Why Did Humans Invent Music? Could music be an attempt at social glue, a way to bring early humans together into a close-knit community? Check out the August 27, 2013 National Geographic news release, “Why Did Humans Invent Music?” You also may want to read the August 22, 2013 article, “How to put people to sleep with music, 1661.”
Charles Darwin believed music was created as a sexual come-on, the National Geographic article explains. His idea is given credence by the universally acclaimed song of the summer, “Blurred Lines.” (Note: The link goes to the Jimmy Fallon version played with toy instruments and is suitable for work.)
Other theorists believe music was an attempt at social glue, a way to bring early humans together into a close-knit community.
Chris Loersch, a senior research associate in psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado, likes that idea, and he’s done research to try and prove it. He and Nathan Arbuckle, from the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, designed a series of studies to bolster it. Check out a related article: When You Listen to Bach, What Color Do You See?
“This hypothesis centers on music’s unique ability to influence the mood and behavior of many people at once,” they write, “helping to mold individual beings into a coordinated group.” They cite the power of military music, music played at sports games, and “ritualized drumming” as examples, the article explains in the study, “Making Music Boosts Brain’s Language Skills.”
People sometimes need to be ‘tricked’ into thinking they’re part of a group, part of the social glue holding people together or bringing people closer, when it reality, they’re alone in their isolated rooms, not making contact with any people or making new friends. But like in a TV travel video or documentary, you’re pulled into the moment.
And you forget how fast reality has hit you. For example, you forget how seriously ill you are or how few years you have left if you’re elderly. But in the long run, music as music therapy can help you relax, if the beats are slow enough to calm you. Some people’s body rhythms, such as heart beat and blood pressure get in sync to the beat of the music. If you want to relax, slow music such as ambient music is easier to get in sync with and relax than music that’s making you jittery because the beat is too fast.
On the other hand, there’s always music therapy, and in many cases, music therapy can assist toddler’s communication rehabilitation process or help the elderly to have a change of mood or even a feeling of calmness and serenity or joy and movement. Check out the January 6, 2010 news release, “Music therapy can assist toddlers’ communication rehabilitation process,” from the University of Haifa.
Music therapy can assist toddlers’ communication rehabilitation processInfants who begin hearing after undergoing cochlear implantation have a lot of catching up to do before being able to talk; a new study reveals that music therapy can assist these children’s rehabilitation process toward language acquisition.
Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program, according to the website of the American Music Therapy Association, 2013.
After cochlear implantation, formerly hearing-impaired toddlers were helped to acquire speech by music therapy
The speech acquisition process in formerly hearing-impaired toddlers can be assisted by music therapy, for example, in toddlers who have undergone cochlear implantation, as revealed in a new study by Dr. Dikla Kerem of the University of Haifa. The study was carried out in Israel as a doctoral thesis for Aalborg University in Denmark (supervised by Prof. Tony Wigram) and presented at a “Brain, Therapy and Crafts” conference at the University of Haifa.
Some infants who are born with impaired hearing and who cannot benefit from hearing aids are likely to gain 90% normal hearing ability by undergoing a cochlear implantation procedure
Following the operation, however, the child – who never heard before – undergoes a long rehabilitation process before he or she can begin to speak. In the present study, Dr. Kerem examined the particular effects that music therapy has on the potential development of toddlers (aged 2-3 years) who have undergone cochlear implantation, specifically in terms of improving spontaneous communication.
“Music comprises various elements that are also components of language and therefore as a non-verbal form of communication is suitable for communication with these children, when they are still unable to use language. Communicative interactions, especially those initiated by the toddlers, are critical in the development of normal communication, as they are prerequisites for developing and acquiring language,” explains Dr. Kerem in the news release.
She adds that the toddlers undergoing rehabilitation are under much pressure from their surroundings – especially the parents – to begin talking, and sometimes this pressure makes them become introverted. As such, music therapy lends itself to strengthening these children’s nonverbal communication and thereby lessens the pressure on them for verbal exchange and response.
The study provided sixteen sessions for children after cochlear implantation. Eight of the sessions included music-related activities (such as games with percussion instruments, vocal games and listening to simple songs) and the rest involved playing with toys/games without musical sounds. Each of the sessions was videotaped and then analyzed.
The results showed that during those sessions when music therapy was implemented, spontaneous communication was markedly more frequent and prolonged in the children. Derived from the results is the fact that the exposure to music needs to be gradual, through the use of music experiences that involve basic musical parameters (such as intensity and rhythm).
Music as a bridge between the quiet world and the new planet of sounds after surgery to hear better
“Music can constitute the bridge between the quiet world that the child knew and the new world of sounds that has been unfolded following the operation. It is also important that the parents and staff learn the best way to expose these children to music, the use of music for communication and the importance of the therapist’s undirected approach (which enhanced the children’s communication in music therapy and in play to a greater degree than in the directed one).
Music therapy is gradually penetrating the field of rehabilitation, but there is still a lot of work to be done in improving awareness of this important area”, Dr. Kerem explains in the news release, “Music therapy can assist toddlers’ communication rehabilitation process.” For more information see, “What is Music Therapy – American Music Therapy Association.”
Music as uplifting or relaxing mood therapy at the family dinner table
In tough or tame times, the family that eats together weets together. (Definition of weet: verb, to know; to wit. (imp. Wot.), according to Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, C & G. Merriam Co. To weet is the solution to family bantering at the dinner table (if families have time to eat on the same schedule) or balancing friends and family.
Food is medicine. So is relaxing or motivational music that enhances concentration. Here’s how they work in tandem for enhancing both memory and digestion along with conversation and body language.
Neurotechnology can help to balance friends and family by motivating the listener’s yearning to learn, think, relax, de-stress, focus, and inspire as food, conversation, and music all become interactive healing tools at the table.
To weet is to listen to calming classical or ambient instrumental music played appropriately at low volume in the background while families eat, converse, and connect. To weet is to know how to have non-toxic family togetherness at mealtimes. To weet is to wit and to know. Knowledge, of course is power. Food sharing creates long-term memories. Think of reunions, last suppers, and camping.
Advanced Brain Technologies
For a solution to your family eating together issues, see the Advanced Brain Technologies site, featured in the State of the Brain Fitness Software Market 2009 Report, published May 4, 2009. And check out the Brain Fitness Authority site called, “Sharp Brains.” They offer a newsletter and a guide to brain fitness. See their Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health June 2009 issue.
Nourish the mind to maximize potential of your family. “Advanced Brain Technologies (ABT) is a neurotechnology company that develops and distributes interactive software and music-based programs for the improvement of memory, attention, listening, academic skills, sensory processing, brain health, peak performance and more.”
CDs for relaxation, inspiration, learning, motivation, de-stressing, and thinking contain selected classical instrumental music with timing of 50-60 beats per minute. When you listen to music played at 50-60 beats per minute, your heart rate adjusts to synchronize with the beats of the music, slowing down slightly. And your brain waves also synchronize in regularity and balance following the rhythm of those ideal 50-60 beats per minute of the music. The electrical system of your entire body adjusts to be in sync with specific musical rhythms.
Knowledge leads to understanding how empathy and not the feeling of powerlessness in a family setting influence digestion at mealtimes. To weet is to know how eating together, sharing that communal meal creates great family memories that last a lifetime for each member. You remember the conversation and food around a family table longer than you remember the times your parents took you to theme parks, movies, or sports events.
Food and music can be great catalysts for positive togetherness. Families are forever, like keepsake albums. There’s a major research study underway at Howard University in Washington, DC, being conducted by Dr. Jay R. Lucker of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. The study is looking at the behavioral and brain mapping changes in auditory information processing following The Listening Program® from Advanced Brain Technologies.
The study focuses on “Auditory Processing and Voice Production Abilities Following a Sound Intervention Training Program.” Check out the Advanced Brain Technologies forums and videos as well as training programs and audios. Family mealtime also is about listening, not only to the conversation, but also to the body language and gestures.
What’s spoken by each member over a plate of food affects all the other members in different ways
Listening to conversation changes when the speakers also are listening to background music that creates moods, tones, and textures that influence digestion. How many family members today have the time schedules that permit all of them to sit down together for a communal meal with a common purpose and goal? And when they do gather, does each family member make sure that whatever is said brings out the best voice of confidence, family trust, connectedness, communication, tact, respect, resilience, and highest potential in any other family member?
Does each family member put the next one down so he or she can pick himself or herself up? Or do family members focus conversation at the dinner table (or kitchen table) on getting emotionally closer and creating memories around the table that will be recalled with smiles and joy long after parents are gone?
Is sibling rivalry or one spouse’s envy/jealousy of the other’s achievements or education channeled into reaching one’s own goals? Each family member steps to a different drummer. When you sit down to a family meal, do you applaud those personality differences that lead to diverse, but safe and secure lifestyle choices?
Happiness through music listening is about inspiring the other family member to be all that he or she can be
The ideal of a family having meals together at the same time and table represents an ambiance of joy, communication, grace, and thanksgiving. It’s a time when members of a family can sit down together and enjoy conversation, laughter, concentration, good health, listening, great digestion, calmness, and conviviality.
If you had to buy one CD to play during family mealtimes, let it be Advanced Brain Technologies collection of six CDs of classical instrumental music in one package for thinking, learning, relaxing, de-stressing, motivating, or inspiring. If you can’t afford to buy a CD collection (six CDs) then download the alternative, free MP3 audio files of Bach’s classical Baroque music at the Brandenburg Concertos site.
Some families say “Grace” or their own spirituality’s equivalent before a meal to offer thanks for the food to a power higher than the self. Other families meditate for a few minutes on their culinary bounty.
Families can find a time when all members could sit together for conversation as a way to learn or open up questions for discussion without fear of reprisal, blame, or rejection. How many families make mealtime a place where people can feel good about themselves while discussing a topic valuable to that family or to anyone else?
Some recall dinners at grandma’s table, when not only the family, but extended family members would gather in one place, usually on a weekend, on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, for dinner. In the summertime, a noon picnic in a park-like setting might be the place for all members of a family, perhaps some friends or neighbors, and any extended family members, would gather to eat, relax and play.
Other families had backyard barbeques. There might be recorded or live music in a backyard from the children who were taking music lessons on some instrument—a guitar, accordion, clarinet, violin, flute, even a portable piano keyboard. At Susan’s house, a childhood friend whose mom owned a music store and taught cello, piano, and violin, the backyard picnic with family members also included the teenage daughter and her friends.
The year? 1956. The place? Beachfront, on the Atlantic ocean, on the fourth of July….A family meal together meant a musical meal—classical music. Susan played cello. Her mom played violin. That’s what a typical family meal had been like—each family member joining in together for a meal and conversation. Each family member analyzed a topic as communication linked all of us toward that connectedness that proposed a commitment to a goal.
We pledged we’d all meet again in fifty years and talk about what gave us the most joy of life. And after the food had been consumed and the conversation focused on our junior high school being done and looking forward to high school—10th grade in September, and possible careers, Susan and I both avidly joyous with playing classical Baroque-style music, yes, at age 14, walked with the family members, along the shoreline as waves lapped at our heels.
Each took our pet companions. My childhood yellow Labrador retriever and Susan’s chocolate Labrador retriever, at that time, male and female dogs that played together as the dogs scampered along the beach.
Do families eat together anymore?
And do they make time for conversation that brings out the best of joy, grace, laughter, analysis, connectedness, or best of all, a feeling of hope? Does a meal together encourage, inspire, and motivate each family member to have his or her own voice of confidence and resilience? This voice of self-trust could last for a lifetime. And it all depends upon what family members say to one another at the communal meal. If our kids are pushing 50 and live across the country, we can tweet together instead of eat meals together. And videos or Skype and similar communication can be the social glue that music brings together.
Eating and listening to music as social glue
Eating together doesn’t necessarily have to be a religious or spiritual experience, it can be a humanistic experience based on empowering each family member with trust, conscience, and connectedness. Or it can be a religious experience about being in a communal environment where food and beverage represents sustenance, a life-giving force that the protector of the family offers to each member as in power in numbers.
And even if the family is only about two or three people sitting down to a meal, the feeling that you’re not alone and that it is okay to have your own point of view and your own preferences for media, entertainment, work, hobby, or study is great because each family member is really about showing you where the information is that you can use to make sure you’re doing what makes you happy, healthy, and stable in the long run.
What lesson have you learned from sitting down to a family meal together with your parents? How has it changed the way you eat together currently with your own spouse and children or family members, including any older relatives living with you?
All too often, family conversation at the dinner table, if members ever have the same time schedules for eating together sounds something like this conversation (experienced as a guest at an individual’s family gathering):
Are you going to eat all that food you put on your plate?
I only weigh 120 pounds. This is my only meal of the day. Do I have to defend it?
How come you two are always arguing?
I’m not arguing. I’m only informing my husband what brings me joy and happiness.
That’s enough. Everybody out. I’m going to eat in my room. You’re all eating me out of house and home. Food and money are scarce around here nowadays.
Sounds like the take-away-man. I need a vacation. I’m going to eat alone in a restaurant tomorrow. So I can get some relaxation. Eating with all of you gives me a stomach ache or a panic attack. I always feel put down at the table so he can build himself up. I guess it’s his inferiority complex and jealousy at my dream job and his lack of one. Don’t you turn on me now that you’ve become a rebellious teen.
Now you know why I don’t ever want to get married or have kids to grow up and spit in my face. I might get a take-away-man like you did who always seems to begrudge you anything that brings you joy. He doesn’t even allow conversation at the table.
That’s probably because his parents all ate at separate times or ate together and usually fought at the table. Remember that public sign in the breakfast place that said, “Absolute Silence While Eating Please?” The dining place was on that travel show…In England, I think.
Dad told me that his mom threatened to stick a fork in his eye, like on that Soprano’s TV series episode, if he didn’t eat his vegetables. Hey, mom, we learned in school that a man treats his wife just like he treats his mom and his sister, especially if they have nothing in common.
Really? You have to walk a mile in his shoes and see why he acts that way. I bet the vegetables tasted bitter. Some people are just born with a gene that makes vegetables taste bitter to them. But don’t worry. We can eat together at the church luncheon on Sunday. In public, everybody will be on his or her best mood as far as conversation. What we all need is a little laughter around mealtime. Finish your vegetables, dear. I put the fruit and vegetables together to bring some sweetness to your plate.
Here’s a solution to this frequent mealtime issue.
Put on classical music of the 17th or 18th century. Enjoy it. Or use a world music beat that makes you get up and dance around the dinner table. Music puts your brain on the right hemisphere track. It’s the hemisphere that seeks harmony, serenity, and joy. So get out of your left brain hemisphere at mealtime and put a little music, dance, and joy into your digestion.
What works best? While you and your family eat and speak together, also play on your computer, iPod, CD, or MP3 player (according to Wikipedia), the Brandenburg concertos by Johann Sebastian Bach, BWV 1046–1051, original title: “Six Concerts à plusieurs instruments.”
These are a collection of six instrumental works presented by Bach to Christian Ludwig, margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, in 1721 (though probably composed earlier). They are widely regarded, according to Wikipedia, “as among the finest musical compositions of the Baroque era.” Don’t play music with lyrics while you’re trying to talk.
Instrumentals can play softly as gentle background music to your conversations. And if you don’t have a family, invite people with whom you get along to share a meal with you in order to make close friends.
You may wish to check out my paperback books, 30+ Brain-Exercising Creativity Coach Businesses to Open: How to use writing, music, drama, and art therapy techniques for healing, and Neurotechnology with Culinary Memoirs from the Daily Nutrition & Health Reporter.
Specific types of music work great on the brain to produce a feeling of joy of life. Some people prefer ambient music instead of classical music. Others prefer familiar ethnic music. It’s the beat of the music that helps your brain and heart sync with the melody and slow beat if you want to relax. Your choice of music might put a smile on the face of each family member at the dinner table. The conversation after is likely to be uplifting as the music. Download the free MP3 audio files at the Brandenburg Concertos site. Or link to the podcast. The free downloads are posted by the Czech Radio D-dur, Vinohradska 12120 99 Prague 2, Czech republic.
Link to Brandenburg Concertos podcast
Podcasting (i)Link to Brandenburg Concertos podcastImport Brandenburg Concertos podcast into iTunesMP3 downloads (i)Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major013:1702 – Adagio3:3603 – Allegro3:5104 – Menuetto – Trio I – Polacca – Trio II6:54Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major05 – 5:1306 – Andante3:4307 – Allegro assai2:56Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major085:2509 -Allegro4:27Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G Major10 – Allegro6:3511 – Andante3:1712 – Presto4:31Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major13 – Allegro9:3614 – Affetuoso5:1315 – Allegro5:06Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in D Major165:0717 – Adagio ma non tanto4:2018 – Allegro5:14FLAC downloads (i)Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major013:1702 – Adagio3:3603 – Allegro3:5104 – Menuetto – Trio I – Polacca – Trio II6:54Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major05 – 5:1306 – Andante3:4307 – Allegro assai2:56Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major085:2509 -Allegro4:27Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G Major10 – Allegro6:3511 – Andante3:1712 – Presto4:31Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major13 – Allegro9:3614 – Affetuoso5:1315 – Allegro5:06Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in D Major165:0717 – Adagio ma non tanto4:2018 – Allegro