No, I didn’t make a typo or try to slip in something sexy to get you to click on the blog. The original quote is “Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” from William Congreve’s play The Mourning Bride in 1697. It’s often misquoted as “music soothes the savage beast” which leads to lots of jokes about great violinists being eaten by deaf lions.
It is certainly true that listening to Bach or Debussy can help you relax. Your favorite life affirming pop song or uber deep singer songwriters message (my current fave) can help you let go of a days worth of worry and irritation. But; PLAYING music is way better! The pretty, soothing tones your guitar produces can de-stress you, of course, but while you are playing or especially learning new tunes you can experience and sensation known as “Flow”. The concept was named and first described by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. It is a state of mind in which you are totally immersed in an enjoyable learning activity. It is most often achieved by athletes, artists and musicians! You need a skill set (your current playing abilities), a challenge that fits the skill set (new tune) and time and place to focus on the task. When you are totally focused and involved with your practice the world recedes, the stress of the day fades into nothing. You forget to think about yourself and even your feelings.
Don’t force the flow experience; just try to play the tune. If it seems too difficult or frustrating, slow it down (see How To Practice With a Drum Machine) or pick an easier tune. Don’t try to practice for a set time, just let yourself get involved with the process of learning the tune. Later, you’ll know you had a flow experience when you look up and realize how much time has gone by, usually far more than you thought.
Not only does music soothe the savage breast, but it also opens up new ways of practicing Positive Psychology and improving your mental state and your life.
Go to the MoreThanGuitar.com main page to select a new song to start learning!!!
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