Renown noise pollution and learning expert, Dr. Arline Bronzaft recently sat down with One Up All Foundation’s founder Marla Currie for an introduction to the nonprofit’s innovative Ambient Audio program for public schools, MuselySM.
For nearly four decades, noise pollution has been the focus of Dr. Bronzaft’s work. She authored the landmark study on the effect of noise pollution on learning, which is cited as the seminal work on the subject worldwide.
An environmental psychologist, Bronzaft’s classic research on the effects of subway train noise on children’s learning in the 1970’s led to her lifelong commitment to use her scientific expertise and passion for urban and social issues. The adverse effects of noise on mental and physical health became her life’s work.
Bronzaft helped the Department of Environmental Protection of New York City update its noise code to bring the decibel level down in noisy New York City. More recently, noise cameras were installed on some NYC streets to ticket excessive traffic noise makers. Dr. Bronzaft consulted on the project. See New York Times article.
Musely is programmed ambient audio that passively saturates a school space with positive sound vibes.
Dr. Bronzaft’s response to Musely was very encouraging.
“I think your ideas are very good. We focused on educating students that noise can be good or bad. You’re really going to the next step,“ observed Dr. Bronzaft. “You’re saying, ‘Why not explore sounds that enhance learning?’
“If the conclusion you suggest is an audio environment created to enhance children’s learning and well-being, this would be a marvelous contribution.”
Dr. Bronzaft consulted for 6 NYC mayoral administrations. The National Academy of
Sciences appointed Bronzaft to assess the impact of airplane noise on schools nationally. As a result, the FAA spent $400 million dollars soundproofing schools located near airports.
Dr. Bronzalt recommends the Foundation approach Musely with the goal of empirically verifying its impact. Currie agreed. “An empirical study is a rollout goal. This program is cutting edge and proactive program for public schools. Does it help? Couldn’t hurt that’s for sure.”
Dr. Bronzaft continued. “You must identify very specifically which variables will change because of the program. It might be better grades, less conflict, happier teachers. And then, see if the program makes a positive change in those variables after implemented.
“The program will be more widely accepted if there is an academic research basis for effectiveness claims. A paper published in a peer reviewed academic journal. That’s the ticket.
“If I can help in any way, you got it. I think it’s an excellent idea.”
ABOUT DR. BRONZAFT
At 87, Dr. Arline Bronzaft is the foremost expert on Noise Pollution’s impact on learning and quality of life. She has also assisted in the implementation of a noise education curriculum in the NYC public school system.