Music as Medicine.

Since writing my first blog about a month ago, I have been reminded of an inspiring workshop I attended about 25 years ago, presented by Dr Frances le Roux, a physiotherapist who at that stage was giving workshops called “Music is Medicine”. I see now that she has just handed over her Fish Hoek physiotherapy practice of 31 years, to become a full-time researcher for the International Association for Music and Medicine. So – my interest in the connection between healing and music has been there for many decades!

In the last blog I mentioned the Baroque period as a good place to start, so the paragraphs hereunder, taken from her website accessed 21 August 2021, jumped out at me:

“Why would a patient respond better when listening to baroque music? “Well,” said Dr Le Roux, “that was my entry point into this field, and what I went to the University of the Western Cape to study.” 

It was a patient who first brought her baroque music, and another patient offered her a selection of baroque music to experiment with. She said she had shared a wonderful energy of exploration with her patients.

“Dr Le Roux, while working full time, obtained her Master’s degree on music and pain and then completed her doctoral study on the effect of music on emotions, lung function and the immune systems of people with lung infections”.

(In addition, I bought a CD I still play, called “The best for Stimulation – Quality Music for Children from Pregnancy to Seven years of Age”, which was compiled by Dr Sheila Woodward, who studied what babies could hear before they were born – a most fascinating area of research, and I was lucky enough to attend a workshop she gave, too).

If you are keen to get going with looking for some healing music to play in your practice, you could either start by looking for music of the Baroque period, (approximately 1600 to 1750 AD), or look for compilations of music that are titled one of the following:

  • Concerti grossi (or concerto grosso)The concerto grosso is a form of baroque music in which the musical material is passed between a small group of soloists and full orchestra. 
  • Largo collections – Largo – slowly (45–50 BPM)
  • Adagio collectionsAdagio – slow and stately (66–76 BPM), or “performed in slow time”
  • Andante collections– at a walking pace (76–108 BPM)

Some well known baroque composers are:

  • Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
  • Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
  • George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
  • Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
  • Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
  • Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)

My next blog will go into what makes Baroque music so compatible with relaxation, and some more names of composers from this period. You are more than welcome to comment/ask questions  on these posts, as I would like them to be interactive. 

Please pass the link on to anyone, whether a health professional, or a friend/colleague/family member, that you think might find this information useful.

Happy listening!

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