How Music can heal us: Part One

Welcome back!

This week I’d like to start talking about our current relationship with music. As some of you know, I run a music for well-being project called ‘Forget Me Never’ which started out as a way of helping those with Dementia but has since expanded to work with people living with other chronic illnesses such as Cancer, Chronic Pain and Mental Health Issues.

I truly believe music has the power to aid healing but that in our present society, this is not recognised. So much emphasis is placed on conventional medicine and whilst I would advise each of us to follow the path that feels right, no information is given about holistic healing practises and so how can people make an informed choice if they’re only supplied with half the information?

The proven benefits of music extend to and are not limited to;

  • Decreased heart rate
  • Lessened depression
  • Improved mood
  • Improved concentration

And I’m sure there are many more benefits that haven’t been officially recorded! Many studies have been done researching the effects music can have, including a recent 2015 study here in the UK at Brunel University that showed music reduces pain and therefore the need for strong painkillers in post-operative patients (Meads et al (2015) The Lancet)

We need to reclaim our lost practises. If we look to the past, to ancient cultures and those still active today in a traditional way, we find that nearly all of them make song and dance a key part of their philosophy. Yes we have music but it has been mutated into the form we find on the radio today, it’s far less of a communal experience and even the very tuning has been altered from its natural state so that what we hear sounds more dissonant and less natural than we would have experienced a century ago.

Our traditional culture has been erased. I was in a book shop the other day and found a book entitled “The History of Western Music” and thought it might be interesting. According to this book, the history of Western Music, our history of music, started with the Romans and Greeks and then nothing apparently happened until Mozart was born. This is NOT our history! Our past is a vibrant amalgamation of traditional cultures, of dancing and multiple instruments, all of which have been suppressed by the societal norms of today.

Singing is mainly elevated to a performance state, where one person is able to enjoy the act and others must sit in silence or have stern looks cast upon them! I never ask for silence at my gigs…singing, dancing and even chatting is actively encouraged as long as the atmosphere remains upbeat and joyful.

We can get this back though. It is not so lost that it will become a forgotten tale of times gone by. There are some incredibly talented musicians and artists working to piece back together our healing practises and enable us to progress in a natural manner and thus help ourselves. We can all do our bit though by supporting local music events, joining our choirs, encouraging school children to take up instruments and play for the love of it, not for fame and fortune but for the joy of mastering a skill. Or not mastering it perhaps because being bad at something doesn’t have to stop you loving it! I’m not a fantastic painter but I really like playing with colours and creating something and that’s the point of it, not necessarily the finished product.

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Embrace this creativity inside of you, sing sing sing! Do not be ashamed of your voice or hide it as it’s an expression of you, of your beautiful soul and so it should be beamed out as bright as your smile.

I have so much to share on this subject so this was just a small introduction, can’t wait to show you what music and sound can do!

Have a beautiful, musical week all!

Best Wishes,

Bexi

xx

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