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ST. PATRICK’S DAY & IRISH MUSIC

Who Was St. Patrick?

St. Patrick, known as the “Apostle of Ireland,” was an Irish patron saint, who actually started out in a pagan religion.  At some point in his life he was captured in Wales, Scotland, then taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped, became a Christian, and went back to Ireland for mission work.
St. Patrick used the green three-leafed shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity. The wearing of the green and the shamrock are still a tradition for this Irish celebration.

Why Do We Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

In America, St. Patrick’s Day was first organized by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston in 1737.  It started as a feast and religious service, then later evolved into the festivities and parades that we know today. Many events feature Irish food, especially corned beef.

Ireland is One of the Most Musical Countries in the World

In Ireland you can’t walk three blocks anywhere without hearing music. St. Patrick’s Day has become an annual celebration of Irish culture. When it comes to music, nothing outside the legacy of black Americans matches the legacy of the Irish.  We love to hear Danny Boy any time of year.

Why Do We Pinch Those Who Don’t Wear Green?

It has nothing to do with Ireland, and Irish people think Americans are crazy for the pinching and the heavy celebrating. Some say it started in Boston in the early 1700’s. They believed that wearing green made you invisible to the Leprechauns, who pinched anyone they could see. The pinching reminds you to watch out for the Leprechauns. Some other speculations: Pinching gives you a bruise so you can have some green on you. You get pinched as a reminder to wear green. Do you have an idea why we pinch those who don’t wear green?

Have Fun on St. Patrick’s Day.

No matter what the reason for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, have fun and sing!

 

 

MUSIC CAN CHANGE YOUR MOOD IN A SECOND

How Music Travels to Your Brain

  1. First, the sound waves travel through the air.
  2. Next, the outer ear collects the sounds.
  3. Then the middle ear sends the sound waves to the inner ear, where they cause the eardrums, small hairs and bones to vibrate.
  4. This creates nerve signals that the brain understands. The brain changes this energy into electrical energy and sends the impulse to the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that controls thought, perception and memory.
  5. From there the cerebral cortex sends the impulses to the response centers of the brain that control emotion, anxiety, pleasure, arousal and creativity.
  6. Next in line is the hypothalamus, a tiny area deep in the brain that controls many autonomic functions, heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, body temperature, and the nerves to the skin and stomach.
  7. Finally, your cortisol, the stress hormone, drops and your DHEA and dopamine (romantic and happy chemicals) go up. The pheromones (sex hormones) kick in.

All of this happens in less than a second, just because you chose to put on some music that you enjoy. Learn more about the power of music with my book, Music, Healing and Harmony. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0961551305

 

 

7 WAYS TO HELP YOU SLEEP

USUAL AND UNUSUAL WAYS TO BETTER SLEEP

1. Make a worry list. Put the list in an imaginary balloon and release it. (Don’t worry, you can get it back in the morning if you still want it!)

2. Curl your toes up then relax them.

3. Establish a ritual, so your brain and body knows it’s time to sleep. It might be washing your face, brushing your teeth, 5-10 minutes of yoga or other stretching, listening to your favorite relaxing music. A good example of relaxing music is  Serenity from the Harp. You can also find this CD at amazon.com.  www.amazon.com/dp/B000FL87N6

4. Avoid alcohol or caffeine for several hours before bedtime – 3 hours for alcohol and up to 12 hours for caffeine.

5.  Choose a regular waking time and bed time. Even on the weekends, try to keep the routine at least approximately the same.

6.  Roll your eyes upward for a few seconds, then relax them.

7. Do some slow deep breaths. Count as you inhale and exhale – any number you choose.

Do you have some tips for sleeping better? Please let me know.

 

IS THE ORGAN THE KING OF INSTRUMENTS?

The Organ Seems to Express The Full Range of Human Sentiments.

The pipe organ has been called the king of musical instruments because it takes up all the sounds of creation. The organ has a wide expressive range, from piano to a thundering fortissimo. The largest pipes (the lowest) can make the floors of a church or hall shake, while the smallest pipes (the highest) can sound like a delicate bird.  It seems to echo and express the fullness of human sentiments, from joy to sadness, from praise to lamentation. Differences in the shape of pipes enable the organ  to imitate many other instruments, which creates a wide variety of sounds (timbres).

The Almost Endless Possibilities of the Organ Remind Us of the Magnificence of God.

Beautiful organ music, like all music of quality, seems to transcend the human sphere, and evokes the divine. The endless range of timbre and variety of sounds of the organ seems to remind us of the immensity and the magnificence of God.

“The Lost Chord” by Organist,  Adelaide Anne Proctor

The beginning of this poem by organist, Adelaide Anne Proctor, puts into words the magnificence of the organ.

Seated one day at the organ,
I was weary and ill at ease,
And my fingers wandered idly
Over the noisy keys;
I know not what I was playing,
Or what I was dreaming then,
But I struck one chord of music,
Like the sound of a great Amen,
Like the sound of a great Amen.

To hear some magnificent organ music …… https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/sallyfletcher2

MUSIC, LOVE AND RELIGION

Music and Love Are Common in All Religions

Over the years, I have served as a church organist and harpist, playing for over ten denominations. I can’t imagine a worship service without music.  Singing about love is the common thread that connects the different churches – love of God or Higher Power, love of other people, and love of nature and beauty (including music).

All Religions Use Music to Sing About Love

The bible verse, “God is Love,” I John, pretty much says it all. Many hymns that are sung in church are about love. “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” by Charles Wesley, is a good example. Many Unity churches sing “Let There Be Peace on Earth” at the end of each service. “Love Lifted Me,” “You Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love” and “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go” are more familiar hymns about love.

Use Beautiful Music for a Spiritual Connection

Whether you attend a place of worship or not, you can feel a spiritual connection by listening to some beautiful music – religious, classical, jazz, new age music or another type of music. Be quiet, listen, observe, feel a sense of gratitude for life, for the beauty and love that’s all around you. The harmony in the music will transfer to inner harmony, which leads to good will and love for others.
Listen to some timeless hymns to feel the love that surrounds us. https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/heavenlyharp5
What is your favorite music to help you get in touch with God or to meditate?

 

MUSIC CAN BE CATHARTIC

Our reaction to music isn’t always “joyful” pleasure.

One evening, Hector Berlioz, a French composer, started sobbing loudly at a concert. The person sitting next to him asked if he wanted to go out to the lobby. Berlioz replied, “What?! Do you think I come here for pleasure?” The melancholy and grief he experienced from the music obviously gave him a certain pleasure. This is why we enjoy crying at a sad movie or story. It’s cathartic to get in touch with all our emotions, good and bad, and express them. Music is a safe way to do this.

Music helps us get pleasure from even negative emotions.

When music puts us in a sad state, we feel that maybe the pain occurred for a reason. There is always a resolution in music, from dissonance to harmony, and we can identify with that since life is a series of ups and downs, conflict-resolution, sadness-joy, stress-relaxation. When we allow all the emotions to come to the surface, it is cathartic. Wayne L. Misner, owner of Healthcare CIO, says, “Songwriters somehow have learned to share my memories, your memories, and with their memories merge them into a song ball. Forever bouncing the song ball off us, they play dodge ball, hitting our minds and hearts.”

It’s healthy to get in touch with our emotions, both happy and sad.

Like Berlioz, go ahead and experience the “pleasurable grief” from music. Choose any kind of intense music that stirs your emotions, and let it help you get in touch with your inner needs. Learn more about how music is so powerful “Music, Healing and Harmony” http//amzn.com/B00578UYBU

 

HOW TO GET YOUR BABY TO SLEEP

Establish a Routine at Bedtime and Be Consistent.

Sing lullabies, give your baby a bath or read a book.  The routine helps the baby relax, feel safe, and is also a signal that it’s time for sleep.

Use the Same Music Each Time You Put Your Baby to Sleep

When a soothing lullaby begins that the infant hears often, a sense of order and calmness begins.
Choose music that is approximately 60 beats per minutes, which is a calming rhythm. The music establishes a correlation between the baby’s general physiology and the outside world.  The rhythm of a lullaby is similar to the baby’s heartbeat.  The quiet repetitive melodies of a lullaby is a comfort and a relief.

Put Your Baby Down as Soon as He or She Is Sleepy.

Babies (and adults) sometimes have a hard time getting to sleep if they too tired.

Listen to some soothing harp lullabies at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/heavenlyharp7 

 

 

IS MUSIC THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE?

MUSIC, THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE

“Music is the universal language” has become a standard phrase, almost a cliché. A more fitting description may be, “Music is the universal energy or vibration.”  No matter what phrase we use, music can unite, crossing boundaries, cultures and countries. The same music can be recognized and enjoyed no matter what language someone speaks.  We may not love the same style, but music is the one passion we all seem to share.

Often musicians unite people worldwide with a musical concert to benefit a charitable cause or victims of a catastrophe. Even if the language isn’t understood, people share emotions, feelings, memories, joy or sadness. As the music reverberates through our bodies, the shared feelings allow us to know that we are not alone but are connected.

You can get a feeling for another culture or nation by listening to or participating in its music. Imagine the eerie sound of a wooden flute during a healing ceremony or drums during a dance performance in Africa. You might feel like you’re actually there! Music can connect us across continents. Like water, air and fire, music has no religion and is an international language.

We sometimes listen to, or make music with lyrics from a language other than our own—even if we don’t speak that language.  When the music is powerful and beautiful, it doesn’t matter. Opera is often sung in Italian. Chanting may be in Hebrew or in languages spoken in India.

We all seem to be aligned on a higher consciousness level with certain rhythms and melodies, even when they are based upon different scales and modes. Sound and vibration affect us, and certain music brings up similar emotions in everyone, no matter what language we speak.

http://heavenlyharpist.com/harp-cd.htm

MUSIC HELPS TO EXPRESS FEELINGS

Music Engages people in Ways that Words Can’t.

Music, whether listening or performing, has qualities that allow us to express ourselves in a non-verbal way. Often we are at a “loss for words” and can’t seem to describe our experiences. When emotions are pent up or withheld, this leads to stress. The stress can lead to tension in your muscle groups, neck, back, shoulder, and jaws. Hanging on to feelings can lead to psychosomatic illnesses like headaches, high blood pressure, asthma, depression and cardiac problems.

Music Stimulates Brain Regions Related to Feelings.

Along comes music, which takes us to another place – where it’s acceptable to feel anger, sadness or happiness in the music. Music has the power to move us by activating deep-seated brain regions that are used to process emotion. The brain regions stimulated by euphoric stimuli like food, sex and love also light up when we listen to music. Blood flow in the brain rises and falls along with the music in areas associated with reward, emotion and arousal.

Allow Music to Get Rid of Inhibitions and Let Out Withheld Emotions.

Choose whatever music appeals to you, and let yourself “get lost” in the music. Since music can be pleasurable, cathartic, and meaningful , allow your emotions to surface. Maybe you can find words to express your feelings or maybe you can simply be aware of the pent-up feelings. Either way you will be giving your emotional and physical health a big boost.

Listen to some samples of relaxing harp music for a start. http://heavenlyharpist.com/harp-cd.htm

 

 

THE 7 WONDERS OF MUSIC

The Power of Music

Music is mind-altering, legal and free or low-cost, and has no negative side effects. Music can help in healing, change your mood, help you get to sleep, increase your brain power and make you forget your troubles.  I can think of at least 7 wonders of music.

1. Music is invisible.
Music is sound waves or vibrations traveling through the air. You can’t see the sound waves unless you intentionally measure the speed of the sound waves with a mechanical tuner and calculate that speed in numbers, or hertz. Everything in existence, including music, is in a state of continuous vibration. We have the power to manipulate and control energy through the vibrations of music.

2. Printed music is a universal language.

Musicians worldwide use the same music when learning a piece or song. It doesn’t matter whether the musician lives in Austria, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France, India, China – or anywhere else – music doesn’t need to be translated.

3. Music is healing.

Healing music isn’t just a new age fad. Pythagoras, who lived about 580 to 500 B.C.E., was known to seriously use music for healing. He was a Greek philosopher and mathematician, and also played the lyre (now known as the harp). He called his method “musical medicine.” Music is now used to control pain, ease depression and anxiety, aid in stroke recovery, prevent seizures, control blood pressure, help insomnia, and much more.

4. Music can change your mood in a few seconds.

Music can almost “possess” you and change your mood in a few seconds. An old song can bring back happy or sad emotions, as if time stood still.  Music can be inspirational, relaxing, or invigorating. Music has the power to overwhelm our senses, sending a message to the nervous system and brain.

5. Music can increase intelligence.

It seems incredible that something as enjoyable as music could increase your ability to learn, improve your memory and make your brain work better – but it’s true. Making music activates links to several parts of the brain because it’s a multisensory experience.

6. Music helps you relax.

Think of stress as dis-harmony or dissonance. Music is about dissonance then harmony, resolving chords and melodies. The harmony and beauty in music, whether listening or performing, affects your entire body and mind as you become in sync with the music.

7. Music brings up memories.

Music links our memories to songs we’ve heard before. You may be brought to tears by a song that was playing at a funeral. You may remember a friend or former lover when you hear a song that you heard together. For adults, listening to songs from our teenage years reminds us of carefree younger times.

To learn more about each of these 7 wonders of music, go to:  http://heavenlyharpist.com/blog/

“How powerful is your magic sound.”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, The Magic Flute, 1791.