“Sing, Sing a Song!”
In the last two installments, we discussed sound healing, first about how I got into sound healing, and the power of humming [HERE]. Then, last time we spoke about the positive facts that sounds in nature have on our well-being [HERE]. Here, I’d like to discuss some of the benefits of simple singing and melody.
Music and song have been used for many generations in various cultures throughout the world for spiritual and emotional expression and support. Music plays a particularly significant and pivotal role in Jewish life. The Torah has been transmitted for generations with song. Each word of the Torah has a melodic phrase associated with it called “trop(e).” Each of these motifs has some inner dimension – whether mystical, informational, etc. The Torah and science both validate that information is easier memorized and transmitted through song. Until the Talmud was transcribed, all prior details beyond the written Torah were transmitted orally with melodic inflections and phrases.
Music can elicit emotional qualities. In the Chassidic traditions, melody (niggun) has the power to convey emotional and spiritual states. Rabbi Avraham Trugman, in his book The Mystical Power of Music says, ‘Music certainly touches the source of the Divine pleasure in the soul, allowing it to access the multilevel[s] of experience simultaneously. Music opens the gates of intellectual, emotional, and instinctive self – expression, as it creates the eternal present, touching and activating the portals of our own potential longing to be expressed…” The Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi said, “The tongue is the pen of the heart and the mind, but melody is the pen of the soul.”
There is copious research literature, regarding the benefits of singing. Some of the many benefits are: Pulmonary rehabilitation, dementia, anxiety, self-confidence, psychological well-being, chronic health conditions, vocal therapy after surgeries, various cancers, cultivating presence, cognitive health, and more. There is even research on the effects of singing on gene expression in songbirds! As I mentioned in the first article of the series, music has been part of me since I was a little child while singing in the temple choir. There is significant research about the benefits of choral singing in enhancing mental health and cultivating presence. Here I am providing one such article regarding the benefits of choral singing. (CLICK HERE)
When I teach sound healing, I talk to people about the feelings that might be elicited by music genres or songs that they hear. If we pay attention and clue into the kinds of music that elicit various feelings, we may be able to find our own “prescription playlist.” If we know we’re prone to a depressed mood, and a particular song or genre “takes us there,” we may think twice before playing it. Everyone has a different demeanor, personality, energy style and moods. Similarly, each song or piece of music has its own ethos and different energy. Does a piece make you feel happy, longing or patriotic? Does it energize you or bring you down? I believe in finding your own constitutional song. That would be a song that gives you a good feeling when listening to it. My song is “James” by Pat Metheny (HERE). Since I’m highly energetic, my “constitutional” song feels just like my forward moving energy. See if you can find your own “constitutional” piece of music. I truly believe that once we put a little bit more attention into the musical aspect of our lives, we can reap benefits on many levels, social, emotional, spiritual, physical, and even epigenetic! Happy listening!
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