it is always a great thing to remember your roots where your story started from. most people forget mostly when they catch up with fame and think its always the best option to make the world think they were born from the high degrees that they later found themselves in.
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
Sure, we all love music. It makes us happy, makes us dance, it expresses emotions we ourselves don’t know to express.
But did you know there are scientific links between playing an instrument and brain development? That scientific studies have shown the incredible effects music can have on memory, hormone levels and even pain?!
music as medicine: how music can improve QUALITY of life
Youth brain development
The University of Vermont College of Medicine recently completed a study of 232 children who played an instrument. The study found that the more the child practiced music, ”it accelerated cortical organization in attention skill, anxiety management and emotional control.”.
The same study also found that practicing music changed the behavioral regulation in the brain. For example practicing music was found to thicken the part of the cortex that is connected to memory and attention span.
We have always been passionate about the transformative power of music in youths, so this study is so interesting!
Music is therapy. Music moves people. It connects people in ways that no other medium can. It pulls heart strings. It acts as medicine.
But seriously. There have been scientific studies around music reducing pain. Such as this 2014 study of patients with Fybromyalgia. Incredibly the study found that ”Listening to relaxing, pleasant, self-chosen music reduced pain and increased functional mobility significantly in our FM patients.”.
Miraculous! Listening to music was improving their quality of life by reducing the pain they felt with their condition!.
Everyone knows that music connects with us emotionally. When we’re angry we might listen to loud angry music, or when we’re sad we might enjoy listening to sad music.
Do you know the effect of music on the brain regarding stress relief?
A plethora of studies have found that listening to relaxing music decreases our cortisol levels, such as this University of Tennessee study. And this one.
Cortisol is our stress hormone, and has a strong link to anxiety and depression along with stress. So decreasing levels of cortisol in our body decreases feelings anxiety and stress! Go Music!
This study was researching effects of listening to music on depression. They found ” significant decreases in cortisol levels and positive effects on depression, fatigue and mood ”.
Wow. That is anxiety, stress and depression that music is found to have decreased the effects of through releasing certain hormones.
Music and memory
Magical music never leaves the memory
Sir Thomas Beecham
You know that feeling when you hear a song from your childhood, and you are completely transported to a specific memory, to a moment.
BUT did you know music has such a powerful connection to memory that it can be used to help Alzheimer’s sufferers? Studies (such as from the Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease) have shows that memories of music are not lost to Alzeheimers, and can even help shake the Alzheimer’s daze and confusion for a short burst of ‘normality’. Now that really is special.
Music and autism
Music therapy has become a popular tool used in Autism therapy. It has been found to improve communication and social skills, which are particularly difficult for those with Autism.
This article uses a great analogy, that for autistic children interacting in group settings can be very difficult. However through use of music, a child must first learn and understand their own instrument, and then slowly integrate and open up to play that instrument with other children. Furthermore, music teaches vital communication skills; that we need to listen and pay attention to what another person is saying, understand how to keep quiet until it is our turn to speak, and to ignore background noises. These skills can be very difficult for autistic children however learning music is a natural way to develop them!
If you enjoyed reading this, maybe you would consider volunteering with us! Have a look at our website and volunteer program! We’d love to host music teachers who can help us teach music lessons to underprivileged children here in Western Uganda who don’t otherwise have access to music education!
Uganda. The Pearl Of Africa. Dangerous. Violent. Barren.
Tell your friends and family that you want to go to Uganda and they will probably have some pretty negative comments to make about how it is not safe….
Uganda is a complex, developing nation. But there is so much more to it than that image of a child with huge sad eyes and a swollen belly.
so, What is it actually like to live and work with the living music foundation?
1: The work
Volunteering with the Living Music Foundation, your work day revolves around Music and Empowerment.
Volunteers teach music lessons to disadvantaged people and communities. We believe in the power music has to transform lives, having experienced it for ourselves (That’s why we set up the organisation!)
You will travel with us to women’s refuge groups, orphanages, schools, church groups… or any other community that we work with! This is where most of our training takes place.
Sometimes you may stay at the LMF office to undertake 1-1 music lessons.
read more about the importance of music education here
And the next day you may be with us performing at fancy functions! If there is something Western Uganda enjoys more than eating Matooke, its a good function!
If there is a wedding, a give away or most any function near our town of Mbarara, you can bet we’ll be performing there…
With the Living Music Foundation, through teaching music lessons volunteers are creating a positive and long lasting impact in our communities- without the damaging voluntourism! Just musicians sharing music!
Some volunteers are actually pretty surprised when they see we have full on houses here! The most common image of life in Uganda is of hand built huts, like below.
However, Uganda has towns and cities too!
The Living Music Foundation volunteers will stay in a house with a local family from Mbarara. Volunteers will have their own room, and a super lovely and welcoming family. Here is one our families!
Host families will treat you as one of their own children. As a volunteer you will share meals together, enjoy your evenings together and maybe even go for some weekend excursions!
All of our host families are wonderful and loving people- that’s why we chose them! Some of them are teachers or business people, some of them have farms, we even have some reverends! But they are all local people who want to get to know you.
What better way to learn about a people and their culture than by sharing a house with them!
We already wrote a little blog post about Uganda’s favorite food items!
The photo below is an average lunch time meal in Mbarara.
As you may notice, it is all natural (except maybe the chapatti).
This gives you the opportunity to become completely immersed in authentic local culture, and take part in different experiences to your peers (Uganda isn’t called the pearl of Africa for nothing!)
Staying with a homestay, as with most volunteering programs, means you live their culture and daily life. It is very different than staying in a party hostel in Budapest, here you become a part of the family!
On a Music Volunteering Program you get to travel while using your passion for music to meet people, change lives and have a once in a lifetime experience.
2.Make a difference While travelling
Tourists are often known for causing trouble in the places they overrun on their gap years, causing degradation and multitude of problems (just look at Boracay…)
But what if you could travel to an amazing destination and enrich lives there instead of damaging them?
Rather than the ‘I don’t know how to build schools but I’m going to go to Africa and build a school’ program model, you’re using a skill you actually possess to enrich peoples lives. Music!
Not only are you getting to experience a whole new country and culture. To meet wonderful people, enjoy new food, see new landscapes. But while doing this you can make a real difference!
You can inspire the communities you are placed with, teach them lasting skills with their instruments, help them find their passion.
The staff here at the Living Music Foundation have transformed their lives through dedicating themselves to music, could you help a vulnerable child find their path?
‘’It is rare in the voluntourism industry to find projects initiated by a community seeking foreign volunteers’’ (Thinking Beyond Borders)
That is us. We are a small local organisation, who local communities and people approach wanting musical training to improve their lives and enrich their futures. We want overseas volunteers who can share their musical skills to help us train these communities!
This is not the harmful act of forcing things to happen to a community, such bringing in unskilled volunteers to build a school they did not ask for.
This is musicians sharing skills with one another.
4. A project you’re passionate about
Sure. If you want to volunteer you can do so with any number of organisations and for many different causes.
You’ve dedicated hundreds of hours to your skill in music, whether that’s playing guitar, the xylophone or singing. Why is that?
You probably think other children should have the opportunity to learn music and the chance to utilize its transformative power.
You probably understand the importance of music, and what skills it can develop, the places it can take you, the joy of playing!
We want musicians to share their musical skills with people that want to learn music
You’ll get to connect with people from a whole new country, lifestyle and culture, but you have one HUGE thing in common – a passion for music!
Here at LMF we have friends all over the world due to a shared passion for our music.
If this hasn’t inspired you to take part in a music centered volunteer program, check out our website and read more about our organisation!