Music affects our thoughts,
feelings and behaviours.The
rhythm can affect our bodies so that our pulse and respirations are in time with
the music's beat or rhythm. Music can
relax or energise, and certain pieces of music can affect us in deeply personal
ways. Whilst most of us listen to music, making music can be a very
effective means of expression.It’s
also great for our self-esteem and confidence.
Music can be listened to, used as a means of expression, or performed.
You dont have to be a musician to enjoy playing an
instrument.We can improvise with
any instrument and anything else too!Hammer handles make great claves, broom handles
and dustbins (and lids), saucepans, small branches from a tree, plastic bottle filled with
rice, hardboard as a wobble board just a few examples!Sing!How
many of us sing in the bath/shower wonderfully uninhibited and expressive.Go for it!
There are different kinds of music for all tastes
classical, pop, rock, rap, jazz, folk each culture, each
generation, has its own style. Music is
very personal and affects individuals in different ways. Different parts of
the body resonate to different sounds and pitches, and most significantly, certain kinds
of music can powerfully effect the human spirit or soul.We
can listen to music anywhere and everywhere.
Those who make
music with voice or instrument experience an added dimension to life, but many who might make music do not do so
perhaps through lack of confidence.
Music is able to cut across boundaries, through language,
culture, age and religion.
already therapy worldwide, whether through making music or listening.It
is an important part of spiritual life.
Most significant religious traditions use music to help
create the mood for prayer, worship, reverence or joyful celebration.
music can improve our energy levels and affect our mood sometimes dramatically.
For example, when we feel low, it can be tempting to play music that fits
with how we feel which may make us feel worse. It can be much more helpful
to choose music that is close to how we feel now, but just slightly above it,
for instance a little faster or slightly more upbeat, or music that starts slow
and sad, but changes and influences our mood in the same way.
Music is very personal to each of us, and what affects one person
in one way, may affect someone else very differently. You probably have
some idea of what affects you and how, but you can experiment and try out
different pieces of music. You might decide to create different
play-lists according to your mood, starting for instance with music that fits
with your mood, then gradually becoming lighter and faster if you're feeling
sad, or calming music if you're feeling tense.
Music in film
and television shows us how music can affect mood.A
antic drama would have a very different filmscore to a thriller.The old silent films originally had a
pianist in the cinema playing along, trying to strike the right mood.
At times, when watching a film or TV programme, you know what’s about to happen
because of the music being played – you can anticipate the terror, such
as in “Jaws”.
Tunes such as “Pomp and
Circumstance” (Land of Hope and Glory), will instil great pride and patriotism.
It has been shown that musak background music can affect our shopping
habits, encouraging us to spend more money.A
survey by the Psychology Department at Leicester University (website) showed
how music can affect the products we buy.For
a set period of time they played French music, and watching with a video camera directed
at the wine shelves, showed a significant increase in the number of bottles of
French wine being sold.They then played a
German tune, which showed the same results with German wine. The buyers seemed unaware of the influence of the
shown how even hens are happier and produce more eggs when played calming music!
when studying is said to increase our IQ.Another study showed that children who learn a
musical instrument are much quicker at developing spatial awareness and problem solving
There are times
when we might feel like taking our temper out on a set of drums, and it would almost
certainly help us to feel better.
New Age) music has a slow rhythm.Sounds are
often synthesised and there may be added natural sounds, such as whalesong, birdsong,
waves or gentle rain to help produce a feeling of calm and relaxation.
appeared in best dated 2 February 1999, with the headline Musical
who had musical training as children have better word recall, a recent study has found.Researchers say that women who went to music
lessons for at least six years before the age of 12 were significantly better at
remembering words than those who hadnt.Music
could also be beneficial in treating memory loss or language difficulties.
McDonalds did their own research, which showed that we eat according to the speed of the music being
played.Therefore, when a restaurant is busy,
with a queue building up, McDonalds plays fast music, thus ensuring that the customers
will eat quickly, and leave the restaurant sooner, freeing up the table for the next
schools found that classrooms are much calmer with relaxing backgro
with even the most unruly child being able to work and concentrate better.They have been (quietly) playing a variety of
music that children wouldnt normally listen to such as classical and traditional
music from all over the world. A teacher in Wales used Mozart's
music with similar effect -
Drumming has been, and still is, used down through history
- by all cultures of the world. Drumming has been a feature of ceremonies such as
weddings, births, deaths & harvests etc.
Drumming is good for relaxation, fosters a sense of unity
and encourages self-expression, resulting in a more positive self-esteem. A
study by Barry Quinn indicated that drumming for brief periods can actually change a persons
brainwave patterns, dramatically reducing stress. It suggested that the effect of drumming produces greater results than any other form of
Drumming is something everyone can do, and requires no musical
You don't need any specialist or expensive instrument either -
anything goes. Ideas for improvised drums include: dustbin lids,
pots, pans and wooden spoons, anything that can be shaken, any household object
that makes a sound.
Some suggestions for activities
follow. They are mostly for fun, but by-products are
relaxation, non-verbal communication, relationship building, laughter therapy (!), tension
Talk about the instruments - where they
are from, how they are played etc
Group singing - accompanied by guitar
Echo - either divide into 2 groups, or
one person leads - beat a rhythm, the rest echo
Free Improvisation - everyone just does
their own thing with their chosen instrument - the intention is that everyone finds the
common pulse. This activity can continue for some time. Initially, people can
be very self-conscious and worried about looking a bit of a fool, but they soon forget
about that and start enjoying it! A variation may be that every 2 or 3 minutes,
everyone passes their instrument to the next person along.
Memories - imagine an important event in
your life (past, present or future) and try to express that
Seascape - the waves, wind, gulls, boats,
African Rainforest - you could use vocals
If I were.. - If I were a
musical instrument, I would be a ...
Charades - mime the playing
of a musical instrument, others must guess. A variation on this is for one group
member to leave the room. A leader is nominated who will mime the playing of an
instrument while the others will copy. (the leader will change instrument from time to
time) The other person has to guess who the leader is.
Listening - listen to 4 pieces of music,
and write down the feelings you experience as you listen. At the end, the group
share their responses to each piece etc
Clapping - leader claps a simple rhythm,
the others gradually join in until everyone is clapping
Making Eyes - the leader starts beating a
rhythm, then makes eye contact with someone else who then joins in the rhythm etc
Using a standard rhythm eg. swing beat -
one half plays the main beat, others play the other beats
If you're alone at home
- then just do whatever you want to do! You could drum along to some
recorded music, or make up your own.