Kalee Bilinovic, Bridget Burke and Robert Morel
Linking Mother, Child, and Music

AwardWhite Ribbon Award


SchoolTrinity High School


TeacherNancy Barlie


Selected Research"Music Therapy In Preterm Neonates," Khin-Kyemon Aung


Selected ArtBoombox Generation, Kayla Price

Selected Language"The Music Man," Angelina Markovic

We chose to analyze the research of Khin-Kyemon Aung because of the artwork Boombox Generation by Kayla Price. We were immediately drawn to the similarities between the curves of the mother and her infant child. We thought it would be interesting to center our project on the relationship between a mother and her child during the gestation period, and the effect music can have on the overall health of the child. We used this piece as our central focus, coupled it with a language piece, and analyzed the scientific research to complete the trio.

-Kalee Bilinovic, Bridget Burke, Robert Morel

Math in Literature

Focus and Writing Style of a Single Mother

"The Music Man" by Angelina Markovic conveys the hardship that a young, single mother faces while dealing with the health issues of her premature daughter. While reading this diary entry, we were drawn to the amount of times the mother referenced herself compared to the other people in her life. She often expressed her own feelings and concerns, focusing quite selfishly on herself in the diary entries.We were intrigued to uncover the statistics regarding the amount of times she references herself, her daughter, her boyfriend, and her doctor. While reading the diary, we recorded the exact number of times the author wrote about each character and broke these references up into three subcategories: I (direct name), my (his/her), and me (he/she). In the earliest diary entries, the mother focuses mostly on hersel followed by her estranged boyfriend. However, as time progresses, the references towards herself fluctuate while the boyfriend's references dramatically decrease as he disappears from her life.

On the other hand, the amount of times that her daughter, Olivia, and her doctor, Dr. Baker, are mentioned in the diary increases as time progresses. The days when the mother speaks of the seriousness of Olivia's illness and the contemplation to give her daughter up for adoption to her doctor have higher reference totals to Olivia and Dr. Baker, including October 17 and November 2. This explains the high spike in the "Character Importance Progressions" chart on these days.

Our findings also display the author's preference in word choice for referencing her characters. Markovic refers to the characters in first person or by their direct name a total of 82 times in the diary compared to my (his/her) which was used 59 times and me (he/she) which was used 34 times. This prevalence of first person and direct name characterization can be attributed to Markovic's personal preference or to the sentence structure of her diary entries. "The Music Man" displays the natural selfishness of humanity to refer to themselves more than the loved ones in their lives. It does, however, show the progression of a young mother's maturity level as she endures the struggle of raising a premature child and giving her daughter up for adoption. The increased references to her daughter and her daughter's adoptive father show her love and concern for Olivia as time progresses.

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Math in Art

Similarities in the Curvatures of a Mother and Child

Kayla Price's artwork, Boombox Generation, displays the intimacy of pregnancy through a mother caressing the infant in her womb. The mother cares for her premature child through music therapy which reaches the infant through the headphones. The headphone cord is in turn connected to the umbilical cord. The painting exhibits many curvatures, from the boom box speakers to the mother's stomach. Protruding from the petite woman's figure, the stomach's curve directly relates to the curve of the baby's back. This observation inspired us to search for other relationships between the curvatures of the mother and child.

First, we plotted specific points along the mother's stomach, elbow, and shoulder (shown below, Figure 1). We then took the same areas on the baby and plotted specific points on the elbow and shoulder of the child (Figure 2, 3). We chose to plot the baby's back and compare it to the curve of the mother's stomach because of the position of the baby in the womb (Figure 4). After plotting the points, we recorded the curve of each part of the mother and the baby on separate graphs. We then found a line of best fit between the points, and transformed the curves to be the same direction so as to be easily compared.

When the mother's stomach was compared to the baby's back, the function of the mother's curve was y = 0.0002x5 - 0.0081x4 + 0.1401x3 - 1.1481x2 + 4.742x + 3.0605 and the child's back was y = 0.0029x5 - 0.1347x4 + 2.4114x3 - 21.155x2 + 91.455x - 148.05, showing that the mother's stomach had a steeper and longer curve than the back of the child. This is natural, because the mother's stomach must hold the entire body of the growing baby. However, despite the difference in curvature, the two were able to fit together to allow the child to fit precisely into the womb.

The shoulder is the most similar curve shared between mother and child. The main difference between the mother's shoulder, y = -0.0238x4 - 0.25x3 - 1.1905x2 - 2.25x + 20.143, and the child's shoulder, y = -0.381x4 - 2.6667x3 - 7.2619x2 - 8.5833x + 2.6429, is the length. The mother, being many years older and fully developed, has a larger shoulder. However, the curve is almost identical to that of the unborn baby.

Finally, the elbow of the baby produced the function y = 0.1051x5 - 2.3998x4 + 21.149x3 - 90.285x2 + 188.51x - 147.17 while the mother's elbow produced y = 0.0001x5 - 0.0054x4 + 0.0815x3 - 0.6337x2 + 3.3969x - 4.3262. The difference in the elbows appearances can be attributed to the position of both the mother and child. The mother's elbow is extended as she caresses her stomach which gives it a more rounded appearance. The child's elbow, however, is flexed against his body as he is compressed in his mother's womb. This compacted position contributes to the sharp curve of the child's elbow compared the elongated curve of the mother's elbow.

The curves explored in Boombox Generation exemplify the similar anatomy of a mother and her child, and our analysis proves the resemblances, despite their differences in age and development.

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Math in Science

Types of Music and their Effect on Neonates

Khin-Kyemon Aung's research project "Music Therapy in Preterm Neonates" explores the positive effects that different tempos of music can have on premature infants. We were drawn to the different styles and tempos of music that Khin selected to play for the infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Khin recorded the effect of slow lullaby, slow jazz, 60 beats per minute classical, 80 beats per minute classical, and 100 beats per minute classical music on the six neonates' desaturation levels, apneas, and bradycardias.

We recreated Khin's data by estimating the total of apneas, desaturations, and bradycardias that each child experienced before, during, and after music therapy because she did not publish her data in charts, she only used graphs. We then averaged the number of apneas, desaturations, and bradycardias that the children experienced while listening to each type and tempo of music and created a series average line that averaged the trends of each type of music. This information was graphed alongside Khin's to compare the average effect that each type of music had on the neonates, as well as the general effect of music overall. While the average number of apneas and bradycardias increased from before music therapy to during therapy, the adverse effects decreased again after music therapy, often falling far below the initial amount. By viewing these graphs, we were able to conclude that the type of music that was most successful at reducing specific adverse effects, as well as the general effect of music as a whole on the premature babies. Our graphs prove that the music as a whole therapy decreased the overall number of apneas and bradycardias of the children, and which types of music are the most successful. In our third graph, we plotted the trend of desaturations by timeframe. Based on Khin's research, the number of desaturations is often higher after the treatment than it was before. This discovery contradicts with Khin's conclusion that "there was a decrease in number of adverse events during and post-music for all interventions." While "Music Therapy in Preterm Neonates" had positive effects on decreasing apneas and bradycardias in neonates, music therapy's ability to decrease desaturations proves to be questionable. The positive aspects of music therapy cannot be ignored, but the possible dangers it poses must also be taken into consideration before a premature infant receives this treatment.

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  • Selected Research

  • Selected Art

  • Selected Language