Tuesday 20 March 2012

"Take it Easy"

"Standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona. Such a fine sight to see. It's a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin' down to take a look at me. Take it ea-easy. Take it ea-easy." ~ The Eagles

Those, my friends, are the opening lines of what may be my favourite song of all time, Take It Easy by the Eagles.

I listen to music a large part of my day, every day. If I am at work I usually have my headphones in and listening to classical music or Chris Botti. It helps me tune out the world of cubicles around me and focus on what I need to focus on. If I am home I always have music on. And it can be almost anything depending on my mood. I am never without it.

I was raised on music by my mom. From an early age I was schooled in a diverse musical catalogue - everything from classic Rod Stewart, The Eagles, Tom Jones and Gino Vanelli (yes, Gino Vanelli - it was the 70's, people!) to Joe Cocker, Kenny Rogers, John Mayer, and K.D. Lang. Some of the lessons "took" - I have seen Rod Stewart and Tom Jones in concert MANY times, each time as good as the time before. When I went with girlfriends to see Tom Jones in Las Vegas, a friend who couldn't make it embroidered our initials in leopard print panties for us to throw (we didn't throw them - they were too cute!). Other lessons didn't - sorry Kenny!

Music triggers many happy memories in me. I clearly remember the summer that Grease was released. Every time I heard "You're The One That I Want" signalling the beginning of the commercial for the movie, I would race to the TV - the song just made me so happy and want to dance. To this day whenever I hear any of the Grease songs I think of that summer and going to the movie with my friend Laura. Then I just think about Laura and smile. Simple times when small things made a kid happy.

In my recent quest to bring peace and balance to my life I have stumbled upon a new love: Reggae. I dare you - try and be sad, cranky, mad or irritable while listening to reggae. It's scientifically impossible. OK, I haven't actually conducted scientific research but based on my experience (control group: one adult woman), I feel nothing but happy & relaxed when I listen to it. In fact, it inspired this post.

I have heard about the positive impact of music on learning and concentration but what about chronic pain and mental health issues. According to a report in ScienceDaily in May 2006, music can reduce pain and depression in people by up to 25%. That's substantial when you are desperate for relief, relief of any sort. In a controlled clinical trial in the United States, 60 people were divided into three groups - two listened to different types of music and the third was a control group with no music. The groups who listened to music (the type proved unimportant) for an hour every day for a week reported improved physical and psychological symptoms while the control group saw no improvement.

Music can promote relaxation, communication, creative self-expression, insight, and emotional processing. And you don't need a prescription. Oh, and 45 minutes of soft music before bed can help you sleep better.

My musical tastes have changed over time but one thing remains constant - my diverse taste. Yes, I worship at the altar of Jon Bon Jovi but I also love Tony Bennett, vintage Spice Girls, Sergio Mendes, Faith Hill, Hedley, Beyonce, and I'll even admit to the odd Britney Spears tune. The other consistent thread - the music either invokes happy thoughts and memories or just makes me feel happy in the moment. And isn't that really the point? Being happy in the moment.

One of my happiest musical memories includes "Take It Easy." Years ago, my mom, my brother, and I were driving along the Coquihalla Highway in my mom's jeep. The stereo was cranked and the three of us were singing along with Glen Frey and the boys at the top of our lungs, word for word. It was one of those moments in time that was pure bliss and utterly priceless. I can't think of that time or hear that song without smiling. Simple times & happy moments? Yes.

KB xo

For information about music therapy in British Columbia check out the Music Therapy Association of BC: www.mtabc.com

1 comment:

  1. I know!!! Such a happy memory. AND that just happened to be my first movie! XO L


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