Good Vibrations

Sarah

We all know that sound is a form of energy. When we think of sound, we often think of music. We are now able to measure the effects rhythms and tones have on our heart rate, our breathing, our brain waves, our immune cells and even our DNA. Wow! What am I listening to?

Music has the ability to evoke memories of youth, special occasions and a shared past. My high school boy friend, who is very happily married, recently sent me a recording of Ray Charles singing I Can’t Stop Loving You. ( You know now, if you didn’t already, that I date to the early sixties.) My husband loved big band music. We played In the Mood at his funeral! Johnny Paycheck’s recording of Please Don’t Play A11, reminds me of a funny incident that I shared with someone very special. Any C&W twang makes me think of him.

Music can set a mood. What would you choose for a festive evening? Mariachi music at a wedding reception? What tunes are relaxing or soothing? Which are inspiring or uplifting? Music is an integral part of our holidays. Could we have Christmas without Silent Night? Can you attend a football game at your alma mater without singing the school fight song? Beethoven’s 5th symphony became known as the victory symphony during World War II. The BBC played the familiar first four notes of the symphony before every broadcast to Europe.

According to Brenda Stockdale, author of You Can Beat the Odds, numerous investigations have demonstrated music’s ability to enhance our well-being on multiple levels. She advises us to become aware of the sounds in our environment—background noise included—and the effect they have on our moods or heart rates. Of course, there are things that we can’t control; but there are plenty of opportunities to make a choice: The morning news might be minimized. Perhaps talk radio could be eliminated during your commute. While cooking dinner wouldn’t you rather listen to one of your favorite musical artists than a TV sitcom or police drama? Those that study these sorts of things recommend avoiding rap, heavy metal or techno recordings—unless you want to increase your arterial pressure. So, how about a Brahms lullaby as you drift off to sleep or the Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun instead of your alarm? Sounds good to me!

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