Playing for Change, Rappers in an MRI Machine, and Unchained Melody
1 Kindness Quote: (ok, today there are 3. I couldn’t resist!)
“Music is the universal language of mankind.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Music can change the world because it can change people.” ~ Bono
“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” ~ Confucius
1 Gratitude Thought:
I am grateful for music, for the sounds, the voices, the instruments. It can calm me or excite me, create great joy, or tug on my heart strings. Even without words it can do all those things.
1 Kindness Habit Idea…backed by science 🧪:
I just love starting my day with music. A whole symphony of notes. Sometimes it’s country, sometimes classical piano, sometimes jazz, sometimes Rock ‘n Roll. What’s your favorite?
And it’s so easy these days to listen…Alexa, Pandora, Spotify, Amazon….in my car, on my phone, over Sonos, in my earbuds while gardening or walking. It’s such a happy thing. 🎵
I feel better when there is music. There’s music to cook by… I’m not sure it improves my cooking, but I feel happier adding those ingredients…. There’s music to exercise by… I get a little more energy into those stretches with music tugging me along. There’s pretty much music to do ‘anything’ by. I bet you can think of at least 3 things right now that you do that go better with music!
It turns out, there are some pretty good reasons for loving tunes. Listening to music is like jogging with your brain. The sweet sounds of music can reduce pain, lower your blood pressure, and eliminate anxiety. They can also help you sleep better, help you be in a better mood, make you more mentally alert, and improve your memory. It has a lot of the same medicinal properties that kindness has. In fact, it’s a form of kindness just for you. Here are some of the research details:
Music has been proven to help your blood flow more easily, reducing your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure. It also increases the serotonin and endorphin levels in your blood, which stabilizes your mood and feeling of well being. Your stress is also lowered because music causes an increase in cortisol in your system.
Music can increase the production of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine helps reduce anxiety and depression.
Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s or Dementia, music has been proven to relieve some of the symptoms. Music can relax an agitated patient, improve their mood, and help them communicate better.
Music is known for helping manage pain by sending strong signals to the brain that compete with pain signals. These signals help reduce the feelings of pain, especially in intensive, geriatric, or palliative care.
Music can actually help you eat less. Studies have shown that playing soft music during a meal helps you slow down while you are eating and consume less.
Music can also help you hang in there longer during your exercise workouts, giving you extra energy and endurance.
How does this happen?
Researchers are still trying to understand exactly how our brain is able to understand and play music. Technically, when you play music, sound vibrations enter your ear canal and they tickle your ear drum…giggle, giggle. Those vibrations are turned into an electrical signal that travels through your auditory nerve to your brain stem, where the sounds are turned back into what we perceive as music. Pretty cool!
According to one otolaryngologist (think Ear, Nose and Throat specialist) from John Hopkins University, the brain has to make a lot of mathematical calculations in order to make sense of music. Music is structural, mathematical, and architectural. Wow, that’s quite a brain workout.
Rappers in an fMRI machine
I must admit to a bit of laughter as I pictured some of the research. Dozens of jazz musicians and rappers were asked to improvise music while they were lying down in a fMRI machine (functional magnetic resonance imaging) while the researchers watched to see which areas of their brains lit up. It reminds me a bit of those Christmas lights that have become so popular….you know the ones that people wrap around their houses and time to music.
Exercise for your brain
Now that you know that I love music (oh, so important to know) and that researchers are studying the effects that music has on the brain, let’s look at some of the ways we can use music as a kind way to exercise our brain.
Are you like me…..guilty of listening to (and enjoying) the same old music that we loved growing up? I thought I had a wide variety….Beatles, Stones, Beach Boys, Smokey Robinson, The Righteous Brothers (who doesn’t love Unchained Melody), a little classical, a little country… but experts say we need to broaden our musical horizons to include music from other generations. New music invigorates our brain, making it work harder to compute those new sounds and that helps keep our brain strong.
But it’s ok to listen to those old melodies, too. They help your brain recall memories from your past when you associate a certain song with a past event or person. Even now, I can think of childhood songs that take me on a walk down memory lane. Inky Dinky Spider,🕸 Row Row Row Your Boat…I am dating myself…
Play around with different sounds. Some may relax you and help you unwind, while others may help you concentrate. Someone invented those little sound machines to go on your bedside table for a reason.
Final Notes (pun intended)
I had never really thought about the medical (and kindness) benefits to music before doing this bit of research. But I’ve always known that music is a welcome companion, no matter what my mood. I’m going to try that bit about listening to some new genres….but I admit, I’ll probably never be able to give up listening to Unchained Melody.
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1 Kind Act….
In 2002, Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke began a musical journey on the streets of America, searching for music to inspire the world and forming the company, Playing for Change.
Just three years later, Mark met Roger Ridley, singing “Stand by Me” on a street in Santa Monica.
Mark asked Roger,
“With a voice like yours, why are you singing on the streets?”
“Man, I’m in the Joy business, I come out to be with the people.”
That conversation inspired Playing for Change to begin traveling, filming, and recording musicians from all over the world. Their music transcends different countries and cultures, spreading a message of love and hope everywhere.
Today, Playing for Change helps build music and art schools for children around the world, inspiring hope and inspiration for future generations.
*A special note of thanks to my amazing friend, Mike, who shared the Playing For Change music with me… Another ripple of kindness.
1 Kindness Question for you:
How does music make you feel? What are 2 of your favorite songs or music genres? I hope you will share your music with everyone in the comments below.
Visit Our Kindness Library
Want a little more kindness in your life? You can visit our library of articles by clicking here! Enjoy!
Check out our new Gift and Book Program
Kindness Magnet launched in April, 2021 and has become tremendously popular. I guess we all need a little more kindness in this world! A great way to practice a little generosity is through our new Gift and Book Program. I hope you’ll check it out!
Be sure to check out the new gift items….cute kindness baby clothing, a new Kindness Matters tote, and new children’s kindness books….in addition to the current items. Remember, 100% goes to support those in need. To those of you who have already purchases… thank you.
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May your week be filled with kindness. 💜
PS: Join me next Monday as we explore kindness in more than 7 billion worlds.🌎 See you in your Inbox! 📩
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Great article! Music gives me joy. It's a universal way of communication. Music triggers feelings in a special way. You hear an old song and it transports you to a moment in time via feelings. And it changes your mood using just 12 notes. Early Rock and Roll, Motown, Blues and Jazz, are my favorite genres to play guitar along with and listen to...🤘