Friday Counseling Issues: Music

Oliver Sacks, M.D., is a neurologist who has written a fascinating book about music and the brain.  My son loaned me his copy a few years ago, and I think I’m going to have to buy my own because I want to read it again.

Musicophilia details the way the brain reacts to music.  I was particularly moved by the story of a very elderly man in a nursing home who had pretty much pulled into himself, not speaking or communicating in any way.  When he was fitted with headphones and listened to the music of his era,  he responded dramatically.  He’d been a musician, and his brain still was wired to recognize and enjoy his music.  He even began to communicate again with his daughter and the caregivers in his facility.

All through the ages, every culture in every land has used music for recreation, for ceremony, for oral history, for wooing a fair maiden, for religious observances and more. In the Bible, music is mentioned hundreds of times.  David played his harp to soothe King Saul’s bad moods; instruments that were used in the tabernacle and later the temple are enumerated; the choirs that had the job of making music were detailed.  We are told in Job that the morning stars all sing together.  We know that there will be amazing music in heaven, for God is a musical being.

Whales sing to each other.  Birds make beautiful sounds.  If you listen on a quiet summer evening, you will hear the rhythmic chirping of frogs and crickets as they court one another.

God has given us a wonderful gift in music.  It lifts the soul as nothing else can do.  I’ve often considered having soft music playing in my office during sessions, but I’ve not done it because of my concern that it would be distracting.  Some day I may give it a try, though, because music does, indeed, soothe the savage breast (William Congreve, The Mourning Bride, 1697).

So if your spirits are low, or you are tense and anxious, try listening to some beautiful music.  If you are angry and your temper is high, music can help calm you.  Music is the language of romance.  A date to a concert of beautiful music is a great idea.  Music can entrance babies who are fussy. Take a look here: http://win-edge.com/BabyGoToSleep.shtml

And finally, just for fun:

 

 

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