Making Music – A Healing Method

Making music daily helps train the brain, lessens pain and stress, and allows you to express what is difficult to express.

What do Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Mozart all have in common? And what do they have in common with practically every other artist whose creativity has changed the world? They are all unique, but there is something they have in common. They each changed the pop music of their times by combining already popular forms in a new way. However, you can change your own world with music, you don’t have to change the whole world.

Shakespeare said, “If music be the food of love, play on”. The power of music over the human mind, body, and emotions is enormous, and that’s putting it lightly. Don’t let the fear of not having the ability to make the perfect music stop you from playing.

If you think about it, playing instruments is really like riding a bike. Playing an instrument (including your body, i.e. singing) is a physical, highly demanding, coordinated activity. Music is an intense, multisensory, and motor experience. Science has noted, is a mindfulness practice is considered with psychological and pedagogical implications relevant for developing musicians. Interestingly, people who play instruments don’t understand why people who don’t play think it’s difficult, because it really isn’t. One of the most rewarding things when playing instruments is when you have just enough skill to be able to produce the music that you want.

You don’t even have to be in the spotlight
Experience Flow when Making Music

When one experiences an embodied musical practice, they may experience a “flow” state. The state of flow as described in the popular book from 1990, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. The definition of flow is “A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”  – Csikszentmihalyi. The premise of the book is the flow state is possible through certain activities. And that happiness levels can be shifted through the introduction of more flow. Music-making is a way to experience more flow in life.

Explore the Huge World of Music

You can explore the world of music through singing, playing instruments, moving, and listening. Students in the early stages of music education learn primarily by doing. Most people with any pain or disability still have the ability when it comes to music. Experiencing music involves one of the following: playing instruments, dancing and singing. Creating, responding to, and performing music are fundamental music processes.

You don’t have to march in a band

The experience of music through playing instruments and listening is what makes playing music enjoyable and spontaneous. People learn in many different ways about music and playing instruments; it has definitely changed over the past 100 years. The making of music increases musical intelligence, which arises within the process of listening and playing or participation in any way.

Everyone derives a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction from playing instruments. In the history of the human race we have been writing songs, playing instruments, and singing for thousands of years it is a way we express ourselves. Playing instruments is a physical, highly demanding, and coordinated activity. Music provides a platform to prevent social isolation by promoting community integration through music performance.

Listen and enjoy wherever you are

Studying music is accomplished through many different methods, such as playing instruments, singing, and listening to music. These are just a few of the methods we use in our everyday lives. What makes sense to you?

An Ending of Pain Remembrance

As a young child with a migraine, in my darkened closet I rocked back and forth. I felt totally alone and feared the pain would never stop. Any light made the pain worse but the motion of rocking naturally soothed me. Why I started to change my moan to a hum I am not sure about, but it gave me a new focus, a new sense of control over my body. For the first time, I had a choice. It was empowering. I was not only reacting, but acting.

Next, I tried to hum a Christmas Carol (I am fond of both Christmas and carols), which was not possible at first. Yet I kept trying. What else was there to do in the closet? After a while —maybe hours, I am not sure —I was able to hum Silent Night. What a difference. By the time I finished the song my pain was gone and I had a sense of control for the first time. I was riding the wave of migraine pain and not being swallowed by it.

Music is one-way ancient peoples became the humans we are today.

Since the beginning, when musical instruments were invented, people have used them to calm or excite or worship. Music is a human a communication tool that has more benefits than I can list here. People who continue playing instruments after primary school have greater confidence in their own singing, listening, playing instruments, moving, performing, and creating, enabling them to develop artistic skills and knowledge.

You don’t even have to get dressed up

Research shows the plasticity of our brain and body is helped by music making activities (e.g., forms of singing). Music making can be used as an intervention for neurological and developmental disorders because it helps to learn and relearn associations between auditory and motor functions such as vocal motor functions. “Stroke survivors who can’t speak sometimes can sing, and music therapy can help them retrain brain pathways to communicate. Similarly, Parkinson’s patients sometimes walk better to the right beat.” from the article – Scientists tune into the brain to uncover music’s healing power By A P – Lauran Neergaard, December 19, 2017

Music is not for just one day

Music heals the body and soul in a way that medicine cannot. It is no surprise that music is played in waiting rooms and operating rooms. Music relaxes the patient and relaxes the doctor. After a long day at work, many of us find solace in music during the daily commute home.

Scientists explain the increased release of endorphins in music making: the higher their level, the more tolerant we are to pain.

Help everyone make music

Music is considered as a combination of sounds from instruments into a rhythmic and harmonic pattern pleasing and attractive to the ears of everyone. This implies that we have to make music making accessible to any person who is handicapped the slightest or in pain.

You don’t need headphones

Operating a musical instrument involves many parts on the body. These parts most of the time coordinate to function successfully. For example, the hand, eyes and ears are all involved in playing piano. A player with a slight disability on the left hand will find it difficult to play this musical instrument.

Consider the suitability of that instrument to the player. Do you think that given his deficiency, he will be drawn to that instrument? This will determine his interest, determination and perseverance to learn or play that instrument. Consider other sensual disabilities especially audio-visual disabilities. Some players will be short or nearsighted. Go for a piano whose keys are readable and visible to all.  Make sure the sound system makes it possible for all to listen to what is being played. Take note that these concerns are not only for players. They are for the audience as well.

Music Therapy

Music therapy is the use of music for therapeutic purposes by a trained professional. The idea of using music as a healing influence dates back to the time of Plato and Aristotle. In the modern world, music for therapy came to the fore when musicians played for war veterans to cure them of physical and emotional trauma. Since many of the patients responded well, nurses and doctors began requesting the services of musicians for therapy.

Don’t let the instrument you used in your youth just sit in the corner

Soon, music therapy became recognized as an effective and scientifically-backed mode of treatment. The first music therapy degree program ever was established in 1944 in Michigan.

A trained music therapist gauges the emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning and cognitive skills through the patient’s responses to music. Once the assessment is complete, the practitioner designs music session for individuals or groups. The therapeutic music is prepared based on client needs and uses music improvisation, songwriting, lyric discussion, imagery and musical performances.

The more you make music, more you practice and the more time you put into it the easier music making gets. My point is to encourage you to make your music to lessen your pain and tell your story. Do something that has not been done before by combining elements that are already popular in a new and creative way. Perhaps this unique combining of other art forms is so impactful because it aligns with the derivation of the word “art” itself. The derivation of the word art basically means to join together. You don’t have to publish it to transform your body, mind, emotions and spirit. Remember to just enjoy it for what it is.

 

References

The Psychological Benefits from Reconceptualizing Music-Making as Mindfulness Practice.

Musicians and music making as a model for the study of brain plasticity.

Making Music

Musical dual-task training in patients with mild-to-moderate dementia: a randomized controlled trial.

Music therapy applied to complex blast injury in interdisciplinary care: a case report.

“Music & Memory” and improved swallowing in advanced dementia.

For more information

How Music Makes Us Feel Better

What making music does to your brain

The Scientific Benefits of Music

Healing through music

Making music is about healing people

Scientists tune into the brain to uncover music’s healing power

 

 

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