Friday, December 16, 2011

Music For Self Improvement

Would you like to pop in a CD and have a better quality of life, and even self improvement? There are three ways you can use music to accomplish this.

Music For Motivation

Put on energetic music, and even doing housework seems less like work. Using music to motivate yourself or change your mood is an area where you can trust your experience and experimentation. When you find the music that energizes you, relaxes you, or makes you happy, keep it ready for when you need it.

Music For Intelligence

Music creates neural pathways in your brain that stimulate creativity. Studies show that music trains the brain for higher forms of thinking. In one study, three-year-olds were split into two groups. The first had no special training in, or exposure to music. The second group studied piano and sang daily in chorus.

Eight months later the musical three-year-olds were much better at solving puzzles. They also scored 80% higher in spatial intelligence than the other group. There's also anectdotal evidence that listening to music, especially from Mozart's era, can help you study and learn better.

Hopefully there will be more research. In the meantime there's no reason not to do your own experimentation. I've heard that Stephen King writes with loud rock music playing, so the benefits of music may be according to your own tastes or brain-organization.

Music For Brainwave Entrainment

Want to listen to some music, and get smarter, or have instant easy meditation? There are products now that "entrain" your brainwaves, in order to put you in a meditative state. Music is embedded with beats and pulses that entrain your brain waves to a specific frequency. Put in the right CD or MP3 for your activity, and you get better brain function. Science? Partly.

Brain wave frequencies vary with mental state. Daydreaming and light meditation take place in the "Alpha" range of frequencies, for example. So if you listen to music containing beats at a frequency of 10 Hz you will generate more brainwaves at a 10 Hz frequency and enter a relaxed Alpha mental state. Do these things really work?

Yes. I've found two products that put me in a peaceful state unlike any other music or meditative practice. Studies will prove the effects (some have already), and disprove the wilder claims. Given my results, however, I wouldn't wait for more research. Many things work long before the scientific proof arrives.

If you are skeptical, you can wait for more evidence of the benefits of brainwave entrainment. Meanwhile, why not try classical music when you study, just to see if it helps? Experiment with music - Mozart isn't dangerous.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

No Ordinary Family

Here's now I welcomed ABC's No Ordinary Family  (8/7c) in TV Guide's Fall Preview issue: "There's plenty to like in this muddled hybrid of family drama, supernatural adventure and slapstick comedy. It's certainly unusual, but has a ways to go to become truly incredible. Or even exciting."

ABC's new superhero drama No Ordinary Family debuted Tuesday, and we want to know what you thought of it — and what you think of every new series this season.

The hour-long series stars Michael Chiklis — drawing more on his light-hearted “Fantastic Four” days than FX’s gritty “The Shield” era — as Jim, an artist who does police sketches on the side. While on vacation with his scientist wife Stephanie (Julie Benz), text-happy daughter Daphne and learning-disabled son JJ, the family survives a plane crash, passes through some magical water, and ta da! They have supernatural powers.

“”No Ordinary Family” tries to locate a sweet spot enjoyed by recent superheroic dramas that specialize in more verisimilitude than spandex, such as “Smallville” and “Heroes.” Shows like those lean more toward seriousness and away from the colorfully ridiculous old comic books. Although this often strikes non-fanboys and non-fangirls as woefully atonal, it mostly works here, but it would be nice if “No Ordinary Family” had more humor about it.” [Hank Stuever, The Washington Post]

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