Posts Tagged "Sing-play music"

How making music can help people living with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

Music touches us in profound ways, and while many of us enjoy listening to music, it is the activity of making music that has the most powerful effect on our wellbeing. The Sing-Play approach makes learning how to do this an easy and rewarding experience. We have so much music inside of us just waiting to come out.

Most adults currently living with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s will have grown up in a significantly more active musical environment. Many more people were engaged in music making, in their local communities, through participation in local orchestras, chorus, church choirs, as well as playing in dance bands. Despite having Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, they will possess a huge reservoir of music that they have heard which makes it very easy to develop.

While scientific studies continue to show us how making music has a positive effect on our brains, cognition, co-ordination and emotional well- being, it doesn’t really show us how much enjoyment we get out of making music ourselves. With Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, the sufferer is learning how to navigate a life that now includes diminishing life skills, and an increased need for help. Learning how to activate their creativity and make music themselves becomes a powerfull addition to their lives, both personally and for their families.

AT for Pain Management

Back pain is a common condition managed in primary care and one of the commonest causes of disability in Western societies. Drugs and surgery are the traditional methods to deal with pain.

For over a hundred years lessons in the Alexander Technique have taught students how to activate the principles that govern human functioning. The genius of Alexander’s discoveries, is that we all can learn as adults how to recapture the ease and freedom of movement so beautifully demonstrated by young children.

Lessons in the Alexander Technique are very frequently used for Pain Management. Going beyond regular treatments for physical problems, students gain long term relief from such aliments as:

  • Back and neck problems
  • Repetitive Strain Injuries
  • Scoliosis

It can be used to accelerate recovery from surgery or injuries caused by accidents. Alexander Technique works holistically. It not only helps alleviate physical suffering but can also help to improve overall health, both physically and psychologically.

The fact is, the mind cannot be separated from the body, so that what happens in the body affects the mind and vice versa. Even “gym rats” notice that after an intense workout they feel better not just physically, but also mentally. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, prolonged stress from work, home life or other situations can contribute to physical ailments, like high blood pressure and circulation issues, and, in severe cases, put some people at a heightened risk for heart problems.

“Lessons in the Alexander technique offer an individualized approach designed to develop lifelong skills for self-care that help people recognize, understand, and avoid poor habits affecting postural tone and neuromuscular coordination.”

−British Medical Journal

Sing-Play Music

This is an approach that has evolved over many years of teaching. I am always trying to improve how I teach and have tried many things. The obvious issue starts with music notation. Those fixed black things on a page that the jazz musicians call the dots, to try and demystify them.

The most basic impulse that we all have is to sing, this is totally different from having a trained voice. If you were given a baby or young child to hold who was crying you would naturally try to bring comfort to the child  by singing to it, and rocking it from side to side. You would not be concerned about getting the words right, or being in tune, your concern would be to sooth the child.

Sing-Play is an approach to music learning that develops the ear over the eye, so that the individual immediately can start converting what they hear into the instrument that they are learning ie a digital pattern. This starts from the simple songs that they learnt at kindergarten, to more complex songs, as they master the technical aspects of the specific instrument that they want to play.

My students are often surprised at how many songs they know, or instrumental fragments, (depending on what sort of music they listen to) and are thrilled to be able to Sing-Play.

I get all my students to sing while they play. They notice immediately that if they Sing-Play, their level of digital accuracy immediately improves. So if it is a song they want to play they will learn the words of the song. They will be also able to play the rhythm of the words on their instruments. This gives them the experience of making music from a deep instinctual part of themselves, as they are free from the tyranny of music notation, right notes, right rhythm, correct pitch and all the other rules and regulations. Learning to play all your favorite songs on your instrument means that you always want to play it because you are making music.

Outreach

Outreach as the name implies, is reaching out to help others using your creativity – to lift their spirits.

Any of the creative arts can be used as a vehicle for this, music, dance, theater, photography, writing, art, poetry.

Embedded in this approach is the intent, that by reaching out to help others, you help them to want to reach out and help others. So what gets activated is a whole room of people reaching out to each other.

Music is a profound communication, and like a mother singing a lullaby to soothe her baby, using music to enhance some ones’ life is one of the greatest gifts that you can give. This is what is called outreach.

This idea of playing for someone else is a fundamental part of my approach to teaching music. The other person does not need to be present at the lesson. It is the idea of giving out with your music.

My students immediately notice the difference in what they are doing when they think of playing for someone else, versus trying to get the notes right. They then notice that it is much easier to sing/play their instruments and they enjoy what they are doing more. Therefore they want to make music more often.

I run several outreach programs at local senior and assisted living facilities, where I encourage my students to come so that they can experience how their music making has a dynamic effect on the residents. It will awaken a profound joy, a sense of well-being for others that will have you wanting to come back week after week. And like magic, week after week, your music – and your well being – will grow.