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Music, Brain Health and Well-being

A new report from AARP concludes that music can potentially stimulate brain health, manage stress, and help treat certain health conditions.

 

“Music is a universal language that everyone can enjoy with remarkable benefits,” said Sarah Lenz Lock (@SarahLenzLock), AARP Senior Vice President for Policy and Executive Director of the GCBH. “This report suggests music can have a powerful role to play in healthy aging by enriching our brains’ activity, improving our moods, and fostering social connections..."

 

How has music enriched your life?

 

 

Newbie

For those with an instrument in the closet or maybe you always wanted to learn to play an instrument - check out New Horizons International Music Association.    There are bands, orchestras, choral groups all over the country.   You must be over 50 to join the groups.   Haven't played for years - they don't care.   You will walk in and find other people that haven't played for years - took the gamble and now they can't imagine not playing again.   

Contributor

Having learned to read prior to beginning school, expectations for me with regard to learning were always quite high. And, frankly, if academic success required either reading or math skills, I was capable of pleasing parents and others easily. This brought me great stress, when other things I wish to learn did not come easy. This is where music enters. As is the case with most everyone, I love the enjoyment of music. However, playing or composing music is not a skill that I seem to gravitate to naturally. This means that music has the ability to bring me great joy, or also great anxiety as I try to play or sing. At the same time, it allows the frightened little boy in me, who still tries to impress others, to develop humility and experience the joy of learning, even at a very slow pace. Simply put, music is wonderful for me!

Honored Social Butterfly

@EileenV703083 Lean on me has been

one of my most fav songs of all time.

Appropriate for so many of life’s rough

moments. Amazing that a song from
1972 is still appropriate 48 
years later.
The video was awesome!
Thank you so much for sharing!

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Contributor

A couple of years ago, I asked myself, "So, is that it?" My son had enjoyed a wonderful music experience in high school and then in various alternative rock bands, but then he moved out of state, and I lost that final connection with live music. Fortunately, an ad popped up on my Facebook screen asking, "Do you like singing in the car? Singing in the shower? Even if you can't read music..." I read on, and the more I read, the more intrigued I became. Rock Voices USA has brought me back to singing, performing and sharing music with a whole new family. As I was reading this invitation to join the group, a section called, "Meet our Directors" popped up, and there she was, my son's show choir director was now directing my local branch of Rock Voices! And that was the clincher, I joined and never looked back. During this time of COVID-19, our Lead Director, Tony Lechner, very wisely shut down our in-person rehearsals. But without skipping a beat, we have become a virtual choir, learning a bit along the way about modern technology. Rock Voices is self-funded through tuition fees, donations, and fundraisers. We help each other out, and we give back to our communties and local schools in meaningful ways. I am fulfilled on so many levels! We recently released our first combined virtual choir song, Lean on Me by Bill Withers. LEAN ON ME is finished! Congratulations to all participants. Please share widely! https://youtu.be/c9xgRtWU5R4

Contributor

Music has always been with me since growing up.  It energizes me in the morning and relaxes me in the evening.  Music is the language that transcends all barriers.  I could not even imagine life without it.  So I will continue to Dance Like Noone Is Watching...or Even If They Do.  💃🕺 🙂

Newbie

I grew up with the rock music of the 1970s and ‘80s and by about 2010 I felt that it was all dead. Rock was hard to find and I was tired of listening to the same things yet again.

 

That changed one night about 3 years ago. I found a YouTube video of a young musician giving a TEDx presentation at the University of Nevada, and she said:

 

“You can’t deny that there’s always that one song that makes you happy just by listening to it, or give you courage when you need it. Music is that one companion that will always be there through everything. The one who will know exactly how you’re feeling. Music is passion. Music is hope. Music is life.”

 

I know I couldn’t have said it better myself. That young musician is Daniela Villarreal of The Warning, and she was all of 16 years old at the time. If you have been missing rock music, then look her band up. She and her younger sisters have 2 albums and an LP out as independents and just signed a 5-album deal with Republic/Lava Records.  

Newbie

I remember getting up Saturday morning going downstairs to the kitchen with my younger sister and brother, bring our record player, listening to music. Also, hanging out in the back room with two of my older brothers listen to The Rolling Stones, Cream, ELO, and a lot of 70's music. I love music. It relaxes me, it makes me want to just sit and listen. I play in loud in my car on my way to work, because it just makes everything seem better. I try to listen to  it more, now since I work at home. When I driving out of town, its what I want to listen too! I love all types of music. Just some stuff I haven't gotten use too. I love music soundtracks, movie scores, too. I just makes me feel good. When I hear songs that I grew up with, it brings back some many memories, and sometimes I just think back when or where I was when that song came out!

Contributor

My earliest memories are of my mother singing the songs she enjoyed as she drove us various places. Later I began guitar lessons which I did OK at but not as well as I had hoped. A few years later my mother, after a divorce, bought the Music store that I had taken lessons at. At the age of 12 I became chief clerk & learned a little about a lot of instruments! All of that was left behind when she married the Piano Tuner who moved us from Arizona to Wisconsin. Influenced by him I became a Piano Tuner/Technician and have for 51 years and still going tuned, repaired and occasionally condemned the ones beyond hope, pianos of all types, sizes, brands, etc. Best part of the job is the kids who will play a piece they are working on for me when I finish. I also get paid to sit through concerts for intermission touch up! I know tough job, right? I get asked if I have a favorite type of music, I have found I enjoy it all except rap/hip hop which in my opinion isn't music. Chanting words with no tune doesn't fit the definition of music, hip hop is an attempt to make rap music that fails. I grew up listening to rock music but I have expanded my listening to classical, country, jazz, blues, show tunes and much more. I pay for Sirius/Xm so I can have a variety to listen to as the mood strikes me. How about you?
Contributor

This actually seems to be my point of distress in my COVID life.

I belong to my church choir and a German folk-singing group, both of which have been interrupted by the seclusion of quarantine.  No rehearsals, no get-togethers, no performances....

I feel like my entire musical self is fading away.  

Music has been such a huge part of my life.  I come from a very musical family and have been singing since grade school in some group or another.  I have a local radio station set as a wake-up alarm and listen to it for the first few hours I am awake, my coffee and thinking time.  I've actually started turning it off almost immediately, now.  I started "rehearsing" my German music with You Tube videos, but that has also lost its lustre.

I know things will get better and I just have to be patient.  I am in touch with my doctors and confide in them honestly.

My prayer life is my anchor right now, and I pray for all those like me and worse off than me to get through this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Sopranogardener

 

Contributor

Music is my life. I met my husband and most of my friends through singing. Through 45 years of marriage we sang. Music gave us the opportunity to travel the country both performing and competing in International Competitions. We took our first cruise when my husband's quartet was hired to perform on the Queen Elizabeth II.Music paid our mortgage in the early days and gave us many golden memories. When we moved 10 days after my husband has major surgery it was our singing friends that helped pack us up and sweep us out the door of our old house. When my husband passed away it was the same group of singing friends that stayed by my side along with my family and helped to bolster me up.

 

I am truly thankful that God gave me music.

Trusted Contributor

my music is country & bluegrass but i like other kinds includding Celtic, jazz, & gospel. i listen to radio at least an hour a day but on sunday there is classic country for 2 hours i can't do without. music, especially one you love is very soothing & relaxing. give it a try.

Contributor

In my younger days I was involved in youth choir at church and school, and taught myself to play guitar in college.  When I was turned down for the college choir, I stopped being involved in music.  What a mistake!  At about 50 I joined a German chorus and my church choir, and since then another German chorus.  All those wasted years!  Since my body is too beat up for the old games of softball, volleyball, and indoor soccer, I put most of my energy into singing.  I even have written a few songs (which will NOT make me famous).  I consider singing to be beautiful, controlled yelling.  It exercises so much more than just your lungs and lips!  And it gets a lot of the frustration out - so it's good for the soul as well as the body.  Unfortunately, not being able to sing for and with others during the Covid-19 sequestration is depressing.  But I sing to my self as much as possible and listen to a LOT of online concerts.  As Harry Chapin sang: "He did not know how well he sang; it just made him whole."  I fully agree.

Conversationalist

Growing up, Saturday mornings, waxing floors, washing windows, again. Listening to the sounds of Ray Charles, Jackie Wilson, Jerry Butler, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole...... all things Motown, Four Tops and Gladys Knight and the Pips, my favorites, with some jazz in the mix, Monk, Miles, Ella, Coltrane, Bird, Billie Holiday...... This must have started at a very young age, I can't remember it not being a part of my childhood. In the words of the O'Jay's, "I love music, any kind of music". Still today, Saturday Mornings, listening to music, without waxing floors and washing windows.  

Music has always been a huge part of my life. As I have grown, the genres of music that I have an appreciation for have grown also and I have an appreciation for Opera and Classical music  Music elevates my happiness, it heals my heart, relaxes my mind, it brings back so many memories good and bad..... Music is my comfort and joy. 

 

Newbie

Music makes me happy.  It has since childhood.  Living in a single-parent home and being the oldest was hard at times.  But, music gave me a reason to wake up and try again.  

 

Music is a comfort during a pandemic year.  It breaks barriers; it is the one language that connects diverse people together in a short period of time.  Music is the lifeline for physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness.

Super Contributor

I went to a Pink Floyd concert in '88.  A girl who was a close friend named Diane went with me.  If there was ever a concert and experience worth remembering, that was it.  

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Regular Contributor

Music enriches my life because:

 

  • It connects us and has the power to bring us together, regardless of who we are and where we come from.
  • It gives me happy feet and makes me want to dance
  • It puts a smile on my face.
  • It lifts my spirits when I'm down.
  • It warms my heart.
  • It comforts me and puts me to sleep
  • It saved my life in more ways than one
  • It heals the soul

I am so grateful for music.  Thank you to all the musicians who create and share their music with us to help make this world a beautiful place.

Honored Social Butterfly

The next person who influenced my love 

of music is my brother. We are both in our

sixties now with just two years separating 

us in age. So we both grew up listening to

all the same stuff. Both always loved all

things rock n roll but mutually sharing our

eternal love for the Beatles. He has every

Beatles album, all on vinyl. He’s a big vinyl

collector. While my husband was in

Chemo, he downloaded all his Beatles

music on my iPad as those days were

long. After my husband passed, he

made me 3 custom Flashdrives for my

car. One is all Holiday rock music but

 the other two were designed by me.
I picked 
all the music and he downloaded 

everything from his own personal

collection and from a friend of his for

music he didn’t have. I will never

have to buy or download music ever again.

I am forever grateful for the connection

music has created in my friendship with

my only brother 💜🎼

Gold Conversationalist

Music has always been a big part of my life. Whether it was our Native ceremonial songs or rock & roll, it's been there every step of my life. I prefer the music of the 80's especially The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, but i can and do enjoy a great variety of music genre's. It soothes my soul when I find myself a bit restless.

Honored Social Butterfly

I’m enjoying everyone’s stories of Music’s 

impact in their lives. The first person I

need to thank for influencing me is my

Mother. She would play her albums at

night after we went to bed (she thought)

and that was her downtime to relax.

Because of her, I grew up with a love

for Glen Campbell, Gene Pitney and

Johnny Mathis, among others. She loved 

Led Zeppelin while in her forty’s and

I always thought that was surprising.

I’m in my 60’s and have never loved Led

Zeppelin more. Thank you Mom for

”getting it” and passing it on to me 💜🎼

Periodic Contributor

I have always had a connection to music in my life. I am not a musician myself, but my son is. From singing Beatle songs to him as an infant at bedtime to becoming a percussionist and now the owner of a DIY sudio in Chicago working with bands across the world , I have watched him take his love of music further than I ever would have thought. To this day we play the vinyl I listened to back in the 60's and 70's and he shares newer music that he knows I'll love. We always seem to connect through music. Screenshot_2018-12-07-15-31-49.png

 

 

Diane, the Plant Whisperer
Periodic Contributor

Very cool set there - I played drums and all other percussion from the time I was old enough to hold the sticks!! My dad taught drum lessons and played in dance bands to symphony orchestras and I followed in his footsteps! At 82, my snare drum sits in my apartment for me to bang away whenever the spirit moves me!

Honored Social Butterfly

I have always had music in my life. I have had many ups and downs in my life (just like everyone) and fortunately I have had music to turn to lift my spirits and soothe my emotions.

Life isn't easy and everyone needs a refuge. Mine is music.

Honored Social Butterfly

Music has always been a huge part of my

life. Since my husband passed, there are

days when I truly couldn’t have made it

thru without it. Also, I was able to honor

him many times thru music by dedicating

songs to him on the radio on his birthday,
etc and also by carefully 
choosing two

special songs to play at his funeral.

Also, my brother, who is two years

younger than me is also a huge

Beatles fan and a lover of all things

classic rock. So we have always 

bonded over our shared love of music

and it  has made us very close over

the years. Music impacts your life in

many different ways 🎼

Honored Social Butterfly

Music has always been a big part of my life, and that of my family. We enjoyed musical gatherings on Saturdays, like my parents grew up with. It was the tradition passed down from our Scottish and Irish ancestors called ceilidhs. There were several musicians in our family. I tried piano and guitar, but lacked the discipline to really make a go of it. But I was able to sing, and was in the school choir, and joined a folk-pop group in high school. In this way, music brings a sense of belonging and being a part of something. 

 

I enjoy all kinds of music and play according to my mood. Sometimes it's to energize, sometimes to relax, or just lift my spirits when a feel a little down. I have all genres on my iTunes, and love to explore YouTube. I've found videos of my favorite bands that I never got to see in person, many concerts, as well as new discoveries. I also enjoy reading biographies of my favorites. 

 

Music has always been a respite for those stressful, trying, and difficult times, and especially with all that's going on now. Playing a few songs before sleep can really help calm and distract the mind. Many a night have I gone to sleep with the music playing in the background. It just soothes the soul (to borrow a phrase from Bob Seger).

 

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
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Music and Brain Health

From soft jazz to hard rock - discover music's mental, social and physical benefits. Learn more.

Music and Brain Health