The Healing Power of the Music, Fitness Connection

A growing number of people have discovered how music can help dissolve their daily tension, physical problems such as migraines and the emotional problems of anxiety and depression. Music and fitness share a common bond in that they both block out or redirect stress hormones, lower blood pressure, ease anxiety, energize and sooth us and improve our focus. When music and fitness merge, an even stronger bond is formed. We as fitness and healthcare professionals have the opportunity to use this music-fitness connection in our aquatic and group exercise classes and personal training and therapy sessions. This makes us all therapists of sorts, and the end result of a class or session is a total mind/body treatment.

The healing power of music is part of the medicinal arsenal that aids us in returning to our fitness activities after an initial illness or injury. Music relaxes us, which causes the release of endorphins (the “feel good” hormones). These endorphins create a way to manage pain and help us return sooner to our fitness activities.

Aerobic exercise promotes the release of endorphins, helping the brain to block pain signals. Exercise can also reduce the side effects of depression and anxiety that often result from chronic pain; swimming or aqua aerobics in a warm pool are extremely beneficial for this chronic pain. Not only do these endorphins help with pain, but they also help keep stress hormones (such as cortisol) in check. When our brain perceives any type of bodily stress, the hypothalamus sends a signal to the pituitary gland, which then tells our adrenal glands to produce cortisol. By keeping control of stress hormones, whether through regular exercise and/or listening to music, we might be able to help prevent degenerative diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Music soothes the stress of chemotherapy in cancer patients, who are often stricken with anxiety and emotional upset during treatment. A study conducted by Barrie Cassileth, PhD, proved that out of 69 adult patients, those who received music therapy reported 37 percent less total mood disturbance and 28 percent less anxiety than the other patients.1

Just as the properties of water work as an analgesic to relieve the physical strain and pain of exercise, so does music. Music has a positive effect on exercise in that it distracts people from the effort, thus also taking their mind off the strain and pain. Researchers, such as Luis F. Aragòn-Vargas, PhD, agree that music’s positive effect on endurance and exercise performance allows people to work out longer and with more intensity. An added bonus is that music adds enjoyment-especially when it is music you like. For those in need of an “easy-on-the-joints” workout, water exercise will give you this. When combined with music, this type of workout will give you the benefits of resistance training with the added bonus of endurance, improved performance and enjoyment.

Do you know a musician who is also a good athlete? I have seen many in my years of teaching and training. Playing a musical instrument can sharpen your senses, improve coordination and give you a keener sense of timing. These are also the ingredients needed in athletic training.

Two studies where music, silence and static noise were used as control factors produced interesting results. In one study, the strength of the immune system was measured against these three factors. In the group exposed to silence, their immune systems showed no response and remained at the same level. Those subjected to static noise showed a lowered immune system response, while the group that listened to music showed an increase in the strength of their immune system. When using these same three control factors in an exercise bike test, the findings were that those who listened to music traveled 11 percent farther. In yet another eight-week walking study at Ohio State University, using subjects with serious lung disease, results showed that those who listened to music walked 21 percent farther than those who did not listen to music.

One method of combining music and fitness has shown positive behavioral changes when used with autistic children. This beneficial medium is thought to be due to music’s non-verbal and non-threatening nature. One may only need to find the child’s preferred music, and then it can be utilized. There is no style of music more beneficial than another. Music that the individual is particularly fond of will always have the best therapeutic effect. Using music in a game setting perfectly combines music with fitness. These can be simple activities such as passing a ball back and forth to music. Michelle Dozois, International fitness presenter, has discovered music’s profound effect with her autistic son. Music’s mood-changing effect is apparent as it calms him. “It changes his demeanor instantly,” says Michelle. “Music wakes up the body and mind in a therapeutic way.”

Physical therapy is an excellent example of using music for movement. Sharlynn Landers, PT, MPT, has used sound in working with patients on improving their gait. The “scuff” of the feet produces auditory recognition and enables the therapist and patient to detect differences or similarities in the sound of each foot.

Many healthcare professionals today use music to stimulate motor function. Patients with nerve impairment from Parkinson’s disease or a stroke have seen improvement from the benefit of music therapy.

 

Free or Fee? What is Music Worth?

We are much more reliant today than ever before on technology and the many contributions it makes to our lives every second. Perhaps most notable is the many options technology has given to the Internet and the world of entertainment, making many artistic projects and productions, from digital music albums to e-books to short and long films and television programs available to a larger audience of people.

Steadily children that grew up with the Internet and don’t remember a time without it are reaching adulthood, and attitudes about both the monetary value of artists’ works available online and the cultural value of these works are changing. This revolution began with the introduction of CD’s, which became easy to copy and distribute to friends.

There are certainly varying opinions about the worth of downloadable music and purchased music in general; while a younger generation of music lovers is certainly divided on whether music downloaded online should be free music, there are definitely more in that generation deciding that perhaps people should be more freely allowed. When it is so much easier to copy mp3’s online and from friends, and also easier to record entire albums in the studio with full digital capabilities, many young music listeners wonder, is a musician’s work and the musician him/herself really worth as much as at the dawn of the recording industry?

Many studies have shown that adults that remember a time when recorded music was expensive and more difficult to obtain are much more cognizant and respectful of basic music Copyright Law. They understand why certain laws are in place, and some that are artists themselves have relied on Copyright Law to protect their creative expressions. Copyright Law also allows music and other art forms to perpetuate in the world, and is the reason there is so much variety available.

The music industry has been cracking down on how people get their music recently in response to the increased availability of downloadable music and digital music on the Internet. The music industry was largely unprepared for the sudden introduction of file sharing programs to music lovers, and it has taken several years for them to realize their impact on musicians, songwriters, other music professionals and record companies. Before the Internet, most young people bought CD’s, and shared them by simply burning a copy for friends. While this was certainly a violation of Copyright Law, it somehow did not pose as large of a problem as when mp3 players became available and people downloaded free music off the Internet en mass through high-speed connections. The music industry has recently started filing lawsuit after lawsuit to stop this phenomenon and put systems in place to make music lovers pay for downloadable music. As was evidenced in recent lawsuits that were filed against those in small towns in middle America, you do not have to be high profile to suffer consequences for violating the law when it comes to digital music.

The industry has been driving hard to try to get the public to recognize that not paying for music takes money away from artists and musicians that they deserve for their hard work. While music is a source of entertainment and a cultural commodity for most, for those involved in creating it, it is a job that they rely on to make lives for themselves. Like any other professional, musicians can’t be expected to do their work for free. While the amount some receive is certainly debatable, what is not debatable is that they should receive something. The latest drive to enforce Copyright Law by the music industry is causing a stir among young people. New anti-piracy software is now being put on CD’s to cut down on illegal CD copying. The software prevents listeners from burning the CD more than five times.

Teens especially are noting that this will not stop others from discovering new ways to get music. Many adults agree that someone is bound to come up with a way around the software, as technology always seems to find a way to surmount obstacles that prevent free sharing of music, DVD’s and other media.

Many teens note that there is an obvious and simple way around the anti-piracy software; all a person has to do is make a copy of the CD once and then use the copy to make more copies. Those invested in the downloadable music and digital music craze feel the anti-piracy software is really just a way to slow down some of the most avid copiers while the industry thinks of a more permanent solution.

Other teens support these new attempts to prevent people from getting music for free. They feel that music is a valuable part of everyone’s lives that touches so many aspects that certainly free music or even cheap music should not even be an option. They fully understand why musicians deserve to be paid for the privilege of owning and listening to their music over and over again.

 

Between The Idea And Work – Course Of Musical Data Processing

If musical data processing is essential us so much today, it is that it gradually created tools which are radically modifying the manner of thinking the music. However, its history is short. It merges with the development of numerical technologies: computers, initially, accompanied by creation by the languages symbolic intended for the programming, then with a whole troop of inventions in numerical technology. Enough early in its history, data processing will be shown sufficiently ripe to accommodate concerns of all kinds, energy of accountancy to scientific research, while passing naturally by what interests us, artistic creation.

And it is undoubtedly there that it is necessary to distinguish what arises from data processing itself, and what belongs rather to the broader world of numerical technology. The music amply draws from these two fields its new resources. However, since the field of the sound is converted today into audio numerical, the distinction is essential. Musical data processing is born from the meeting of the musical concerns and the environment resulting from numerical technologies and the specificity of the computer, on the one hand, and of the scientific fields which clarify its research topics. If the musical composition appears there in good place, practically all the other activities of the music are found there. And musical research partly covers the ground cleared by data processing, acoustics, the treatment of the signal, even cognitive psychology: thus musical data processing is at the center of several musical, scientific and technical fields.

But it is the recourse to the specific contributions of the data processing which characterizes its step. New conceptual tools are unceasingly provided by the artificial intelligence, which are concretized by languages such as Lisp or Prolog. They are put at once at the musicologist assistance or abstracting service to the composition. Research in systems real time and on the interfaces interactive makes it possible to conceive new connections between the instrumentalist and the electronic universe.

Great stages of musical data processing

With the origin of musical data processing, one finds two types of activities, independent one of the other. If these activities prudent today, it is in another manner that the original vision which caused their birth could enable to foresee. These two types of activities are: the musical composition, and production of the sound. In both cases, the manufacture of the desired result is ensured by the computer. These two types of activities are appreciably contemporary. The first serious tests of musical composition per computer go back to 1956: it is on this date that Lejaren Hiller calculated a partition using rules encodes in the form of algorithms on the computer Illiac I of the university of Illinois. It is about Illiac Suite for String Quartet, whose three movements are carried out this year by the string quartet WQXR. In a famous structure, published in 1959 and which supports the title of “Experimental Music-Composition with year Electronic Computer”, Lejaren Hiller explains in detail the procedures that it applied to the Illiac computer in order to produce the partition of his string quartet.

To locate this period, it is as into 1956 as John McCarthy forged the term of artificial intelligence. One year later, max Mathews, researcher at the laboratories of the Bell Telephone, in the New Jersey, a first numerical programmer of synthesis of the sound for the computer IBM 704 writes. Known today under the name of Music I, it is the first of a great family of acoustic compilers; a psychologist, Newman Guttman, generates first a one 15 seconds duration study, In the Silver Scale. It is as into 1957 as the four movements of the Continuation Illiac for String Quartet of Lejaren Hiller are published; the same year is born the primitive version from the famous language of FORTRAN program (FORmula TRANslator). Let us note that during the creation of the work of Hiller by the string quartet WQXR, it is max Mathews which organized a recording, which gave place, thereafter, with the publication of this recording in a disc carried out in 1960 by the Bell Laboratories, and entitled Music from Mathematics: even if the ways traced by these two inventors are independent, it is not known as that they did not cross…

From these two almost contemporary events, the development will continue, gradually, in the traced directions: the composition and production of the sound. We will see low the courses of them. But a third way is not long in appearing: it is born from the same observation that had made Hiller: the computer is above all, at that time, a formidable calculating machine. Moreover, the English term of selected computer indicated, before the appearance of these machines, the employees charged to operate calculations. But at the same time, with a bit of fear, one spoke readily at the time of electronic brains. An artist could not approach the computer not without a certain emotion, which explains without any doubt the attraction sometimes terrifying that data processing will exert on the artists of the following decades. But they are two scientists who are at the origin of these experiments: Hiller practiced chemistry, while Mathews was an already famous researcher. It is undoubtedly what explains remarkable methodologies that they reflect in place, each one on their side, and with completely independent aims.

With the Bell laboratories, max Mathews, on his side, written in 1957 a first numerical programmed of synthesis of the sound for the computer IBM 704, equipped with 4096 words of memory. Known today under the name of Music I, it is the first of a great family. The program Music III (1960) introduced the concept of instrument modular. The model imagined by max Mathews is inspired more than one equipment of laboratory or an electronic studio of music that by an acoustic stringed-instrument trade. The program offers a range of independent modules (Unit Generators), in charge each one of an elementary function: oscillator with form of programmable wave, adder of signals, multiplier, generator of envelopes and random signals, etc… The musician builds a “instrument” by connecting a selection of modules between them. The signals produced by the oscillators or the generators are led towards other modules there to be modified or mixed. Several instruments can be joined together within a “orchestra”, each instrument having its own identity. Contrary to what occurs in the material universe, it there not of limit to the number of modules usable simultaneously, except perhaps the memory of the computer. The result of the placement of the instrument is the progressive calculation of the sound in the form of a sequence of numbers which, put end to end, represent a complex sound wave. These numbers are called “samples”. Today, the number of samples representing one second of its was established to 44 100 per channel for the applications general public, and to 48 000 for the professional field.

Because of relative slowness of the machines and design weight to be carried out, time put to generate the sound wave is quite higher than the duration of the sounds; the operation of these programs is known as “in differed time”. With the origin, the sound waves calculated in numerical form were stored on a numerical tape progressively proceeding end of an arithmetic unit of samples. This mode of production of the sound is called “direct synthesis”. Thus creates for itself a “file of sound”; once completed, the musician calls upon a second program, charged reading the file of sound in real time and with sending the samples towards a digital-to-analog converter, which is connected to an amplifier and loudspeakers.

To activate the orchestra, the musician must write a “partition”, in which all the parameters claimed by the modules of the instrument are specified. This partition is presented in the form of a list of numbers or telegraphy codes, each “note” or a each event being the subject of a particular list. These lists are ordered in time.