never satisfied.” Explains Dr. Gerber.  Practice becomes a state of being.  There is always room for improvement.  The skills musicians acquire from their practice can be very beneficial to other parts of his or her life.  When applied to other fields of study, “They will be the ones that make the scientific discovery because they don’t give up.” Gerber says.

In addition to discipline, the practice of music can also give us experiences in other skills.  “Experience creates competence, which drives confidence, which creates resilience.” Mitzi Montoya, Vice President and Dean of Entrepreneurship & Innovation in Art at ASU said during her talk at the Girls in Tech Catalyst Conference this week in downtown Phoenix.  “It is both an emotional process and also an analytical process.  In western tradition is both a visual as well as an aural process.” explains Dr. Gerber.  You can work through your emotions through music, gain better analytical skills, learn new ways to visualize things and excel in the ability to listen on many levels.  Throughout most of history music was passed on through aural tradition.  It wasn’t until the medieval period when a system of notation was developed.  When you are able to write things down, they begin to take on a whole new level of meaning.  Music has enhanced the development of language.  “Music can transcend language barriers.  It is cross cultural.  You can express things through music that you can’t through spoken word.” says Dr. Gerber.

Above “Prelude, Fugue, and Variation by Cesar Franck” James Gerber on the Organ.

Music is also a physical experience, engaging the body.  Rhythms found in music are based on the natural rhythms of the body.  We usually have a natural physical response to what we hear.  Music can make us want to get up and dance, or help us through a long run.  It requires physical skills as well.  For example, the technique of playing the violin is a physical skill that takes time to develop–how to hold the bow, executing the finger patterns properly on the strings, how the violin is held and how the person playing the violin is sitting or standing is very important.  Beyond that, professional musicians are often called to produce music even if they aren’t in the mood.  They develop an ability to switch into performance mode.  No matter what is going on aside from the music, they learn to brush it aside and focus only on what’s in front of them.  These are all great skills that can be used in other areas of life, especially the work environment.  Music is a wonderful way to develop them.

Another wonderful experience musicians have is connecting with other people.  When they play in a group such as a band, an orchestra, or choir is they become a part of a community.  Just like a sports team, the musicians have to work together to create the sound.  They listen for each other and work collaboratively through their creation of song.

Above “Tomás Luis de Victoria:Nigra sum sed formosa.” All Saints’ Episcopal Church Chamber Choir

It is clear that whether listened to, studied, practiced or performed, the benefits of music on productivity are great.  If you haven’t experienced participating in the creation of music, you may want to consider it.  It is a great way to “cross train” your brain.


You can check out the All Saints’ Chamber Choir at their concert “Music of Stars, Lights & Heaven” next Sunday, May 17th at 3pm.

Laboratory5 Inc. is a small business based in Tempe, Arizona

Visit our website: Laboratory5       Follow us on Twitter: @lab5     Become a fan on Facebook: Laboratory5
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