With all the funding problems that the NHS is having right now, why are experts not making more of music therapy? It’s cheap and fun, and has lots of proven benefits to help so many people. Instead of funding big charities that use animal experiments (outdated and inefficient), it’s more effective to donate unwanted iPods that are reprogrammed with playlists, to help dementia patients (often music is the last thing they remember).
Music therapy is also helping veterans and military patients to recover from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries. And we’ve all heard of the Mozart effect, which finds that playing classical music to children helps them to learn and play better (in fact, all classical music helps, not just one composer).
In his book Healing Mantras, Sanskrit mantra expert Thomas Ashley-Farrand writes of an experiment where four sets of plants were played different things: one had no music, one had rock music, one had classical music and one had Louis Armstrong. The plants with no music did nothing, the rock music plants turned away, the classical music slightly turned towards the player, and the final ones leaned right in, they could not get enough of Louis!
In her book Music Medicine, therapist Christine Stevens writes of a young boy in Africa, with a deformed leg. As soon as the drums start to play, he begins to dance and temporarily loses his disability. It’s only when the music stops, that his leg goes back to being deformed.
Perfect Pitch is for anyone who knows it’s good to listen to classical music, but is put off by the stuffiness and not knowing where to look. Historian Tim Bouverie offers a guide by compiling 100 classical masterpieces to move and be enjoyed by almost anyone. Some you iwll know, and other hidden gems await you. All intended to comfort and inspire, he offers a short introduction to each piece, and a recommended recording to try.
How to Play the PIano shows you how to play one of Bach’s most exquisite preludes in just 6 weeks, even if you’ve never played before. Using a piano or electric keyboard and 2 hands, it takes just 45 minutes to learn Prelude No 1 in Ca Major, even if you know nothing about music. Breaking it up, you’ll learn to read music, the difference between teh treble and bass clef, sharp and flat notes, and how to practice. Unleash creative powers you never knew you still had!
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Music Thanatology is a growing medium, where musicians (often harpists) play music for the dying. This is not just going into someone’s hospice room and strumming a guitar. Highly trained musicians observe vital signs like heart rate, respiration and temperature, than provide music tailored to each situation. This can bring solace, dignity and grace to those nearing their end, although of course it’s important to note that not everyone wants to hear music (this is one reason why the charity Pipedown is campaigning to stop compulsory piped music in hospitals, where patients literally can’t run away, if they want to).
Music can heal the wounds, that medicine cannot touch. Debasish Mrihda
Music is the only thing we can engage with, that activates every part of our brain. Dr Annie Heiderscheit (music therapist)
I’m playing all the right notes. But not necessarily in the right order. Eric Morecambe to guest André Previn.
The Bravest Man in the World is the true story of Mr Wallace Hartley, a musician on the Titanic. As he watched others get rescued in lifeboat after the ship hit an iceberg, he and his band bravely played on, to calm the remaining crew and passengers. His body was found 2 weeks later (fully dressed, with a music case strapped to his body) and there is a bust of him in the Lancashire town of Colne.
You can donate unwanted or unused guitars to Orchestras for All, and these are given to children who want to learn, or to music teachers. Or to Sistema England, where they are used to give to children in need, who would like to learn to play. They accept fully playable strings, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments.
Music Break: Satchita
This amazing song (written by the co-founder of non-profit Playing for Change) unites talented singers and artists around the world, to foster community and world peace, through music. If you don’t like this song – you may need to visit the music doctor, as there is obviously something wrong with you!