How to Be More Alive and Feel Better Through Music

How to Be More Alive and Feel Better Through Music by Joseph C. Nagler and Mathew Lee. If common sense were commonplace, we would all be healthier. Alas, it is not. It seems that the more we live, the less common our sense becomes. We are complex creatures with common needs. We consume at great rates. We recreate at great expense. Uncommon are the lives we live.

In many of our lives, there is an increasingly common factor. Many of us are now deprived of time. We are not deprived of a quantity of time. On average, we are all living longer. Nor are we deprived of work time. Most of us are working longer and harder than ever before. No, we are deprived of a quality of time.

More and more, we lack quality time, where our existence is meaningful and peaceful. We seek a quality of time that is restorative, peaceful time in which we give to ourselves and then to others. We lack time to heal. We are deprived of the proverbial time to smell the roses. Philosopher, Jacob Needleman has termed this lack of time the new "poverty of our affluence." He equates our timeless state of affairs to a "famine of a culture that has chosen things over time, the external world over the inner world."

It is fitting to label the climate of our culture as being in a state of a famine. Indeed, we are hungry for the sustenance that can only come when we give ourselves a quality of time. We thirst for lucid, clear moments when our worlds are right and time is ours. We hunger for time to restore our beings; time to reclaim our health. We are famished. We crave to be less surrounded by the world and more within ourselves. In mind, body, and spirit, we are innocents, too much in this world.

So, where is this fountain that spouts this quality of time we desire? Where can we turn to create time for ourselves and then to those we love? The answer is within. We all have meaningful, peaceful intentions. These intentions are wrapped in stolen moments that we carry with us. If only we could take these moments and make them the rule rather than the exception. If only there was a way to rejuvenate the holism of our beings with the gift of a quality of time. There is a way. We have found a simple way of joining music listening to a daily program of healthy living to create meaningful, peaceful, quality time.

Music has timeless qualities. Music has import and music can have meaning. Music can create an environment of time in which we can turn to create a peaceful space for our beings. Music has power to assist us in creating a balance and order in our lives. If Beethoven were to magically reappear today, his way of being might be considered bowed with age. His views, his fashions, and even his currency would not be easily accepted. Yet, his music remains vital. Perhaps, his style of composing would not be deemed fashionable, but it is certainly viable and very much alive. Musically, he could very well pick up where he left off. Chances are that he could walk into any city in the Western world, on any given day, and find a performance of his music. Music has a timeless quality.

One reason for this timeless quality is that music is adaptable. Like water, it flows. Like a raindrop, it falls to refresh. Like a river, it changes paths. And like an ocean, it is boundless. Music is pliant and, with care, we can adapt it to meet our needs.

Or, perhaps more correctly, we can learn to adapt our lives to have music meet our needs. With guidance, we can learn to adapt our concepts of time and health to enhance our well being. With practice, we can learn to create simple improvements to our lives though purposeful music listening. Music, as a practice of daily living, is a way to a better state of health.

Music is a joyful expression of life. We steadfastly believe this to be true. We see this daily in our clinical practices. We have witnessed the power of music. We have watched how music can lift our fallen spirits, enrich our busy minds, and heal our battered bodies. With person after person, time after time, music reaches where nothing else will. Through music, we can discover meaning in our lives and develop new understandings for emotions that defy description in words. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then music must be priceless. Within a single fifteen-minute musical experience, it may be possible to go from quietly smiling in rapture, to weeping in profound sorrow, and then finally ending up in a state of ecstasy.

We all have music in our lives; whether we want it to be there or not. This book is designed to give you a step-by-step way to use music in your daily life. We believe that music can help you to live better. You can learn to live a better, healthier, and happier life by being in and around music. We will provide you with an in-depth discussion of how music impacts our lives, and how all that we do is related to natural rhythms. We will provide you with a vivid presentation of our clinical work and the creative uses of the healing powers of music. We intend to present a clear, intricate, non-technical view of the how the human body is affected by music.

Our goal is to help you gain control of your own state of health. This book is not just about music. It is a way to augment your health while finding joy and beauty. We do not make claims of quick fixes and miracle cures. We offer neither. If you are looking for a quick fix, look elsewhere. We can direct you towards a better state of health. But, you will need to develop your own path. Our goal is to share with you the knowledge we have gained through years of clinical practice. There may be miracles along the way. These will be yours. We hope to provide the map that will lead you towards them.

In our daily interactions with patients, we have found that there is a need for hope. More over, there is the need for the understanding that you have not been given more than you can handle. We find that the most effective care providers are those who can put a human face on the treatment. Care providers are human. We feel for those we care for. Often, we cannot share our own feelings. We put up a facade of indifference or "professionalism" and mask our inner conflicts. We see pain, suffering, and loss. We can hide to a degree, but honestly, we often lack the words and actions to help. The curtain falls and the care provider hides from the reality that many things are beyond our control.

We hope this book will provide you a clear path to success. Let us now find our common ground as we show you how to create your own support network and create your own miracles.

An excerpt from Chapter One of the book: "On Music and Health" by Joseph C. Nagler and Mathew Lee copyright 1999 Elementary Media, Inc. Music for Health How to Be More Alive and Feel Better Through Music

Joseph Nagler

Joseph Nagler Return to top of page

A professor of music therapy and music education at Queensborough Community College, Dr. Nagler holds a bachelor's degree in education from Brooklyn College, a master's degree from New York University...

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