Archive for the 'Music' Category

Songs to Make Dogs Happy

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009


Jazz at Tyler State Park after his morning workout.

I took a class once on the psychobiology of music, based on work the professor had done (so he claimed) with NASA for long term space travel. I have a healthy skepticism about him and his self aggrandizing, but I believe in the ability of music to change our personal energy. My own playlists are finely tuned - sleep, meditation, concentration, signature music, and morning/exercise (same energy - confident and upbeat).

So of course I’m interested in the effect of music on dogs. When I’m out during the day, I leave the escape/love/heart channel on for Jazz. He doesn’t seem to care one way or another, but I’m happier picturing its calming effect.

A few months after Jazz came to live with me, I stumbled on “Songs to Make Dogs Happy.” Of course I bought it out of professional curiosity. The instructions say to listen to it the first time with your dog, but Jazz was dead asleep in the den, so I put the CD in the player in the dining room and went into the kitchen to do dishes. Next thing I know, he’s sitting in the dining room, looking up at the CD player, head cocked. He’s never done that before, or since.

Like anything, the effect wears off. I mostly use the CD when we travel long distances. When I put Jazz in the car, I play this to start us on our way. On the road again….

But the CD makes me happy. His energy mirrors mine. I particularly like You’re a Good Dog, I’ll Be Back, Outside, My Bed, and Adventure Dog.

Songs to Make Dogs Happy

Music for the dying

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Prescriptive music for the dying [link].

We become so focused on the need to fight death, we forget about the need to make it comfortable. When I brought my father’s CDs into the hospital, my mother fought me on it. She used the excuse that they might get stolen, but I knew what she really hated was the way I was moving his belongings into the hospital room. In her mind, the fewer of his possessions there, the easier it would be to get him home. And people who are comfortable, don’t fight. They give up.

The concept of death and disease as a war works for some people, I suppose. For the rest of us, fighting our own bodies, our own humanity just doesn’t make sense. Shadow boxing.

Healing is more of a dance.

Body electric

Monday, June 29th, 2009

I sing the body electric
I glory in the glow of rebirth
Creating my own tomorrow
When I shall embody the earth

And I’ll look back on Venus
I’ll look back on Mars
And I’ll burn with the fire
Of 10 million stars
And in time
And in time
We will all be stars

Fame

Grieving

Friday, June 19th, 2009

This is not what I do
It’s the wrong kind of place
To be thinking of you
It’s the wrong time
For somebody new
It’s a small crime
And I’ve got no excuse

-Damien Rice

I don’t know what the catalyst is. There’s no pattern I’ve recognized. New place, or one that we frequented, one with memories. Male companionship or female. Group or single. Someone new, someone just for me, or someone who loved us both. But sometimes. Sometimes after an evening out, I pull into the driveway, turn off the motor, and sit for a moment. Then I scream, over and over. Not your name, not anymore. Wordless. I didn’t know I was capable of this.

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

How do you like my darkness now?
BtVS, 5:1

Darkness is our companion this week. It’s what we’re talking about, typing late into the night. She wants to know why, why, and those of us who have incorporated the darkness into our lives struggle to find the words. But it’s pre-language. It’s cellular and tidal.

Bonny Method of Guided Imagery & Music

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

My experience with the Bonny method was very productive. The counselor and I would talk for awhile about what was on my mind (she combined this with Mandela drawings to see what I was not expressing). Then we would select one question to explore, phrase it carefully, write it down. She would select Western classical music, depending on my level of energy and the question.

I would lie down and practice relaxation breathing. Then as the music started, I would narrate my visualizations aloud as she took notes. If I faltered, she would gently ask me questions to move me forward. The music in my sessions always began softly, with the feeling of the beginning of a voyage, and my experience almost always began walking through the forest (although there was lighthearted time when I swam through the air like a dolphin). As the music increased in intensity, people, buildings, and symbolic objects (keys, jewelry, seeds) would appear. For me, it was almost never anyone from my real life, never modern (although once the story took place in a futuristic environment).

The sessions can be very emotional, sometimes I was reluctant, although the theory is that your subconscious won’t expose you to anything you’re not prepared to handle. The benefit, for me, was not having to find the correct word, I was free to feel certain emotions without having to put them in context or decide what they meant.

My sessions took place once a month over 18 months. There was no revelation, it was more of an integration and an acceptance of what I already felt.

For more information, please read on:

Association for Music & Imagery Information on Guided Imagery and Music

Guided Imagery and Music: The Bonny Method and Beyond

Music Consciousness: The Evolution of Guided Imagery and Music

Sound/sleep machines

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

An alternative to music - white noise or nature sounds (or in the case of my personal machine, even city/traffic noise). Some of these rely on the sound, others claim more benefits (such as brainwave technology).

I own two, one for travel. I found that after flying or driving for long distances, or when staying in a hotel, there is too much vivid, restless dreaming. A sleep machine works better than background TV or music.

I was surprised at my preferences, I thought I knew what kind of noise I liked or didn’t. There are 20 options on my system. Bubbling brook, rainforest, aviary, wind chines, heartbeat, and crickets are annoying rather than restful. Thunderstorm is perfect. Ebb tide is better than ocean waves.

My machine is no longer available, but there are many options (and many discussions out there about their various merits):

Sleep Sound Machine from Brookstone - Tranquil Moments - Clinically Proven Acoustic Technology

MARPAC SleepMate 980A Dual Speed Electro-Mechanical White Noise Machine / Sound Machine For Sleeping at Home & Travel + Sleep Mask

Sound Oasis Natural Sounds Therapy System and Alarm Clock With FREE Spa Retreat Sound Card and FREE SHIPPING

Friday, April 24th, 2009


I am walking on the bridge,
I am over the water,
And I’m scared as hell
But I know there’s something better.

-Paula Cole, Me

Greatest Hits: Postcards from East Oceanside

Classical Music

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Music is distinctly individual. My massage-therapist friends have told me about the difficulty of finding the right music for a session, something that both they and the client can relax to. Once, during a session in my home, I turned on the “Audio Visions” channel on XM satellite radio for background, only to have the massage therapist beg me to change the station (we never found a compromise and proceeded in silence).

While exploring music options, a familiar place to start is with the classics, arranged for meditation and relaxation. Some examples are at the end of this post.

I’ve found Bach to be soothing in general, I use it in the office to calm coworkers and also as the main ringtone on my cell phone. Bach sets a tone for meditation, I believe it taps into our memories of churches and cathedrals. A soundtrack for our collective consciousness.

Mozart for Meditation

Sacred Treasures IV: Choral Masterworks, Quiet Prayers

Music and Nature Sampler

The Most Relaxing Classical Music in the Universe

Prayer: A Windham Hill Collection

Music for Concentration

Bach for Relaxation

Heavenly Adagios

Dance of the Blessed Spirits

For Yoga

Meditation: Music for Relaxation and Dreaming

Chill With Bach

Bach for Meditation