Monday, December 24, 2018

4.24- Tuning Slide: The Never-Ending Gift

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music

Music is an outburst of the soul.
Frederick Delius

It is a week of gifts. No matter how we celebrate Christmas (or don’t) the season reminds us in both crass commercialism and in profoundly soulful ways that it is a blessing to give as well as receive. As a musician I have found that music is a two-way street. I most certainly enjoy playing music for an audience or a dance. It is my gift to them and watching people enjoy music is incredibly satisfying. But just putting it that way also indicates that when playing for others I get something back as well.

But just playing and listening to music, exploring it, figuring it out, letting it flow around and within me is in and of itself a gift to me. Perhaps more than that- a way of having my life enriched so that I can share it. If music were only about what it did for me, I would not have as rich an experience of music. The wonders of music are never ending. On any given week I come across numerous articles, studies, and personal reflections talking about how music can make a difference in life and in the world.

So for this Christmas Eve Day edition of the Tuning Slide I did some digging into the wonders of music from a number of different and quite diverse sources. What is it that music can do. Here from the magazine/website Business Insider are nine ways that music makes our lives better:
Music Can Help You Relax
Angry Music Improves Your Performance
Music Reduces Pain
Music Can Give You A Better Workout
Music Can Help You Find Love
Music Can Save A Life
Music Can Improve Your Work — Sometimes
Use Music To Make You Smarter
Music Can Make You A Better Person

Most importantly: Music makes us feel good, and in the end, that's worth a lot. (Link) came up with "7 Proven Ways Music Makes Your Life Better":
1. Listening To Music Reduces Stress
2. Listening To Music Improves Endurance
3. It Can Make You Healthier
4. Singing With A Group Of People Makes You Happier
5. Learning To Play An Instrument As A Kid Makes You More Successful Later
6. It Makes You Smarter
7. It Improves Your Memory
I can attest to these powers of music. Take the time to check these two articles out and I will expect that you will agree.

If music be the food of love, play on.
William Shakespeare

In November the Space Weather news and web site informed us that the universe- or at least our near neighborhood produced music:
On Nov. 18th, however, something quite different happened. Solar wind hit Earth and produced ... a pure, almost-musical sine wave!… Rob Stammes recorded the event from the Polarlightcenter, a magnetic observatory in the Lofoten Islands of Norway. "A very stable ~15 second magnetic oscillation commenced and persisted for several hours," he says. "The magnetic field was swinging back and forth by 0.06 degrees, peak to peak, with the regularity of a metronome. … This was a very rare episode indeed." (Link)
The music of the spheres is not just a metaphor!

As one who works in addiction treatment I found this next piece more than a little interesting. It is from Recovery Unplugged, an addiction treatment program that bases its work on music. They are applying some of what the earlier links mentioned. On their website that talk about:
Why music works:
✓ Music is a core utility in the brain. Our brain responds to and process music in the womb. Music leads to language and all forms of communication.
✓ Our bodies and it’s rhythm. Every notice you’re walking to the beat of the music that you’re listening to?
✓ Music taps into our emotions. Have you ever listened to music and just felt happy? Or felt sad? See what I mean?
✓ Music enhances learning. Do you remember how you learned your ABCs? Through a song!
✓ Music taps into our memories. Have you ever been driving, heard a song on the radio, then immediately been taken to a certain place, a specific time in your life, or a particular person?
✓ Music is a social experience. Music experiences are shared with a group, whether playing in band or going to a concert. (Link)
To which I can only add, “Amen!”

At the Website, Niklas Göke reviews some of the changes in the way people listen to music and the repercussions. He suggests several ways to become more intentional in his article "How to Make Music a Useful Part of Your Life Again". He suggests:
✓ Conscious Listening- This is awareness building. Take the time to just listen to music. Sometimes I find that difficult. I am using music to do so many things, just listening doesn’t always just happen.
✓ Web App: Listen on Repeat- This is a technique to put a You Tube video on repeat so you can perhaps dig more deeply into it. I know there are other ways to do this, but this will remind me that I should look into those, too. (Link)
And finally, take the time to go to The Ascent and read this article that sums up a lot of what this post is all about. Why Is Music So Powerful?

In the end, music is a gift that is multi-dimensional, both practical and just plain fun. Without it I life would have so little going for it. It is how we and the universe can communicate and stay tuned in to each other.

Have a great holiday week no matter how you celebrate the season!

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
Lao Tzu

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