Music as Therapy
Music can be therapeutic. It is most definitely mood altering. I arrived home, humming and smiling after a long day of work. My husband remarked, “Someone is in a good mood”, I paused and realized indeed I was!
I had traveled home through the chaos of peak time Mumbai traffic – tired and a prime candidate for irritability. The Ola cab company had decided on a whim to upgrade me to a Play cab. I didn’t even know or care what a Play cab was until this evening, so had never looked into it. In any case, now that it was being offered to me – no skin off my nose, I thought.
The Ola Prime Play Experience
Once I was seated, I was presented with a tablet with vast selection of media – news, movies, TV shows and music. At first I just wanted to close my eyes and just disengage from everything. The presence of the tablet really didn’t change much for me. Then I thought, why not just check out the tablet? After all, I had nothing to lose. I discovered playlists – OK, this is interesting! I figured thankfully, that I could listen to some music in a taxi for once, without being subjected to the incessant nonsensical jabbering of Radio Jockeys and inane advertising announcements. It tempted me this way.
I chose an old playlist and was delighted at the songs that were available! Because this playlist was compiled by someone that wasn’t me, there were songs I had not thought of, or heard in years! Suffice to say, I was pretty much humming and smiling the whole journey home. It felt like a meeting between long lost friends, and yes, a lot of time travel and resurfacing of memories of some of the best times of my life.
As a therapist, most of what I do with clients whether Counselling, Psychotherapy or even Hypnotherapy, is some form or the other of Age Regression. If I were to ask you what you ate for dinner yesterday – even that qualifies as regression – anything that takes you backwards, away from the present, is just that. Often, while dealing with issues and regression it entails moments of angst, of analysis (most often painful), deconstruction, reconstruction and a whole lot of working through traumatic and not so pleasant, moments and memories. We tend to fixate on the negative hurtful notes of our past and rarely, if ever, look back seeking the moments that have given us such joy in another time.
So now, let’s take popular music: rock, pop or just plain old Hindi film songs. A song from one of these genres or songs from your childhood, or even from your teenage years… songs that evoke beautiful memories for you, of a happier time; when you were young and carefree. Songs that are scattered along the road you have traveled thus far – peppering your path with milestones of important memories, precious moments of laughter shared with friends, the song that you used to hear on loop when you first fell in love. In an instant you are transported across time and space. Just as you have trauma locked up, you have happiness squirreled away too!
What an amazing way to feel those feelings again. They rise up, as fresh and as new as they were when you first felt them as the melody holds you in its sway. No sorrow of bygone years – just an opportunity, a magical way, to relive the sheer joy of that moment once again.
I realize that I have put a whole spin on the Music Therapy concept by saying Music as Therapy – I thought I was being quite clever!
However, on a serious note (pun most definitely intended) – Music Therapy is indeed it is a valuable tool. Soothing music for yoga, in spas, music for meditation – composed of notes and frequencies that can alter your brain waves and therefore positively influence blood pressure and sleep cycles – overcoming insomnia, stress and hyper tension. Some studies even suggest that symptoms of physical ailments can be alleviated with certain types of Music Therapy.
Did you know that 432 Hz (A) is the ideal frequency for composing music? Why we don’t use it? Why is it that most modern music is composed instead at 440 Hz? But that I will leave for another post.
For today, I give you the key to instant happiness in this moment – play Wham! Or Madonna, Pet Shop boys or Gypsy Kings, Pink Floyd or Jim Reeves, The Beatles or Bon Jovi, Whitney Houston or Elvis Presley, Prince or Michael Jackson, Kishore Kumar, Kumar Sanu, Lata Mangeshkar or Hemant Kumar – and have a yourself very happy day, today!