Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Why Music??? part 13 How Live Music Facilitates Learning From Others

How Live Music Facilitates Learning From Others

Thanks for visiting musicfromthestart.com topics and conversations. Here I want to address music therapy issues and concepts as they relate to education, health and wellness.



This is part thirteen of my blog posts where I describe music therapy interactions I've had that are indicative of why music is so healing, meaningful, enriching and sometimes life changing!

This post describes music therapy sessions with clients on our hospice service where I end up learning tried and tested music techniques from them. Techniques I employ to this day and will always use.

The first of my two scenarios involves a life long professional piano player. Howard, played since he was young and spent all of his adult working years as a full time piano player. To describe an impressive aspect of his work, imagine the most elegant, high priced restaurant in your town, with a grand piano. Howard was the piano player, 3-5 nights per week for 40 plus years! Also Howard taught piano extensively and played in the top jazz orchestras in the area. He also sang. Obviously he was very talented. I say “was” because he passed recently and I had the opportunity to engage him in music therapy sessions as his health declined. Early on Howard would play an electric piano he had in his home. Together we would play jazz standards, many by Duke Ellington. It was here when I had to stop him and say...”what did you play there?” He would show me. Howard, from playing so long and with so many great musicians over the years, would play certain “turn arounds” and cadences in his own stylistic ways, chords that were not part of the original music. I immediately wrote the chords and techniques on my music. To this day I use those cadences and techniques in my own playing and of course I think of Howard. I feel like I had met a guru or master. Wow, how fortunate.

The second scenario involved me having sessions with another talented man named Bob. My first information about Bob stated that he played guitar and had a guitar in his room. Bob was very sick the first time we met, his family was present also. Even though he couldn't really have his eyes open he sang many gospel and church hymns with me that first visit. Looking around his room I saw many framed poems on the wall. They were not eight or sixteen line little ditties. These poems had so many stanzas that the smallest font was used. Bob wrote them. Not only did he write them the family said he can recite them. I said what?? So he recited one. Beautiful, thoughtful poems. The one I heard was from his experience in WWII. And he also painted (art) pictures, some of which were in his room. At this point we hadn't really gotten to his music experience. On his dresser there was a very old picture of what looked like a small orchestra. He said the picture was him as a youngster with his family's dance band. The band included his mother and Bob played drums. For a few months I would visit Bob for music therapy. Our routine was he would sit in his comfortable chair, with his eyes mostly closed and we would sing old church hymns and country songs. There are a few songs that we did regularly where he sang them with an authentic country style that I never really could get the “hang of” myself. Singing them with Bob taught me. As with Howard, when I sing them the way Bob did, I think of him every time. I consider that a gift.

These kind of experiences are so precious. Again, I never would have learned the music techniques and stylistic treatments of those songs if it hadn't been for my learning from both of them. Beautiful and thank you gentlemen!!!



So, "Why (live) music??"... To be in the privileged position to learn from others, i.e., music techniques and tips that enhance the music therapist's musicianship. Learning “life lessons” from patients and their families is a whole other topic for another day.



Sorry I've been without a post for two months. I'm excited about progress made on my new offering, Video Guitar Lessons for Music Therapy Students (and others of course). The new site will be GUITARplayLIKEaPRO.com. 

And musicfromthestart.com is still progressing nicely. Right now there continue to be three offerings, i.e., two music albums (David's Basics in Education and Lyrical Imagery) and one educational lecture titled The Purposeful Use of Music From Pregnancy Through Toddlerhood (including Labor and Delivery). The second album, Lyrical Imagery, and the childbirth lecture are a free download for the time being.
As a reminder the main thrust of the music therapy/childbirth lecture is to support moms (and dads) as they put together their own music listening playlists or CDs to support rhythmic breathing, act as a positive diversion from pain and stress, etc., to be used during labor and delivery.
Also, I'm looking forward to recording my second music album early next year. This is music for child development, autism and special needs. As a reminder, one song, “High 5,” from David's Basics in Education (music album #1) is still a free download for a limited time.




In upcoming posts I will continue with other music therapy/health and wellness related blog posts.



My prescription this week??? If you're a musician at all, find an experienced, older musician and “pick their brain.”
 
AND!!!! Please share with others, like us on
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why Music??? part 12 Music Therapy and Song Writing

Thanks for visiting musicfromthestart.com topics and conversations. Here I want to address music therapy issues and concepts as they relate to education, health and wellness.


This is part twelve of my blog posts where I describe music therapy interactions I've had that are indicative of why music is so healing, meaningful, enriching and sometimes life changing!

This post describes a series of music therapy sessions with a woman on our hospice service. This elderly woman, diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, loves music and her Christian faith.

Our chaplain first told me of “the new patient who recites a poem or psalm that she (the patient) says 'was given to her by God...' “ The chaplain emailed me the religious poem. My initial thought was that I would put music to her words, a task I have done with music therapy clients for years. Her lyric was very organized and very easy to put music to.

The next day I was excited to visit with “song in hand” to play it for her. I was excited because so often in the past, when I would put music to clients' words, seeing their reaction was most often priceless. Our patient was very receptive to hear her song but after I played it she said “it's nice but the melody's not right...” What I failed to realize was that she also had a melody to her words. She said “God gave me the words AND the music...” So I was very pleased to support and encourage her to sing the song as I recorded it so I could then write out the accompaniment. In a faint, frail voice she sang the song. After recording it on my phone I finally put accompaniment music, her music, together with her words. The next visit I was very excited to play the finished song for her. After playing it she said... “it's good, except there is one wrong note...” I was so pleasantly surprised because she supposedly has Alzheimer’s. I then slowly went through each line with her until she pointed out the “wrong note.” We then easily fixed that note and when I played it for her she sang and was very pleased. The experience for me was again priceless. Next visit I will have a CD and printed out lyric sheet of her song for her and her family.

So, "Why music??"... To provide a “platform” and opportunity for an individual to share life experiences. In this case, the woman described a spiritual experience that has a deep effect on her hopefulness, security and her feelings of productiveness as she shared her important message with me and others. For her it is not only sharing the literal message of the song that affected her but it is important for her to help others understand that she “received a gift from God.”


Also, I want to let everyone know that my new site: musicfromthestart.com, still very new, is in the process of producing more offerings. Right now there are three offerings, i.e., two music albums available, David's Basics in Education and Lyrical Imagery and one educational lecture titled The Purposeful Use of Music From Pregnancy Through Toddlerhood (including Labor and Delivery). The second album, Lyrical Imagery, and the childbirth lecture are a free download for a limited time.
As a reminder the main thrust of the music therapy/childbirth lecture is to support moms (and dads) as they put together their own music listening playlists or CDs to support rhythmic breathing, act as a positive diversion from pain and stress, etc., to be used during labor and delivery.
Also, I'm looking forward to recording my second music album this year. This is music for child development, autism and special needs. As a reminder, one song, “High 5,” from David's Basics in Education (music album #1) is still a free download for a limited time.



In upcoming posts I will continue with other music therapy/health and wellness related blog posts.


My prescription this week??? Pray and listen for the voice of God... Maybe He'll place a song on your heart.
 
AND!!!! Please share with others, like us on
Facebook  and follow us on Twitter ... Thanks

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Why Music??? part 11 Music and Vibrations...

Thanks for visiting musicfromthestart.com topics and conversations. Here I want to address music therapy issues and concepts as they relate to education, health and wellness.


This is part eleven of my blog posts where I describe music therapy interactions I've had that are indicative of why music is so healing, meaningful, enriching and sometimes life changing!

This post describes a music therapy session with another hospice patient, an elderly man who, when I first met him, was actively dying. At a nursing facility where I was seeing other patients our hospice social worker and RN mentioned to this man's family that, if they desired, the music therapist could visit for comfort care. More specifically, music therapy to act as a positive diversion from anxiety as the man was in/out of anxious/fretful consciousness. As mentioned, a family member, his niece was present.

After playing soft, slow religious music that the niece requested, I decided to try something that I have never done before. During the soft music the niece was standing over the head of the bed caressing and thoughtfully massaging her uncle's head and neck. I told her that I would stand next to her (with her at the head of the bed) and softly sing Amazing Grace, a song she knew. I said “as I sing, you sing (or hum) softly with me as you massage your uncle...” The idea is that as the niece sang or hummed, vibrations generated from her voice and chest cavity will be felt by her uncle through her arms down to her finger tips, not to mention him being able to feel and sense the spirit of the song, her love and energy, etc. She welcomed this. Her uncle was further comforted and the niece was very engaged and pleased with being able to personally comfort her dying uncle with song.

Lets now look specifically at music and sound's vibrational aspect...

--- First of all, the smallest part of our universe, atoms, are made up of VIBRATING electrons.

--- Scientists know that our earth, vibrating on it's axis, produces an overtone or sound frequency which is (actually) 7.49 hz. The following description below is from: http://www.lunarplanner.com/Harmonics/planetary-harmonics.html

The 7.8 Hz. Schumann fundamental frequency is quite close to Earth's 7.5 Hz. circumference harmonic (calculated using the speed of light at Earth's surface)...” So vibrations from our earth are acting upon as at all times.

---  As rhythm consists of organized vibrations, know that our hearts beat rhythmically, we breath, walk and talk rhythmically...

--- And one of the oldest forms of music, Toning, which is thousands of years old, and even precedes sacred music, relies on the vibrational aspects of vocal production (not singing as we know it) to benefit individuals and groups. All cultures, except our western culture have used Toning for healing, grieving, praying, wellness, etc. SeeMT Toning 1, 2, 3 in Resource Center at the bottom left of my home pgfor a description of Toning.



So, "Why live music??"... To take advantage of the vibrational aspects of music and sound. Also, because we don't have to be a talented singer (as described above) individuals can vocalize or utilize vibrational sounds for health and wellness benefits personally and/or for others, i.e. Toning. To do what I did above??? Lets say you have an ill loved one... put on their favorite music, and as you massage them sing or hum softly with the music. The vibratory effects from your vocalizations will affect them! It's wonderful!!! You will both benefit.


Also, I want to let everyone know that my new site: musicfromthestart.com, still very new, is in the process of producing more offerings. Right now there are three offerings, i.e., two music albums available, David's Basics in Education and Lyrical Imagery and one educational lecture titled The Purposeful Use of Music From Pregnancy Through Toddlerhood (including Labor and Delivery). The second album, Lyrical Imagery, and the childbirth lecture are a free download for a limited time.
As a reminder the main thrust of the music therapy/childbirth lecture is to support moms (and dads) as they put together their own music listening playlists or CDs to support rhythmic breathing, act as a positive diversion from pain and stress, etc., to be used during labor and delivery.
Also, I'm looking forward to recording my second music album this year. This is music for child development, autism and special needs. As a reminder, one song, “High 5,” from David's Basics in Education (music album #1) is still a free download for a limited time.



In upcoming posts I will continue with other music therapy/health and wellness related blog posts.


My prescription this week??? Go to the Toning info described above and “give it a whirl!” (MTToning 1, 2, 3 in Resource Center at the bottom left of my home pg) At the very least it relieves head, neck and shoulder tension and is a wonderful, pro-active way to meditate, pray and to take care of yourself. Hmmmmmm................
 
AND!!!! Please share with others, like us on
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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Why Music??? part 10 Music and Immune Response

Thanks for visiting musicfromthestart.com topics and conversations. Here I want to address music therapy issues and concepts as they relate to education, health and wellness.

This is part ten of my blog posts where I describe music therapy interactions I've had that are indicative of why music is so healing, meaningful, enriching and sometimes life changing!


This post describes a music therapy session with a hospice patient, an elderly woman who spent 50+ yrs as a cloistered nun. For all those years she had virtually no exposure to the outside world including popular music, culture, entertainment, etc.

For a year or more she has enjoyed and benefited from our music therapy sessions consisting of live music (guitar and voice) provided by the writer. She consistently is very attentive, even towards music she has never heard, often laughing joyfully after each song. Today she asked for “Italian songs,” as is her heritage, and enjoyed novelty songs, cheerfully commenting after each song. This session made me think about the health benefits that occur when engaging enthusiastically in live music as described above. Namely boosting ones immune system.

On my site, musicfromthestart.com, I talk about immune system research and music. This is available (MT Research Sheet) in the resource center located at the bottom left of the home page. #7 of the research sheet is below...

7. BOOST OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM – AFTER A 30 MIN MUSIC EXPERIENCE ENZYMES IN OUR SALIVA, THAT AID IN DIGESTION (thus boosting our immune system), ARE PRODUCED, NAMELY IMMUNOGLOBULIN A (IgA); ALSO PRODUCED, INTERLEUKIN 1 WHICH IS A PROTEIN THAT ALSO AIDS IN FORTIFYING IMMUNE RESPONSE
Similar to the music research on stress, after individuals listened to personally chosen, preferred music, the above mentioned enzymes that boost immune response were produced and measured.  
Also, please take note of other research areas listed on this information sheet that are related to immune system support such as those describing stress management, pain management, supporting relaxation and better sleep, etc..
Know that research in this area is very well documented. For example simply search “music and immune response and you can chose from many examples, here is one: http://www.allstarhealth.com/blog/health-nutrition-science-news/music-boosts-immune-function-lowers-stress/ And in the related area of laughter and immune response, here is a research article: http://www.laughterremedy.com/article_pdfs/Boost%20Your%20Immune%20System.pdf
I thought to add the laughter article because my patient described above often is very jovial and enjoys laughing, along with her true enjoyment of music.
So, "Why live music??"... because live music can boost immune response, while supporting health and wellness. And remember, PREFERRED music has the most potential for benefiting our health.


Also, I want to let everyone know that my new site: musicfromthestart.com, still very new, is in the process of producing more offerings. Right now there are three offerings, i.e., two music albums available, David's Basics in Education and Lyrical Imagery and one educational lecture titled The Purposeful Use of Music From Pregnancy Through Toddlerhood (including Labor and Delivery). The second album, Lyrical Imagery, and the childbirth lecture are a free download for a limited time.
As a reminder the main thrust of the music therapy/childbirth lecture is to support moms (and dads) as they put together their own music listening playlists or CDs to support rhythmic breathing, act as a positive diversion from pain and stress, etc., to be used during labor and delivery.
Also, I'm looking forward to recording my second music album this spring or summer. This is music for child development, autism and special needs. As a reminder, one song, “High 5,” from David's Basics in Education (music album #1) is still a free download for a limited time.



In upcoming posts I will continue with other music therapy/health and wellness related blog posts.


My prescription this week??? Again, choose some favorite music to listen to (with no distractions), chill and feel the old immune system “percolate...”
 
AND!!!! Please share with others, like us on
Facebook  and follow us on Twitter ... Thanks

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Why LIVE Music (for music therapy)??? part 9

Thanks for visiting musicfromthestart.com topics and conversations. Here I want to address music therapy issues and concepts as they relate to education, health and wellness.

This is part nine of my blog posts where I describe music therapy interactions I've had that are indicative of why music is so healing, meaningful, enriching and sometimes life changing!

This post describes a music therapy session with an 18 yr old young man who is trying to regain speech, walking and all other motor control. His condition stems from progressive neurological complications after the flu, fairly unusual and very sad.
Some of my music therapy goals and objectives include stimulating and supporting vocalizations and speech with music cues (of his favorite, familiar music), stimulating and supporting gross and fine motor function, again, by utilizing favorite, familiar music.

Today, as his mom assisted with physical and vocal prompts I found myself constantly having to play the songs as slow as I needed to - as to let the young man be able to accurately succeed with his prescribed vocalizations and/or movements. Also, I always diverted from the actual (recorded) form of the song, e.g., if a song had most of the goal areas in the chorus I would start with the chorus and repeat it more often than other parts of the recording, etc.


So, "Why live music (for music therapy)??"... because live music can be precisely tailored to fit the needs of the client allow for the most success (in a music therapy situation). And remember, PREFERRED music has the most potential for familiarity.


Also, I want to let everyone know that my new site: musicfromthestart.com, still very new, is in the process of producing more offerings. Right now there are three offerings, i.e., two music albums available, David's Basics in Education and Lyrical Imagery and one educational lecture titled The Purposeful Use of Music From Pregnancy Through Toddlerhood (including Labor and Delivery). The second album, Lyrical Imagery, and the childbirth lecture are a free download for a limited time.
As a reminder the main thrust of the music therapy/childbirth lecture is to support moms (and dads) as they put together their own music listening playlists or CDs to support rhythmic breathing, act as a positive diversion from pain and stress, etc., to be used during labor and delivery.
Also, I'm looking forward to recording my second music album this spring or summer. This is music for child development, autism and special needs. As a reminder, one song, “High 5,” from David's Basics in Education (music album #1) is still a free download for a limited time.



In upcoming posts I will continue with other music therapy/health and wellness related blog posts.

My prescription this week??? Again, choose some favorite music to listen to (with no distractions) and chill...
 
AND!!!! Please share with others, like us on
Facebook  and follow us on Twitter ... Thanks


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Why Music??? part 8 Music and Pain Mngmnt

Thanks for visiting musicfromthestart.com topics and conversations. Here I want to address music therapy issues and concepts as they relate to education, health and wellness. Also, I want to let everyone know that my new site: musicfromthestart.com, still very new, is in the process of producing more offerings. Right now there are three offerings, i.e., two music albums available, David's Basics in Education and Lyrical Imagery and one educational lecture titled The Purposeful Use of Music From Pregnancy Through Toddlerhood (including Labor and Delivery). The second album, Lyrical Imagery, and the childbirth lecture are a free download for a limited time.
As a reminder the main thrust of the music therapy/childbirth lecture is to support moms (and dads) as they put together their own music listening playlists or CDs to support rhythmic breathing, act as a positive diversion from pain and stress, etc., to be used during labor and delivery.
Also, I'm looking forward to recording my second music album this spring or summer. This is music for child development, autism and special needs. As a reminder, one song, “High 5,” from David's Basics in Education (music album #1) is still a free download for a limited time.




This is part eight of my blog posts where I describe music therapy interactions I've had that are indicative of why music is so healing, meaningful, enriching and sometimes life changing!


This post describes a music therapy session with an elderly gentleman with severe Alzheimer's and who recently sustained broken vertebrae in his back from a fall.

This was my second visit with him and this day he was writhing with pain. From talking with hospice aids who had just finished cleaning him up they reported details of his extreme discomfort. He would not respond to my voice so I started playing age appropriate popular music. From the start he became quiet and more settled. Then when a song finished he resumed moaning with pain. Every time I would play a song he stopped and became quiet.

This session gives me a great opportunity to re-visit information and research about music therapy and pain management. Below is an excerpt from my MT Research Sheet that is available on my site musicfromthestart.com, in the resource center (home pg - bottom left).

Music has been clinically proven to:

4. DECREASE THE PERCEPTION OF PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL PAIN
First, if we are experiencing physical or emotional pain we have to utilize many neural pathways to feel that
pain. Similarly, when we engage in music listening to act as a positive diversion from pain, for us to attend to
the music we again have to utilize many neural pathways to attend to that music... leaving less (neural
pathways) to perceive pain. Neural pathways are microscopic nerve endings all through our body that ultimately
connect to our brain. An example I'll use here is lets say we were on our couch with a splitting headache and
someone at our door said that a youngster on a bike was just struck by a car outside. Most of us, getting up off
the couch, going outside where neighbors and paramedics would be attending to the youngster, would not feel
the pain in our head anymore. Why? Because we would be utilizing many neural pathways to perceive the
commotion outside (task at hand) leaving less to perceive pain.
And second, regarding music’s psychophysiologic effects, Helen Bonny, PhD (as cited in Tsao et al., 1992),
alludes to studies with coronary intensive care patients finding that those who listened to sedative music
increased their tolerance for pain and decreased their need for pain medication. Ms. Bonny’s explanation for
this: “sedative music is capable of stimulating the brain to produce peptides which are natural pain killers.”

Also in the resource center more detailed information about MT and pain management can be found in my MT Pain Management monograph.


So, "Why music??"... because PREFERRED music is an effective positive diversion from physical and emotional pain. Also, it (music) physiologically affects our nervous system while causing chemical reactions to naturally decrease pain.



In upcoming posts I will continue with other music therapy/health and wellness related blog posts.
Also, go to my website www.musicfromthestart.com, and choose the tab at the top "Wounded Warriors Patriotic Music." If you purchase a patrotic song for  $.99 all the proceeds go to The Wounded Warrior Project. 
My prescription this week??? Choose some favorite to listen to (with no distractions) and chill...
 
AND!!!! Please share with others, like us on
Facebook  and follow us on Twitter ... Thanks

Friday, May 17, 2013

Why Music??? part 7 Music for Ceremonies

Thanks for visiting musicfromthestart.com topics and conversations. Here I want to address music therapy issues and concepts as they relate to education, health and wellness. Also, I want to let everyone know that my new site: musicfromthestart.com, still very new, is in the process of producing more offerings. Right now there are three offerings, i.e., two music albums available, David's Basics in Education and Lyrical Imagery and one educational lecture titled The Purposeful Use of Music From Pregnancy Through Toddlerhood (including Labor and Delivery). The second album, Lyrical Imagery, and the childbirth lecture are a free download for a limited time.
As a reminder the main thrust of the music therapy/childbirth lecture is to support moms (and dads) as they put together their own music listening playlists or CDs to support rhythmic breathing, act as a positive diversion from pain and stress, etc., to be used during labor and delivery.
Also, I'm looking forward to recording my second music album this spring or summer. This is music for child development, autism and special needs. As a reminder, one song, “High 5,” from David's Basics in Education (music album #1) is still a free download for a limited time.



This is part seven of my blog posts where I describe music therapy interactions I've had that are indicative of why music is so meaningful, enriching and sometimes life changing!


This post, like the previous one, is not about any one particular music therapy session. This post describes an event I was asked to be part of with Odyssey Hospice. Odyssey is one of two hospice agencies I provide music therapy for.

The event was a veterans “Honor Pinning.” This is where we at Odyssey Hospice, including a Chaplin, marketing professional and myself and the wonderful staff at Pt. Place Care and Rehab honored veterans at this nursing home/rehab center. Our time consisted of bringing certificates and a pin for each veteran at the facility and acknowledging them individually. Before, during and after there were prayers, music and many thanks.

The reason I am talking about this is because of how honored I felt being a part of such special celebration. This feeling caught me by surprise because earlier in the day all I knew was that I had to “be” at this event, not knowing what to expect. When the individual male veterans' (and wives of vets, there were no female vets at this facility) names were called many cried. I realized many of these men and women have never been formally and publicly honored for their service. And I know for many veterans, their time and experience in the military is the most significant, most important aspect of their lives, often never being acknowledged or even known by others.

So, for these veterans, many of whom are now past their prime of their lives and some very sick, I was honored and humbled to be able to provide (patriotic) music for their special event. I found myself becoming very emotional, as I said, when their names and service branch was announced. Thanks Odyssey... Thanks Pt. Place Care and Rehab... AND THANKS YOU VETERANS! Your service to our country must not be forgotten.


So, "Why music??"... because music is often such an integral part of ceremonies. I could do many blog posts (and I might in the future) about funeral services I provide music for. Those are always “the best church” times... And as described above, honoring our veterans was very special. I feel very blessed to have been a part of it providing patriotic music.


In upcoming posts I will continue with other music therapy/health and wellness related blog posts. 
  
Also, go to my website www.musicfromthestart.com, and choose the tab at the top "Wounded Warriors Patriotic Music." If you purchase a patrotic song for  $.99 all the proceeds go to The Wounded Warrior Project. 
 
My prescription this week??? Sing or listen to some (USA) patriotic music. YouTube some titles like America The Beautiful or God Bless America. Be proud, feel blessed, thank a veteran and enjoy!!!!
 
AND!!!! Please share with others, like us on
Facebook  and follow us on Twitter ... Thanks

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why Music??? part 6 Music and Memory

Thanks for visiting musicfromthestart.com topics and conversations. Here I want to address music therapy issues and concepts as they relate to education, health and wellness.


This is part six of my blog posts where I describe music therapy interactions I've had that are indicative of why music is so meaningful, enriching and sometimes life changing!


This post is not about any one particular music therapy session. It speaks about some general considerations that makes experiencing music comprehensible and enjoyable (as opposed to stressful).

These considerations most often affect the music experience of individuals that have cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's and/or hearing loss. But many other disorders can be included such as developmental disabilities. In my 20 plus years of providing music therapy to older individuals it is common for music to be played or presented that 1) the person does not know, and 2) is too fast. Lets take these one at a time...

With regard to the first point, it is very common in my experience to see dementia patients, who can not speak, walk, feed themselves, etc, to function at a relatively high level in a music setting. I see people sing, clap and move accurately to the music and make relatively lucid comments about the music or song and even display appropriate emotions. And very often their mood is positively affected. Most often this occurs when the person is familiar with the music or ideally, loves the music thereby stimulating significant positive life memories and associations. This is what I characterize as preferred music. ***Again, this holds true to individuals with various disorders. A very important factor that makes familiar music meaningful is that the person, once they know what the song is, can anticipate what is coming, i.e., lyrics, endings, etc. With cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's, one part of the brain that processes music (and emotions), our limbic system (in the more secluded hypothalamic region of our brain) stays intact when other parts of the brain, such as those on the periphery, are more commonly subjected to disease and trauma. This allows music memories to be retained when other cognitive abilities are lost. This positive experience of anticipating music is why children often want to listen to a song (or watch a movie) over and over again. When we humans “know what is coming” (anticipation) we feel comfortable. When we feel comfortable we feel safe. Also, it is common for people with hearing loss, who normally have difficulty engaging in music, to sing with enthusiasm. This is possible because they are so familiar with the song (from their past) their positive memory allows the words “roll off their tongue” even though they can't hear the song very well. This anticipation actually gives them the sensation of hearing better because they are successfully engaging in the song.

When music is too fast, people with cognitive disorders and/or hearing loss experience stress and feelings of not being able to “keep up.” This is common even when the music is familiar. When the music is too fast, people have difficulty with singing and/or comprehension. Particularly in a (music) therapy setting we want to encourage and support success not failure.

In my therapy sessions, providing live, preferred music allows me to constantly watch for individuals reactions as they try to participate. If I know they are familiar and like a specific song I go as slow as I need to which allows them to comfortably participate, i.e., sing and/or move with the music and enjoy the experience. With that all in place the positive reminiscence and emotions can become part of their music experience. Then, even those with cognitive disorders and/or hearing loss can experience success with music.


So, "Why music??"... To be able to provide an individual with cognitive disorders (like Alzheimer's) and/or hearing deficits an opportunity to experience success through accurate memories and emotions, stimulated by favorite music. ***These experience are made much more possible when the guidelines mentioned above can be implemented, i.e., having the individual know what song is coming (preferred music) and playing it slow enough to optimize comprehension and enjoyment.

In upcoming posts I will continue with other music therapy/health and wellness related blog posts.  
My prescription this week??? Dig up an old favorite song, CD or album and listen to it with no distractions. And again, enjoy!!!!

I want to let everyone know that my new site: musicfromthestart.com, still very new, is in the process of producing more offerings. Right now there are three offerings, i.e., two music albums available, David's Basics in Education and Lyrical Imagery and one educational lecture titled The Purposeful Use of Music From Pregnancy Through Toddlerhood (including Labor and Delivery). The second album, Lyrical Imagery, and the childbirth lecture are a free download for a limited time.
As a reminder the main thrust of the music therapy/childbirth lecture is to support moms (and dads) as they put together their own music listening playlists or CDs to support rhythmic breathing, act as a positive diversion from pain and stress, etc., to be used during labor and delivery.
Also, I'm looking forward to recording my second music album this spring. This is music for child development, autism and special needs. As a reminder, one song, “High 5,” from David's Basics in Education (music album #1) is still a free download for a limited time.
 
AND!!!! Please share with others, like us on
Facebook  and follow us on Twitter ... Thanks

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Why Music??? part 5 Music and The Spiritual Realm

Thanks for visiting musicfromthestart.com topics and conversations. Here I want to address music therapy issues and concepts as they relate to education, health and wellness.


This is part five of my blog posts where I describe music therapy interactions I've had that are indicative of why music is so meaningful, enriching and sometimes life changing!


This music therapy session happened at Toledo Children's Hospital where I was called in on a sad case involving an 18yr old young man who, with his whole family this past December, contracted the flu. His family recovered fine but his conditioned deteriorated into a rare condition that rendered him unable to walk, talk, eat or breath on his own. Myself (music therapy), speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy are all part of the treatment team including the rehabilitation doctor.

In a case like this my music therapy role includes neurological stimulation, anticipation and differentiation using familiar songs as cues and prompts, and to use music for sleep and to stimulate hopefulness. This session was the first meeting with the young man and his family. It was reported to me that today he was struggling with a fever among other uncomfortable challenges. Therefore, I decided it would be best to simply introduce myself to the patient and family and provide live music, consisting of songs and artists that mom had told me her son enjoyed, i.e., mostly classic pop/rock music.The idea for today was to have him experience live music, simply for him to enjoy.

Today the boy's grandmother was with him as I visited. I played many songs of which the patient relaxed nicely. The live music turned out to be a nice, positive diversion from the fans (to keep him cool) and breathing apparatus in the room. After many songs I decided to play one more song for this session, a song I learned earlier this winter. The song, Can't Take My Eyes Off of You,” originally done by Frankie Valli, is a song I hadn't played in months. When I finished the song, the grandmother who was at the bedside said to me... “why did you play that song?” Internally I was very startled, thinking I hope I did not upset her for some reason. I answered her question by saying... “I don't know.” She went on to say that “earlier today I was here and said (to her grandson) “I can't take my eyes off of you...” And then thought... “I think that is a lyric of a song...” We both went “wow!!”

This experience reminds me that a few times a year, as I'm working with hospice patients and families, I'll be ready to play a song, then just before I start the song something tells me to play another song. After, the patient will say something like “that's my favorite song (without them telling me that beforehand)” or “I was just singing that this morning...”

My take on this has always been “from time to time an angel taps me on the shoulder to tell me precisely what to play for a good reason.” And this might be a case of “you'd have to be there...” but when it happens it is very noticeable and special.

So, "Why music??"... To experience (what some might call) the “spiritual realm.” I feel when any of us engage in live music, or even our very favorite, special recorded music, emotions are triggered that are directly connected to our spiritual self. Not always, but when the music, time and emotions are all in a desired place music, on various levels, can affect us spiritually. In the case described above it wasn't so much that the song affected the grandmother's spirit after it was played, it was more a case of “spirit” affecting WHAT I played. Either way, when music and it's positive intention is involved “spiritual” things can happen, similar to how prayer can affect people and situations.

In upcoming posts I will continue with other music therapy/health and wellness related blog posts.
My prescription this week??? Meditate or pray about music, i.e., “for how I'm feeling right now, what music should I choose to play or listen to.” And again, enjoy!!!!

I want to let everyone know that my new site: musicfromthestart.com, still very new, is in the process of producing more offerings. Right now there are three offerings, i.e., two music albums available, David's Basics in Education and Lyrical Imagery and one educational lecture titled The Purposeful Use of Music From Pregnancy Through Toddlerhood (including Labor and Delivery). The second album, Lyrical Imagery, and the childbirth lecture are a free download for a limited time.
As a reminder the main thrust of the music therapy/childbirth lecture is to support moms (and dads) as they put together their own music listening playlists or CDs to support rhythmic breathing, act as a positive diversion from pain and stress, etc., to be used during labor and delivery.
Also, I'm looking forward to recording my second music album this spring. This is music for child development, autism and special needs. Remember, one song, “High 5,” from David's Basics in Education (music album #1) is still a free download for a limited time.
 
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