The therapeutic value of classical music.

To begin, I have a multiple choice question for you.

Which is the correct answer?

  a)     The world is flat

  b)     The world is as small as an orange

  c)     There is only one person living on planet earth

  d)     There is no water on planet earth

  e)     Sharing your love of music with others is one of the best things you can do with your life

For those that chose answer e) – as each day passes, I am more and more convinced that this is true.

I always play classical music when I treat a patient (unless they request silence, which is also very therapeutic), and often get positive comments about the music  I have chosen. So, I thought I would share some of the background to my choices with you.

I was incredibly lucky to have been brought up with classical music being played in the house, and being given the opportunity to play the piano and flute. In addition, weekly classical concerts at the City Hall were pretty constant features of my life.

What I have been struck by, time after time, is that, when trying to introduce friends/colleagues to this real treasure chest of infinite joy, I often get the reaction “But I don’t know anything about classical music/I was not brought up with this, so it is foreign to me”.

And my answer is often “Well, I know very little about art, for example, but I still enjoy looking at it, and it brings me pleasure”. I know what I like and do not like, without being able to explain why, or understand the techniques used, etc. It is a gut feeling.  In terms of music, for me, if my hair stands on end, and I get goosebumps, I know this particular piece has hit home. In fact, this is how my collection of Brahms compositions started…every time I had that feeling, I would find out that the piece had been composed by him….so then I started looking for downloads/recordings/DVD’s/youtube video’s, etc. One of my most treasured gifts is a box containing  CD’s of all of Brahms’ works – I have enough to listen to for a lifetime.

Getting back to how I hope to encourage you to listen yourselves – and how to encourage other professionals in the world of health to, in turn, encourage their patients to listen to more music, I am starting a blog, now, in which I will give some ideas about where to start, and how to assess if it is likely that a particular piece of music could really help the therapeutic process. 

Watch this space! 

To end off for today, let me point you in the direction of the Baroque period – approximately the years 1600 to 1750. Perhaps by my next blog you will have listened to some works composed during this period, as we can discuss, enjoy and share our experiences, then.     

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