Updated: Aug 15
By Christy | The Practicing Pro
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We all know that eating well is healthy. Exercising and getting fresh air in nature is also good for you. Listening to good music and making music is also an incredible thing for our minds and our spirits and even has physical benefits.
Nature and fresh air also help your health in so many ways.
Let's have some fun today and play the first words that pop into your head when I say a word game.
The first words no matter what they are:
When I think about being outside in nature the FAST first thoughts I have are
I LOVE my backyard its one of my favorite places to be in the whole world
I am a Nova Scotian, and it's a go-to in my brain to think of the ocean first before a forest.
I breathe deeply, smile, and feel emotionally grounded whenever I go into nature or imagine myself in nature.
I think of playing my violin right away when I think of nature. The healing feelings from nature run right next to each other as the healing feelings that come from music. They are so similar that I will often think of my violin and nature at the same time.
Whenever I feel anything happy I want to share it - so I think of my family and my close friends.
It's so interesting to me that when I think of nature I very quickly think of my violin.
The reason why is because when you compare the benefits of nature and the benefits of music. They share a lot of common things!
Let’s talk a bit about some of the benefits of nature.
Developing your mind
Spending time in nature has proven to help you be smarter and healthier. It also helps you to have empathy for the plants, animals, trees, etc… and to care more about the world that we live in. If you grow anything yourself you see all that goes into one carrot or one strawberry and you appreciate more and are less likely to waste food when you know how much it takes to produce it. Noticing these things and feeling these things wakens our appreciation for being alive as we take in and notice the air, sun, and water that we are dependent on. When a person is outdoors in nature, studies show that their memory increases by 20%. People are more creative when they are outdoors.
Physical & Mental Health
You move their bodies more and in a natural way when you are outdoors.
People heal faster outside and even need fewer drugs to recuperate which is pretty incredible! Studies have also shown that hospital patients improve faster with nature views out their windows, walks outside, and even just having a live plant in their rooms. These speed up their recovery! Nature is a powerful healer. It can reduce stress, anger, aggression, anxiety, and depression. This is not an inclusive list but it’s a good one!
Researchers have found that dopamine helps to drive our sociability. Two ways that you can increase your dopamine levels are by exercising and being in the sunlight. So getting outside in nature with help you feel more sociable.
Now let's look at some of the benefits of playing an instrument and having music in your life.
Developing your mind
Playing music is like doing a workout for your brain. It helps to keep your brain sharp. It improves your mental performance and memory. Studies have been done that show how music can help patients recover from brain injuries. Music can help slow down the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Learning music fires so many different parts of the brain simultaneously. This means that you really have to focus so many parts of your brain at one time to learn music that it’s been shown to help students with ADD to then learn in non-music environments better. Learning music is all about math for the counting and decoding for the reading so it supports students' minds to do better in their reading and math classes at school.
Physical & Mental Health
Music develops your ears to be able to pick out sounds in an environment. Reading music also helps to strengthen your ability to process information. Learning these skills in music transfers over to other activities you do.
Playing a musical instrument is exercise. You use different back, core, and arm muscles. Fine motor skills are developed over time. It's tricky to do different things at the same time like the right and left hands making different finger patterns at different rhythmical times. All of the practice to do this is exercising and developing the mind and the muscles. If you want to play an instrument well then you need to practice every day and make practice a part of your routine. Developing discipline helps you to be successful in other areas of your life too like time management.
According to an article by Live Science did you know that making music will enhance the immunological response that we use when fighting viruses? That's exciting.
Playing music is an activity that takes your energy and focuses it in a specific positive way that helps alleviate stress.
Music is a great place to experiment with and to develop your creativity. You can write your own music and you can interpret and add your own emotion and expression to other writers' pieces to experience your own experiences and thoughts within them.
Music can soothe you after a long day. It can energize you when you are tired and have a job to complete. It can help with stress, insomnia, and depression by being an outlet for your emotions.
I recorded an exercise CD called "Celtic Energy". I originally created it for Aqua Aerobic classes and power walking. I had so many people tell me they used it for energy to do house cleaning and even long drives!
You can gain confidence by learning a hard piece that after practice feels easy. You can share music with others and share your feelings and emotions with them through music. Played at many funerals. You sit at the front and can see everyone's faces. Usually, a few cry before you play music but during and just after you play a deeply heartfelt piece you can see that it evokes emotions and that's when the people holding back from crying earlier will start. Music can be therapeutic.
Music-making in a group is a wonderful way to learn to work as a team, communicate, and make new friends together. Making music cuts down on screen time.
There are so many benefits to playing an instrument. WOW... and that was just the start of the list. There are also so many reasons to spend time in nature and again the list I made is just a small start to all of the amazing things being in nature does for you.
To me, that’s complete magic.
Last weekend I went to Parsburro with Mark. We had a lovely three days. I was planning on dropping by my school to pick up my violin and deck of cards I had there on the way and for some reason, at just the wrong time it slipped my mind. It’s easy to do, you know the last few minutes getting out the door before a trip when you remember all these things you need to do before you leave. Well, when I thought about it we were already outside of the city, and returning back to get it wasn't an option. Literally, a dozen times I thought about my violin and how I wanted to pull it out and play it. Being in nature with that list of amazing feelings just makes me want to play my violin.
The benefits of being in nature are huge. The benefits of playing music are huge.
Putting them together is magical for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Try it this summer!
Where can you go? Is there a park, your back yard, an elderly person you know that would love for you to sit under their tree and share music with them? Can you walk along the ocean side early in the morning and connect the vibrations of your music and your soul to the vibrations of the earth?
Blend your music into the sounds of the earth.
The buzz of the bees, the swish of the wind in the branches of a tree, the song of a bird, or the rumble of a car down a nearby road. Take big deep cleansing breaths and play your favorite melodies. Write your own melody. Play music with others.
All of the world is a vibration. Your music vibrations will add to the beautiful complexity of it. Making music in nature will help you be in harmony with yourself. It will help you be in harmony with the world around you. It will help you be in harmony with others. It's a truly magical experience.
A Gift for You
Watch for the Nova Scotia Youth Ambassadors' new video coming soon and the videos they have done in the past all in nature. For their newest video, we hiked into the woods to a waterfall. It was a connection for us all and included all of the things I talked about today. It was magical and magnificent. You can search on You Tube the Nova Scotia Youth Ambassadors and they will all pop up. My favorite? OOOO it's hard to say but I would say the Peggy's Cove one and the Grand Pre one! I hope that you enjoy them.
I am Christy, the practicing pro, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, let me help you realize your VISION of who you hope your child will become through the study of music.
Bye for now and see you next time!
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