I keep music in my pocket. I don’t own an alarm clock. I set a musical alarm on my phone. I wake up to the alarm and instantly turn my phone to a music and humor morning talk radio station. The minute I’m dressed, I tuck the phone in my back pocket. Music in my pocket until I get in the car, and music in the car until I get to wherever I’m going. If I get tired of the radio, I switch to CDs. For me, the music and humor show does a great deal to set me up for a good mood.
Why am I beating an old drum, trumpeting this? Because music is profound in our lives.
Sarina Rodrigues, Ph.D., in her marvelous December 1, 2008 article Wired for Music, posted by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, summarizes research about how inextricably music seems to be necessary to us. Among the findings she cites is evidence that even two – and three-day-old babies recognize drumming patterns. Seals and whales drum and sing.
I’m quoting the “What is Music Therapy?” page of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA):
“Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.
Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients’ abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people’s motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings.”
I recently took an Institute for Challenging Disorganization class titled “Organizing Rhythms – ADHD + Music Therapy.” I often play music as I go about my chores. When I have to do my bookkeeping (I DESPISE BOOKKEEPING), 80s pop will be on the radio as loudly as I can crank it up. I may play music more often in a day than my day is “silent.” And I’m privileged: I grew up with parents who appreciated everything from Broadway musicals to bluegrass. That’s important: research shows that music can influence our moods, so exposure to a wide variety of genres can be highly beneficial to our health. I urge my Casual Uncluttering LLC clients to follow my example.
I’ve been writing this post for weeks, struggling to form it into a cohesive whole. What finally offered me an allegro, crescendo close -The Fourth of July. The disrupted, dissonant, utterly discordant rhythms of the fireworks. The radio broadcasts of the synchronized music. I fervently hope those animals and people who are distressed by the Fourth of July found shelter and comfort against it. I equally hope those who enjoy it had clear skies. I admit the Fourth of July is my second-favorite holiday.