Music Meditation for your Brain
Music has deeply touched my whole family. Throughout my son's journey from a 5 y.o. cellist playing hot cross buns to now, a junior at The Juilliard School, playing solo concertos with orchestras, I sat through most of his lessons. At first it was part of the Suzuki method where the mom or caregiver actually takes lessons alongside the child and learns to help the child progress rapidly. After the first required year, I sat in because it soothed my soul. I remember coming home from stressful days at work and just breathing in a sigh of relief as the music filled the halls of The Hoff Barthelson Music School. My second child, my beautiful daughter, grew up with live classical music lulling her to nap in my arms as we sat in my son's lessons or waited for him in the parent lounge.
Seeing how music has such a profound affect on us, it's not surprising that scientists have found neurons specifically designed to hear music. If you're a fellow science geek, scroll down to watch the video of the MIT researchers. Music fires neurons in the motor system, auditory, visual, memory, emotional and language systems. That's why a melody or a beat can make us want to tap our feet, dance, sing, smile or cry. If you have any doubt at all, scroll down to watch Star Wars without music.
I recently stayed at an awesome hotel The Langham Pasadena California. (if you go, seek out the above and beyond Ryann McLaren, Resident Relations Supervisor) and arriving stressed out from traveling, I immediately noticed the soothing classical music in the lobby, not elevator music but definitely curated for a very mellow and beautiful experience with the volume just-so, similar soft classical music turned on for in-room radio at turndown, just the right amount of upbeat jazz for the lounge area of the hotel, and of course mellow new age music in the spa. I noticed the absolute pleasure I felt every time I passed through these different areas. It added deeply to the healing experience of this resort.
"The past which is not recoverable in any other way is embedded, as if in amber, in the music, and people can regain a sense of identity. . . " — Oliver Sacks M.D. neurologist, and best selling author many books including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and movie Awakenings.
When I listen to A-ha's "Take On Me" or Alphaville's "Forever Young", they bring on vivid details of my days as a young college student; the sunny breezy days and the smell of spring; every detail of a sleeveless cotton dress that I got at Fiorruci's the first fashion-tainment store way before TopShop even exited. I can feel the light softness of the fabric and see the orange trim with black and white photo prints and how it made me feel confident and carefree. It brings up the playful flood of upbeat memories from Fiorruci's in Manhattan, the vague impressions of being in the store and the people I was with. I feel overall lighter and happier when I hear this song. I can listen to it when I need motivation to go for a run or to lift me up from a sour mood. I'm obviously not the only one as they have almost 600 million views combined!
Imagine if there was a pill that you could take and it could bring something like that on? Well, that 'pill' is a song! Pretty powerful, right?
Recently, I gave Grand Rounds on Mind-Body Medicine for the Rehabilitation Department at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. Fantastically enough, Dr. Richard Frieden, who specializes in amputees and musicians, came up and told me how he uses music with anxious rehabilitation patients. He told me the story of a patient who was terrified of being discharged from the hospital. She was a singer and understanding the power of music on the brain, Dr. Frieden asked her to sing one of her favorite songs as he wrote out her discharge notes. She got through it without a hitch. Notably, he showed me the harmonica he carries with him along with the stethoscope.
I'm proud to say that the medical field is really acknowledging non-pharmaceutical, powerful mind-body medicine. Here's Mt. Sinai's Music Therapy page!
Music IS Medicine! What if we all had doctors like Dr. Frieden? What if we got prescriptions for music from our doctors?
It could look something like what I wrote below. The great thing is you can prescribe to yourself because the side effects are pretty damn good! :)
How about for our fellow moms out there?
What if YOU could prescribe music for your kids depending on the time of day and anticipated mood?
Do you already use music to hack you or your kids' emotional state?
We'd love to hear about it! Comment and ask questions below.
Share this post and we'll let you know when we launch our upcoming Vlog. We'll apply cutting edge science and explore fun topics based on your comments and questions to neuro-hack behavior in our families!
Wishing you wellness,
Read the full article here: http://news.mit.edu/2015/neural-population-music-brain-1216
Not convinced about the power of music? Watch this!