BIT Studio

BIT Studio

Musicking, Science and Health

  Musicking is the verb form of music and is the act of doing something with music, be it performing, listening, analyzing, creating, or simply enjoying. Neurorhythmics is an area of study focused on the effect of sound, music, and movement on the brain.

  • MS&H: A Mental Tune-Up
    Lecture overview PDF available here.

  • Keith Loach – Papers
    * Improvisation in Neurorhythmics
    * Dalcroze and Flow State: Praxial Creativity
    * Neurorhythmics in Health Care
    * Jo-Jo Who: Praxis, Critical Thinking, and Dr. Seuss
    * Musicking, Science, and Health
    * Water Music: Rhythmicity, Aerobicity, and Swimming

  • Neurorhythmics in Health Care: Cradle to Grave Return on Investment
    Literature review and dissertation outline here.

I will be using this blog as a forum to develop ideas for my York University doctoral dissertation. I hope to build upon recent studies in science and health to support musicking as a means of improving quality of life for individuals. National health care policy will be examined (Switzerland and Canada) to establish financially justifiable opportunities linking neurorhythmics and Dalcroze Eurhythmics with government aid. In order to keep the main thread simple, I will try to use blog links and essays to provide drill-down detail and expansion of ideas.

My paper will examine three areas of music and health: mental, physical, and cognitive. Musicking can influence the body and mind in many ways. From studies in Gamma brain waves and dopamine pathways to studies in bouncing balls and iPod programs, musicking has been shown to produce positive results with not only gait, speech and memory issues, but also with more serious medical ailments such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and fibromyalgia syndrome. Perhaps most significant is musicking’s ability to address mental health issues through social connection and building a sense of community with others.

Establishing empirical evidence to produce a strong correlation between community music and improved health and wellbeing has proven difficult. One study has linked a reduced risk of death in culturally engaged employees from external causes such as accidents, violence and suicide (Vaananen et al, 2009), and another case study discusses findings from research on a participatory arts project in a mental health setting that showed a significant improvement in a quantitative measure of empowerment (Secker et al, 2007). However, much of the research on music and health tends to focus on clinical outcomes, such as physiological studies on brain activity by authors such as Daniel Levitin and Oliver Sacks, and therapeutical studies on mental health by authors such as Gary Ansdell and Gro Trondalen. Popular philosophical arguments for justifying investment in community music projects include David Elliott’s work on music as praxis (Elliott, 2015), Ray MacDonald’s thoughts on assessing the relationship between music and health (MacDonald, 2012), and Kari Veblen’s approach to community music (Veblen, 2013). One of the problems in producing reliable community music studies is the nature of the research required. That is, much of the research relies on survey methodology, which tends to be more qualitative than quantitative (MacDonald, 2012).





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