As part of my ongoing research, I look for articles where people can learn to understand the power of music and how it affects our bodies. The article titled “Doctors Now Prescribing Music Therapy for Heart Ailments, Brain Dysfunction, Learning Disabilities, Depression, PTSD, Alzheimers, Childhood Development,” with authors AJ Block and Gracy Liura, provides some amazing data on how music helps with a variety of ailments. Although their website is specifically geared towards the benefits of playing the didgeridoo, they provide additional resources that are helpful to people suffering a variety of ailments.
As a quick synopsis… both Liura and Block suggest that listening to music helps with blood pressure, heart related disorders, stress and depression, Alzheimer’s, treating PTSD (by playing an instrument), improving sleep, and playing the didgeridoo specifically helps with sleep Apnea. In addition, the article also points to how studying music in the public school system assists students in bettering their scores in core subjects. And, to add a bit more information on emotional traumas, some psychologists have special music to treat PTSD clients called “EMDR music.” I have an entire page on my website with information about EMDR music and then have turned some of my own music into EMDR/bilateral music. Click HERE for that page.
So, with all of this mounting evidence on the helpfulness of listening to music, why is it that school administrators still continue to cut music programs in schools? This is a subject for a whole different blog post soon to come. As a music educator myself, I’ve seen amazing results in students who’ve studied music throughout middle and high school.
When it comes to music for the purposes of healing, as we all know, music is very individualistic. People simply have differing styles of music that they enjoy. There are studies that indicate doctors who listen to their favorite music while doing surgery have better concentration during the surgery. In addition, patients who listen to their favorite music before and after a surgery are under less stress and require fewer medications during the surgical processes.
For me, I’m very careful what music I allow into my “ear gates.” There is some music out there with lyrics that are so vile, I’m not sure why they attract people. Having been a house director for a few years at a sorority, I witnessed some of this music first-hand. I’m not quite sure what it is with fraternity boys and very loud rap music blasting out from giant stereo speakers in their front yards. Here’s my interesting story… While parents and high school seniors were on campus for a recruiting event, one of the frats down the street started blaring some rather interesting rap music. I casually walked down the street and up to some of the young men. I cocked my head while listening intently to the music. As the words were rapped (for everyone within several blocks to hear), I casually repeated what was being said. The lyrics of that particular song were filled with swear words, how to get a woman in bed easily, etc., etc. The guys began to listen to me repeating the words. At that point, I turned and said, “Is this how you want to represent your fraternity for the parents of incoming freshmen?” I looked at the guys for only a moment before I turned and walked back up the street, saying nothing else. It wasn’t long after that, the music changed.
What’s my point in this story? Words in music as well as the music itself can affect us. Not only that, but it can be a pretty good indicator of where we are emotionally. People become so numb to lyrics that they often don’t even stop and really listen to the meanings of songs, much less the words. I have a friend who teaches a program called “Little Kids Rock” in his school. When he presented a workshop about the program, his main comment was “It’s hard to find appropriate rock music that can be used in a school setting.” Why? Because the lyrics in rock music are often filled with swear words, sexual innuendos, and general degrading comments of other people and/or situations.
Words carry a frequency. To learn more about that, read my article titled “Thoughts, Intents, Action!” The words in music do make a difference. It would seem that if doctors chose music that didn’t have negative or degrading words in them, that particular music would be more healing than music with disgusting lyrics.
Although I took a small rabbit trail from the article, my overall point is that music CAN be healing. I believe it can also be harmful, depending on the music. I wonder if many of the problems we suffer from could in part could be adjusted simply by changing what we allow into our ear gates? That would include music and the lyrics. Maybe it’s time to listen to the lyrics of our favorite music. Are they speaking life or are they speaking negativity? So, when doctors do begin prescribing music to patients, I wonder if results would be stronger IF the music focused on healing and a sense of positivity? Some food for thought…
As you can tell by listening to samples, my music is all instrumental. I did that on purpose because I find that having music without lyrics leaves it wide open for the individual to experience what they personally need. Again, everyone has their preferences of genres. The important aspect of listening to music, especially for the purposes of healing… find music with uplifting lyrics or no lyrics at all. Negativity in lyrics translates to negative intent. Again, more food for thought.
With those questions and comments thrown out there, enjoy this article and please feel free to send me more as you find them!
Del Hungerford © 2016