Monday, April 30, 2018 - Music and Life

I’m sitting here this morning contemplating what the function of music is in life. It is so intertwined with my life that I find it hard to separate out from who I am, but it might surprise you to know that I don’t play music on my days off very often. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it and feel compelled to play, but more that it just doesn’t occur to me to play. If I have a new instrument in the house then I quite often will pick it up and noodle with it, but to sit and play for my own enjoyment or to practice just doesn’t happen very often. I really can’t explain it. And music does so many things for the brain and for the enjoyment of life and shaping of attitude that I know I could benefit from more of it. I've been reading a book called “The Brain's Way of Healing” by Norman Doidge. The final chapter explores some very interesting ways that music affects people. I won’t go into all of the fascinating examples, but one passage that sticks with me and gives me pause to think is that “when the brain is stimulated by music, its neurons begin to fire in perfect synchrony with it, entraining with the music it hears.”  Also, “it turns on the reward centers of the brain, which increases the production of dopamine, which in turn increases feelings of pleasure and motivation.” Playing and singing music does this to an even higher degree because it involves even more of the brain in the creation of the music and the synchronization of the hands, mouth, and integrated parts of the body required to play and sing. It’s amazing! And I’ve said it before, but I believe that music is just plain magical. Knowing how it stimulates the brain just reinforces this belief even more. I’ll leave you with one more quote from the book - “this invisible art reaches places in the heart and mind that nothing else can touch. It is indeed a very mysterious medicine, especially for those who want concrete explanations of how things work.” And now I think I’ll pick up the ukulele and the Indian flute and make some music.  

What have I been up to? 

The gig at Cat's Pourhouse a couple weeks ago was really fun. I haven’t played a sports bar environment in a long time, and it was a gas to rise to the energy level of the room and ride the wave. It was intoxicating! I hope to do it again sometime.  

I also had a 95th birthday party that I didn’t write about last week that was great. It’s so much fun to dip into a family for an afternoon and help them celebrate with music.  

What am I up to this week? 

Sunday 7-8ish mountain time I’m doing my First-Sunday Online Living  
Room Concert again. I haven’t picked out a theme yet, but I may do something completely off the wall. At least that’s my inkling right now, so tune in and join in the excitement at https://concertwindow.com/tommunch.  

What’s on the horizon? 

The summer is shaping up to be a crazy one. Check my schedule on my website at http://tommunch.com/calendar. I’ll be at the Royal Gorge, the Yellow Pine, Deerprint Wine, Lucy's, the Feedstore Concert Series, Red River Ski Area, Philmont, Bistoro, Cuchara, La Veta, and so much more.  

That’s it for this week. Thank you for your continued support and friendship, and I hope to see you Sunday online! 

Best always, 

Tom 

Detail this week: 

Who:  Tom Munch 
What:  playing and singing 
Where:  online at https://concertwindow.com/tommunch 
When:  Sunday, May 6, 7-8ish pm MDT