Dr. Hernreich. Yes, of course, if you play it as a way of releasing stress or as a way of relaxing. But with this technique you also learn something about the guitar. You learn how to play the songs as a way of relaxing. You learn the words, you learn the rhythms. It seems like an easy technique, but in fact it can be a really effective tool if done correctly.
Q. What about people who have been struggling with alcoholism, or who are suffering from the effects of trauma?
Dr. Hernreich. Yeah, they usually have a problem. But if you think about your guitar, if this is what you’re trying to release a lot of the anger and the stress, you might have a problem. If you are playing the wrong scales, or if you are improvising too much, or it’s not the right kind of music . . . If this is what you’re hoping to do with this technique, that’s not the appropriate activity for you. So you should not do that. You must be trying to get something going in your life that is appropriate to the moment. You must try to find something in your life that is important, that will help you to get out and get on with your life.
Q. Could you talk a little about your research into the healing of music from the past.
Dr. Hernreich. In my past studies, I’ve learned something about music itself. Many years ago, a scientist came and gave me a book called “Music: The Human Experience”. It’s amazing. You know, the person is in an area of the brain called the limbic system that was created with the development of music in the Middle Ages. It’s the same system that helps us to communicate emotions and feelings to each other. And I find when people come and read “Music: The Human Experience,” it gives you the tools you need to be able to do research on this kind of thing. I like to go out and visit the people who have a lot of experience with music. You find that in this particular area, which is the limbic system, you find people that suffer from a lot of stress and trauma, some of whom suffer in ways that are not good for their health, and there are also people whose music is not appropriate for their bodies at the moment, but whose body is already in rhythm with what they are practicing or learning. It’s a good thing that people have developed
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