by Derek Ayre
Research suggests that there are powers that
align the human mind with the cosmos, and they reside in music. Or, in
more sinister ways music can also be used to cause mayhem.
There is no doubt about it that music has the power to influence, whether it be a country's national anthem to incite a sense of patriotism, military music to incite pride and aggression in times of war, or the music of a slow lullaby to induce sleep in babies.
The thing about music is that is can influence the mind whether or not the person happens to like the style. Take for instance music that is associated with a country. Being Welsh, I cannot say that I am a lover of Wales's traditional music, but when I lived in the North of England, in hearing a Welsh Choir sing, became homesick
Dr Alfred Tomatis (1920-2001), a French physician said "the ear is designed to energise the brain and body and is not just for hearing!" He claimed that many forms of stress and mental disturbances occurred when the central grey nuclei cells in the brain had become low on electrical charge and they were not recharged by the body's metabolism, but by sound.
In my work as a therapist I have discovered that stress and anxiety is a learned response - i.e. we learn how to be tense and anxious from negative events that unfold in our lives. Therefore, if stress is learned, so can its opposite - calmness and tranquillity. The "right" kind of music can access the subconscious mind and is a very quick and direct way to do this.
The problems that adults
encounter when trying to learn a new skill - whether it be how to be
more relaxed or something more technical - is their attitude. The
attitude that "I've been there, done that!" I myself, quite often
have this feelings when it comes to breaking into new learning
territory. However, I am amazed at how I just seem to "get on with it"
when I incorporate some Mozart as background music into my activities.
Not only do I just get on with it, but actually begin to experience a
level of enjoyment.
Why Mozart? That is something that defies explanation. It has to be admitted that he was a truly gifted composer and at times it seems as if his music came from a "higher source". Who knows? Dr. Tomatis claimed that unborn babies could listen to music in the womb, something that Mozart's father apparently did with his unborn son. Whatever the reason, in a true Zen fashion, I just accept this remarkable phenomena because it works!
Maybe I respond to music so well because I learned piano from the age of around five years, but I can honestly say the classical music that I had to practice day in and day out, was more of a chore than an enjoyment. Oh how I longed to be able to play the pop music of the day! Music that even then, was being heralded as evil and destructive and would bring poor health to its listeners. I am not sure I can agree with that though, because I listened to it a ear-shattering volume and I feel OK. Maybe they have a point that today's music incites the wrong type of behaviour in its listeners, but hasn't every generation said that? I leave it up to you to decide.
At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I feel music resides in my soul and without it, my life would feel empty. More importantly from the point of view of health, well-being, creativity and learning, music has the power to enhance human potential regardless of how one feels towards it.
Thanks for Reading
Questions? I encourage you to
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