A songbook for health
many different parts of the brain. Music
builds and maintains neural networks
that help preserve memory and it can
also improve your mood, which in turn
motivates and reduces stress.
“If we bring music into the foreground
of our daily lives it can help us feel less
stressed,” explains Buchanan. This can
help you avoid illness and improve your
performance at work, school and other
daily activities. Music can also be healing,
enjoyable, expressive and relaxing.
There is no right or wrong music to
help your health and overall well-being.
“Choose music that is going to make
you feel the way you want to feel,”
Take out your songbooks, tune
up your guitar, dust off your records,
plug in your iPod or go see a concert.
However you like your music—and
regardless if you listen, play or sing—it
can boost your health and well-being.
Jennifer Buchanan, president and owner
of JB Music Therapy in Calgary, uses music
to help clients deal with conditions such as,
Alzheimer’s disease, chronic depression,
autism and brain injury.
“I see a dramatic result of how music
affects them,” she says. “We forget about
what music does.”
Different aspects of music (pitch,
tonality, etc.) trigger responses from
how 20-25 minutes of music can make you feel better
For more information, visit MyHealth. Alberta.ca
and search for music therapy.
says Lois Samis Lund, the musician in
residence at Glenrose Rehabilitation
Hospital, where music is often used
as a therapeutic treatment. She sees
the health benefits of music daily and
views it as something people can easily
embrace in their everyday lives.
Buchanan recommends listening to the
genre of your choice, whether it’s rock,
classical or reggae, without distractions,
for 20 to 25 minutes or more a day. To get
the most out of the experience, focusing
on the music is important.
“Music in the background just
becomes noise in your head, and we have
enough of that anyways,” says Joanne
MacQueen, manager of Recreational
Therapy at the Glenrose Hospital. “There
has to be significance to it.”
“It’s like getting people used to
exercising once again,” says Buchanan.
And it may, she says, be one of the easiest
health regimes around.
— Cassandra hough
4 easy steps to get the most out of music
1. Spend at least 20 minutes a day
listening to music
2. Choose music and discover music you enjoy
3. Fully focus on the music
4. Spread it around: music is great to share