Did you know that up until recently scientists believed that the brain was fixed and unchanging? Nowadays, we are able to prove that those ideas are founded on an outdated notion. This revolutionary discovery in neuroscience is called neuroplasticity. Its impact has created waves amongst scientists all over the globe, changing our understanding of the brain and its interrelationship with music as we know it. Psychiatrist, Norman Doidge’s most recent book “The Brain that Changes Itself” explores an amazing series of accounts from all over the world demonstrating the ability of our minds to change the structure and function of our brain, even into old age.
The Brain that Changes Itself, Music and the brain
In Chapter 8 of The Brain that Changes Itself, Norman Doidge writes about the case of Physician, Alfred Tomatis and a young Paul Madaule and his life changing circumstances arising from a chance meeting with French Physician, Alfred Tomatis.
Paul Madaule had performed poorly at school as a result of dyslexic learning difficulties (amongst other auditory processing issues) and had not been granted an opportunity to continue it to completion. After leaving school, Paul found himself spending a great deal of time admiring the works of artists living at the Benedictine Monastery Abbaye d’En Calcut in France.
One day, while attending to sick Monks at the Monastary, Alfred Tomatis found his attention drawn to young Paul Madaule. Tomatis spoke to Paul of his interests, passions, difficulties and ultimately decided that the problems he was experiencing (particularly in areas of communication and expression) were all of interest for Tomatis to investigate. After testing Paul’s ability to listen, Alfred Tomatis decided that Paul would be an ideal candidate for the auditory listening program that he ran from his clinic in Paris.
When Paul first arrived in Paris, he was asked to put on headphones and instructed to listen. In addition to this, Tomatis requested that Paul provide a recording of his mother’s voice to him. Several weeks into Paul’s treatment with Tomatis, he began to notice an improvement in his ability to perceive and process sound. When he first began to listen, the sounds that Paul heard resembled nothing other than indecipherable static. Over time, the static began morphing into a voice that he could identify as belonging to his mother. Paul also noticed his reported symptoms beginning to wane.
At the end of the treatment Paul Madaule felt as though his issues had improved dramatically. This experience inspired him so much that he chose to dedicate the rest of his career to the further development of ‘listening techniques’ developed by Alfred Tomatis.
Listening Training at the Listen and Learn Centre
Paul Madaule, no longer residing in Paris, now works at a Listening Centre which he runs in Toronto. The listening technology utilized by the Centre was jointly produced by Alfred Tomatis and Paul Madaule in Canada in the early 1980’s.
After Tomatis’ work with Paul, he continued his research of ‘listening techniques’ and went on to co-develop a later version of the same technology with Christophe Besson in the late 1990’s.
Nowadays, the Listen And Learn Centre is proud to say that it has also chosen to continue the good work of Paul Madaule’s by participating in the use of the Besson Auditory Training System.
While training the brain by stimulating the auditory system is a novel concept for many. The Listen And Learn Centre ensures the clinical integrity of its program by adopting a variety of standardised methods of testing so that we may accurately calculate and monitor the neurological progress of our clients.
For more information on how Chritophe Besson’s machinery has re-structured the way we train the Auditory Processing system, please refer to ‘When Listening Comes Alive’, Paul Madaule. Alternatively you may also contact the centre for more information.