Music, medicine for a new age?

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Music is an ancient healing modality, with rhythm and melody often being where we instinctively turn to relieve our pain and suffering. In my twenty years in the field of applied music effects research there has been a groundswell of interest on the impact of music as a method to improve our health and well being. I have written extensively about this in Healing at the Speed of Sound®.

Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel Levitin of McGill University just published an article (pdf) in Trends in Neuroscience exploring the neurochemistry of music. I’ve just started to read their review so can’t comment on their conclusions at this point. But, I thought I’d share the article with you so you too have the opportunity to explore their findings.  You might also enjoy an article from io9   summarizing their research; including the four areas they identified where music can help, as well as the four primary neuro-chemical systems involved with music. Can Music Be More Effective Than Drugs?

As a producer of therapeutic music programs, I’m an advocate for the power of the right music to facilitate immense life change. It can function as a “wonder drug” affecting mechanisms involved with cognition, emotion, stress and sleep regulation, learning, auditory perception, and on.

What do you think— is music medicine for a new age?

The Power of Music

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We have all experienced the healing power of music. Each of us instinctively select music we like to change our mental, physical, and emotional health.  Music effects research is helping us get a better grasp on what happens in the brain and body when we play and listen to music. As this understanding deepens, it improves our ability to select music which is good for us, and for companies like Advanced Brain Technologies to create evidence based music to give people healthy alternatives for improving their lives.

One of the leading neuroscientist’s helping us to understand what happens to the brain on music is Dr. Daniel Levitin of McGill University. He was interviewed by CBS News this past Saturday about the power of music. You can watch the video here

The Music Instinct

I’m eager to watch The Music Instinct: Science and Song, a two-hour documentary on the science of music, which premieres tonight at 9 p.m. (ET) on PBS.  Check your local listings. One of my favorite neuroscientists Daniel Levitin author of  This is Your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs is co-host and will be doing a live Q & A on Twitter @danlevitin during the broadcast. Use hashtag #musicinstinct in Twitter search to follow or join the conversation.

Although I have not yet seen the program I know it will be outstanding. Why? In part because my friend Don Campbell, author of  The Mozart Effect and nearly two dozen other books on the power of music was one of the first co-producers for two years. A decade in the making, The Music Instinct should prove to be a key resource for anyone interested in music and the brain.        

Yo Yo Ma plays Bach, Bobby McFerrin creates an improvised melody with his son Tyler, and the acclaimed percussionist Evelyn Glennie, who happens to be deaf, shares how she hears music through the vibrations in her body (bone conduction). There is so much more;  music and evolution, medicine, the brain, the physics of sounds, and interviews, need I say more?

I’ll be joining the conversation on Twitter @alexdoman. Hope to see you there!  Please share your thoughts here after you watch.