by Pamela Holm
What is the value of music? Music has many benefits; for example: helping us to reduce stress, to think more creatively, to help our minds to develop and grow with intelligence in a balanced way. Cognitive studies have demonstrated that in the process of playing music our whole brain is stimulated. Music also, even without words, can help us to express what is in our hearts and souls.
I had an experience many years ago of singing a folksong, “The Streets of London” for a group from Senegal when I was a participant in Canada World Youth. After finishing the song, the Senegalese leader pulled me aside. He spoke in French which I was struggling to understand. He led me into a neighbouring room and asked me to sing the song two more times for him. This man knew not the meaning of the words, but the music had touched his heart and brought him to tears!
Music has the capacity to reach us in our depths. It gives us the opportunity to express from the centre of our being. As a music therapist I invite people to lay aside words, the language of our egos, and then to find emotional expression in tones, gestures and simple instruments. In my experience I have witnessed highly articulate people, as well as those with various physical, developmental and cognitive abilities, to find such complete deep expression using the simplest of musical gestures. The music and the sounds can release tension blocked up inside, which if unexpressed, can actually become locked into our body’s memory as ‘dis-ease’. Effecting releases takes no musical skill, it just takes a willingness to explore and give voice to our inner being.
So come, explore, learn, benefit on April 4 and April 20th.
Originally published in Tone Magazine, April 2013.