Over 2,000 years ago Plato declared “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” The universal power of music had been recognized for as long as human beings have been whistling, clapping, and humming aloud to the feelings in their hearts. Our deepest feelings of love, hope, faith, and sorrow are expressed in the words and notes of music. Every homeowner thinks of ways to add sound systems to their space as a way of including music in daily life, businesses incorporate music into the background of their businesses, and what would a car ride be without the radio turned up?
In our modern age music has become more accessible than ever before. Music which was once only heard in the monasteries or halls of the kings and queens of Europe are now listened to around the world. The songs of Africa, Tibet, and Tobago, once only heard by those who traveled the world, can now be found on websites and CD’s and played in the homes of people who have never left their own hometown. It has brought us closer together as people and as cultures and allowed us to share what is in our hearts in a common language.
Impact of Music on Our Psyche
The ability of music to make us happy has been acknowledged as anecdotal wisdom for years, but recently more rigorous scientific studies have shown the impact that music has upon how we feel and how we think. Music can improve our mood, our ability to learn, influence our choices, and rouse us to action. Armies and sports teams use music to build excitement and power in their players and soldiers. Stores and restaurants use background music to keep patrons longer in their businesses, hoping that the longer they stay, the more they’ll buy.
Knowing that music can affect us so strongly, how can we utilize it effectively in our homes? Here are a few ideas to put music to good work.
Music For Learning
You’ve been using music to learn most of your life, whether you know it or not. You’ve memorized the A,B,C’s, the Brady Bunch theme song, and what percent you can save on car insurance because of jungles and the music that accompanies the information you receive. Armed with this knowledge here are some musical tools you can add to increase learning.
- ABC’s, Numbers, history and other facts can be remembered more easily when accompanied by music. Remember Schoolhouse Rock? Those methods for memorization still work. Turn them on when your children are around and help stuff more information into those little minds you love.
- Baroque era music has been proven to improve reasoning ability and attention in those who listen to it while working on a task. If your kids are struggling with math homework or focusing on a chore, try turning on a Baroque music channel on Pandora and seeing if it helps.
- Turning on a specific song for a specific activity can lead to argument free transitions from playtime to chore time or bedtime. The familiar strains of a song that you’ve established as the “bedtime” song can serve as an impartial reminder to children that it’s time to clean up their things and mentally prepare for a change in activity.
Music for Improved Mood
Visit any doctor’s office where calming music is playing and you’ll see evidence of the use of music to reduce stress and anxiety. Music can also be used to alter mood in other ways. For these emotional goals the type of music you use will vary upon personal preference and experience.
- Worry has been described as an activity that doesn’t reduce tomorrow’s problems, it just robs today of it’s joy and strength. Turn on music that makes you smile in the here and now. If your worry is debilitating, try listening to music that include binaural beats. These beats, which mimic the delta and theta waves your brain makes while you are sleeping deeply, can help you to relax naturally.
- The use of calming music with cognitive therapy has proven to help reduce anxiety in individuals who suffer with extreme levels in their own life. If you are suffering with anxiety, try turning on very low key, relaxing music to help you stay calm.
- Several studies have shown that music is very beneficial in helping improve the mood of those who are struggling with depression. Music can lift the spirits of the listener, even if just for a few moments. It has proven to be effective in mood enhancement for those who experience depression due to disease and illness as well.
Music can be a source of common ground for parents and children, husbands and wives, and a way to improve the mood of everyone in your home. So turn on that radio and enjoy!
Images from eu.fotolia, thetuneables and watchfit