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Music Care Blog

  • Ways Music Care Works for You Monday March 01st, 2021

    This is a non-exhaustive list of ways that music care – self-care using music – works for you. We chose these examples to illustrate the vast opportunity for music care outside of clinical practice. They apply equally well to individuals, families, teams, and entire organizations.


    For completeness, we have also provided links for “supportive music,” sometimes branded as “palliative music” or “life music care” in its own category, and “music therapy.”


    For proof of music care, there are thousands of years of anecdotal evidence to review, and at least one hundred years of clinical research to support your quest, and, best of all, your own self-evident results.


    Beyond supportive/background music, these examples invite intention, purpose, and skillful use…no therapist needed. Want to know more? Ask us how!


    Intervention (Pain Points)

    1. Support diversity
    2. Support equity
    3. Support inclusion
    4. Support conflict resolution
    5. Support peer counseling
    6. Support mentoring
    7. Support motivation
    8. Support engagement
    9. Support group/team cohesion
    10. Support group/team purpose
    11. Support training
    12. Overcome language/communication barriers
    13. Facilitate entrainment (“everyone on the same page”)
    14. Physical pain relief
    15. Anxiety release
    16. Grief release
    17. Fear release
    18. Anger release
    19. Trauma release
    20. Trigger joy
    21. Trigger excitement
    22. Trigger anticipation
    23. Trigger curiosity
    24. Trigger/improve relaxation
    25. Improve breathing
    26. Improve sleep
    27. Improve focus and concentration
    28. Invite peace
    29. Invite health
    30. Release tension-type headache
    31. Learn to find comfort in uncertainty
    32. Become more open to diversity

    Soft Skills (Leadership)

    33. Improve empathy
    34. Improve compassion
    35. Improve authenticity
    36. Improve appreciation
    37. Improve discretion
    38. Improve resilience
    39. Improve integrity
    40. Improve discernment
    41. Improve collaboration
    42. Improve dignity
    43. Improve modesty
    44. Improve charisma
    45. Improve forgiveness
    46. Improve respect
    47. Improve loyalty
    48. Improve courage
    49. Improve ethics
    50. Improve deliberation
    51. Improve kindness
    52. Improve humility
    53. Improve insight
    54. Improve abundance
    55. Improve altruism
    56. Improve fairness
    57. Improve patience
    58. Improve consistency
    59. Improve honor
    60. Improve humor
    61. Improve excellence
    62. Improve cooperation
    63. Improve sustainability
    64. Improve humor
    65. Improve self-awareness
    66. Improve self-compassion
    67. Improve nobility

    Growth Skills (Improved Performance)

    68. Safe exploration of self-awareness
    69. Safe exploration of self-actualization
    70. Safe exploration of risk
    71. Improve emotional regulation
    72. Improve inspiration
    73. Improve memorization and retention
    74. Improve physical performance
    75. Improve emotional awareness
    76. Improve interpersonal understanding
    77. Improve dialogue
    78. Improve discourse
    79. Facilitate paradox
    80. Facilitate servant leadership
    81. Facilitate emotional intelligence
    82. Facilitate career development
    83. Improve learning
    84. Improve responsibility and response-ability
    85. Improve decision-making

    Transformation Skills

    86. Explore and support non-linear, non-strategic thinking
    87. Explore and support non-binary thinking
    88. Facilitate and exponentialize results of Enneagram work
    89. Facilitate and exponentialize results of mindset work
    90. Facilitate and exponentialize results of presence
    91. Facilitate and exponentialize process and results of openings to “5D” awareness and consciousness
    92. Facilitate and exponentialize the process and results of shadow journeying
    93. Facilitate and exponentialize the process and results of heroic journeying
    94. Facilitate and exponentialize the process and ...

  • Two Novel Ways to Use Music for Relief of Fear and Anxiety Tuesday May 05th, 2020

    Relax to music. Soundtrack your workout. Build a playlist around a mood. All good. How are they working for you? For your family and friends? Want some new ideas to help engage deeply with the best self-care tool of the last few thousand years? Here are two novel ways to use music for relief of fear and anxiety.


    Courage is an important result of relief from fear and anxiety, and we will get there, too. First, we’ll explore the mechanics of using music in a novel way as we connect music to fear. Then, we’ll use anxiety to discuss how to choose the “right” music. Finally, we’ll greet courage as a very welcome opportunity and a natural result of the work we’ve done with fear and anxiety.



    In our era, the old adage “sex sells” is rapidly succumbing to a new one: “fear sells.” The media get this and offer lots of opportunities for us to engage with fear – and with the advertisers paying for its promotion. How does anyone respond to that with power? Ignore it? Stiff-upper-lip it?


    Courage in the face of fear is different from ignoring fear. Music can boost our courage, sure, but first, we need to dig into what scares us to release the aspects of fear that shackle and immobilize us. Only then can we really be ready to engage courage.


    Don’t get all caught up in mindset-based thinking please; trying to think your way out of an unwanted emotion is psychological suicide.


    A Two-Step Intervention for Fear Using Music

    To prepare for that courage we all want, here’s a two-step intervention for fear using music:


    1. Find your fear song. From your shortlist of music you love most, choose the one song that’s scariest. Don’t have a scary song? Movies are a good place to search for scary music; the shower scene music from Psycho is a good one. So are the curated mood-based playlists on idagio – Classical music can free us in some ways from the need to depend on the words to understand the mood in the music. Spotify also has some offerings, such as the Music of Fear playlist.

    1. Feel it fully. With the one song you’ve chosen for fear, put on some headphones, set your music player to “repeat one,” find a comfortable, safe place to listen, and just be with that music in your ears for as long as it takes. Get good and scared – you’re safe and fear is just an emotion you’re allowing right now. Let all the stuff that frightens you appear in your mind, notice it, and invite the next scary thing to come up. Do this until your mind stops offering scary stuff or you just get tired.


    The evidence behind connecting an emotion to music is that the emotions process through us more quickly. Often, the processing itself can be energizing, even when the emotions are those we don’t like. If science isn’t your thing, rely on your own ...

  • After The Well of Grief Thursday April 09th, 2020

    After The Well of Grief*



    on the bottom

    of David’s Well



    frozen in this haunting prism

    of others’ glimmering wishes

    three small round coins tarnish my palm



    weight too heavy to carry up

    to light and breath

    back to a pretend belonging

    that isn’t mine


















    * Whyte, David: “The Well of Grief,” from “River Flow – New & Selected Poems, 1984 – 2007,” published by Many Rivers Press, 2007, copyright by David Whyte, 2007

  • The Two-Minute Treatment: Emotional Intelligence Sunday October 13th, 2019

    The Two-Minute Treatment series is for people who are too busy and need help now. As with all treatments, if you need to, please take time to research and evaluate before just jumping in. Otherwise, if you don’t need lots of footnotes and “science,” just go for it.


    Is it emotionally intelligent to stuff your emotions? If you’re using music to change your mood you’re missing the point. By the end of this short article, you will understand the actual superpower you’ve missed and how to access it.


    In The Mood?

    Let’s face it, we all get into moods we don’t like sometimes. And what do we do? We try to change them ASAP. That’s the natural human tendency, right?


    Not really.


    There’s a reason we’re in the mood, whatever it is: swing, blues, anxiety pop, poolside, or lounge. Brain science connects us to emotion in powerful ways that have kept us alive for millennia. But in the last few thousand years, we’ve somehow learned to short-circuit the emotions and moods we don’t like. We stuff them.


    Fortunately, psychology has come along to help us understand that stuffing big emotions isn’t healthy.


    So, let’s ask the question a little differently: is it a natural human tendency to stuff, suppress, or suppress big emotions?


    Answering “yes” may be why so many of us are un-doing emotional and psychological damage, and so many others are anger-vomiting as unresolved big emotion begins to leak out in the form of political, economic, racial, gender, and/or environmental issues,  or as non-clinical depression, distress, or anxiety (DDA).


    We know where “yes” has taken us. What if there was a real “no” option – one that suggests it’s not natural to stuff big emotions?


    Un-Stuff Your Emotions

    As useful as it is to have a practice that allows big emotions, if that practice can also release the unwanted energy of a lifetime of emotional stuffing, that would be better. Best? A practice that functions in those two ways plus offers more than remediation or intervention, such as a gateway to authentic human connection, or a bridge to spiritual insight. What practices do that?


    Lots of practices around big emotions. Which of them allow you to experience a big emotion fully, safely, and with the intentional release of unwanted energy, while retaining the positive energy in that emotion?


    Can you think of any popular practices that transform the “negative,” triggered emotional affect while leaving the positive power of the emotion available for you?


    Which of the popular big-emotion practices offer a gateway or a bridge from empathy and esteem to higher cognition, engagement with the healing power of aesthetics, self-actualization, or transcendence?


    Seriously. Let’s evaluate the answers honestly.


    It’s said that yoga prepares the body for meditation. Together, in that sense, yoga and meditation seem very holistic. It’s not clear, however, whether these practices also facilitate authentic, durable, sustainable human connection, but yogis are known for being enlightened human beings and often lead acolytes in humanitarian best practices.


    Can you think of other best practices that operate physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, plus offer benefits ...

  • What Are Silver Bullet Playlists and How They Work for Good Thursday October 10th, 2019

    You soundtrack your life. Maybe you’re making music regularly. You get the emotional connection between the music you love and the life you live. Maybe you even use music to intervene with moods you don’t want. But something’s missing. That something could be a silver bullet playlist.


    What’s a Silver Bullet Playlist?

    We’ve all got playlists. Sometimes they are hundreds of songs long. I know there are songs in some of my playlists that I haven’t heard in forever, thanks to the non-randomness of most music players “shuffle” feature, that plays some songs more than once while never playing the songs I haven’t heard in a while. Blurg.


    Silver bullet playlists are short: 4 songs tops, less than 20 minutes max.


    The songs you put on your silver bullet playlists are meant to be heard in order, like a short concert.


    Most importantly, silver bullet playlist songs are connected by the primary emotional content they all share.


    How Silver Bullet Playlists Work With Your Emotions

    A silver bullet playlist functions as a satisfying, complete experience of an emotion. Trust yourself: you want that. Why?


    • Instead of stuffing, suppressing, or repressing what we call “negative” emotions, a silver bullet playlist uses your built-in musical superpower to release the negative energy from the emotions you don’t want, returning you to a neutral emotional place where you can choose how to feel next.


    • Instead of reacting when triggered, using a silver bullet playlist that matches specific music you love with the triggered emotions gives you a recovery edge, like a shield that lets you feel fully without experiencing damage yourself, or breaking things and/or hurting people in the process. Who doesn’t want that?


    Those are just a couple of examples of the emotional intervention power of a silver bullet playlist. No emotional intelligence needed; the silver bullet playlist facilitates your built-in ability to release negative emotional energy and find relief.


    Let’s take a peek at how a silver bullet playlist can enhance your physical and mental superpowers.



    How Silver Bullet Playlists Work With Your Physical Superpowers

    One of your built-in superpowers is that you respond to sound and rhythm. Remember how it felt the last time you heard a jackhammer? Or waves crashing on the shore? Or your favorite love song? Your system responds to those audible cues in specific ways, and you can use that knowledge to amp up your performance physically as well as emotionally.


    Through a process called entrainment, our human systems come into alignment with sound and rhythm. This happens naturally. Doctors have used music to help Parkinson’s patients walk with ease – the music simply activates the superpower we all have to connect our feet to the beat, which is very useful for Parkinson’s patients, or anyone learning to walk.


    Athletes are living, breathing examples of entrainment as well. It’s a commonly accepted and research-backed fact that the right music can extend physical stamina, which is very useful for marathon runners. Your workout playlist probably gives you this insight every time you use it.


    So how would a silver bullet playlist change your physical ...

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