A different kind of medicine

Music is an essential part of my life, just like writing.  These two things play a really important role in my everyday life, but not just separately, together also – I need music in order to write, and a lot of my ideas when writing came from music, from songs, it inspires me a lot. It’s not only a passion, rather a need. Therefore lots of my posts will be about music and everything connected with it.

Those, who share the same passion for music as I do, surely know how big effect it can have on your life. Have you ever got lost in music? Or reborn in it? Have you ever felt a melody beating so deep under your skin, that all your senses reacted to it, like the most instinctive choreography?  Do you know that ecstatic state of mind, when everything else ceases to exist, there’s only you and your instrument, or you and a song?

But there’s still more. Music can be medicine – but not just metaphorically, literally also -, it can be an invisible door between reality and fantasy.

In the video below violinist, Robert Gupta speaks about this incredible, inspiring process. His TED talk is about a musician, Nathaniel Ayers. Nathaniel was a promising student of Julliard, but his career had been ruined by a disease – he’s suffering from schizophrenia.  Approximately 30 years later, he’s still playing music – but not in a large concert hall, but on the poor streets of Los Angeles as a homeless, on a violin which only had two strings left. A well-known journalist, Steve Lopez discovered him and his talent, and an article written by him became the basis of the book called The Soloist, which was later adopted into a movie. After that, Nathaniel and Robert started playing together, the former giving violin lessons for the latter. As a result, an invisible connection had been formed, where there’s no need for verbal communication to have perfect understanding. 

“And as I played, I understood that there was a profound change occurring in Nathaniel’s eyes. It was as if he was in the grip of some invisible pharmaceutical, a chemical reaction, for which my playing the music was its catalyst. And Nathaniel’s manic rage was transformed into understanding, a quiet curiosity and grace.”

But of course, this isn’t the only example. There are hundreds of similar patients, who have been cured more efficiently by music, than by any other treatment. 

“Music is medicine. Music changes us. And for Nathaniel, music is sanity. Because music allows him to take his thoughts and delusions and shape them through his imagination and his creativity, into reality. And that is an escape from his tormented state. And I understood that this was the very essence of art. This was the very reason why we made music, that we take something that exists within all of us at our very fundamental core, our emotions, and through our artistic lens, through our creativity, we’re able to shape those emotions into reality. And the reality of that expression reaches all of us and moves us, inspires and unites us.”

Whether it’s music or any other form of art; or whatever that you’re passionate about, we all have something that can heal more deeply than any other medicine. All we need is to recognize them – and most importantly, to use them. 

And what is your medicine?


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