Singing For Health And Well-Being

“I don’t sing because I’m happy, I’m happy because I sing.” – William James

How does singing make you feel?

Does it really affect your mood, attitude?

Is it also good for your health, happiness and well-being?

But what if “I can’t sing?”

Amazing Health Benefits Of Singing

Singing  Enhances Health & Happiness

The first benefit that comes to mind is that singing, like laughing, is a mood enhancer. It  changes your perspective, brightens an otherwise dull day and gives you a sense of assurance and well-being.                                      

Of course, a lot depends on the genre of music, lyrics and melody. Researches at University Of Missouri found that people who listened to (or sang) upbeat, cheerful music at least 1/2 hour a day, had a greater level of happiness than those who did not.

Singing And Well-Being

Ever thought of singing as a great way to exercise? Singing is not only beneficial to the lungs, it also expands the diaphragm and increases overall circulation of oxygen throughout the body.

Additionally, studies have shown that singing actually improves your quality of sleep and reduces snoring.

Some additional health benefits of singing include:

  • strengthening of the immune system
  • lowering of stress levels and
  • improving posture and mental alertness.

Imperfect Harmony

Perhaps you feel that singing in a choir is not your cup of tea because you cannot sing in tune.

Actually, group singing is also beneficial to your health and well-being.

In addition, singing in a choir has many social and inter-personal benefits, such as:

Singing With Eric Whitacre Concert Virtual Choir
  • Increase your confidence
  • improve communication skills
  • widen your circle of friends
  • give you an appreciation for other singers
  • recognize how talented you are as a singer

 

 

Music Is Medicine

In Bible times, David, who became King Of Israel was a prolific songwriter and singer.

As a Shepherd boy, he was invited to play his instrument – a harp – before King Saul to soothe his troubled spirit.

David’s music was Saul’s medicine. It brought healing and comfort and a sense of well-being.

 

Singing Is Your Business

We’re all in the business of health and wholeness, so why wait for the ideal circumstances to sing?

Sing in the rain, car, shower or anywhere you can. However, if you have a voice that can be described as bombastic, rather than fantastic, just keep the volume down so as not to annoy the neighbors. Whereas singing may actually prolong your life, annoying the neighbors may actually shorten it.

Of course, musical instruments like a guitar or piano are often very helpful as accompaniments, but nothing can compare with the beauty of the human voice.

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Your questions, comments, constructive criticism or suggestions are welcomed and will be greatly appreciated.

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Sources: Wikipedia
                  Take Lessons.com                 Journey Of Positive Physiology

Images: Courtesy Pixabay/Maxpixel.com

Music Is The Rhythm Of Life

“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”                    –      Albert Einstein

 

Got Rhythm? 

Imagine, if you can, life without music.

Never mind – it’s unimaginable.

As far as we know music even predates man’s existence  –Job 38:7 

So music has always been around and, indeed, every day we’re bombarded with music.

But what about rhythm?  In it’s simplest form, rhythm is the regular recurrence of anything in motion.

So, if your walking, talking, jogging or just listening to your heartbeat  – you’ve got a rhythm.  And any sound coming from that activity is indeed – music.

So if music is the rhythm of life then rhythm must be its soul.

 

Can Music Also Save Lives? 

Ask  Alice Herz- Sommer, the inspirational Jewish and Holocaust survivor, whose life was a testimony to the power of music.

Alice became passionate about the piano from an early age of life.

Imprisoned in one of Hitler’s concentration camps, her life was spared because she was a musician. She played or took part in over 100 concerts and performed all of Chopin’s Etudes from memory.
Alice took up residence, after the war in Israel, where former Prime Minister, Golda Meir, Authur and Leonard Bernstein attended her house concerts.  Later, towards the end of her life, Alice moved to an apartment in London,  thoroughly enjoying life and practicing her piano every day.
Alice died at the age of 110, and was, in fact, the oldest Holocaust survivor at the time of her death in 2014.

                                                    

If music is the rhythm of Life –  which genre is the most beneficial?

Restoring The Rhythm Of Life

Every genre of music has some benefits. Hence, it is important to listen to all genres.

For example, listening to jazz musicespecially with the sounds of nature in the background, can be very soothing.

A Cambridge University Research group study found that listening to RAP music may help to fight depression.

Rock or Pop music can actually increase physical endurance, according to a 2009 study whereas country music lovers experience more joy.

However, researchers at USC found that classical music, lowered systolic blood pressure levels, more than any other genre or no music at all.

In addition, listening to certain  favorites by composers like MozartBach, Brahm has been described as “Brain Food.”  In fact, studies have shown that classical music is indeed the best music for retention, relaxation and stress relief.

Rhythm Of Life Food Chart 

                                                    

  Beginners  Rhythm Food Guide 101.

This chart is a great start for learning  rhythm

Be warned, however, that we’re NOT counting calories.

Still, the chart may yet create hunger pangs.

 

 

 

 

Music “the Universal Language

Imagine – if you will – a man playing piano in the middle of a train station in Paris. True story.

Already he is attracting attention as persons from many countries pause between their travels. Along comes another musician sits next to him and starts playing in unison without speaking a word. The breathtaking performance of the artists along with the rhymic music is a crowd pleaser.
Soon we have a live audience, nodding their heads and clapping their hands in applause and appreciation.

That’s why music is called a universal language – it crosses cultural and racial barriers and unifies all nationalities together as one.

Indeed, music is the magnet that connects us all.

 

Conclusion

Since music changes, connects  and saves lives, it is surely must be the rhythm of life

Music is also the universal language which we all speak.

..And the beat goes on.

Are you missing a beat?

Perhaps music can restore the rhythm.

Got rhythm?

 

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Any questions, comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Sources: Wikipedia

NickReedent.com

Upworthy, Apr.5/2016

Guardian, Int’l Addition No.11/2014

USC News, Dec.5,2014

Graphics Courtesy NickReedent.com, Classic fm.

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Does Playing Musical Instrument Make You Smarter?

 

The future of our nation depends upon providing our children with a complete education which includes music.”

Gerald Ford.

Does Playing A Musical Instrument Make You Smarter? 

Or do only smarter people play a musical instrument?

The brain is the most amazing and complex organ in the human body. Neurologists are still trying to find out exactly how it works. 

What they do know – thanks to neuro-imaging technology – is that playing a musical instrument requires some unique mental gymnastics. Neurologists also determined that playing a musical instrument encompasses almost all areas of the brain.
The Brain And Neuro-Imaging  Technology
The more difficult the piece of music, the more adaptable the brain becomes with processing the information. That newly acquired ability can then be translated to other non-musical activities.
Perhaps this explains why musicians score higher than non-musicians in many other disciplines as well.

The question still remains, however, whether playing an instrument makes you smarter, or do only smarter people play a musical instrument?

 

Benefits Of Learning To Play A Musical Instrument

Playing a musical instrument has many benefits which can bring hours of pure delight and unforgettable memories to you and others. Among these are:

Stress reduction                                               

Increase productivity                                                         

Instill self-discipline                                                     

Develop creativity and

Boost confidence

How Playing A Musical Instrument Makes You Smarter

Heard about the Harmony ProjectBased in Los Angeles, it is a non-profit organization that provides free music education to children in poor and gang-related neighborhoods.

Young Upcoming Child Violinist

Amazingly, students from this school were defying all odds, heading directly into UCLA  and other notable universities after graduating high school.

This startling discovery by the Project founder prompted Researchers at the Northwestern University to investigate.

In their research, 44 students were tracked over a two-year period, as they learned to play an instrument. There were also before and after  IQ test as well as other measurements of success.

Results showed clear evidence of measurable changes in the brain.

Researchers concluded that these changes were caused by the students’ musical training which, in turn, allowed the students to more readily process sound.

That increased ability also translated into the students’ proficiency in reading and fluency in speaking.

Smart U.S. Presidents who also played an instrument

 

Current  US President Donald Trump tops the list of musical Presidents. Trump, I understand, plays the accordion.

 Other former musically minded Presidents of the modern era are Bill Clinton who plays the saxophone and Barak Obama who sings. 

Other Most Musical Past Presidents And Their Achievements

He was the 3rd US President who also drafted the  Declaration Of Independence.

Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)  played the  Violin & Cello

 As sixth President Of The United States, he formulated the Munroe Doctrine.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848)  played the flute.

This sixteenth President of the US issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) played the violin.

 As the 30th President was credited with preserving America’s old moral and economic principles.

Calvin Calvin Coolidge (1872 – 1933) played the harmonica.

President No.28 was also the creator of the League Of Nations

Woodrow Wilson (1856 – 1924) played his violin and also sang tenor

One of the most musical Presidents was Warren J. Harding (1865 -1923)

As 29th President of the USA, he organized the Citizens Cornet Band which performed at both

Warren J. Harding Playing The Tuba

Democratic and Republican Rallies.

“I played every instrument but the slide trombone and the E-flat Cornet,” he once said.

However, despite his musical acumen, he has been described as one of the worst Presidents due to the various scandals which plagued him.

 

 

Conclusion

Of course, many other famous Presidents who played musical instruments have been excluded in the interest of time and brevity.

In looking at the evidence, however, one must conclude that most of the Presidents who played an instrument also achieved much success during their tenures in office.

Can we “blame it on the music?

What do you think?

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Your kind comments, questions and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

 

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Sources: World Journalism Institute, Summer, 2018.

National Association For Music Education Feb 13/2015

Wikipedia, the free enclyopedia.

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Classical Music, Internet & You-tube Generation

 

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”

– Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014)

Is Classical music missing a beat? 

Has the music of  Brach, Brahms & Beethoven become alien to the under 40-generation?

At one time, perhaps, but no longer.  Not since the birth of the internet and you-tube generation.

For classical music lovers, the internet is the dawning of the golden age.

How the internet has saved classical music

There was a time when classical music was considered a dead or dying genre.

In fact, its disappearance from the television and other media between 1980 – 2000 gave some credence to this belief.

However, thanks to the internet, this has changed and continues to do so at an alarming rate.  So what role has the internet played in the salvation of classical music?  Consider this:

  • Internet browsing has made classical music more accessible to all. 
  • More information is readily available about composers and their compositions

    Classical Music & the New Technology

  • Listeners can hear  snippets of a song or watch a video clip before purchasing
  • Shopping for concert tickets online has become a breeze
  • Digital sales are now the wave of the future due to lower marketing costs. 

The Classical Connection

The role of technology and the Internet on classical music.

Technology has brought a new excitement to music audiences like never before.
The compelling videos create an appreciation and empathy for the artist and an appetite which is not easily appeased.
Many musicians, for example, now engage audiences through interactive websites, promote live performances and their new recordings. People return for more information, give an opinion or comment.

So, what are some of the

Benefits of an On-Line Presence 

  • increased CD or Video sales
  • Sold out concerts
  • Increase your following and fan base
  • More attraction to producers, managers or record  companies
  • Contribute to building a classical music worldwide audience

Classical music, the Internet  And  You-tube generation

London’s  classical music lovers were given the treat of a lifetime recently.

Toddlers, teenagers, and even seniors came out in droves to see the charismatic 28-year-old Gustavo Dudamel conduct the 120-strong  Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra.

And the conductor – the dynamic, charismatic, 28-year old Venezuelan virtuoso Gustavo Dudamel. No disappointment here. In fact, after the playing of Tchaikovsky’s 4th symphony, the audience brought the house down. They raised the roof with their applause and flung their colorful jackets into the crowd with excitement and exuberance.

The You-Tube-Symphony Orchestra

You-Tube Generation Classical Concert Orchestra
 Enter the You-Tube-Symphony Orchestra – composing  96 musicians from all around the globe.

Their primary meeting and auditioning place – the internet. 

Yet, after only 2 days of rehearsals in person, their concert at Carnegie Hall was sold-out.

Conclusion

The under- 40 generation have embraced the new technology with open arms.

The production and presentation of classical music through the internet have bred new life into a dying genre.
A younger generation like Mr. Dudamel and Chinese pianist Lang Lang are seizing the batons and running.

Their ways of communication are fresh, engaging and often surprising when contrasted with traditional methods.

‘We’ve come a long way, baby,’ and for classical music lovers like myself, ‘the beat goes on.’

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I love to hear from my readers so please let know if this article has helped you in any way.

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Sources: The Guardian – Music-The Observer Jan6/08

– Yale School of MusicNews Feb.10/12

–  Financial Times – April 17/09

 Images: Max Pixel / Pixabay

Contagious Classical Music

 

 

 

Contagious Coughing Avalanches At Classical Concerts

 

What is Classical Music?

Classical music is art music, rooted in the tradition of Western music, including both liturgical and secular music. More specifically, it refers to an era commonly called the classical period (AD1750 – 1820) – Wikipedia

But is Classical Music Contagious?

According to Webster’s dictionary – one definition of Contagious is “exciting similar emotions or conduct in others.”

 

Contagious clapping at chamber concerts

 Contagious Clapping At  Chamber Concerts
A new study by Swedish Researchers in the Journal Of Royal Society suggests that there is social pressure both to start and stop clapping at concerts. “You have this social pressure to start clapping, but, once started, there is equal pressure not to stop until someone initiates that stopping.” Moreover, the study suggests that applause has little to do with the quality of performance. Once one or two members begin or stop clapping, others follow suit.

Conventions surrounding applause vary from country to country.

In Bergen, Norway, the audience will erupt into an extended rhythmic applause if they like the orchestra, but will not cheer or scream.

Meanwhile in America, standing ovations are the normal way of showing appreciation and they are instant, usually accompanied by a lot of vocals.

However, in Germany, there is an abrupt silence after the final note and before the applause. However, after the aura of silence which lasts for about 5-seconds, the applause continues ad infinitum.

The question is then, “what effect does it have on you?

Contagious Coughing Avalanches 

Classical audiences cough on purpose to a chamber performance – according to *Professor Andres Wagoner, from the University Of Hannover. According to the study, coughing spells are intentional and particularly prevalent among classical audiences. The research found that the average concertgoer coughs more 36 times a day, more than twice the norm.
However, maintains the professor, although the volume of the coughing fluctuates, it is more disruptive during the quieter, boring moments rather than the more interesting parts.

Contagious Cascading Coughing Avalanches

Moreover, the professor refers coughs in concerts as mysteriously contagious and likens them to coughing avalanches, cascading through the audiences.

Hallelujah!

          Chamber Orchestra In Concert

The story is told in The Telegraph about an enthusiastic Classical music lover and Royal Society Of Arts Fellow.

This fellow was so overly excited by the performance of “Hallelujah Chorus” he attempted to crowd-surf, his hand raised and whooping while lurching from side to side.
However, his enthusiasm was not contagious. Rather than “exciting similar emotion or conduct in others,” the audience became so distracted that they proceeded to physically eject him from the theatre.

Positive Effects 

The amazing benefits of classical music upon humans are well documented.  Among others – memory improvement, sleep inducement and even lowering blood pressure are just a few.  In fact, click here for my prior posts for research showing how classical music calms cats and canines, and positively impacts plant growth.

 

Conclusion

But back to the original question – is classical music contagious?

The answer to that question lies in what it does for you.

For me, it certainly excites the emotions – whether it’s clapping of hands or just a shaking of the head to the beat.

Suddenly, all is well with the world – no matter what’s going on. In short, it’s my mood changer – from sullen to satisfied.

And when I’m in a good mood – everybody knows including pets and plants, cats and canines.

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What do you think?

I trust this article has helped you in some way. I love to hear from my readers.

Any questions, comments, or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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Sources: Classic Music.com, BBC Music Official Website /June 2013

*Limelight, Australia’s Classical Musical and Arts Magazine

The Telegraph – 30 June/2014.

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