by Daniel Adams
For so many breathtaking experiences in life, there simply aren’t words. But there are sounds!
I ask guests all the time in class and one-on-one sessions, “Did you see anything pretty today?” They often attempt to describe the majesty and scope of what they saw and felt in Zion National Park, convey the deep relaxation they experienced during their massage, or detail the wine and dessert they enjoyed with an elegant meal—but words sometimes fail and they resort to sighs or gasps or words like “Wow! and “Ooh!” And those sounds speak volumes, so much more than words ever could. Listen for them!
Sound is such a powerful way to relate to our loved ones. Many mothers sing to their children, even if they’d never be caught dead singing anywhere else. There is a power in sound and music that translates our deepest loves, affection, and commitments.
Play with some sound and see where it takes you! Perhaps it will be a great way for you to feel connected with your partner this time of year.
What I love about serving Red Mountain guests in ukulele and drum class is watching them discover how easy it can be to participate in playing music, and how powerful it is to share music with those we love. Research out of Western Michigan University suggests the mere act of singing together—no matter how it sounds—can release the bonding hormone oxytocin into the bloodstream. Oxytocin is the same hormone that moms and infants feel when they nurse, and what is circulated when we kiss our partners.
Oxytocin often travels hand in hand with dopamine, and they come out to play naturally when we sing together, drum together, or share a meaningful song. When oxytocin is flowing, we feel connected, eye contact becomes easier, pathways of communication open, and empathy is created. Hugs get passed around as often as the pictures and videos our guests take during drum class!
Additional wellness benefits are detailed in various research studies by neurologist Dr. Barry Bittman: Group drumming lowers blood pressure, decreases the stress hormone cortisol, and provides an immune system boost.
Now you’ve seen the benefits of active music making on wellness and connection, but maybe that’s not your flavor. There are powerful passive applications of music as well.
So much can be communicated through recorded music. Whether it’s Marvin Gaye, Ed Sheeran, the Grateful Dead, or whoever you love, music shapes our mood and can modulate it. It has been shown in numerous studies that client-preferred music reduces pain levels, nausea, and anxiety in hospital patients. It doesn’t even have to be relaxing or sedative music—that rarely moved the needle in pain studies. With your partner, the key is to find music they like; just remember to meet the energy of your partner where it’s at before you try and take them somewhere else.
Playing in soundscapes gives us a whole new arena of affection, connection, and expression to explore. No musical experience is required to benefit from the power of music and sound healing. Join me for a ukulele or drum class, or a one-on-one session and let’s empower you with the awe-inspiring world of connection through sound!
About Daniel Adams
Daniel Adams, SCMT, MT-BC is a musical therapist specializing in consciousness work, nurturing parent/child relationships, grief work, and above all having fun! He loves connecting with people and currently offers group music classes at Red Mountain Resort including Find Your Rhythm: Drumming for Connection and Wellness and You Can Ukulele. He also offers private healing sessions where guests can access issues gently through the power of music—either playing or listening—when it is difficult to express those emotions with words.