Thursday, September 22, 2016

Music: Boosting Your Brain

When I was younger, I normally locked myself in the bedroom or woke up around 4AM to study for exam or answer my school assignments. I needed the silence to focus, however, this can be a problem too because the peaceful environment could tempt me to sleep between books (which happened very frequently). So, as I would not be tempted, I would sit in the most uncomfortable way, so, I couldnt sleep and this would work so effectively, that I graduated top of my batch.

But, as I grew older, my inclination for music had been improved (I could hardly sing though) but I need the music to keep me pumping, to keep my brain humming.


This worked well as I finished my college course (graduating top of the batch), 2 masteral degrees and now pursuing my PhD. I love listening to happy music from sergio vallin and online / radio stations   or classical ones if it's still too early in the morning.

Experts believe  that by listening to music, you:
  • improve your mood, thereby, producing productivity
  • boost your brain with the brain chemicals ( dopamine and oxytoxin) being released; dopamine as  responsible for the positive / good states that we normally experience from pleasurable things like sex, eating or exercising and oxytoxin as responsible for being trustworthy or generous with others.
  • learn through music from language, math, or spatial intelligence. Even kids with Learning Disability can learn through music as their medium. 
So, if you need to prepare for exams or something, you need to calm your brain, so, to dis-engage you from stress that deviates you from remembering things, scientists believe that music can induce a state of meditation and relaxes the brain, thus, it can function better.

Experts, however, showed in the recent study that specific music like Mozart's L'allegro can boost brain activity over Beethoven's Fur Elise. The former was played among young adults and elderly and it showed increase in brain activity related to memory, cognition and problem solving.

It's good to know that we can have access now to music that are brain - boosters. So, grab those CDs  or play some tunes in your smartphones and be the genius that you can be! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Consolidating Several Worksheets from Different Workbooks using Macro

I have been using MS Excel before whenever I had to make grades for my classes but never did I think that I shall be using MS Excel to create programs or what they call VBA as I have been using only Java or C# with MySQL or Oracle for database programming.

So, working now as an Excel Trainer cum Reports Analyst, I have to create small macro programs that will aid the office in report generation. So, let me share, a simple Macro Program to that shall consolidate / combine different worksheets from several workbooks into one summary file.

I hope these will help you in your macro learning.

different worksheets of different workbooks

These files were saved in one folder, and the idea is to combine different data from different worksheet and combine them all in one separate workbook say in a different folder.

the summary file (some rows were hidden for visual purpose)

So, in my Summary File, I write these:

Sub createSummarySheet()
Dim SummarySht As Worksheet
Dim FolderPath As String
Dim BlankRow As Long
Dim FileName As String
Dim WorkBk As Workbook
Dim SourceRange As Range
Dim DestRange As Range
Dim lastrow As Long

Set SummarySht = ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets(1)
FolderPath = "C:\Tickets\"  'this is the folder where you will save your different workbooks for consolidation

BlankRow = 2
FileName = Dir(FolderPath & "*.xl*")
SummarySht.Range("A2:D" & SummarySht.Rows.Count).ClearContents

Do While FileName <> ""
    Set WorkBk = Workbooks.Open(FolderPath & FileName)
    'call combine function
    SummarySht.Range("A" & BlankRow).Value = FileName
    lastrow = WorkBk.Sheets("Sheet1").Range("A" & Rows.Count).End(xlUp).Row
    Set SourceRange = WorkBk.Worksheets(1).Range(Cells(2, 1), Cells(lastrow, 3))
    Set DestRange = SummarySht.Range("B" & BlankRow)
    Set DestRange = DestRange.Resize(SourceRange.Rows.Count, SourceRange.Columns.Count)
    DestRange.Value = SourceRange.Value
    BlankRow = BlankRow + DestRange.Rows.Count
    WorkBk.Close saveChanges:=False
    FileName = Dir()


SummarySht.Range("A1:D" & SummarySht.UsedRange.Rows.Count).Borders.LineStyle = xlContinuous
End Sub
In  another module to combine the different worksheets before being captured into summary file, I write these:

Sub Combine()
    Dim J As Integer

    On Error Resume Next
    Worksheets.Add ' add a sheet in first place
    Sheets(1).Name = "Sheet1"

    ' copy headings
    Selection.Copy Destination:=Sheets(1).Range("A1")

    ' work through sheets
    For J = 2 To Sheets.Count ' from sheet 2 to last sheet
        Sheets(J).Activate ' make the sheet active
        Selection.CurrentRegion.Select ' select all cells in this sheets

        ' select all lines except title
        Selection.Offset(1, 0).Resize(Selection.Rows.Count - 1).Select

        ' copy cells selected in the new sheet on last line
        Selection.Copy Destination:=Sheets(1).Range("A65536").End(xlUp)(2)
End Sub

Culture and Education, the Philippine Perspective

I posted this as part of my answer for Socio - Cultural Foundation  online discussion on how culture and school can interplay its effect on one another.

I cant help but cite the Philippine scenario of how culture is affecting everyone on / off school.

While culture and education have a two - way effect with one another, if qualifying  indicators include employment of graduates, drop-out rates, or Human Development Index, I may say we are getting better and the source of change can be attributed to the efforts of our schools systems. However, we still fall short if we need to see the real facts and to further compare these against other countries.

In the case of drop-out rates, from the records of EduData of August 2015(source: GMA News Online), it suggests that:

  • Survival rates have been improving steadily over the past three year, with about 60% of the initial class graduating high school in 2015, compared to about 50% in 2013.
  • The survival rate improvement can be attributable to the Grade 2 dropout rate. More and more students are choosing to proceed after their first year in school compared to past years.

  • Once a student has reached grade 3, there is a small chance that he will be unable to graduate elementary school. However, making the leap from elementary to high school is still difficult.

  • Females have a higher propensity for staying in school than males, but fewer are given the opportunity to attend high school after graduating elementary.

  • The gaps in dropout rates between genders have remained generally unchanged over time.

  • the drop-out hotspots include war - plagued provinces like Zamboanga, typhoon - prone provinces in Eastern Visayas and a small hotspot in Central Luzon.

While we are improving, we still need to do more as our quality of education is still undervalued. One indicator of this the rank of our universities and colleges as compared to other Asian academic institutions. Several years ago, we were of equal with Thailand and Malaysia, but from the 2015 QS University Rankings for Asia, we only had 1 public school (UP) being included in the top schools compared to 11 public institutions from Thailand, and 14 from Malaysia (source:

And because  of social meritocracy, employment is normally prejudiced if you dont come from any renowned institutions like DeLa Salle or UST. So, what can we say then for graduates coming from the provinces? Their future I may say is huddled with more prejudice and skills/knowledge to prove.

Further, if value system is one of the criterion of a positive culture, then what can we say about the claim of former BIR Chief Kim Henares that 90% of our professionals are tax evaders and these include doctors, lawyers, architects and entertainers (source:  This is one reflection that value integration and internalization is not prioritized as compared to subjects like science or mathematics.

So, teachers and school heads are challenged to do more. The end - results are still not sufficient if we need to catch up with counterparts (Thailand, Malaysia at least).

Music Therapy for Learning Disability

I previously posted on my other blog about Learning Disability: A Mental Disorder? and experts  have varying explanations about the thin line between Learning Disability and Mental Disorder. 

According to Larry B. Silver, MD, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, LD is not a mental disease. He further said, " Learning Disability is not a mental illness. Learning Disabilities are neurologically-based. They result from “faulty wiring” in specific areas of the brain. These disabilities will impact on an individual’s ability to process and to use information and, thus, can impact on this individual’s ability to be successful with reading, writing, math, and other learning tasks."  

But, according to Learning Disabilities Organization, about 20-40% of those who have Learning Disability have mental disorder like autism. 

So, it is wiser to seek experts to properly assess your kid whether the medical condition of your kid warrants a learning disability or a mental disorder instead.

So, how can music help address Learning Disability? While a traditional classroom can put extra pressure on the kids with LD, interventions like music can help them relax and learn at the same time. 

Music is believed to have effects on the following:

  • Cognitive disabilities. Study shows that music can improve Math skills and cognition by 40%. 
  • Speech and language difficulty.  Dylexia for instance can be helped by breaking spellings into notes and clappings into syllables  among others.
  • ADHD/LD - Learning through music books, diverting hyperactivity through music classes with musical instruments they can work on  like piano, violin or focusrite solo among others. 
There are singers or musicians who have learning disability but are doing well. Learning disability cant be cured but can be addressed properly and kids with LD still do have a bright future with them ahead. We just have to help them and music can be one.