Canadian Musician - March / April 2018 - Page 42

Music Therapy for Musicians B By Amy Di Nino eware. Music therapy can cause permeant changes – within your brain, your physical body, your emotions, your relationships, your spiritual life… As a musician, night after night, you give the gift of “music as therapy” to countless people on club stages or through recordings on a long morning sub- way commute via headphones. In fact, you and your music have likely affected someone deeply by creating associative memories that will stay with them and become an intense flood of emotions when they hear that song again. This happens for the exact same reason we sing “Happy Birth- day.” Simply speaking those words cannot express emotional ener- gy, and it’s what we feel from the music’s energy that creates and stamps that emotional memory onto our brain. We can label emo- tions, but their energies can only be felt. And unlike speech, where some level of capacity is required to talk and understand language, music is a non-cognitive form of communication. Music has a direct line to the body by way of intuitive pathways that are picked up on through an entirely different level of consciousness than those used for cognition. Music makes immediate sense to us, and it can only be experienced. Think fight or flight. Before our brains have time to 42 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N begin processing, we feel. Music and our bodies are actually infatuated with each other; music synchronizes with your body through vibration and cycles – an intense love affair that other parts of our body can in no way replicate. Examining the six basic elements of music and emotion as parallels of the functional physiological behaviour of the body looks like this: • Rhythm: sleep patterns, female menstruation cycle, etc. • Melody: blood flows through the body, signals are sent at different intervals • Harmony: the consonance and dissonance within our human bodily functions • Dynamics: the body’s own dynamics (think strong, weak, rigid, etc.) • Timbre: how we know the difference between a dog barking, our brother speaking, and a chainsaw • Form: our entire body as an operational system Music therapy takes everything one step further and another level deeper. It’s art and science and humanity and wellbeing given to another human by a board-certified musician and therapist.