Thursday, September 20, 2007

Music & Intelligence: Will Listening to Music Make You Smart

Will listening to music make you smarter? Will learning to play a musical instrument make your brain grow larger than normal?
Questions like these ones have been popping up all over the place in the past few years, and not just in scientific journals either.
In recent times the media has been fascinated by the research surrounding brain development and music, eagerly reporting on the latest studies to the delight of the music-loving parents of young children.
But all this information - and some misinformation too - has led to generalized confusion about the role of music and music training in the development of the human brain. The bottom line is this: if you’re confused by all you read about music study and brain development, you’re certainly not alone.
In part, this is due to the manner in which the phrase “the Mozart Effect” has been popularized by the media and bandied about to describe any situation in which music has a positive effect on cognition or behavior.
In fact the Mozart Effect refers specifically to a 1993 research finding by Frances Rauscher, Gordon Shaw and Katherine Ky and published in the prestigious journal Nature. The scientists found that 36 college students who listened to 10 minutes of a Mozart sonata performed higher on a subsequent spatial-temporal task than after they listened to relaxation instructions or silence.
An enchanted media reported this interesting research as “Mozart makes you smarter” - a huge over-simplification of the original results.
As Rauscher explains in a later paper, the Mozart Effect was studied only in adults, lasted only for a few minutes and was found only for spatial temporal reasoning. Nevertheless, the finding has since launched an industry that includes books, CDs and websites claiming that listening to classical music can make children more intelligent.
The scientific controversy - not to mention the popular confusion - surrounding the Mozart Effect, has given rise to a corresponding perplexity for parents. They wonder: “Should my kids even bother with music education?”
In fact the answer to this question is still a resounding yes, since numerous research studies do prove that studying music contributes unequivocally to the positive development of the human brain. Other researchers have since replicated the original 1993 finding that listening to Mozart improves spatial reasoning. And further research by Rauscher and her colleagues in 1994 showed that after eight months of keyboard lessons, preschoolers demonstrated a 46% boost in their spatial reasoning IQ, a skill important for certain types of mathematical reasoning.
In particular, it is early music training that appears to most strengthen the connections between brain neurons and perhaps even leads to the establishment of new pathways. But research shows music training has more than a casual relationship to the long-term development of specific parts of the brain too.
In 1994 Discover magazine published an article which discussed research by Gottfried Schlaug, Herman Steinmetz and their colleagues at the University of Dusseldorf. The group compared magnetic resonance images (MRI) of the brains of 27 classically trained right-handed male piano or string players, with those of 27 right-handed male non-musicians.
Intriguingly, they found that in the musicians’ planum temporale - a brain structure associated with auditory processing - was bigger in the left hemisphere and smaller in the right than in the non-musicians. The musicians also had a thicker nerve-fiber tract between the hemisphere. The differences were especially striking among musicians who began training before the age of seven.
According to Shlaug, music study also promotes growth of the corpus callosum, a sort of bridge between the two hemispheres of the brain. He found that among musicians who started their training before the age of seven, the corpus callosum is 10-15% thicker than in non-musicians.
At the time, Schlaug and other researchers speculated that a larger corpus callosum might improve motor control by speeding up communication between the hemispheres.
Since then, a study by Dartmouth music psychologist Petr Janata published by Science in 2002, has confirmed that music prompts greater connectivity between the brains left and right hemisphere and between the areas responsible for emotion and memory, than does almost any other stimulus.
Janata led a team of scientists who reported some areas of the brain are 5% larger in expert musicians than they are in people with little or no musical training, and that the auditory cortex in professional musicians is 130% denser than in non-musicians. In fact, among musicians who began their musical studies in early childhood, the corpus callosum, a four-inch bundle of nerve fibers connecting the left and right sides of the brain, can be up to 15% larger.
While it is now clear from research studies that brain region connectivity and some types of spatial reasoning functionality is improved by music training, there is growing evidence that detailed and skilled motor movements are also enhanced.
Apparently the corpus callosum in musicians is essential for tasks such as finger coordination. Like a weight-lifter’s biceps, this portion of the brain enlarges to accommodate the increased labour assigned to it.
In a study conducted by Dr. Timo Krings and reported in Neuroscience Letters in 2000, pianists and non-musicians of the same age and sex were required to perform complex sequences of finger movements. The non-musicians were able to make the movements as correctly as the pianists, but less activity was detected in the pianists’ brains. The scientists concluded that compared to non-musicians, the brains of pianists are more efficient at making skilled movements.
The study of music definitely affects the human brain and its development, in a staggering number of ways. But what to make of all the research, especially in terms of deciding the best course of music study or appreciation for yourself or your offspring?
A 2000 article by N M Weinberger in MuSICA Research Notes makes the following excellent point: Although the Mozart Effect may not list up to the unjustified hopes of the public, it has brought widespread interest in music research to the public. And listening to ten minutes of Mozart could get someone interested in listening to more unfamiliar music, opening up new vistas.
Irregardless of the hype surrounding the Mozart Effect, the overall academic evidence for music study as a tool to aid brain development, is compelling.
At the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco, Dr. Frank Wilson says his research shows instrumental practice enhances coordination, concentration and memory and also brings about the improvement of eyesight and hearing. His studies have shown that involvement in music connects and develops the motor systems of the brain, refining the entire neurological system in ways that cannot be done by any other activity. Dr. Wilson goes so far as to say he believes music instruction is actually ‘necessary’ for the total development of the brain.
So the bottom line is this: Music study and practice probably does aid in the development of the brain in various important ways. And after all, if you enjoy music, there is nothing to lose by trying, and everything to gain!
About the Author
Duane Shinn is the author of over 500 music and piano lesson instructional courses for adults such as He is the author of the popular free 101-week e-mail newsletter titled “Amazing Secrets Of Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions” with over 60,100 current subscribers. Those interested may obtain a free subscription by going to
by Duane Shinn

Piano Chords and New Age Music

There are basically two ways you can compose a piece of music. The first and most traditional way is to write out the melody and then harmonize it. Some call this working from the top (as opposed to the chords on the bottom.) The second approach is where you create some kind of rhythmic harmonic pattern and improvise (or compose) the melody on top. Now, which one is best for New Age music?
The answer is neither approach. Each has its own merits and own special benefits. For example, if you start with a pattern in your left hand and improvise a melody with your right, you are doing what most new age composers/improvisers do. This is what George Winston does most of the time. He has chords he sets to a certain rhythm and does his thing with that amazing right hand of his.
This is the style that I have been playing, but I’ve recently lost interest in it. Not because it isn’t good but because I don’t feel like playing that way anymore. Currently I’m leaning towards a softer sound that comes from leading with the melody first. What I do is get the first 2-bars down and then improvise the rest till I fill up 8 measures. This way I can vary the chords and patterns without it sounding very repetitive (minimalism). It’s actually another style. You can call it melodic while the other one (Harmony approach) is more textural. IT ALL DEPENDS ON YOUR MOOD!
Don’t let one style freeze you into something where you can’t maneuver artistically! Remember that your feeling must come first. Everything else is secondary. Let your feeling lead you and your creation will be truly inspired, however, if you try to mold what you have to say into a specific style, the result may be less than satisfactory.
About the Author
Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music’s online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years! Visit us now at for a FREE piano lesson!by Edward Weiss

Jazz Music: History of Jazz Music in Kansas City

>From its beginnings as nothing more than a simple trading poston the banks of the Missouri river, to its raucous heyday in the1920’s and 30’s, Kansas City has retained the independent spiritof its frontier beginnings. Even though an assortment ofcolorful characters, cowboys, politicians, criminals, and evenwagon trains populate the history of Kansas City, you can forgeteverything you’ve ever heard about it being a “cow town.” Today,the outgrowth of that colorful history and frontier spiritradiates energetically throughout the city and its populace.
Widely regarded as the birthplace of Jazz. KC’s early reputationas a “wide-open, anything goes” city captivated and allured themusical performers of the day. It’s central location and ease ofaccess via rail were the other components which induced thismusical migration. Kansas City became a haven for musicians andfans alike.
The musicians, who interpreted their experiences in KC’spermissive environment through their music, were also creatingthe elastic techniques and musical license, which remain at theheart of Jazz today. The hub of this development was the 18thand Vine district. Many legendary musicians, Count Basie, EllaFitzgerald, Joe Turner and Charlie Parker to name a few, madetheir way to Kansas City. Their connection to one another and tothe Kansas City “scene” brought about a unique musical expansionwhich enriched the city’s history and initiated the genesis ofJazz.
Kansas City’s affiliation with Jazz is celebrated daily at theAmerican Jazz Museum in the 18th and Vine District and nightlyat clubs and restaurants throughout the city. Live Jazz andBlues are still an important part of the Kansas Cityentertainment and nightlife scene.
Kansas City’s early sports history, specifically its affiliationwith Negro League Baseball, is showcased in detail at the NegroLeague Baseball Museum.
Also located at the 18th and Vine District, the museum documentsthe history of Negro League Baseball from its beginnings in themid 1800’s, to its demise in the 1960’s. If you are interestedin this facet of the histoy of baseball, a visit to this museumis highly recommended.
A part-time writer and full-time webmaster, Joseph Patrick, canusually be found managing his full service travel website, where you will find the resources tobook affordable trips to Kansas City as well as other excitingvacation destinations.

by J.Patrick

Improvising On The Piano: Jazz Musicians Do It — Why Not Other Styles?

Why jazz piano improvisation?
Why not gospel piano improvisation?
Is it not possible to improvise classical music, or sacred music, or any other kind of music?
Bach improvised many of his fugues and inventions while playing organ in church. Many others in all musical styles have improvised within the context of their own persuasion. So why study improvised jazz? Why not study improvised classical music, or improvised gospel music?
The answer is access.
Jazz piano improvisation is so much more accessible than is improvisation in other areas. Some classical pianists do improvise, but at performances they are generally expected to play Chopin or Debussy or Mozart, rather than to make up their own music. There are gospel pianists who do improvise, but the expectation of their listeners is not primarily to hear music created on the spot.
But the expectations of a audience of jazz fans is expressly to hear music created extemporaneously, without benefit of written score. And so jazz, far more than any other musical style to date, has become the music of improvisation. Not because there is anything inherent in the tunes jazz musicians play that calls for improvisation, but because of the expectation of improvisation that has built up over the years.
This fact makes it possible for an interested observer to study jazz improvisation like he could study no other kind of improvisation. He has easy access to concerts, recordings, transcriptions of jazz recordings, and even local jam sessions. When can he attend a classical concert and be sure of hearing music improvised? When can he attend church with assurance that the pianist will improvise? But with jazz, his sources are many and are readily available.
Can the principles derived from jazz improvisation be applied to other musical styles?
Of course.
Every pianist uses the same 88 notes of the keyboard. All music consists of some kind of melody, some kind of harmony, some kind of rhythm. Elements from one style can be transplanted to another style; in fact, this is happening all the time. Notice lately how much of contemporary pop music is flavored with elements from jazz, country-western, and even classical music. Cross-pollinization of styles abounds in contemporary music.
So improvisation can be studied by the student of classical music, the church pianist, the worship team keyboardist, the new-age pianist, the country-western piano player, and any other style of music. The benefits and rewards of learning to improvise on the piano are enormous.
So next time you see or hear a jazz pianist play, pay close attention to what she or he is doing. Ask yourself what’s going on musically — what chords and chord progressions are being used, what rhythms are in play, and how the tune of a song is being altered as the pianist improvises the melody line.
Then go home and apply what you’ve learned to your style of music. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn by simply observing and then applying what you’ve seen and heard to your own playing.
Duane Shinn is the author of over 500 music books and music educational materials such as DVD’s, CD’s, musical games for kids, chord charts, musical software, and piano lesson instructional courses for adults. He is the author of a CD-DVD course titled “How To Make Up Music As You Play — How To Improvise On The Piano!”. He holds advanced degrees from Southern Oregon University and was the founder of Piano University in Southern Oregon. He is the author of the popular free 101-week online e-mail newsletter titled “Amazing Secrets Of Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions” with over 57,400 current subscribers.
by Duane Shinn

How do You Find and Download Good Rock n’ Roll: 4 Tips on Finding Top Music

When it comes to music, rock n’ roll is still king. People theworld over still list rock n’ roll as their favorite musicgenre. You may be one of those people who truly appreciates andenjoys rock n’ roll. To that end, you may be wondering how youcan find and download good rock n’ roll on the Internet andWorld Wide Web. Through this article, you will be provided withsome basic information on how you can find and download goodsounding rock n’ roll on the Internet and World Wide Web.
By following these tips, you will be well on your road toexpanding your rock n’ roll music collection. Indeed, youabsolutely will have fun seeking out and finding the exact rockn’ roll music that you enjoy.
First, identify reliable and reputable websitesto download music. There are two primary reasons that you needto make sure that your utilizing a reliable website to downloadrock n’ roll music. You need to use a reliable site to make surethat the downloads that you obtain are legally transmitted toyou. Unfortunately, there are some sites that have not crossedtheir Ts when it comes to complying with copyright laws.Additionally, when it comes to obtaining music downloads, youneed to use a reputable site that works hard to ensure that thesite is free from viruses that might get transferred to yourcomputer. (Also, keep in mind that it is important for you tomake sure that you have an updated and active virus program inplace before you take off and start downloading music. In pointof fact, you really should never spend time on the Net withoutan effective virus protection program in place.)
Second, decide what types of rock n’ roll musicyou would like to download. You need to bear in mind that thereare some different types of rock n’ roll music available fordownload on the Net. As a result, there are different sites thatcater to different types of rock n’ roll music. By spending sometime shopping around, you will be able to find precisely thestyle of rock n’ roll music that you seek. For example, somesites specialize in delivering music from a particular timeperiod — the 50s, the 60s, the 70s, the 80s and so forth. Ofcourse, there are many, many sites that generalize when it comesto downloadable music.
Third, there can be a different in the soundquality of music downloads from one site to another. Take thetime to determine which sites offer the best music quality inregard to their downloads. Some sites take great pride inensuring that the downloads they provide are of the greatestquality. Certainly, if you are going to take the time todownload music, you will want to be able to obtain the bestpossible quality for the money you are expended on the downloads.
Fourth, shop around for the best bargains thatyou can find in regard to rock n’ roll music that you candownload online. There can be some pretty significant pricedisparities between different websites. Therefore, it serves youwell to shop around to find out where you can get the best dealon downloads. For example, some sites offer package dealsthrough which you can purchase a set of downloads for one lowprice. Other sites operate rather like the music clubs that werepopular in the brick and mortar world in the past. In otherwords, you are entitled to receive a certain number of specificdownloads each and every month if you so desire.
By making the effort to follow these tips and pointers, you willbe able to download the best in rock n’ roll music from theInternet and World Wide Web. In a short amount of time, you willbe able to develop a wonderful collection of rock n’ roll musicthat will provide you with hours of entertainment and enjoyment.With very little effort, you can establish a terrific rack ofdownloaded rock n’ roll music.

by Roy Barker

Western Rock Music

Western rock music is a popular music form. It featuresvocals often with vocal harmony and accompanied withinstruments- electric guitars, a bass guitar, keyboardinstruments- electric piano, organ and synthesizer anddrum sets. Other musical instruments like saxophone,trumpet and trombone are also included. Earlier hornswere also used which are not being used since the 90s.The central piece of instrument in western rock musicis of course the electric guitar. The microphone usedby the singers itself functions as a musical instrument.Many singers depend upon the amplification and variouseffects like echo obtained by electronically transformingthe sound obtained through the microphone.
The characteristic musical style categorized as rockmusic and music of its related styles has dominated themusical scene of the west since about 1955. Western rockmusic has its origins in the Unites States. However, ithas been influenced and shaped by a broad field of culturesand musical traditions over the years. There has been theinfluence of gospel music, the blues, western country music,western classical music, folk music etc. Some elements ofpopular music of Asia, Africa and Latin America have alsobeen incorporated in western rock music.
Western rock music styles have evolved into its completeform around 1959 with predominant influence of the whitemusicians. A major western rock music style is rock and rollor rock by Soal Brown

Rock’n\'roll is the Future of Music at Wichita Falls Records Thanks to Pioneer Frank Lee Sprague

With the state of the music business becoming more and more stale, consumers are looking to the internet to satisfy their craving for new and innovative music. A record label located in Wichita Falls has started a revolution on the internet with music that is daring and groundbreaking. Wichita Falls Records has released albums such as Merseybeat, the Savage Sprague Brothers, and now its newest release Cavern.
The recording artist Frank Lee Sprague is well known the world over for his loved recordings of the best in rock’n'roll. Playboy magazine called his band a “great lost west Texas rock band.”
Now he has turned his innovative approach to business. With the launching of his new label Wichita Falls Records Frank has created marketing strategies that have been blazing the internet resulting in sales and promotion in staggering numbers. Not content to do things the old fashioned way, Sprague keeps creating in music as well as business. As a sign of recognition of Frank’s genius El Toro Records in Spain recently aligned itself with Frank’s label and released a multi-volume CD of the Sprague Brothers music. This is a sign of things to come concerning Sprague’s music as other companies worldwide are eager to join in the new music revolution. Many cooperative ventures are on the horizon and there are DVD’s in the queue for release as the label is growing at a staggering rate.
The future of music is secure at ‘tomorrow’s music company’ and with the internet becoming more and more of a force in the industry Wichita Falls Records and Frank Lee Sprague forge ahead!
Lee Holley is head of Artist and repitoire at Wichta Falls Records.
by Lee Holley

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Music and Healing


Music has always been a very important part of our lives, from childhood to our being an adult. As a part of our experience, music can have both a physiological and psychological affect upon us as human beings. In addition to the influence that it has on our life, music also has many therapeutic qualities and has been utilized in promoting a variety of healings throughout the ages. As we know further, music can be a very powerful medium for altering our state, of changing how we actually feel. More specifically music can be very effective in producing a very deep and healing state of relaxation and in the process, reduce stress and even promote sleep. Music can also be used to assist one in improving his or her self-esteem and furthering an individual's personal growth and development, transformation.
As a therapist I have always used relaxation music in my clinical and counseling work with others. I have found that when I use relaxation music during both an individual and group counseling session that my clients do more productive work, are able to focus more effectively on themselves and the issues that they are becoming present to because they are more relaxed, focused and centered and as a result, better able to concentrate. Being relaxed during the counseling process always tends to generate more productive results for the individual being counseled. Relaxation music can be a very effective and powerful aid for assisting a client to reach resolution with respect to that which he or she is working on with their counselor.

The relaxation music that I now utilize during both my individual and group counseling sessions with others is that which is found on the CD, Prescription for Stress . The musical patterns that are on Prescription for Stress were originally developed for my work in counseling and especially in my hypnotic work with clients. In addition to its application for a traditional counseling session, the musical patterns on Prescription for Stress are excellent for assisting in the induction of a hypnotic state in that this music helps the client enter into a very relaxed state of hypnosis more easily. In the past I have used a variety of other musical compositions in my counseling practice but was very dissatisfied with the results that my clients and I achieved with them. As a musician I eventually decided to compose my own music and have found the results of my compositions with the clients that I work with to be excellent. After using the relaxation music that I composed for my work in counseling, I also discovered that the music had another application as well, that is, to assist anyone in achieving a very deep state of relaxation and as a result to effectively and efficiently reduce the stress in their lives.

Managing our stress is very important if not crucial to our overall well being. Prescription for Stress is an audio product specially designed to assist an individual in managing and reducing the stress that he or she may experience on a daily basis. This audio health care product utilizes two components to assist an individual in effectively experiencing a very deep state of relaxation, reducing stress and also in promoting a peaceful, restful sleep. The first component is the musical pattern itself. I have found that musical compositions that are harmonically slow, repetitious, with sustained voices, which are rhythmically, random in tempo assists an individual in experiencing a very deep state of relaxation. The second component of this product is the binaural audio tones that are interwoven into the music. The binaural tones, through a process referred to as entrainment or frequency following, gently guides or directs the mind/body to generate more of the targeted frequency of brain wave activity whether it be for either profound relaxation or sleep. The first CD contains binaural audio tones within the alpha and theta range, which induces a very relaxed state. The second CD contains binaural audio tones within the delta range and thereby assists one in experiencing a peaceful, restful sleep.

Anyone can experience the technology and effect of Prescription for Stress by merely playing it on their home audio system. Use of this powerful relaxation music can be accomplished by listening to it with ones stereo speakers or with headphones, the latter being the more effective way to listen to his product. Listening to Prescription for Stress with headphones allows one to experience the full effect of the technology, the uniquely designed music compositions combined with the binaural audio tones and thereby gain a deeper state of relaxation. Those who practice meditation, self-hypnosis or yoga will find that their practice is even more enhanced while listening to this audio product. I now also recommend that mental health and addiction counselors use this product when conducting counseling sessions with their clients whether it is in a group or individual setting. While many counselors are not present to the power of this type of relaxation music when utilized within a counseling context, those who do employ it find that their sessions with a client to be more effective and productive due to the reason stated above.

Self-esteem is also extremely essential to ones well-being. Enhancing My Self Esteem is an audio health care product uniquely designed to assist an individual in improving his or her self esteem, supporting the development of a positive self-image and promoting the individual's personal growth and development, transformation. Enhancing My Self Esteem will assist a person in changing negative and possibly even destructive thought patterns to positive and empowering beliefs about him or herself. Utilizing the same combination of original musical compositions and binaural audio tones as Prescription for Stress , Enhancing My Self Esteem is an audio health care product that creates a very profound and relaxing auditory environment, a space for the individual to become open or highly suggestible to a series of very positive affirmations. Within a conversation of transformation, the thoughts that we think and say or commit to word are very important, very powerful for improving our self-image and transforming our lives. Enhancing My Self Esteem is an audio product that creates a very relaxed auditory environment for the person to listen to, begin to practice and eventually accept 50 positive affirmations, affirmations designed to improve a person's self esteem and begin the process of transforming his or her life.

To fully experience the beneficial effects of Enhancing My Self Esteem it is recommended that a person listen to both tracks once a day for a minimum of 90 days. The first track has been designed for use with your stereo system's speakers and should be listened to during the morning or afternoon hours. Track One provides a person the opportunity to consciously practice all of the positive affirmations, to commit them to word, to make them real. Track two has been developed exclusively for use with headphones and should be listened to during the evening hours preferably before the individual goes to sleep. The second track has been developed for a person's unconscious mind and will be that which the individual takes into his or her dream state. Each listening should be done when the individual will be completely free of any distractions. After the first ninety days of use, it is recommended that the person listen to both tracks two times a week for another 90 days to further enhance the beneficial effects.

In addition to anyone wanting to improve their self esteem and further his or her personal transformation, I also recommend that mental health and addiction-oriented counselors utilize Enhancing My Self Esteem with their clients. Most of the clients that mental health and addiction counselors see in treatment in either an individual or group setting have an impaired self-image and are continuously experiencing extremely low self-esteem. For whatever reason the clients that are seen by mental health and addiction oriented counselors tend to have many negative thoughts and beliefs about themselves, many negative affirmations about who they think they are. Assigning Enhancing My Self Esteem as homework for a client to listen to outside of the counseling session allows that client the opportunity to begin a process of improving his or her self-esteem and as a result to be more productive within the counseling session.

I am currently using Enhancing My Self Esteem with all of the clients at the Holistic Addiction Treatment Program, a residential and outpatient program in North Miami Beach, Florida. The Holistic Addiction Treatment Program is an agency that treats individuals who suffer from alcohol or drug dependency. The vast majority of clients of this agency experience chronic relapse. Within Transformational Counseling, Enhancing My Self Esteem is assigned as homework for all of my clients, as a way of continuing the work that is presented in my individual and group counseling sessions, as a way of transforming the thoughts and words of the client. The prescription for use of this product is the same as mentioned above. After the assignment is made I always ask the clients about their use of this product, about what they are becoming present to as they listen. In addition to assisting the individual in eventually feeling better about themselves and increasing their motivation with their recovery, I have also found that Enhancing My Self Esteem tends to elicit important thoughts and memories from the past, thoughts and memories that are then processed in the preceding counseling session.

Enhancing My Self Esteem is a very powerful, healing product. With continued use, clients tend to always report that they feel better about themselves and are more motivated, especially with respect to their recovery. When utilized in conjunction with Transformational Counseling, the effects can be extraordinary for a client. As Transformational Counseling is about an individual altering his or her very thoughts and words, that which has defined their very being in the past, Enhancing My Self Esteem is a product that allows a client to powerfully practice their transformation on a daily basis. While the basis or foundation for the actual transformation is in an individual's language, the thoughts that he or she thinks and the very words that they say, the environment from which this takes place is one that is initially created through the power of music.

Article provided by :
Harry Henshaw, Ed.D., LMHC
Enhanced Healing Through Music

Alpha Muisc

What is Alpha Music:
Alpha is a brainwave - alpha music helps the brain to drift into this slower brainwave.

A mind in alpha is a relaxed mind, free of stress and is automatically using more of the right side of the brain.

To understand the importance of the alpha brainwave, let's have a quick look at our
4 types of brainwaves.
The Beta Wave has a frequency of 14 to 21 cycles per second.We use that in our ordinary waking state, with most of our activity being at about 20 to 22 cycles per second. At this level, we reason, rationalize, and execute whatever chores we need to do.However, it will increase with stress, as faster it goes as more stress and nervous you will get. Or as more stress you encounter, as faster your brain frequency becomes. If it goes up to about 60 cycles per sec. you will get hysteric and a bit higher you will pass out.The golden rule, as higher your brain wave, as harder you will find it to function.A typical situation, would be an examination, an important business meeting or similar. You are stressed out, your brainwave is probably up to 30 or higher, you simply can't think straight.
The Alpha Wave. - that's the one we like most :-) The frequency is from 7 to 14 cycles per second.This is the State of Mind where you are in a "relaxed alertness". You are calm and peaceful, with clear creative thinking, ideas, solutions and intuitive breakthroughs. Studying is easy. This is the State of Mind, where you can reach your full potential. And by the way, this is also the State of Mind, where your Body is Regenerating itself, with an increase in health and vitality, and here is where daydreaming and nocturnal dreaming take place. Hypnosis also takes place here.
The Theta Wave. - deep sleep - Between 4 and 7 cycles per second is the theta state. All our emotional experiences are recorded here.
The Delta Wave. deepest sleep - Frequencies less than 4 cycles per second are encountered in total unconsciousness, the delta state.
The key words for alpha are :
"relaxed alertness"
"calm - peaceful, with clear creative thinking, ideas, solutions and intuitive breakthroughs"
"body regeneration""increase in health and vitality"and is also the natural state of the right side of your brain to be active...
This combination, esp. relaxed alertness and having access to your right brain function is an important state of mind to have...

In fact, the ability to trigger right brain function and alpha brain activity, is the ability to get in touch with your >> intuition - creativity - music - art - painting - writing - dancing... and such things as problem solving - seeing the bigger picture - and the ability to swing into the left side for logic contemplation and swinging back to see your conclusion in a bigger picture...

After all this... how do we actually manage to drift into the alpha brain wave or the right side of the brain, and use these states at will... ?
By Music - generally, relaxation music or meditative music is also alpha music or the other way around. By playing Alpha Music, your mind will drift into the alpha state.
By creative activity - example > painting.. you may start off painting with your left side, but if you don't need to concentrate on techniques, you soon will shift over to the right side and into the alpha state ... by the way this is also where you loose sense of time.. and you tend to paint longer than you wanted to. Most artist know the power of music, and play alpha music or similar to help them to get into the right mood...
By relaxation exercise or meditation... which you have to learn first.. and once again, those activities are helped by alpha type music, which in that case is called > relaxation music or meditation music.
Conclusion is obvious... you can influence your personal space, your living space or your working space, by playing appropriate music...

Music is extremely powerful, we all know how certain songs can affect us, music is a powerful medium to trigger off emotions...
In years of counselling, I have come across some of the most amazing examples of how music can trigger emotions, and not always positive once... A woman client, who had morning sickness when she was sub-consciously listening to a specific song on the radio, still gets morning sickness now, when that song is played on the radio. This is called an anchor.

You may ask, what has that to do with the alpha brainwave?

To listen to alpha music can have to functions...
one is to help you to get there, and the second one is to work as an anchor,
because the music is now linked or anchored to your state of mind, the alpha state... meaning next time when you listen to that music, you will be able to access that alpha, "relaxed alertness" state of mind even faster....

Article supplied by :
The alpha Romance Music project is a creative initiative to compose, produce and release some of the most brilliant, new age, alternative, inspiring and relaxing music CD's ever to hit the music market.
For article submissions or enquiries, please contact Larry via

Music & Art

Music & Art

Music and art when fused together can create a powerful experience for an audience. The ability to see music in a painting and to use brush stokes to conduct music onto the canvas can be seen as a form of synchronicity. Therefore, music can directly respond to art and in turn art can be reflected in its corresponding musical form.

An abstract painting should invite a viewer to see or find something for themselves within the work. All they are ever given from the artist is merely a suggestion. Hopefully a painting demands the eye's attention for some reason, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but valid either way. A piece of music must also speak to its audience, suggesting a subject and leading the ear on a journey.

The correlation between music and art is almost endless.

For example, one of the most musical subjects to paint is the landscape.
A unifying rhythm could relate to the underlying theme of the landscape and together they could produce their own song. A melody can be polyphonic as the painting itself is layered.

The base notes of a piece of music could easily relate to the darker colours as the treble could relate to the lighter.

Polyphony relates to the layered and textured surfaces, as the use of sustain peddle could signify the soft roundness of the landscape. One could then say that staccato is the mark making of the expressionist, pianissimo, the lightness of touch while fortissimo could relate to the strength of a brush stoke.

A crescendo of colour can allow the viewer to be immersed by auditory and visual stimulation when both audio and three dimensional works are presented at the same time.

An exhibition can be taken into the third dimension creating a kind of installation by its creator.

The art, music comparison is one that has fascinated many people, particularly those with the ability to relate colour directly to sound.Even though it is a medical problem (like a glitch in the brain) it could be considered a rare gift by some.

There are many artists throughout history who have been influence by both music and art.

The fusion of the two provides a wonderful form of performance art and the artworks can be like illustrations to a story. I guess you could reverse that, and say that the music illustrates the art.

Either way, art and music go together.

Article provided by Fiona Joy Hawkins :
The fusion of art music was always inevitable for Fiona Joy Hawkins. Images can be written as music and music can be used to describe images, thoughts and emotions. It is a form of synchronicity when you can see something and write the music to describe it, or listen to music and transfer it onto the canvas using brush strokes as if conducting the music. You can define light, colour and texture by rhythm and melody. Light and shade, velocity and movement all have a similar musical response.

My inspiration for both art and music are often from the landscape, and even though I paint bright colourful abstracts, I write emotional music often in a minor key. Yet they do go together. The manuscript in the music allows the viewer to hear and see the music at the same time, bringing an exhibition into the third dimension - like an installation of surround sound.

Music inspires me as an artist and art itself can be inspiration enough for my music. An example of this is a track I wrote about a bright yellow abstract landscape by Ruth le Cheminant.

As I stood before the painting, I said to Ruth "I can hear the music that describes this painting". Ruth of course, was intrigued to hear how her painting might sound. This track is titled Prelude to a Landscape and is track no 7 on the album "Portrait of a Waterfall.

Article By Fiona Joy Hawkins - web-site
"Portrait of a Waterfall"CD by Fiona Joy Hawkins
Music to lift the spirit yet sooth the soul.An original romantic piano album

Article : Music and Self - Esteem


Positive self-esteem is very important for our general health and wellness as human beings. Having positive self-esteem is also important for promoting any type of healing, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. Poor or low self-esteem on the other hand can be quite detrimental to our well-being and even our very existence.

Negative self-esteem can create anxiety, stress, loneliness, depression, problems with relationships, seriously impair academic and job performance and also can generate an increased vulnerability to drug and alcohol abuse and dependency.

On the other hand, a person with positive self-esteem tends to be more motivated in taking on and creating a life that he loves, living it powerfully and in this process be authentically related to others in his community. Having positive self-esteem appears to be necessary for having a happy and healthy existence regardless of who we are or what profession we are taking on in life.

What is self-esteem?
We commonly think that self-esteem is merely about how we feel about ourselves at any particular moment. While seemingly existing in degrees, we tend to believe that we have positive or negative self-esteem and that we make that determination simply by how we feel about ourselves. However, within a conversation of Transformational Counseling, our feelings or emotions do not exist alone or have an independent existence. We do not just simply feel. Rather, for every feeling or emotion that we have, either positive or negative, there is a corresponding thought that we have about ourselves that generates the experience of self-esteem. Whether positive or negative, self-esteem is merely how our organism experiences the thoughts that the individual has about himself or herself. If a person has positive thoughts about himself he will experience positive or good self-esteem.

On the other hand, if the individual has negative thoughts about who he thinks he is then he will experience poor or negative self-esteem. Therefore, to truly understand what self-esteem is all about and more importantly to be able to alter it when necessary for ones wellness or healing, we must first get it that self-esteem is really about our thinking, and more specifically about the thoughts that we develop or create about ourselves. The thoughts or beliefs that we have about ourselves are crucial in that they determine or create the structure of our experience of self-esteem and the various emotions associated with it.

We also tend to think of our self-esteem as being something that is shaped by the events that take place in our life, particularly those from our past. We tend to believe that who we think we are and how we feel about ourselves is merely the product, effect or caused by the experiences that we have had in the past, that we are who we are by virtue of what has happened to us as human beings. More specifically, we tend to think that the cause in the matter of who we think we are and our self-esteem is due to circumstance, situation or others, people, places and things. We do not tend to think that our self-esteem is something we actually developed or created. Within the work of transformation, it is not the past, circumstance, situation or others, that determines our underlying self-image and corresponding self-esteem. We created our thoughts and with it our emotions from the meaning that we gave to the events that took place in our life, especially at an early age. As meaning making machines we give meaning to everything in our life including and most importantly to ourselves. At an early age the meaning that we give an event tends to be made out to be all about us. While events do happen it is not the events that are important but rather the meaning that we give them and especially how we made it out to be about our identity.

Given the fact that our thoughts determine our feelings or emotions and equally important that we are truly responsible for their creation, to change or transform our self-esteem, how we tend to feel about ourselves, amounts to us altering how we see or conceive of ourselves in the world in the now and this work is our responsibility alone. It is our self-image, how we define ourselves as an individual in the world in the present, that determines our experience of self-esteem and it is this that we are truly responsible for creating and equally responsible for transforming. When we alter or transform our definition of ourselves in the present we change how we feel about ourselves and with it our experience of reality and life in general. If we do not get it that we are responsible for what we think about ourselves and that we are the real author of our self-image and self-esteem we will continue to blame something or some body, remain powerless and stuck in life. The question of how to actually go about altering or improving an individual's self-esteem is one that has been debated for many years by professionals both in the mental health and addiction arenas.

Self-esteem can be improved or transformed in several ways.
One way to improve ones self-esteem is to do the work of transformation as outlined in my articles, Transformational Counseling and The Conversation of Transformation. To improve ones self-esteem in this manner is to become present to ones self limiting belief, that which has stopped us in life and in the process create new possibilities for oneself, a new self-image from which to begin to live life into. Another way to improve an individual's self-esteem is through the use of positive affirmations. Given that the basis of self-esteem is the thoughts that a person has about himself, an individual with poor or negative self-esteem is believing negative thoughts or ideas about who he thinks he is. The individual may think, for example, that he is “worthless” or “not good enough” and as a result will tend to experience poor or negative self-esteem. Within the work of transformation and Transformational Counseling, the thought that is at the basis or core of our self-talk is defined as a person's Self Limiting Belief, the fundamental or core belief about who we think we are. Unless this core thought or belief that a person has about himself is changed or transformed he will continue to experience a poor or negative self-esteem and as a result of this negative thought pattern create or generate life experiences that will match and validate what they think about themselves. Given such a cognitive and emotional situation life will continue to appear as it has in the past and ones future will merely be the probable almost certain future.

Utilizing positive affirmations can be a very powerful tool for transforming what a person thinks about himself and as a result improve the individual's self-esteem. Consistent use of positive affirmations will transform the negative beliefs about who a person thinks he is into positive ones, will begin to alter the basis and structure of his self talk or inner voice and produce a transformation from poor self-esteem to positive self-esteem. While utilized in a various ways, working with positive affirmations will be more effective when delivered through or combined with therapeutic relaxation music. What therapeutic relaxation music does to enhance the effect of positive affirmations is to create a very relaxed audio environment for the individual to become even more open or suggestive to the language of positive affirmations. When therapeutic relaxation music is combined with binaural audio tones the audio space that is created for the delivery of positive affirmations is even more relaxing and as a result very powerful. In addition to utilizing a unique type of therapeutic relaxation music, the infusion of either theta or alpha binaural tones is crucial for the success of this type of intervention. When therapeutic relaxation music and binaural audio tones are combined in this fashion the individual will experience a very deep state of relaxation and as a result be more open to the reception and eventual acceptance of the positive affirmations.

The key to the effective use of positive affirmation in this or any other type of intervention is consistency. The self-image and the negative thoughts about who a person thinks he is that generates his experience of poor or negative self-esteem is well established in the his belief system. In many cases the development of a negative self-image took years to create and has been reinforced through repetitive behavioral validation. Once a person creates and then believes that a self-limiting belief is true he will continually act as if it is true. This seemingly fundamental belief will appear to the person as true and as a result will continually be acted upon and thereby be reinforced through ones behavior. Much of that person's behavior will be to continually validate who he thinks he is. Ones behavior will always be directed at supporting, reinforcing and validating what the person believes is true about him. While necessary for ones well-being and health, such a transformation of ones self-image from being basically a negative one to one that is fundamentally positive does not happen instantly. As with the development of an individual's negative self-image, the development of a more adequate belief about the true nature of the individual will necessitate consistent and repetitive work by the person. Basic to this process is that the individual must fully embrace his sense of complete responsibility for the development of his self-image and also for its transformation. To do otherwise will only leave the individual feeling powerless and unable to create the life that he or she truly desires and unless there is consistency and repetition such a transformation will simply not happen.

Enhancing My Self Esteem is an audio product that will effectively transform the very structure of an individual's thought or belief pattern, the basic ideas and language structure that he uses to define who he thinks he is in the world. This product was designed specially to change the self-talk that a person experiences on a daily basis by changing the ideas or beliefs that the person has about himself, the very foundation or backdrop of his inner conversation. As our identity is merely language, change the language in a person's mind and his life transforms. By listening to this product an individual has the opportunity to practice or repeat fifty positive affirmations that will empower them to alter their life. Within a conversation of Transformational Counseling, committing an affirmation to spoken word makes it so or real especially if it is done repeatedly. Listening to positive affirmations before sleep also allows the person's mind to begin this restructuring or reprogramming process even while the individual sleeps by taking the words and language into their dream state. By consistently listening to and practicing the positive affirmations in this product the individual will have the opportunity to begin to redefine themselves, who they think they are in the world, from one that is negative to one that is positive and enhancing for their life. With the acceptance of the words and language of the positive affirmations will come an improved self-image and with it an experience of positive self esteem.

I am currently using Enhancing My Self Esteem with all the clients that I counsel at the Holistic Addiction Treatment Program in North Miami Beach, Florida. All of the clients that I have worked with who are experiencing a drug and/or alcohol dependency problem also have very low self-esteem. My clients tend to be very depressed and unmotivated in many if not most of the various domains of their life, including and especially with their recovery. When given to my clients as homework, consistent use of Enhancing My Self Esteem alters how they think and improves how they feel about themselves. With an improved self-image and enhanced self-esteem my clients become more motivated in their life and especially with their recovery. If a person continues to experience low self-esteem and there is no intervention to disrupt the underlying cognitive process taking on improving their life and working the 12 Step Program will be meaningless and eventually given up completely as so many other things have been in the past. It is my belief that not altering or transforming the fundamental structure of ones self-image accounts for the great percentage of individuals who begin recovery and eventually relapse. The work that is essential to successful recovery is for the individual to be able to redefine who he thinks he is, to alter his self-image, the very foundation of his experience of self-esteem and life. Who the individual believes he is will determine what he does and how he will be in and appear to others and the world.

Article provided by :
Harry Henshaw, Ed.D., LMHC
Enhanced Healing Through Music