Music is the mediator between the life of the senses and the life of the spirit
– Ludwig Van Beethoven
Tomatis – the beginning
Perhaps you’ve heard of Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis, especially if you’ve researched brain plasticity or listening programs. Perhaps you’ve wondered why music has such a powerful impact on us—modified music all the more so. Or maybe you don’t believe that it does: if so, these discussions might convince you. In any case, learning about the power of listening programs is fascinating.
In the middle of the last century Alfred Tomatis made remarkable discoveries regarding the relationship of the ear to neuro-physiological development. He spent his life using those discoveries to create powerful treatments that others have further refined and improved. The latter include his direct disciples (The Tomatis Method) and others that have independently branched off (ABT, iLS, Therapeutic Listening).
The remarkable ear
To understand and appreciate listening programs we must first recognize the importance of the ear and its senses: hearing, orientation, balance, and movement. We hear sound with our ears and listen to it with our brain. Similarly, we sense orientation, motion, and balance with our inner ear (vestibular system) and process those inputs with our brain. And these abilities are the first senses that develop in life.
Listening begins in utero the fourth month after conception. Vestibular perception begins soon thereafter and continues to develop until birth. Thus, the fetus starts listening to its mother’s voice (through bone conduction) five months before birth and within a month feels movement and senses orientation. Furthermore, listening and vestibular function are critical foundational skills. When their development is delayed or interrupted, there is significant functional impact. The good news is that once we identify the issues, we can treat them with listening programs and/or other modalities.
The genesis of listening programs
Through hard work and incredible insight Tomatis developed a protocol using modified music (Mozart, waltzes, marches, and Gregorian chants). These protocols—which are typically enjoyable to experience—impact functions related to listening other important neuro-developmental functions. These include:
- Self regulation and a “calm-alert” state
- Balance, rhythm, coordination, muscle tone, body awareness, sense of direction, right/left discrimination
- Memory, concentration, attention, speech and language, vocal control
- Energy, intuition, ideas, ideals, improved speaking, auditory cohesion, creativity
Convergence of method and technology
We’ve benefited not only from the work of Tomatis and his disciples but also from the advances in technology. In the beginning Tomatis clients received services in large rooms filled with electronic equipment. Now we provide listening therapies anywhere using equipment (a headset and a small iphone sized device) that you wear while maintaining the ability to move around.
Listening is nothing less than our ”royal route” to the Divine
– Dr. Alfred A Tomatis
Call (703-910-5006) or email me (email@example.com) to discuss this blog and the part that Creative might play in the path to improvement.
– Richard Feingold, Co-founder