Sound is defined as vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person's or animal's ear. In an article titled "how the ear distinguishes sweet sounds from sour notes" published in Sciencemag.com, Kim Krieger quotes a research report on the subject.
Bernardo Spagnolo, a biophysicist at the University of Palermo in Italy and collaborators at Lobachevsky State University in Russia have come up with a simple neurological model that does the trick. A sound wave sets your eardrum vibrating, which ultimately causes a spiraling membrane within the inner ear called the basilar membrane to vibrate, too. Those vibrations stimulate neurons that convey the frequency information to the brain. Spagnolo and colleagues argue that simple circuits among these neurons can also account for the sensations of harmony and dissonance. They used a simple three-neuron mathematical model to mimic the ear membrane-neuron-brain system . . . analysis of the model’s signals gave an elegant result: When the neuron sensors were fed consonant chords like a major third on a piano, the interneuron gave an output signal consisting of regular, well-shaped peaks. Dissonant chords made the interneuron’s output signal blurry. Quantitative analysis of those signals shows that the dissonant chords result in a higher level of disorder, or entropy, in the interneuron output. Long and short, the regularity or randomness of the interneuron’s output reveals whether two tones are harmonious. Does it all sound too technical? Let's make it simple.
The point of my input was this: a musical note, standing alone, literally makes a "1-D" sound. It draws attention but stimulates very little in a listener. Grouping a series of notes into a chord, creates a sound that is more dramatic...Let's say the sound takes on "2-D" dimensions. A series of chords starts to bring the notes alive...bring a "3-D" effect to the notes. Depending on how the notes are strung together, the music either stimulates an audience positively or negatively. Now let's take the analogy into a school.
The headmaster literally sets the tone in an institution. Depending on the sound he gravitates towards and/or sends into the environment, the stakeholders attached to the school will respond. If the sounds are negative, depressing, unstimulating and down-right boring, it is a guarantee that the environment will respond appropriately and the school will be a highly toxic place to work and learn. Every aspect of the institution will be weighed down by the off-key sound or poor "musical score". Very little growth will occur and decay set in quickly.
On the other hand, if the sound coming into the school and accommodated within the school has positive overtones, encourages positive thinking, exploring new frontiers, challenges the status quo and sends signals based on possibility and hope, the school will probably be a place that brings out the best in every learner, teacher and parent. And so the challenge for every headmaster is to make a conscious decision around the sounds that will permeate their institution. And of course, if you not the headmaster but an educator, parent or district official, the same mandate walks-with-you - - our country's future depends on it!