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Make Music and Relieve Stress

Our Focus 18 article, Music for Moods and Memories, concentrated on tunes and songs produced and recorded by professionals. These are the melodies so often associated with a particular event or time that was special; and whenever it is heard again, the pleasure of that moment is re-visited. There is, however, a way to achieve a greater benefit from a few notes strung together; and that is by making them yourself.

I know - you're probably thinking: I'm no musician and, anyway, I don't have the time. Fair enough: most people have busy schedules; but all work and no play, etc. Stress feeds on this syndrome. The less "me" time a person has, the harder it is to enjoy life because it seems geared to someone else's needs; and the result is dissatisfaction. Surely, something can be done to put that right?

I reckon making music is one of the answers. I've played instruments since I was a kid, from the obligatory triangle at primary school, to the recorder, then trumpet. None of them, however, have given me as much back as the guitar. I bought my first acoustic in the 60's and have played off and on since then; and I like to think I've improved over the years. But this was never for profit: I just found solace and contentment by sitting on my own, practising until I could replicate the tunes on my vinyls and cassette tapes. And I'm still trying.

When talking to others about me, my wife often says: "When he's playing his guitar, he goes off into his own little world." I admit that I do, and I like it there. Nothing else matters except for getting those notes right; or finding the chords for a particular number. No, it's not always easy; and the fingers get sore sometimes; but when I manage to play a song through and it actually sounds like the one on the CD, I am stoked!

What I'm suggesting is to give it a go. If you have the voice for it, join a local choir or choral society; or try learning to play an instrument. The choices are numerous - harmonica, pan pipes, any of the stringed, reed or brass instruments; but I don't believe you can go past the self-contained band like a guitar or keyboard. With either of these you won't need anyone else. As for learning, it takes time, patience and practice; but this is where music's therapy comes in. When you're making it, the tedious, daily routine has to take a back seat; and with it the anxiety and stress it creates.

This is the main reason I produced my guitar tutorial. Module 1, the introductory lesson, was published last month, and five more will be slotted in each month until January next year - ALL FREE to download. It is specifically written for beginners and is designed for anyone who can't be bothered to learn how to read music. You don't have to: I was led to believe that Sir Paul McCartney couldn't read a note; and yet he has proved he can play many instruments, and has created some unforgettable songs.

I can't deny that mine is a musical family; but only my father was a professional. The rest of us muddle along because we enjoy making music, and occasionally we get it nearly right. So, have a serious think about it. Learn to blow, bow, pick, strum, or finger those magical harmonies; then, should Lauren Bacall pop her head round the door and say: "Play it one more time, Sam," you might be able to; and as time goes by you could even score a free beer from your audience!

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Where every effort has been made to be accurate and fair-minded, comments and opinions expressed on this website are based on personal experience and do not necessarily reflect the views of the wider community or those groups and institutions mentioned. A Season of Happiness and its staff accept no responsibility for any outcome based on suggestions offered. What works for us may not work for you. Please bear this in mind.

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