Remember the 1990s and Music – You probably remember Brit Pop, Oasis/ Blur, Grunge Nirvana, pearl Jam
And You might even remember the Mozart Effect – the idea that young children and babies would improve their intelligence by listening to the Music of Mozart.
Since then the only thing proven from the Mozart effect was a slight improvement in Spatial Temporal Reasoning.
And yet what was more overlooked by the mainstream at the time, and actually had more impact is what I have come to call The Meaningfull Music Effect – this was research done by John Sloboda at Sussex University – which showed that Listening to meaningfull music, from the soundtrack that helped shape and define your life, could have a dramatic impact.
And what defines the soundtrack – well for most people it’s whatever You would have listened to from around your early teens through to your late twenties and thirties.
Ofcourse if your Music thing happened to be Mozart, then it would be Mozart.
Yet for most people it would be the Music that they grew up with, which wasn’t Mozart.
John Sloboda’s research showed that 50%, half of the subjects emotions could be dramatically shifted, uplifted – simply by listening to Music, often a very specific song that had deep resonant meaning for them.
And that kind of makes sense – after all a lot of us have those go to tunes, those songs that define a certain time – and just listening to them can easily transport us back there.
But the question I came back to was – how come it was only 50% ?
If Music is that powerfull – then why was it not a majority of the people who were there listening in John Sloboda’s experiment.
I believe it is because it is not Passive Music Listening that has the dramatic impact, instead it is actual Meaningfull Music Making.
And this was a very powerfull finding at the Plymouth Experiments in Devon 2013 – where advanced Alzheimer Sufferers had regained the ability to speak, for a time – through the power of meaningfull music making – in this case singing.
Infact so dramatic were the results, that a G8 delegation from Japan stayed on to study this – because Japan has an elderly population.
However I believe this goes way beyond Alzheimers – I believe this demonstrates the absolute full power of Meaningfull Music Making, if it has the ability to re-animate, get someone speaking again – then that is powerfull.
A lot of people have heard that Passive Music Listening can be powerfull – and certainly it can have impact; but You can be easily distracted from Meaningfull Music Listening – and likely not notice. This is why I believe only 50% of John Sloboda’s research people showed a huge emotional shift – the other 50% were very likely distracted in some way.
However it is Meaningfull Music Making that is way more powerfull – yes Music Listening can process more of the brain but you could be distracted – in Meaningfull Music Making, You can’t be distracted it easily shows up.
In my experience the main sources of distraction are throughts – which is one of the reasons why when I train people on Guitar, I coach them to follow the music and not their thoughts in all their Music making related activites.
So a short snapshot view of Music from the 1990s through to right now – it’s about way more than the Passive Music Listening effect
– It is about the Meaningfull Music Making Effect. This is what shifts You, energises You – and one of the huge challenges that need to be overcome for many people is Focus – being able to quickly get out of what i call life mode into Music making mode – because of busy lives, not many people can have the luxury of sitting around all day and playing guitar, or wheatver Musical instrument resonates with You – so whatever time You do use, You want to get the most out of – and first and foremost that requires focus.
I do believe that during the 21st Century – Meaningfull Music Making will become known for the brain, what we all know Diet and Exercise is for the Body.