Wednesday, October 22, 2014

And now for a little Music Therapy

Tuning into therapy

Recently I joined a Yahoo! group named Mindfulness in Education Network. Being familiar with Yahoo! groups, I was prepared to receive many emails from various members all spreading the word of Mindfulness. One of the members shared an article from the Smithsonian regarding Music Therapy. In the article it references a study conducted where participants were subjected to a favorite song, liked songs, and non-preferred songs. The brain was the focus of this study, and scans were taken while music was heard. What they found was varying brain activity that resulted in certification that Music therapy actually does work.

While I know, from personal experience, the effects of music on myself, I reflected on the music I introduced to those in my own family. When my husband and I married, the music at our reception was slow jazz and standards, none of that wedding "party" music for our celebration. The likes of Diana Krall, Steve Tyrell, Etta James, Harry Connick Jr., etc. were our choices for the reception. During our honeymoon, my husband and I mistakenly took a wrong bag and ended up with only one CD to listen to. It was the perfect CD for the serenely, tropical local. Diana Krall's Love Scenes provided the exact music needed for our memories to be created.

When my children were young, music was a constant. Listening to Baby Einstein music provided them an introduction to classical music that is soothing, memorable and comforting when heard during their growth. Currently, when I have the privilege of driving my daughter and her friend to high school, the station conveniently makes it way to KJAZZ. This is my sneaky way of infiltrating their minds with music other than their preferred teenage music they so enjoy (not that there is anything wrong with that, sometimes). Being of an eclectic music taste, I want to introduce my children to as much music variety as I enjoy. I also know the power of creating memories with music. Interestingly enough, the research article referenced in the Smithsonian article mentions the correlation to favorite music and hippocampi activity, deriving the conclusion that favorite music stimulates memory recalling brain activity instead of memory making brain activity. Music + making a great memory = future memory recall + a pleasurable feeling.

Before my father passed he was in a care facility. When visiting, I brought my ipod touch and placed the external speaker near him to hear the playlist I provided for him. One of the songs I added was Andrea Bocelli's version of Amapola. As my father was in and out of sleep quite often, whenever that particular song came on he would regain his consciousness and sing along with the song while his eyes were still closed. It is such a loving memory I have of my father that whenever I hear this song, whoever is singing it, I have a direct connection with my dad.

Take a listen to Amapola and create a memory for yourself.

Namaste.