Tel +27 (021) 880 1444 | Fax +27 (021) 880 0291 | P.O. Box 12602, Die Boord, Stellenbosch, 7613
‘Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.’˜Plato
There is scarcely an organ or set of organs in the human body that does not feel the effect of music. Several findings indicate the health benefit of music on the heart and circulation, and the effects of music on breathing. Happy music or ‘pep-up’ music can improve breathing. Music is sometimes also used for short-term goals – for instance to energise the body with vitality and inspiration. Up-tempo music can motivate and give vitality to the body during physical therapy or conventional exercise programmes. At the same time productivity and ‘quality-of-work’ can improve with listening to music.
OUR EMOTIONAL ENERGYEveryone has experienced a moment when the chips were down and all you saw ahead was a tough uphill climb, and yet you felt full of vitality. That’s emotional energy. An aliveness of the mind, a happiness of the heart and a spirit filled with hope. According to Mira Kirshenbaum1 physical energy can supply at most 30% of our total energy. Even if you have perfect physical health and ate the perfect diet, and got the perfect amount of exercises. The 70% of energy you need comes from your emotional energy.
So often life is designed to exhaust our emotional energy. Sometimes we get stretched to the limit and then an emergency stretches us even further. But to be still filled with joy in spite of all this – that’s the difference emotional energy makes. Without emotional energy, the human spirit could not survive for long.
High energy people do specific things that work so they have the best possible relationships with the universe. Our emotional energy system is very different from our physical energy system. From the physical we’re just a machine. You need fuel, the best fuel possible. You need to be well maintained, eat well, sleep well and get enough exercises. Your emotional energy system works completely differently. It’s really you – you are not only a machine but a special, creative, happy, hopeful and wonderful self. You are deep down and in your essence the perfect unique person God created.1 If you believe in a natural health style and love it, you will get emotional energy to achieve it.
MUSIC/EMOTION/ENERGYMusic is often regarded as a language of emotion. It expresses emotions that listeners perceive, recognise, or are ‘moved’ by. Furthermore several studies have suggested that the most common motive for listening to music is to influence emotions. Music can change your emotions (sad to happy); can release emotions; can match current emotions of enjoyment or sadness; and relieve stress.
Both Beethoven and Mozart produced some of their most shining happy music during times when the circumstances of their lives were most desperate and filled with loss.
MUSIC IN SPORT AND EXERCISEWhile the greatest pieces of music will energise and inspire all levels of your being, there are different musical works that will appeal specifically to certain areas of your being. Overtures are generally peppy and dynamic and they are especially good for activating exercises. An overture is an instrumental piece of music composed for introduction to an opera. This includes the beautiful Rosamunde of Schubert, Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, Beethoven’s Consecration of the House and the Egmont Overture.
Music has positive effects when played at the same time when performing physical activity. It has been established that there are many ways in which music can be applied to both training and competition. With the right music you can do a harder workout.2 Music also provides an ideal accompaniment for training. When you do warm ups, circuit training and stretching, use music with a tempo that matches the activity.
How music ups performanceScientific inquiry has revealed five key ways in which music can influence preparations and competitive performances by dissociation, arousal regulation, synchronisation, and acquisition of motor skills and attainment of flow. This means music can narrow attention and divert the mind from sensations of fatigue. This creates a positive mood state by turning the attention away from thoughts of physiological sensations of fatigue and addresses the emotional energy of the body. Music could enable a particular workload to be more acceptable and perceived as less arduous and reduce fatigue and discomfort. Cyclists find that if they listen to music it not only improves their time, but also less fatigue is noticed. Music is an external information source affecting the processing of internal information and influence, exertion and performance. Two studies indicate that listening to preferred music while exercising can increase exercise distance and can optimise performance during cycling exercise.3,4
MUSIC IN THE WORK ENVIRONMENTListening to music in the work environment creates a positive mood. It can also have an effect on task performance by increasing the state of positive affect. When music evokes a pleasant mood and an increased arousal state, the performance is better. Some time ago it was noticed that workmen repainting an ocean liner in Hamburg harbour during the rehearsal of a concert by the ship’s orchestra were found to complete their work much more quickly if the music was of a lively nature – whereas they were inclined to paint slowly if the character of the music was drowsy.
CONCLUSIONMusic is a valuable prescription for increasing efficiency in our daily tasks whether physical or mental. It has the ability to vitalise and energise the body. It can change negative emotions and relieve stress. Music feeds the mind, body and soul – we shouldn’t live without it.
DR FRANCES LE ROUX, BSC, MSC, PHD.
She is a registered physiotherapist in Fish Hoek, Cape Town, South Africa. She has a special interest in music/medicine based on her research regarding music and pain, immune systems and spiritual well-being. She is a member of the International Music in Medicine Association and on the International Editorial Board of Music and Medicine Interdisciplinary Journal. Her books Music is Healing and recently published Music and Babies are available from: email@example.com
Click here to browse or order previous issues