World Music Day, an annual celebration of music when music lovers organize free concerts and other musical events in neighborhood parks and open spaces, didn’t happen in public places this year thanks to the danger of the pandemic still lurking around. However, that doesn’t stop us from dedicating the day to learning about one of the many benefits of music, which is healing the mind, body and soul.
RELEASE WORRIES WITH MELODIES
Dr Meenakshiravi has been treating several disorders with music therapy under the Manollasini Trust. The disorders she’s been treating include autism (a condition that affects the nervous system and the overall cognitive, emotional, social and physical health of the affected individual) and schizophrenia (a chronic mental condition that hampers the thinking, learning, perceptions, behavior, daily activities and performances of a person). Dr Meenakshravi, who is also the founder director of Meera Centre for Music Therapy Education and Research Bangalore as well as Nadamaya Center for Music Therapy Education Hyderabad, believes that music can help fight depression, pandemic blues, anxiety, stress and other moderate to serious disorders.
MUSIC FOR THE SOUL
Music, according to Dr Meenakshiravi, is a combination of melody, tune and rhythm, along with pitch and content. “Melody is universal and spiritual. Music is a vibration, and identification of the self with these vibrations makes an individual calm and creative. It transcends boundaries of the body, mind and intellect and directly reaches the soul of an individual.” she says. She shares one of her cases, which highlights the tremendous healing effects of music. “In my
practice as a music therapist, I’ve seen an endless number of people recovering from autism among other diseases and disorders. Kids who earlier couldn’t hold a bowl of food, I've seen them improve to the point of feeding themselves.” she says. “Likewise, I had a patient with moderate schizophrenia. After two years of music therapy, her condition is completely under control and returns only occasionally.” Talking about how the demand for music therapy is picking up lately because of its miraculous benefits, Dr Meenakshiravi cautions us that the results could take time to show. “The key is to gradually introduce the clients to specific raagas, targeting their respective problems and disorders,” she adds.
MUSIC THERAPY AT HOME
The therapist even points out that one can make use of the therapeutic effects of music at home too. She shares a few, simple music tips that people can follow to elevate their mood, increase concentration levels, improve memory power and fight depression while embracing happiness.
Chant away your worries: Sit in a comfortable position, take a deep breath and chant a set of Aaa, Ooo and Mmm 21 times. This practice enhances the holistic health of a person and can be performed once each in the morning and evening or at any time one feels the need to relieve stress or relax. Alternatively, one can even chant “Om” 21 times, depending on their faith. Both these chants have miraculous healing effects on the body.
Turn up the music: Listening to music of one’s own choice stimulates the mind and enhances one’s mood. Therefore, listening to any form of music that one likes — whether it’s folk, film music, instrumental, devotional or any other spiritual music or even slokas have a therapeutic effect on the mind, body and soul.
Sing away your worries: Every person can sing. Some sing well and others not so much, but music is something that everyone should practice. Therefore, joining a music class as a hobby can be a life changing.
Classical music has its own soul and spirit’
Musician Vaibhav Verma — who started playing tabla 11 years ago and is currently learning classical tabla from Ustaad Akram Khan — shares the healing effects of classical music, as he has experienced throughout his musical career.
“Classical music is like a fresh morning. Like every morning speaks to us in its peculiar way, every raaga of classical music has its own texture, voice and emotion. Classical music has its own soul and spirit. Whenever I listen to classical music, I get a unique vibe and energy that is nothing but sublime, automatically creating a positive environment. It exudes happiness and contentment, which motivates me to learn more and keep going. Its calming effect takes away all my apprehensions and jitters and leaves me more peaceful and tranquil. I have also learned tremendously by playing with numerous classical singers. The consequent growth in my art has given a substantial boost to my confidence. No matter where my life takes me, my love and passion for classical music will remain supreme and I’ll continue to dive into this unfathomable ocean of blissful melodies.”