Many people find that listening to their favorite songs when they’re feeling sad makes them feel better. Now, studies show that music therapy can successfully treat symptoms of clinical depression when combined with standard care.
What is music therapy?
Contrary to popular belief, music therapy isn’t just about listening to uplifting music. It is defined as a research and evidence-based clinical practice that uses music to help patients improve certain aspects of their health. Music therapy can be performed in individual or group sessions, and professionals hold a bachelor’s degree in music therapy and have at least 1,000 hours of training.
Does it work?
Studies have shown that music therapy is helpful in alleviating symptoms of depression in the short term. A study conducted by a team of scientists in Finland and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry compared the effectiveness of music therapy combined with standard care versus standard care alone. The results of this clinical trial showed that after three months, those exposed to music therapy displayed “significantly fewer symptoms” compared to those who received standard care alone. According to one of the researchers, Professor Jaakko Erkkilä, patients used music to express their feelings and found the experience cathartic. Music therapy can also help individuals with other health issues, like high blood pressure, anxiety, and developmental disabilities. Thus, it is safe to say that simply incorporating music into one’s day-to-day activities can improve his or her quality of life.
This article from AZCentral.com is yet another reminder of why it’s a good idea for parents to get their kids interested in music:
There are thousands of clubs, sports teams, schools and other extracurricular groups that are clamoring for your child’s undiscovered skills. Should you sign him up for soccer or piano lessons? Take him hunting or to the movies? How many activities can he participate in before he burns out?
It’s not an easy decision to make. Each activity has the potential to teach your child valuable skills, and may even turn into a career or hobby later in life.
In my family, we divided our attention between sports and music. I enjoyed both immensely and still play the piano and co-ed softball when I get the chance. It was the music lessons, though, that contributed to who I am the most. If you’re debating whether music lessons are worth your child’s time and your money, here are five reasons that may help you make your decision.
Music educates the whole child
From day one, children learn notes, rhythms, melodies and scales. But, they’re actually learning much more than that. They are learning to interact with other people and becoming better acquainted with themselves as well. Music stimulates the vestibular system, which helps all the senses coordinate with one another. According to Howard Gardner, who wrote Frames of the Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, musicmay also be “a privileged organizer of cognitive processes in any subject, especially among young people.”
In other words, music education extends beyond music education. It affects a child’s social behavior and success in other subjects as well.
Music helps children understand culture
According to Kimberly Balls, a junior studying music education at Brigham Young University, “Many of the songs that have stood the test of time are folk songs. They maintain the speech patterns, traditions and more of any given culture. The folk songs of different countries are as different as the countries themselves.” Music from countries all over the world can be incorporated into your music education many ways whether you’re a singer, dancer or tuba player.
Music helps establish group identity
Anyone who has watched a battle scene or sports movie knows this. It’s the music that makes the scene. It brings everyone together and makes that stirring speech all the more inspiring. Participating in a choir, band, or piano duet can be a really special experience as well. Working with someone else to create music binds you together in a way that can’t really be explained.
Music helps you express your feelings
One reason music is so powerful is that it has the ability to say things that you can’t say in words. Some people have a difficult time expressing feelings and rely on music to help them sort through their emotions. I do this all the time. Whenever I’m stressed out, angry, sad or trying to make a difficult decision, I sit at my piano and pound on the keys for an hour or so. When I’m finished, I feel much more calm and able to tackle life’s problems again.
Music is physical
It’s not as physical as soccer, true, but it does require you to move around. Children need all the physical stimulation they can get, which is easily accomplished with singing games and practice sessions.
Years ago, before my parents married, my dad told my mom that one of the reasons he wanted to marry her was because she was a musician and he wanted music to be a part of his future home. And, it was. Music blessed our lives when we were a young family and continues to bring us together today.
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Unsound Festival continues in Brooklyn with the special presentation of Demdike Stare’s work “Concealed”, this will be the duo’s first take on live instrumentation. Read more from this NYTimes.com article.
“Concealed,” by the British electronic-music duo Demdike Stare and the filmmaker and animator Michael England, is an audiovisual project, no more or less aural than visual, about dread and dreams, what happens in the world when the conscious mind isn’t noticing.
Image Source: NYTimes.com
Commissioned by the concert organization Unsound, it had its first United States performance on Friday night at the First Unitarian Church in Brooklyn Heights, in a program called “The Long Tone,” as part of the Unsound Festival. (The festival, which originated in Krakow, Poland, is staging its fourth New York edition.) “Concealed” was Friday’s headlined event, after a short performance for electric guitar, made orchestral with digital effects, by the Polish musician Jakub Ziolek, in a project he calls Stara Rzeka, and a generous, resonant one by the composer Phill Niblock.
The fact that the music of “Concealed” — a bit dark-ambient, a bit post-techno, assisted by the live strings of the seven-piece Sinfonietta Cracovia, often guided by regular beats and arranged with ordinary harmonies, sometimes based in mysterious, decontextualized samples — finally wasn’t that nourishing seemed beside the point. It had a function. That function was to implicate you into some kind of secret, and to creep you out.
Mr. England’s film arrived in discrete chapters. One showed clouds streaking ominously in accelerated motion across a plain. One featured actors in military uniforms, goose-stepping around in shoes with curled toes, and arranging teaspoons bearing special insignia on some sort of dirt map. One featured a Butoh dancer in slow, elegant contortions. So, you know: ritual, nightmare, secret societies, good and evil, the freakiness of nature and the body.
The music was composed by Miles Whitaker and Sean Canty of Demdike Stare, with orchestration by Danny Norbury. It came with a frustrating anonymity: dense or spacious, with strings or without, these sketches often felt like semi-generic atmospheres. It was music once removed: concerned with how sound can conjure complicated emotion, but seldom settling in on the challenges and glories of sound itself.
Image Source: factmag.com
Mr. Niblock’s new work “Unipolar Dance” settled in on the thing itself. (Now 80, Mr. Niblock is a local hero: a composer and filmmaker and director of the Experimental Intermedia, in Chinatown, where he has been booking performances for 40 years.) To make the piece, in two movements, he had the husband-and-wife violinists Pauline Kim Harris and Conrad Harris record continuous tones, in multi-track long strokes; there was always a steady drone chord at the music’s base, with layers of detail and dissonance on top.
And during the playback of it on Friday, as recorded sound boomed through the speakers — one gigantic chord, roaring and engulfing — the string players walked the side aisles of the church, further entangling with one another’s sounds, adding more texture and harmony, and making sense of the title, which is an anagram of their first names.
Mr. Niblock showed an accompanying series of his own faded-color nature films: reflections of bright sunlight on the water of a shallow creek, close-ups of leaves rustled by wind or of water droplets on a rock, wobbling slightly but cohering through surface tension. Basically, the images expressed the same concern as the music. What was that concern? How to take in, and be astonished by, an ever-changing continuity.
Image Source: vimeo.com
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The Beatles is one of the music industry’s biggest icons. Throughout their relatively short career, the band has set several world records, including more than 600 million albums sold worldwide since they exploded on the music scene in the ‘60s.
Their immense popularity was christened “Beatlemania,” which embodies the band’s ideals and impact not only in music, but also in socio-cultural revolutions.
So, how did the Beatles become a phenomenon?
While the band’s talent and charm are already widely accepted, some critics credit the Beatle’s success to their extraordinary luck of coming precisely at the right moment in the music scene.
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were just born a few years apart during an era when England still had its National Service program. During this period, the fab four found each other, devoting several years playing and practicing music together in front of adoring fans.
At the time when the band finally hit their musical ventures, the wave of post-World War II babies were already in their teens. Hence, they created a wide fan base, including in the West, during a time of economic prosperity. For their listeners, their joyous and optimistic music seemed to fit the era.
In addition to band’s great talent and fortuitous timing, critics also regard their success to the Beatles’ gift of harmony and their unique qualities as individuals, which symbolizes unity where all opposites sing together as one.
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This NBCNews.com article shares the power of music in inspiring and creating social awareness.
BAKERSFIELD, CA – A local veteran is using his passion for music to raise money for other vets in Kern County.
Evan Morgan says through music and songwriting, he’s been able to express himself and the feelings he experienced when he served in Iraq nine years ago.
Morgan says those memories along with new ones, will be on his first album which is expected to be released in April.
After serving overseas, Morgan has been through a lot, including adapting to life in a wheelchair.
But, Morgan says he doesn’t want his disability to define him. Instead, he wants to leave a lasting impression through music.
Thursday afternoon, Morgan sang several songs on his new album at the American Sound Recording Studio in downtown Bakersfield.
For Morgan, it’s not just a hobby. He says writing music and performing helps him let go of the past, fighting overseas on the front lines.
But, those are also memories he sings about, hoping to help his fellow servicemen and women.
While in Iraq, both of Morgan’s legs were blown off and he lost sight in one eye during an improvised explosive blast, a time that changed his life forever.
But, Morgan says it was also a time when he turned to music and wrote his first song.
“A lot of times, a lot of these songs aren’t that new really. They’re going to be new for people who hear them but for me, I’ve had them in a notebook for years,” said Morgan.
But with his passion for music, Morgan has taken a new direction in life, hoping his songs will make a lasting impression.
“I want to make sure that I’m kind of doing something of my own, definition of my own choice. I want that to kind of be my lasting legacy, so to speak,” said Morgan.
Morgan’s album-release party will also be a fundraiser for the Wounded Heroes Fund.
The non-profit that helped him will receive a portion of the album’s proceeds.
“They’ve helped me, so many of my friends and just veterans around town, and in Kern County it seemed fitting,” continued Morgan.
And while Morgan continues to give back to his community, he hopes his songs will also make an impact just as big.
Morgan says you can follow his album progress on his Facebook page.
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The benefits of children learning to play an instrument in their early years extend to adulthood. This is at least true for those who continue to be involved in music as adults.
The most important skills gained in learning music are focus and the ability to discern tones through layers of sounds. It has been proven that people who have had early childhood musical training possess a wider range of auditory skills.
In a bid to determine how people respond to a variety of complex sounds, researchers at Northwestern University recorded the electrical brain waves of college students. The test facilitators found out that a group of students who claimed to have received some form of musical training during childhood fared better in picking out elements such as pitch through the complex sounds they were made to listen to.
According to Dr. Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of the Johns Hopkins University, “There’s some good neuroscience research that children involved in music have larger growth of neural activity than people not in music training. When you’re a musician and you’re playing an instrument, you have to be using more of your brain.”
Brain images of young music students also showed developments in the networks associated to fine motor tasks and spatial intelligence.