Saturday, May 26, 2012

Music Medicine: The Science and Spirit of Healing Yourself with Sound

Christine Stevens

I was so excited to read this book and it did not disappoint.  As a Mom, Musician, and Piano Teacher I have lots of experience and natural curiosity about how people respond, including myself, to music.  Christine Stevens has a very easy to read discussion backed by sound research.

From the first chapter I was drawn to her goal of the book.
I'll show you how to tune out any doubts that you are musical, and I'll share scientific evidence that confirms how innate music is within us all.
Music to my ears!

Steven comments often on the "pervasive belief" that music lessons are a waste of time if not studied as a child.  She goes on to describe the things that hold adults back from studying music.  She coins her own phrases such as "instrumentaphoia" or fear of playing an instrument and "creative constipation."  According to Stevens, our Western culture is "lagging behind the rest of the world."  It seems other places use music readily to learn in their schools and for family and community.  It is not something isolated to a talented few or enough funding.

Music has been scientifically shown to reduce stress! Stevens describes several experiments to the validity of this statement.  This section alone is enough to have you playing your favorite tunes.  Stevens is also empowering and has faith in our innate musical needs.  Although her book provides many, many playlists for our emotional needs; she is quick to say from the beginning where the heart is.
When it comes to music, we all have distinct preferences, and it turns out that the music we love is a key to its healing benefits...Trust the music you love.  Seek it out when you need it most.  Listen for what music moves you...

Stevens is a big fan of drumming (she compares it to the steady rhythm of our heartbeat) and singing.  Most of her suggested tracks use a combination of drumming and singing. She created a Healing Drum Kit that sounds lots of fun for beginners!  Stevens says, "Rhythm turns off the mind and calls to the body's primary intuition."

The book goes into wonderful descriptive language in regards to melody, rhythm, silence, spiritual growth.  The book concludes with a powerful chapter on music to orchestrate change.  Each chapter has a wonderful playlist.  I had fun looking up the songs on!  One of the more moving sections of the book is her summary of the paradigm shift that takes place when becoming a reformer with music, not just a performer.  Stevens says,  "A performer entertains an audience; a reformer transforms a community and even the world."

This book is a beautiful, easy to read, understand, and a testament to the power of music that often goes untapped.  I am a musician and music teacher but a non-musician can easily understand her points and studies.    Her passion for music and her experience shine through in this enlightening reason to fall in love with music.

I was sent this book by for my honest opinion.

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