health

While music is indeed a form of expressing one’s feelings, almost as if it was a language, there is another language that came from music as it’s melodies and rythm made their way into the body. The human body reacts to these sounds and rythm, and moves.

History teaches us that dancing was used or performed for many different reasons, but we are lead to believe that at first, dancing was used as a tool to comunicate with other people, which makes perfect sense due to the fact that before any language was spoken, people had to comunicate in some way, and dancing was one of them. There is also the fact that today, people who have good dancing skills, are usually very comfortable in social gatherings.

Of course, besides comunicating, it also helps with bonding, as it’s usually tied to celebrations, rituals and many other positive ocasions. Dancing was a very important part of rituals for Egyptians, Africans and Indians which involved a deep understanding about what was going on, meaning that dancing was not just a little thing, it had meaning.

Another use of dancing was for rituals, more specifically healing rituals.

Dancing as a Job

In an interview from jobshadow.com with Ksyn Cason, a professional dancer, she gives some insight into the life of a person that lives from dancing.

What do you like about what you do?

There isn’t one specific thing that I like about what I do. All I can say is that I love it as a whole. I love performing, so definitely one thing would have to be when I am on stage in front of thousands of people. It gives me the ultimate rush. I also love the traveling. I have been all over the world, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, Japan and still have so many places that I have yet to go. Lastly, I would have to say that I love what I do. It brings me joy to be able to tell people that I am actually living my dream. It is a blessing.

What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

A common misconception that people have about dancers would be that dance is a hobby and not an actual career. Just because it isn’t your everyday 9am – 5pm doesn’t mean that it is not a job. Our schedules are more like having a retail job. One day we can have rehearsals from 10am – 6pm and the next day be in rehearsal for 12 hours. The times when we are not getting paid to work we are training, so technically we are always working.  We get paid just like a person with a “regular” job, just not every week or bi weekly (Most agencies/clients have payment time frames outlined in their contracts which can range from 30 – 90 days). It’s just annoying when people do no take what we do for being an actual job. However, it is not necessarily a job that everyone will be successful in. Few people people make it so that is one thing that you must always keep in mind.

Benefits of Dancing

Dancing can be a job or it can be something you do for fun, but whether it’s one or the other, there are a few benefits we can enjoy from it.

It’s important to say that dancing is very beneficial when it comes to your health as it helps preventing heart and blood vessel diseases, and it also improves posture, a healthy weight, reduces stress and tension and it’s an exercise for your brain as there is some coordination and rythm to follow.

This last benefit is also a very interesting part for musicians, because dancing can actually improve the way you make music or even enjoy it more. There is something about your body letting loose and feel in sync with the music, not just playing but enjoying as if you were both the performer and the audience. On stage in many genres, this is one of the best ways to communicate with the audience, just like history has shown us, dancing helps develop a stronger connection.

So even if you are not a good dancer or you feel like it’s just not your thing, try at least to let loose a little and just think about the music.

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There has been lots of research surrounding music’s healing capabilities, some spiritual and some medical and cientific, due to its effects on the human mind and body, but this is an ongoing dialogue that never ceases to amaze, because there are indeed some uses of music that can help with our health.

The human brain and nervous system are hard-wired to distinguish music from noise and to respond to rhythm and repetition, tones and tunes. Is this a biologic accident, or does it serve a purpose? It’s not possible to say. Still, a varied group of studies suggests that music may enhance human health and performance.

Harvard Health Publishing

The Brain and The Mind

Mind

This is the area where research has been more extensive and profound, there is a focus on this area because it’s where music has it’s most direct consecuences.

The neurobiology of music is a highly specialized field. But music also has major effects on many aspects of health, ranging from memory and mood to cardiovascular function and athletic performance.

Harvard Health Publishing

If it affects the mind it will affect the body but more on that later. There has been an increase of interest towards the importance of music in the area of psychology since the mid XX century, however studies of music and their consecuences in human behaviour dates back to the studies of ancient greeks,

Meditation

There are many exercises such as Yoga and Tai chi that uses music as a method of relaxation and helping the mind be free to embrace the activity

Music and meditation has its origin in religious music, due to the general alignment and meaning of the compositions.

Body

There are also many phisical reactions to music involving the heart, blood pressure and of course the most common “goose bumps”

Research has shown that music may influence central physiological variables like blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, EEG measurements, body temperature and galvanic skin response. Music influences immune and endocrine function. The existing research literature shows growing knowledge of how music can ameliorate pain, anxiety, nausea, fatigue and depression. There is less research done on how music, and what type of music, is utilized and administered specifically for optimum effect in specific clinical situations.

PubMed.gov

Concerning what type of music and how it does what it does, many believe it might be different for each person, depending on what type of lives they have and how they think and live as an individual. The fact that there are phisical effects is universal, but how, it depends.

Music Genres: Mind and Body

Music is healthy in many ways, and it has been like that for centuries. Each person finds its way into different types of music that fits their needs or rather, the lack of something in their lives, for example. Someone that listens to heavy metal, may not be a violent person, actually, it’s a way to counter negative feelings.

A thesis based on case studies shows that listening to music (heavy metal included) helps people who have been traumatized. It helps them regulate their emotions, overcome suicidal thoughts, and occupy their sensory environment.

Cognitiontoday.com

For example techno music has another set of common effects related to energy.

Further, due to the techno-music induced biological effects and its proven ability to increase endurance and buffer the immediate negative effects of exercise, it is easy to understand the strong link between techno and all-night dancing.

djbroadcast.net

The effects music has on our bodies is much greater than people would think, and it can be dismissed as just being entertained, but it goes beyond that, and even more, there is still some mistery surrounding this, and only time and experience might will say if it’s something that can be fully understood.

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Why should I exercise and eat a healthy diet?

Health matters.  As a singer, the body IS the instrument. If the muscles are weak, if energy is low, then the voice doesn’t have a chance.

Increasingly, I have found myself telling my students that taking the time to exercise is as important as practice time. In fact, I’ve told them that if they only have 10 minutes a day, they should spend that time working out rather than practicing.

Photoxpress_14457724Take time for cardio.  Work the abs. Even more, work the BACK strength.  Especially in singing, the abs should be strong, but if the back muscles are weak, the abs collapse from lack of resistance.  Strong leg muscles support the torso, creating a balanced body.  A balanced body frees up the abdominal muscles to support the breath.  Strong intercostal and oblique rib muscles, created through twisting exercises, allow for increased control of the descent of the diaphragm.

I have heard many excuses (including from myself): [···]

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