Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Practice--Shifting moods with music

photo by Patricia Herlevi, Happy Flowers
Consider how music affects our moods.  When we listen to songs from our formative years, we wax nostalgia, but this can have therapeutic effects too.  We hear of people listening to romantic music to get them in the "mood" and marches and political anthems often accompany rallies.  But how conscious are we of shifting or creating moods with music?

I've already mentioned rhythmic entrainment and resonance on this blog so we're not heading in that direction today.  Hopefully, you have kept a music journal where you have tracked emotional and physical responses to music and sound exposure.  I would even go as far as asking you to listen to music you heard as a child, even if this music was the favorite of a sibling or parent.  Then track your emotions, feelings, and thoughts. Where does your mind wander to, which memory surfaces? How does this memory cause you to feel? Do you feel angry, sad, or elated?

And actually, if you feel angry or sad, this is good, because the music brings up emotions, feelings, and thoughts that need releasing now.  If you feel angry, ventilate (as Sandra Anne Taylor refers to it), cry or scream into your pillow or write your feelings in your journal.  Do this for 10 to 20 minutes, then rip up and destroy all that you have written.  Just let it go.  If you feel sad when you hear this music then cry and write about your grief in your journal, then let it go.  Remember to replace those emotions with love, peace, calmness, confidence or other beneficial emotions, thoughts and feelings.

If you're not to that point yet, that's okay.  Let's do an experiment so you can witness first hand music's ability to affect your moods.  I'm including 3 songs via YouTube videos below.  Listen to each of the songs and watch how your mood changes with each song.  If you are a grounded person, you will notice subtle changes, but if you are mercurial or flowing, then those mood changes will feel more dramatic.  Feel free to contact me and let me know the results of your experiment.

1. Think, Aretha Franklin, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsL9UL9qbv8

2. Play with Me, Mary Youngblood, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCjhCfuERmc

3. Beethoven, Fur Elise, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mVW8tgGY_w

Remember to record your information in your music journal.

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