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CHRISTMAS 2010 PRESS RELEASE – PART ONE: Without the usual pomp and circumstance, the Free Music School, FMS, is giving free keyboards, guitars, silver flutes and violins to all of its conscientious students this Christmas. By executive decision, FMS, now in its eighth year, is breaking with the Christmas tradition of providing free turkey dinner, toys and gifts for every passerby in Central Park. Although the seven-year tradition has enabled literally thousands of Sanpedranos, the distribution of free musical instruments is more meaningful to our students. It serves the critical purpose of providing them with a means to practice so that they advance toward the mastery of their instrument of choice.  

FMS will continue its tradition of Christmas shows. Dr. Floyd Jackson, violinist, Dennis Ritchie, guitarist, and Jodi Leslie, drummer, will perform dozens of Christmas carols.  Schedule of shows:  December 22, Estel’s, 12:00 noon to 1:00 P.M./December 24, The Baker, 12:00 noon to 1:00 P.M.; Wings 1:30 to 3:00 P.M.; Central Park Outdoor Concert, 4:00 to 5:00 P.M.; Phoenix Lobby, 6:00 to 7:00 P.M.    

FMS is grateful to the global and local community for financial support.  Accolades are especially given to Wings, Belize Bank, White Sands, Mayan Princess, Victoria House, Changes ‘n Lattitude, Xanadu, Dr. Lerida Rodriguez, Dr. Daniel Gonzales, Blue Water Grill, Wild Mango’s, Linda Knox & David Pomier (Sarasota, FL),  Belize Dive Connection,  Amigos del Mar, Ecologic Divers, San Pedro Town Councilman Joe Elijio, Jambal Jerk, Holiday Hotel and many others.

Thank you for your investment in our children, this Christmas.  These are the ones it takes a village to raise, the leaders of tomorrow, the indispensable of sustainable communities, the ones we “must become like” if we are heaven-bound.

Here is a glimpse of what your money is doing:  Patrick, an RC student, is a novice and gifted pianist, diligent and passionate about playing.  Yet he has no keyboard of his own on which to practice.  During the past five months he has studied with enthusiasm, learned quickly, and has not missed a moment of instruction. Victor, an RC student, has been asking for a trumpet for two years.  He is, now, pretty good on the keyboard, but his heart is on the trumpet.  Kirian, a San Pedro High School student, studies voice at the Music School.  A keyboard with Mp3 and microphone capabilities would help him sing on pitch.  Kirian loves music.  He is ambitious, clever, curious, self-motivated and resolute about learning music.   Kirian, already an accomplished guitarist, taught himself to play guitar by using free learning sites on the internet. He has, also, taught others to play and he plays in the high school rock band. Gabriel Chan is a drummer in the same band.  He is learning keyboard and intends to master the violin.

Handah and Nicole are a mother-daughter team learning keyboard and guitar.  Another one of our adult students is an alcoholic.  He is getting help from Alcoholics Anonymous, AA.  Although employed, financial obligation precludes his ability to purchase a guitar.  He is passionate about learning guitar.  His eyes often moisten with happiness during lessons.  Learning music is therapeutic for him, and incalculably beneficial to his personal growth.  Herein lies a matter of profound wonderment and irrefutable proof of the value and transcendental nature of the human spirit:  While music nuanced in miraculous mystery has brought these students and others together, and while it helps them find their soul, and while it transforms their lives, giving them a new sense of self-worth, mastery, joy, peace and perspective, up to this point, these students did without.  They could not own a musical instrument because their families are barely economically solvent.  Your gift has, for them, imminent impact, making vibrations that are both lifelong and trans-global.

CHRISTMAS 2010 PRESS RELEASE – PART TWO, THE NEUROSCIENCE OF MUSIC:   Music is fun and it is for everybody. Music is healing. Beautiful music makes us smarter, healthier, happier, more compassionate and more productive. The neuroscience of music investigates how music shapes the organ of emotion, the brain, and also how music reboots the organs of healing in the immune system.

The brain and the immune system are intimately connected and communicate to each other at every moment. Beautiful music triggers the reward pathways of the brain, making the brain release endorphins, natural occurring opiate-like neurochemicals that make us happy. Beautiful music, over time, shapes the neuroanatomy of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous system with long-standing effect. By shaping the left prefrontal  cortex of the brain, beautiful music gives a person resilience – that is, recovery from major life crises. It minimizes the long-term, residual effects of injury and emotional baggage.  

Beautiful music mediates desire through the brain’s nucleus accumbens in the striatum, and compassion and empathy through the insula. In addition to activating the reward or pleasure pathways of the brain and shaping its anatomy, beautiful music channels relaxation through the Parasympathetic Nervous System which, in turn, enlists the organs of healing in the immune system. Moreover, beautiful music makes us smarter and lifts our emotions. Beautiful music is beneficial in keeping kids out of trouble, increasing health, happiness, self-esteem, mastery, community productivity, and functional intelligence and its manifestation in the 4 r’s – reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic and rhythm.

Moreover, the adaptation response to beautiful music includes brain plasticity where tissue is enhanced in the corpus callosum, the bridge connecting the right and left lobes, wherein lie respectively the global-spatial and language epicenters; in the hypothalamus, the seat of emotion; and in the sensory cortex, the brain tissue that correlates most highly with Full Scale IQ.

Please contact [email protected], www.freemusicschoolbelize.wordpress.com, or, in person, Dr. Floyd Jackson, FMS Founding Music Director and Professor of Psychiatry, Behavioral Medicine and Neuroanatomy for online courses at a medical school in Great Britain, for an annotated bibliography entitled Neuroscience of Music. Join FMS at San Pedro High School every Wednesdays when school is in session - 3:30-5:00 P.M. for high school students, 5:00-6:00 for grade school students, and 6:00-8:00 P.M. for adults.  Come, have fun, and literally cultivate well-being in health, happiness, compassion, intelligence and overall productivity through beautiful music.
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