I have been thinking many thoughts lately surrounding the ideas of music therapy, the benefits of singing and also of gibberish.
I don’t know what springs to mind when you hear the words “music therapy” but for a long time I considered the wonderful work of musicians in hospitals, nursing homes, mental health facilities etc… I know a couple of music therapists and I greatly admire what they do in their day-to-day work.
Recently, however, my musings (I just mis-typed that as musicings – how fun!) – my musings have turned to music therapy for regular people going about their days. By “regular” in this sense, I mean those who are NOT dealing with medical, age related or mental health issues that traditional music therapy addresses. People who (to simplify) get up, go to work or serve their families all day, come home and proceed to their evening’s leisure or laundry. Why would such a life need music therapy?
We all encounter stresses – large and small. For the last bunch of years, one of the best ways my sister, mum and I have found to deal with stress in the short term is to watch the movie “Mama Mia”. No matter what is going on in our lives, we always feel better after watching it – and I am a person who almost never re-watches movies. So what about it? Letting go of our situation long enough to get lost in the music of ABBA allows us release, laughter, and often by the end of the film, perspective.
Singing of any sort can allow this release of emotion, and at the end of it, can sometimes help with perspective. As ever, I encourage you that your voice is perfect for your song. You do not need to sound like Meryl Streep in “Mama Mia”. It’s OK if you sound like Pierce Brosnan. The important thing is to find the release and the joy in opening your mouth and letting your insides out! Sometimes the song is stronger if there are no words. Do not be afraid of that.
If you have a few minutes, watch this video of Will Hewett. Not only does he show his wonderful perspectives and what he’s learned from his year of singing 15 minutes a day, but he is an enviable speaker of gibberish.
As Will Hewett says, “Words are really flimsy messengers for the fullness of experience, and singing can [transcend that]”
(And for the record, “Mama Mia” ADDS stress to my husband’s life! He tends to turn to a good book and the music of Patrick Hawes – wonderful wonderful)
Until next time, sing on.