Mu­sic the food of heal­ing for all

Whanganui Midweek - - PUZZLE PAGE - With Peter Hall

“If mu­sic be the food of love, play on .... ”

And even as Wil­liam Shake­speare wrote this in Act One, Scene One of his play Twelfth Night, lit­tle did he prob­a­bly re­alise that 500 years later mu­sic would be not only the food of love, it would also be the food of heal­ing, the food of in­tel­li­gence — and the food for all peo­ples around the world.

Re­searchers from the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Los An­ge­les, have found that re­ceiv­ing mu­sic ther­apy can sig­nif­i­cantly lessen a pa­tient’s need for opi­oids and other painkillers af­ter in­va­sive surgery.

The re­searchers tested 161 pa­tients — 49 in the mu­sic group and 112 in a con­trol group.

Af­ter their surgery, both groups were of­fered painkillers in­tra­venously at doses re­quested by the pa­tient. Of those en­gaged in mu­sic ther­apy, 86 per cent avoided the painkillers com­pared to only 26 per cent of the con­trol group (heads up, Good Health Whanganui).

A fur­ther study showed that struc­tured mu­sic lessons sig­nif­i­cantly en­hanced chil­dren’s cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties, in­clud­ing lan­guage-based rea­son­ing, short-term mem­ory and plan­ning.

Mu­sic lessons also re­duced in­hi­bi­tion, lead­ing to im­proved aca­demic per­for­mance, a re­port from Vrije Univer­siteit of Am­s­ter­dam says.

In the study, 147 Dutch six year olds were di­vided into mu­sic, vis­ual arts and con­trol groups, and mon­i­tored for two and a half years.

The chil­dren in the mu­sic group sang, lis­tened to mu­sic and played an in­stru­ment of their choice one to two hours a week dur­ing reg­u­lar class­room time.

Com­pared to the con­trol group, they demon­strated im­proved ver­bal IQ and rea­son­ing skills, and a greater abil­ity to plan, or­gan­ise and com­plete tasks, as well as im­proved aca­demic achieve­ment. Chil­dren given struc­tured vis­ual art lessons showed im­prove­ments in vis­ual and spa­tial mem­ory com­pared to the con­trol group. [Heads up, teach­ers and par­ents!]

Wan­ganui has long been one of the most mu­si­cal and artis­tic cen­tres in New Zealand and this con­tin­ues to­day. There are su­perb mu­si­cal op­por­tu­ni­ties in the city from mod­ern mu­sic through jazz and opera to ex­cel­lent ele­men­tary and sec­ondary school pro­grams, and mu­si­cal theatre groups such as AmDram.

Find a mu­sic teacher, what­ever in­stru­ment your child de­sires to play, and the re­sults will be pos­i­tive. It might be Brass Wan­ganui, it might be the Pipe Band, it may be a rock group, but all play their parts in the de­vel­op­ment of the par­tic­i­pat­ing per­son. To quote Celtic Thun­der, the Ir­ish folk group,

“All God’s crea­tures got a place in the choir,

Some sing low and some sing higher”

So find that place and fly.

Mu­sic ther­apy Led Zep­pelin style ... prob­a­bly im­proves IQ, re­duces in­hi­bi­tion and gets you off painkillers.

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