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The Power of Soothing Music

by Phillip Lester

As our busy lives face more pressures and demands, stress begins to take its toll in sleeping disorders, feelings of being overwhelmed, and possibly depression. Whether its in long commutes to work or in the everyday challenges of meeting deadlines, the urgency of the moment can easily crowd out the need to take out time for reflection and personal renewal is easily diminished. As modern society becomes more stressful, soft music becomes more recognized for itís natural therapeutic power. We have all experienced musicís ability to transform our moods and help make lifeís routine tasks (like cleaning, ironing, organizing, exercising, or getting over an illness) more bearable. Sometimes just the right combination of melodies, lyrics, and tempo, can comfort us, help us concentrate on tasks, making the time to go by easier and helping us get through unpleasant moments.

Just the right selection of music can fill our homes with that desired ambiance or set the atmosphere we need for a special occasion. Research is available showing how students perform better on standardized tests when listening to classical music. There is also now even medical evidence that listening to soft music helps to release endorphins, the bodyís natural painkillers. Medical doctors, Psychiatrists, Massage therapists and other health care professionals recognize the therapeutic nature of select music, whether in lowering blood pressure or to relax a nervous patient before facing moments of anxiety.

What also impresses me about soothing music is how it effects young and old alike. I work with middle school children daily and they recognize the benefits of soft music as well as adults. When soft music is played in a classroom setting it helps children to be more focused, less distracted and generally helps everyone to be more calm in spirit. A letter was sent to me recently from a fourth grade teacher in Vancouver, WA, stating,

"Every morning relaxation music is playing as the students enter the room. Quite often they now request music when doing seat work. Not one of them has ever complained or made fun of it. In fact they find they do better writing when this type of music is playing.

- Wanda Sofie,
Fourth grade teacher
Vancouver, WA

I also discovered the therapeutic benefits of soothing music first hand while performing as an underground subway musician in Boston many years ago. After playing an arrangement of Pachelbelís Canon or Prelude by J.S. Bach, commuters would invariably thank me for helping them reduce the anxiety and stress they were feeling. (Some even gave me money for my musical interventions!)

Among all the styles of music out there, I have always gravitated to melodic ballads and heartfelt melodies - whether it be in a movie theme or that single pretty tune on a rock album. I guess that explains my stylistic approach to composing, arranging, performing, and recording.

I invite you to visit me at www.guitarartistry.com. and return for more information on new releases and calendar updates. If you live in New Jersey, in or around New York, please let me know where, and Iíll add your address to my mailing list which keeps the local folks posted on upcoming performances in their area. If you have a comment, come across an article, or have a personal experience about this subject you would like to share I would happy to hear from you.

Phillip Lester
42 MacArthur Ave Bloomfield, NJ 07003
Tel. ()973-748-4490
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