Friday, May 7, 2010

Music Medicine



I remember when I first heard Glenn Gould's Bach variations. It has been years, but it was a transcendent moment. Oh man, that was a revelation. I couldn't stop listening. Honestly it was almost obsessive.

Just the other day I read that at last music as medicine has been scientifically documented. Where did I see that? Somewhere in the Post or maybe the New York Times? I don't remember the source but it was valid. Certain sounds, rhythms, melodies and harmonies, when administered in the proper dose, bring measurable healing to the listener.

I knew it already, though certainly have never had the chops to prove it scientifically. Currently my medicine involves a lot of Eric Clapton music which is very odd for me. I've had his unplugged CD for years but barely ever gave it a listen. Now it's on a continual repeat loop on the ipod. Wow. That Townes Van Zandt song I quoted yesterday really opened up something in me that has been hungering for sweet guitars and gruff voices. I would never have guessed.

Though I can't explain exactly what it's doing, I can say for certain that Eric, Townes and others like Steve Winwood for instance, are exactly what the doctor would order for me at this moment in time, if I had a Doctor of Music, that is.

Thanks Eric, et al. Bravo!! And ... encore, please?

16 comments:

Mrsupole said...

Music can heal the soul. Music can give you a headache. Music can make you feel. Yes, it only makes sense that music could be used as a medicine. And that is great news. I think it would be hard to find someone who does not like music. Music is the universal language. There are many great things about music and I am thankful that we have music in our lives.

God bless.

ellen abbott said...

Right now I'm listening to my new wind chime and bird song through the open door and window while I work on these sketches. Very calming and soothing. Not sure if it is helping me get my work done though.

My favorite Clapton CD though is Clapton Chronicles.

Butternut Squash said...

I find it absolutely impossible to be unhappy with doo-wop on the radio.
Happy people are healthier people, no doubt about it. Have you seen laughing yoga? ...music, laughing, chocolate, all good for you... what a wonderful life.

The Bug said...

We have that Clapton CD - love it! He's only just a genius...

willow said...

I have a CD of Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations. It's one of my very, very favorites. Did you know that Anthony Hopkins is really playing it himself in "Hannibal"? Seems he was a would-be concert pianist before he switched to acting. Who knew?

Expat From Hell said...

Seems like the most troubled of our musicians provide us with the most relief. Clapton's personal story is a real heartbreaker. Curious that his music has healed so many others. EFH

Tom said...

dinosaur rock, eh? I don't know if i've heard the Bach you're talking of...he always sort of put me to sleep--preferring strauss or beethoven or mozart...

my youngest has started a program in music therapy, and i'm really hoping he sticks with it--seems like a very rewarding use of musical skills...i think he might enjoy talking with you...he's a little nuts.

Reya Mellicker said...

Tom I would love to talk to any member of your family.

And yeah, Mrupole, music CAN give you a headache. So true!! Sometimes I use it when I need to cry. Just the right song can crank up the plumbing. Waaaaaaaa!

Willow I didn't know that, but wow!

And Tom, Glenn Gould does things with Bach music I can't describe. Makes it wow. He does.

Ronda Laveen said...

The Chinese say that music is the bridge to Heaven.

Barbara said...

I've long been a believer in the medicinal powers of music. Sitting down at my piano to play simply pushes away any heaviness in my being and I'm consumed by the sound. Listening to others play frees my mind in another way. I really identified with this post.

karen said...

Eric Clapton Unplugged is one of our all time favourites! I have been taking some time to read back through all your old posts, as I hate to miss out on anything... nice to be up to date on Reya's world, again :)

Steve said...

It's funny how some music gets "on rotation" again -- albums I've had for years and never listened to much, or stopped listening to. Suddenly I'll rediscover them and get enthused about them all over again. Glad to hear others do the same!

I've never warmed to Eric Clapton, though, I gotta say. I like "Layla" from his very old days, but after that...meh.

steven said...

music so wishes to be heard that it goes through all sorts of extraordinary conniptions to become a part of this world! music plays constantly in this house - from all over the world, from every genre. what interests me is why certain pieces hit high rotation. what is they have to say or do?! there's a purpose there that's for sure. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Barbara, live music is the best! I used to sit and listen to my ex husband practicing all the time. Even when he was simply playing scales, I loved and benefitted from the sound.

Steven, you teach me something important every day. Thank you!

Rick said...

I'll admit to a certain fondness for the stuff. But, as with any medicine, there is always the danger of addiction.

much love my friend.

Jo Floyd Lucas said...

Glenn Gould is in my car at ALL times...wouldn't be able to make my weekly trek to KC without him. The Goldberg Variations are genius, comparable only with Vladimir Ashkenazy's interpretation of Chopin.

Taking care of little ones all week, taking care of an ailing mother in another city...taking care of the hundreds of things we all take care of each day, it's safe for me to say that I am transormed, uplifted, challenged, and yes, healed, by music on a daily basis.