Music in Times of Stress
Across the country and the globe, we are practicing "social distancing" where we can. Many have no choice but to go to their places of work and hope for the best, also worrying about how to find childcare for their kids who are out of school. This is a stressful time in our world and for artists of all kinds, the question emerges, "why pursue art right now?"
The Benefits of Flow State
One way that music alleviates stress is by putting our minds in an optimal state of "flow," where our focus and attention is optimized as we engage in an activity or task. Harvard Professor Teresa Amabile and the Huffington Post claim that the importance of actively seeking out the flow state cannot be overstated, as it greatly promotes productivity, creativity, and overall happiness. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/flow-state-what-it-is-and_b_9607084 Practicing and performing music is a great example of an activity that promotes this flow state, as it requires the brain to focus on technical aspects, while also engaging in a creative process.
"Many studies have connected the pursuit of the arts with an increase in overall happiness."
Always Always Always Do What Makes You Happy
Americans are often reminded that our country was founded with a grounding principle of pursuing happiness. Ironically, our society is also one of the most over-worked, over-stressed, and depressed in the world. https://pulsetms.com/resources/around-world/ Perhaps it's time to take another look at what makes us happy!
Many studies have connected the pursuit of the arts with an increase in overall happiness. This includes my personal research, which additionally suggests that the investment of time by an educator that supports and nurtures a student's development might be the greatest determining factor of their musical success. Likewise, Dr. Lynn Gackle from Baylor University tells us in her 2011 text* that 89% of her college-age females reported feeling better about themselves and their abilities when involved in singing. There's clearly a deep connection between music-making and overall happiness. The question is, what are we going to do about it? My suggestion is to keep making music. Even if it feels like the boat is sinking around you, keep making music friends.
*Gackle, L. (2011). Finding Ophelia's voice, opening Ophelia's heart: Nurturing the adolescent female voice: an exploration of the physiological, psychological, and musical development of female students. Dayton, OH: Heritage Music Press
Even if it feels like the boat is sinking around you, keep making music friends.
I'm curious about what you all are working on artistically during this time of social distancing. Maybe now is the best time to pick up that project that you've been meaning to get back to. If your project involves music, feel free to reach out for support. Also be sure to like, comment, share, and follow us on Facebook @moellermusictulsa and feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear from you!