Connect with others ~ change your life!

Are you a musician?   Would you like to improve your life with music-making?

Consider changing up your routine to include making music with others.
It is no secret that, as adults, we tend to fall into humdrum patterns and habits that can invite boredom. In a Todman psychology article written in 1981 by Dr. Thackeray, he points out that continuing down that path of repetition and monotony to the point of boredom results in increasing our stress levels. And, as we are likely aware – stress has negative health consequences, according to many studies, including the ones conducted and reported by William Lovallo in his book Stress and Health (2004).

How does Dr. Thackeray and others with similar studies advise to remedy the problem?  By shaking up one’s schedule to break the monotony.  And if you play a musical instrument, you could do that by coming to Harmony Hall for an evening of collaborative music-making with others. It is there that you could meet new people, have a night of social interaction of music and chatting, and maintain or improve the health of your brain with such socio-musical interactions.

Take a moment to imagine how this might change your life.  Do you have a fairly long workday, and do you return home to a quiet night of TV and reading?   Or does your work follow you home so that you end up being swamped with work and stress all day and evening?  By coming to Harmony Hall a few times a month, you would interrupt those patterns, leave the stress behind, and reconnect with the joy of making music, which is compounded by the happiness of working together with others. Often creative activity such as musical collaboration encourages creative thinking and problem solving that will positively affect your working life.  This would lower stress and offer a feeling of balance. Some people also feel that their collaboration in music helps them express themselves, feelings, and stories in a different way that was not possible with mere words, and that is a satisfying experience.

So dust off your instrument that has been waiting for your return.  Bring it to light, come to Harmony Hall, meet with others and engage with them collaboratively through music making.  By creating interest, improving brain function, reducing stress, and lifting your spirits, your life will be better for it!

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Think of the children!

While it is true that living beings focused on growth via constant improvement will thrive, and those that have not will perish, I think we need to remember that none of us are immortal, and all of us have a 100% chance of death.

If our time on this planet is finite, we need to do what we can with what we have, and it would be even better if we used our resources and actions to help make a better life for others, as well.  We should be in this together.

My wish, in developing this Harmony Hall concept, is to work with all people, all ages, all skill levels, with varying musical interests.  In these initial developmental stages, I cannot help but notice that if I pitch my ideas as something that helps children, it is received more favorably and by a wider audience than a pitch that centers on adults.

Generally speaking, our society focuses on everything possible that we could do to encourage the growth and improvement of youth.  This is wonderful, but it is only a start.  If we treat music and the arts as something to help with child brain development, or as a fun extra-curricular activity, where do they get to continue the learning and enjoyment of music-making when they are adults? To be fair, yes, there are community bands and orchestras, as well as some offerings through college continuing education departments, but it is a slight afterthought, at best.

I propose that we construct a way for music, art, dance, and any creative pursuit to become part of our everyday culture, for all of us.  It will cultivate respect for current creative endeavors, nurture the budding ideas and creativity of our youth, and it will encourage continued growth at any age.
Yes. Think of the children/our future adults, and present adults/former children.  Do what you can to encourage them all to grow and thrive to their greatest potential. No matter the age or ability level, we all have something we contribute to the world, so start contributing, and encourage others to do so as well.

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Of musical and general harmony.

People are isolated from each other because of hectic schedules, learning challenges, and social conventions of spending time on busy work or time-wasting activities. Music can help us connect with each other.  In my work, I assess the strengths and challenges of musicians, then I try traditional and alternative learning and practicing methods to encourage improvement, and finally, I integrate the musician into a group to work with others.  This is done through lessons, classes, coachings, workshops, round-table critiques/discussions, and collective collaboration, both within the music community as well as across creative disciplines, such as visual art and dance.
In addition to connecting to others and getting a chance to make music, this gives participants an opportunity to feel like they are part of something much bigger than simply practicing alone.  There is a possibility that the collision of talents, skills, personality, and enthusiasm will synergize into something nearly magical. Many musicians have experienced this, as have some audience members.  If you do not know what I’m talking about, check out Eric Whitacre’s TED talk below, as he is quite good at explaining it.

This kind of synergy or balance I describe creates a sense of harmony delivered through music, created by musicians, connecting them to one another as well as the listeners. This improves our abilities to collaborate, problem-solve, and enjoy our lives.

Ultimately, I aim for a greater vision of general harmony, of which music is just a piece.  By working together on community gardens, dancing together, learning languages that are new to us and using them to get to know people and cultures that are also new to us, we will create a harmonious environment of knowledge, improvement, and respect.  And that should be music to everyone’s ears.

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