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The Mozart Effect, classical music for relaxation

How to listen to relaxation music to get the most benefit

Using relaxation Music for Transformation & Healing.
Article by Howard Richman of Sound Feelings Publishing

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The Mozart Effect, classical music for relaxation

The ‘Mozart Effect’ received a great deal of media attention in 1993 after the publication of a study conducted by Frances Rauscher, Gordon Shaw, and Katherine Ky.   Since the publication of Rauscher et al. study, research has been somewhat mixed. Several follow-up studies by Rauscher and her colleagues provide additional support for the 'Mozart effect.' In 1995, Rauscher and her colleagues investigated spatial reasoning abilities in 79 college students who listened to Mozart's piano sonata, listened to various other musical pieces, or did not listen to music. Subjects who listened to the Mozart music performed significantly better than the other two control conditions.

Three studies by Dr. Rideout at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania provide further evidence in support of the 'Mozart effect.' In 1997, Rideout and Taylor replicated the 'Mozart effect' in 32 college studies using two different spatial-reasoning tasks. In 1996, Rideout and Laubach studied 8 college students who listened to Mozart's piano sonata in one condition and no music in another condition. Changes in EEG (i.e., brain wave activity) were examined prior to and while engaged in two spatial-reasoning tasks. Rideout and Taylor found that subjects performed better on these tasks after listening to the Mozart music. In addition, the EEG recordings were slightly correlated with the students' performance (i.e., increased activity was associated with increase in performance).

In 1998, Hughes, Daaboul, Fino, and Shaw, researchers at the University of Illinois Medical Center, had patients with seizures listen to Mozart's piano sonata. In 23 of 29 instances, there was a dramatic decrease in epileptic activity while listening to this music. Interestingly, these researchers also documented a substantial decrease in epileptic activity in a comatose patient while being presented with Mozart music.

In 1998, Johnson, Cotman, Tasaki, and Shaw studied the effects of Mozart music on a set of twins who were both suffering from Alzheimer's disease. One twin listened to Mozart's piano sonata and the other twin listened to songs from the 1930's in one condition and no music in another condition. The twin who listened to Mozart's piano sonata performed much better on a spatial-temporal task than the twin who participated in the two placebo conditions.

Listening to music is non-invasive, is usually a pleasant experience, and may have the potential to affect cognition positively. More research is needed to assess the validity of the 'Mozart effect' as well as to determine whether this effect can last longer than 10 or 15 minutes. The 'Mozart effect' is clearly a fascinating subject which has the potential to have far-reaching implications.

There is also a growing body of evidence indicating that active involvement in music, such as singing and/or playing a musical instrument, may improve spatial as well as verbal abilities.

It is a matter of fact that listening to calming music in general will help you to relax. Of course if you hate classical music for example you will have difficulties relaxing or doing anything while it is playing. So it is important for you to find the type of music that relaxes you, and I mean R E L A X. Something that just wants to make you lay down and rest and be still and dream. Not the type of music that lets you perform better or get you in the swing of things. Think about the difference and experiment, take note how you react to different types of music.


How to listen to relaxation music to get the most benefit

One of the most amazing insights from our mind-brain research is that when the mind is in a balanced state, the brain functions in a measurably balanced way. As you watch the electrical activity of your brain displayed on a color monitor, you can see how moment to moment the mind-brain state flows in and out of balance.

When the brain comes into balance, there is a "synching up" of the activity of both the left and right sides of the brain. It is like what happens when dozens of individual musicians stop tuning their individual instruments, or stop trying to drown each other out, and finally begin to actually play music together as one orchestra.

When this unusually balanced brainstate was first discovered, numerous researchers attempted to identify the key method necessary to bring it about. After thousands of experiments, the data analysis revealed that the single most important element was an open, focused quality of mind, sometimes described as "panoramic attention" or as "mindfulness of space."

In this state of panoramic attention, the mind is balanced, peaceful, open, clear, and powerfully present. Brain activity is balanced left to right and front to back in a highly integrated, organized, coherent, and nearly superfluid state of responsive functioning.

So to get the most out of listening to any kind of relaxing music you can use the following steps:

  • 1. Because it is easier for the mind to open, equalize, and balance when your body is relaxed, take a few deep and easy breaths and release any tensions you may become aware of. Take a few minutes to scan through your whole body and to let the breath help you to draw your awareness into any regions in your body that are calling for attention.

  • 2. Deepen this technique to help you focus your awareness into any sticking points of tension in your mind. Breathing in, focus in a deep and spacious way within the center of any thoughts. Breathing out, let the energy of that thought flow or dissolve like a cloud melting into the deep clear sky.

  • 3. Next, sense and feel your whole body like a big balloon that is completely open, unobstructed, and hollow inside.

  • 4. Now, sense yourself sitting right at the very center of your universe. Consciously open and expand the field of your awareness to become aware of you unique place in space. Allow the internal sense of openness and spaciousness to expand. Allow your field scanners to reach up to see, sense, or feel whatever is above you, and to reach down to sense and discover whatever is below you.

  • 5. Now allow yourself to effortlessly maintain this evenly hovering, open awareness that attends equally to the flow of both inner and outer experiences. Find the balance of mind necessary to equally attend both to the things or people around you, as well as to the spaces between these things. Delight in dwelling within the equalizing spaciousness of balanced awareness.

  • 6. As you deepen and expand this quality of panoramic attention, effortlessly include the resonance of all the sounds filling the space within and around you. In a similar way, sense everything within and around you that is in motion … and balance this with the mindful awareness of everything that is still and unmoving. Let this awareness extend equally to include all the experiences within and around you.

Combine this with your favourite relaxation music and you will find yourself relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated after even listening to music for only 10 minutes . It is also ok to just lay down and fall asleep!


Using Music for Transformation & Healing
Article by Howard Richman of Sound Feelings Publishing, Tarzana, California. These tips were prepared by Howard Richman and are offered for free as a courtesy.

11 helpful free tips show how to listen to music for transformation and healing from sound feelings. This free information reveals secrets to support recovery, meditation and spiritual growth through music healing. All music can be healing especially for  stress, pain, insomnia, addictions, smoking, cardiovascular illnesses, post-traumatic-stress syndrome, TMJ, panic disorder/anxiety, overweight, anorexia, bulimia, depression, low self-esteem, stress, creative or emotional blocks, anger, fear, sadness, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, inner child processing (adults), stress and insomnnia for the pregnant woman, anxiety and pain during birth, colic and anxiety in the newborn infant, breastfeeding, emotional armor, conflicts, infertility, cancer, anger, AIDS, infection, fear, lack of self-respect, immune system suppression, scleroderma, frustration, individual transformational music, self-reflection, heightened awareness, relaxation, and inspiration.

  • 1 Select Appropriate Music.

    Most of us choose music that we “like” but will this give us the best results? In fact, often the music we are least attracted to will have the greatest benefit (when played in the right sequence). Let’s say you are very angry. So your first instinct is to put on some really angry music. Does it really help, or does it kind of perpetuate how you feel? Yet, on the other hand if you play some light and happy music, by comparison to how you are currently feeling, it will probably make you feel angrier! As you see, selecting music is not a simple one-shot process.

  • 2 Consider Music Sequencing.

    Sometimes it is necessary to first choose music that totally matches your current mood rather than the mood you wish to acquire. Consider arranging a series of different musical compositions in sequence that are customized just for your needs. For example, if you are dealing with depression, select a composition which represents depression in its extreme form, to you. Follow this with one that is only mildly depressing. Then select a neutral composition, and end with a composition which is clearly uplifting and motivating. Listening to music in a sequence like this allows for your current stress level or mood to be first honored and then to be gradually transformed.

  • 3 Speakers Are Ideal.

    It is ideal to listen to the music through speakers rather than headphones so that the cells of the body themselves may “listen” to the sound.

  • 4 Prepare Yourself to Listen.

    Take off your shoes. Stand relaxed, sit or lie down and breathe.

  • 5 Listen All the Way Through.

    It is preferable to listen to the musical composition all the way through, without interruption. This allows for the optimum response to the transformation process.

  • 6 Foreground, Not Background.

    We all have the tendency to use music for the background of other activities. Try developing the technique of just listening to the music, not doing anything else. This way, you will get the best benefit.

  • 7 Your Response is What is Important.

    It is through your response that the emotional/cellular memory may be released. Do not think that you have to just stay still and concentrate on the music! In fact, if the music inspires you to get up and do something or your mind begins to wander, allow, allow, allow! Allow all responses without judgement. On the other hand, do not begin listening to the music while you are already doing other unrelated activities. The important thing is to let the music embrace you totally.

  • 8 Listen Actively, Not Passively.

    Allow the music to reach your inner feeling, and respond freely to it. Everyone has a different manner of expression. You may experience visual images, thoughts, movement, an intensification of emotion, physical vibrations, sleep, or nothing at all.

  • 9 Observe Mind/Body Connection.

    A lot of research has been done recently showing that there is a definite connection between the mind and the body. (Actually this refers to the emotions too but it sounds succinct to say “mind/body.”) Even though music healing is often related to relaxation and emotional issues, there is the likelihood that this indirectly could have a benefit on physical illnesses as well.

  • 10 Enjoy the Silence!

    When the music stops, it is suggested that you bask in the silence for many moments. This will help integrate the feelings.

  • 11 Use a Journal.

    If you wish to record your progress in a journal, it can be helpful, but it is not necessary.

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