Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mindfulness verses Brain-Science & Music

In 2005, I came up with the concept of Power Songs because as a journalist, I noticed the effects of certain music on my daily activities and moods. Then shortly after that, I came up with the concept of keeping a  music diary based on the food elimination diet and food allergy journal. So I'm surprised to find a book published in 2012 that combines brain science with music playlists.

Your Playlist Can Change Your Life by Galina Mindlin, Don Durousseau and Joseph Cardillo (Source Books, 2012), offers an easy and flowing read that revolves around using everyday music to boosts moods, relax the mind, organize the mind, create more dopamine in the brain, and so on. The authors also include exercises which are basically how-to sections on how to change your brain and neurological patterns without side effects (though some of the songs on their playlist have text messaging I wouldn't want floating around in my brain's pathways).

While I do understand that including lists with pop music (the late Don Campbell and Daniel Levitin also included rock and pop music references in their books), I prefer using purposeful music where the musicians had set intentions for healing and wholeness in their listeners. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading about the latest brain science in such a flowing and easy-to-digest manner. I also enjoyed reading about the patients finding success using music as opposed to drugs in working with brain-related issues. The authors (though it comes off as advertising for their practices), mention Brain Music Therapy where a practitioner records an individual's brainwaves and turns it into songs for the person to use as therapy. This is the next waves of pharma-music (I'm coining this phrase).

My mission has always been to raise awareness of how we listen to and apply music to our daily lives. My approach is to delve into music from around the world and throughout history. I think moving away from pop culture and exploring deeper territory is what's needed here. How well is sound healing going to work on an individual who turns on the radio station after a session and listens to Metallica? I admit I'm a musical snob but I still promote the idea of purposeful music even if we can only start where we are at this point. However, someone who listens to heavier songs can at least try listening to African pop music or more rhythmic jazz. At least I think so.

Still, we now know (even in pop culture) that music lights up areas of our brains. We know that music changes moods and that some moods are healthier than others. But if we're going to change our attitudes too then watching lyrical content which can easily turn into negative or positive mantras (which we know has metaphysical power), is crucial to our well-being.

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