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Can Depression Be a "Biological Necessity" that Leads Us to Making Music?


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It would be an interesting study.

 

I've often said that for me, making music was a "biological necessity." I saw a quote from Naomi Judd, who recently killed herself: "I want to let the world know that it’s not a character flaw. We don’t make enough of the good neurochemicals in the brain. It’s a disease. It has nothing to do with our character.” She could cope onstage, where she was surrounded by music (perhaps that was a more important aspect than the reaction of fans). Offstage is where the problems happened.

 

I've had continuous, and periodically severe, depression since I was 3 years old. It's not something I talk about, it's not a fun way to live, I've tried all the standard approaches to fighting it (which don't work), and over the years I've developed an exoskeleton so people wouldn't see what's underneath it. What I've found was that the only thing that kept me going was playing music. I can't help but wonder if playing music creates those "good neurochemicals" to which she alluded.

 

People often ask what makes me so productive. When I saw that quote, I realized that every single kind of work I do since I was 12 years old requires playing music in some capacity, whether it's testing a piece of gear, writing a soundtrack, or coming up with applications for a book. As long as I'm working, I'm making music. I think maybe that's why I'm still here. Whenever I've found myself in an unbearably dark place, I force myself to play music. At first, it feels foreign. But eventually, the music kicks in, and I'm good for another day.

 

Granted, it doesn't make me "smiley happy" in the same way something like chemical antidepressants would, but it keeps depression from taking over, and can even produce moments of peace and clarity.

 

I can't help but wonder if there's a really good reason that music used to be a significant part of public education. Maybe it really is a biological necessity. 

 

I don't think music is a luxury. And when I read stories about cancer treatments that involve sound waves and seem to be effective, well...

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Wow, that's quite a post...

 

I don't know you sir, and just recently came onto this forum but I've been very impressed with your posts and all else you've done.

 

And I will say this.......

 

You are doing MORE than making music!

 

* You make friends.

 

* You make us smile, laugh, wonder, ponder things we normally would not have thought about.

 

* You make us think.

 

* You help us make good decisions on gear or mixes.

 

Through your efforts...

 

* We are making music.

 

* We are making memories.

 

I could go on and on, but I've gotta run (the dog HAS to go out...) but I didn't want to miss taking a moment to comment.

 

Bless you.  Keep on keepin' on.  Fight the Good Fight.

 

And to paraphrase a song by "Triumph", I would say:

So turn it on - turn it up - it's your turn to dream.

A little magic power makes it better than it seems.

 

Music is the MAGIC POWER in YOU.

 

Old No7

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Yamaha MODX6 ** Hammond SK Pro 73 ** Roland RD-88 ** Crumar Mojo Pedals ** Mackie Thump 12A (x2) ** Tascam DP-24SD

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46 minutes ago, Anderton said:

I can't help but wonder if there's a really good reason that music used to be a significant part of public education...

 

And I can't help but wonder that we didn't seem to have as many social and/or deadly psychopathic-related issues back when it was...

 

"Music has charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak"

William Congreve 1697

 

Old No7

Yamaha MODX6 ** Hammond SK Pro 73 ** Roland RD-88 ** Crumar Mojo Pedals ** Mackie Thump 12A (x2) ** Tascam DP-24SD

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I find that I need some form of fairly vigorous exercise to keep me from spiralling downward. 

Where I am currently staying is on the side of a rather steep hill. Taylor street from 12th to 17th is quite a climb, if I go at it with determination I am breathing hard and blood is pumping. 

Endorphins flow, which are anti-depressent in nature and it always makes me feel much better. 

 

It could also be that it circulates stale mental funk out into the rest of the body, which simply absorbs it. I don't have science to prove anything, I just know that many lovely people are still living unharmed, probably because I walk vigorously uphill. 😇

 

And yes, I do love playing music to lighten my mood. So far I've only written a couple of death songs, I usually try to write things that are upbeat and amusing. 

"Pies" is both, it's the cheerful story of a young lady who bakes her siblings into pies. 

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Craig, I'm sure you're right. And I think you are coping with it quite well.

 

I was listening to music during my morning walk. I rarely wear earbuds or headphones when walking around, but here, I was listening to some mixes I was doing. I was quite aware of how much it was lifting my mood and making the walk seem to go much faster.

 

I do wish they would have more music in school, but unfortunately, some don't seem to value that or art. What a shame. I played music in my classroom quite a bit. I doubt anyone is surprised very much by that. I also gave them breaks, and many of the kids would listen to music on YouTube.

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2 hours ago, KenElevenShadows said:

I do wish they would have more music in school, but unfortunately, some don't seem to value that or art. What a shame. I played music in my classroom quite a bit.

 

In 4th grade (in Europe), several of our music "classes" consisted of the teacher playing something like Chopin or whatever. The class consisted of the students keeping their eyes closed the entire time while the music played. The teacher didn't make a comment, and no one said a word. After 30 or 40 minutes of listening with their eyes closed and no other stimulus, they were transformed to one degree or another. My love of classical music came directly from those "classes." 

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3 hours ago, Anderton said:

 

In 4th grade (in Europe), several of our music "classes" consisted of the teacher playing something like Chopin or whatever. The class consisted of the students keeping their eyes closed the entire time while the music played. The teacher didn't make a comment, and no one said a word. After 30 or 40 minutes of listening with their eyes closed and no other stimulus, they were transformed to one degree or another. My love of classical music came directly from those "classes." 

 

That'e excellent.

 

In my class, we had quiet time after lunch. This helped in a variety of ways. During this time, I would play calming music. I switched mainly between classical (Tchaikovsky was a favorite of one of my students, so there was a lot of that), this sort of lo-fi instrumental hip-hop, electronica/ambient, jazz (not really one of their favorites), Sudanese music, gamelan music, Indian Karnatic music, South Korean electronic music, and on and on.

 

I also taught music (bell choir and rudimentary rhythm using mostly shakers but some drums as well). 

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18 hours ago, KuruPrionz said:

I find that I need some form of fairly vigorous exercise to keep me from spiralling downward. 

Where I am currently staying is on the side of a rather steep hill. Taylor street from 12th to 17th is quite a climb, if I go at it with determination I am breathing hard and blood is pumping. 

Endorphins flow, which are anti-depressent in nature and it always makes me feel much better. 

I wish I was one of those people who experienced that "runners' high" kind of thing. I force myself to exercise, but I've never experienced the pleasure side of it.

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16 minutes ago, AnotherScott said:

I wish I was one of those people who experienced that "runners' high" kind of thing. I force myself to exercise, but I've never experienced the pleasure side of it.

 

Me neither, but I do make sure I walk at least one mile every day. Although it doesn't get me high, there's always something interesting to look at - foliage, people walking dogs, clouds, etc. If nothing else, it's a worthwhile mental distraction that also helps your body.

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19 hours ago, Old No7 said:

And to paraphrase a song by "Triumph", I would say:

So turn it on - turn it up - it's your turn to dream.

A little magic power makes it better than it seems.

 

Music is the MAGIC POWER in YOU.

 

I couldn't agree more. I'm doing a webinar for music educators later this month, and I want to emphasize that whether they know it or not, they're teaching much more than "just" music :)

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Much respect to you Craig.

 

I started taking more time to walk outdoors after I heard it might be good for my eyesight.  We have a modest amount of park land in the neighborhood

 

APA thinks it's good for other things too.   While I have not been diagnosed with honest to goodness depression, I do feel a lifting of mood when I walking outside in daylight near trees and other natural vegetation - without any headphones/earphones.  The sounds of birds (even though they use my car as a toilet), wind, etc. is good enough for me.

 

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Absolutely.

 

Music has ALWAYS been my therapy/main coping mechanism.  Listening to it, playing it, reading about it…whatever.  My mother said she could always tell what sort of mood i was in by what/how I was playing.  

 

It’s pretty much always been my primary release/shelter, because it’s the only thing that’s always there for me the way I need it when I need it.  I have no idea what I would do if it weren’t for music…on a whole bunch of levels.

 

Count me as another serious walker.  I start every day walking my dogs a minimum of a mile and a half, more on the weekends.  I do it way early in the morning, when not much is moving.  

 

dB

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