How A Song From The Color Purple Improved My Mental Health

Coming from a musically inclined family, I grew up watching Broadway musicals like Wicked, Cats, etc. Since our home was only an hour away from New York, it became part of our tradition to drive there during the yuletide season to see an incredible show or two. The traffic was undoubtedly awful, but the musicals made our suffering on the road worth it.

Now, while growing up, my parents allowed me to watch kid-friendly Broadway shows. E.g., Annie, The Lion King, and even Newsies. When I went to high school, though, our family dynamics changed drastically.

It started when Mom found out that Dad had an extramarital affair one too many times while on business trips. My father wanted to make amends, but my mother—bless her soul—practically informed him that second chances weren’t available. Thus, she kicked Dad out of the house and went on to file for divorce.

The perfect life that we had fallen apart within months. All of a sudden, I needed to go back and forth to different houses. Mom had me on weekdays, while Dad got my weekends. I could not complain verbally about this setup, but it made me want to move across the country and stay away from my parents.

Forgetting Broadway

The divorce meant that neither of my parents was willing to continue our family tradition on Broadway. They did not even bother coming up with an excuse; they only said that it was no longer in the cards. Then, I got accepted to UCLA, and my musical-watching days became a history.

Although LA was fun, I felt miserable there. At one point, I wondered if my childhood was nothing but a lie. Were my parents genuinely happy during our trips? Did Mom put up with Dad because of me? Such questions swirled in my head repeatedly for some time, to the extent that I started sinking the depression hole.

I remembered the first time I got drunk. A friend told me that that’s a quick way to forget your worries, albeit momentarily. And when the alcohol hit my system, I understood what she meant. I kept drinking whenever I thought of my problems, which was almost every day. I only realized how low I had gone when I failed all my classes, and Mom coaxed me to go back home.

Seeing The Color Purple

When I came back home, I met my parents at a restaurant. It was the only time they met out of court; even when I went to LA, Dad merely gave me a call to say goodbye. They agreed to be in the same room together because they wanted to do a little intervention on me and ensure that I would not throw away my life before it even started.

In truth, I stopped drinking ever since I flunked at UCLA. I realized it did not help me at all and perhaps ruined my chances of becoming a doctor. But of course, I did not tell my parents that. Instead, I just allowed them to think that I needed this intervention so that I could see them agreeing on something after a long while.

Before the dinner ended, my folks said that I could try applying at NYU. The next day, I dropped in the campus to send my application and walked around the streets to familiarize myself with the location. Even if I wouldn’t get accepted, I thought of looking for a job around the area.

After a few minutes, I was standing outside of a theater where they were doing the production of The Color Purple. I heard about its movie version back then, but I never got to watch it. I had no inkling who Cynthia Erivo was at the time either, but I knew that Jennifer Hudson’s a powerhouse singer. For the first time in years, I was in the third row of a Broadway theater to watch a Broadway musical.

Listening To “I’m Here”

The play took place when African-American women were still oppressed. The main character had been wronged many times in her life, and I felt so sorry for her. Then, she sang “I’m Here,” which blew me away.

There was no way I could relate to the main character’s hardships, but it hit home when Cynthia Erivo sang, “I’m gonna take a deep breath; I’m gonna hold my head up. I’m gonna put my shoulders back and look you straight in the eye.” It was such a powerful part of the musical and showed the actress’s heart. I was already shedding tears silently before I could stop myself.

When the Broadway musical ended, I felt a change of heart. I forgot about our family issues and suddenly felt like going home and hugging my mother. I also wanted to walk around the city with my head held up high—just like what Cynthia Erivo said—and show the world that I was ready to move forward.

 …

Read More »

Benefits of Using Music In Strengthening Family Bonds

 

Source: flickr.com

 

In today’s world, where technology is almost always considered necessary, it is not easy for families to go about their everyday lives without any kind of techy gadget involved. A lot of families now seek bonding moments that encourage them to get rid of all these electronic devices and instead make fun and wonderful memories to strengthen family bonds. One of the best alternatives that have been done by most is listening to music. Music can help people in many ways, including families. It increases closeness, helps develop better social capabilities, and evokes positivity.

Music connects kids to some kind of art.

I once sang a classic song while my daughter and I went for a drive. After that, she decided that she loved classic songs too, and then she wanted to learn how to play the piano. Indeed, the universal connection that is formed by singing or listening to music together provides guidance and support as your kids start discovering music as an art form. If you introduce them to melodies and songs at an early age, they will learn to connect emotions of love, comfort, and fun with music sooner rather than later. Look for someone who can teach your kids how to sing, play an instrument, or simply appreciate different kinds of music. Let them explore what genre they enjoy most and which gives them a sense of relaxation and peace. This way, they can associate music by reducing their stress levels or providing them hope despite everyday challenges. When they learn this, they will also come to appreciate just listening to music with you at home, where they are safe and loved.

Listening to music strengthens bonds.

When you introduce music to your kid, you somehow destroy the wall of power and pave the way for a closer bond between you and your kid. Sometimes, being able to appreciate music is among the first things in your kid’s life that they can perhaps have in common with you as their parents. Most of us want to introduce music that their children can relate to, such as songs sung by teen artists or by adults that dedicate their songs to their kids. Typically, children feel far away from their parents because they see them as an authority, but when they listen to music with them, and their parents try to explain what the songs mean to them, they feel the barriers crashing, and they see their parents as friends they can reach out to and who are trying to reach out to them as well.

Source: pexels.com

Music helps improve mood and social capabilities.

By listening to music, some specific areas of our brain are stimulated, and eventually, we learn to feel for others or to empathize. This is scientifically called the theory of the mind. Once we learn this, we begin to identify others’ feelings and how to appropriately react to these feelings. My mom used to sing me a song entitled ‘My Darling, Clementine,’ and when I had my own baby, I couldn’t think of a better song to sing to her than that. Indeed, music that is passed down or shared develops a sense of closeness, even increasing loyalty to family members when they gather around and connect through beautiful melodies.

It is important to note that just as you would like your children to learn and understand you through your music, you should also try and relate to their kind of music. Nowadays, most kids and teens are into hip hop and pop. If they happen to share it with you, don’t give up right away. Try to decipher the meaning of the songs they’re sharing. Perhaps they, too, are communicating how they feel through these songs. So then music does not only become a source of entertainment but one that bridges the large gap between you and your children.

Music encourages expression and physical activity.

How can music get you to perform physical activity? By having a dance party with your family at home! It’s also a way of expressing yourselves in ways that talking cannot. You can teach your children to throw their worries away by dancing it out with all their heart and to feel how light they become after. Dancing has been proven to help reduce stress and anxiety levels; hence, people often go to dancing classes as one of the ways to have peace of mind and improve their mood. When parents bond with their children through music, they are not only instilling the value of togetherness as a family but also the importance of learning how to manage their lives positively. They will learn that you don’t really need to go somewhere else to find happiness when they are troubled. They can do that at home, with their family – or simply by self-reflecting with the help of music.

Source: maxpixel.net

Yes – music is one of the best tools for strengthening family bonds.

These are only some of the several ways by which music affects a family’s life and the advantages of using it to bond and connect with each other. Once or twice a week, have your kids set their phones and gadgets aside. Turn off the television and take out your favorite instrument, like your old guitar. Sit down on the piano and play a song for your family as they sit together in the living room. Or have a barbeque at the back porch and some great music playing while you and your children dance to the beat of your most-liked songs. And let the music do wonders for your family!

 

 

 …

Read More »

K-Pop Music Obsession Right After The Lockdown

I was never really into the music of other languages simply because I don’t understand every single word on their lyrics. As much as possible, I want to listen to music that I can relate to. That is why I often play The Carpenters and The Cranberries songs because I feel like their songs are written just for me. Their songs inspire me to understand my life and everything in it. But after this whole home quarantine started, I figured that I might actually have a taste for K-pop music.

Source: wikimedia.org

Where It All Started

It is not that I hate K-Pop songs, but I don’t entirely recommend them before to my friends. The music is so techno, and the beats are redundant for most of the Korean songs. I find it loud and unpleasant to listen to. But one time, my sister played a Korean song “Psycho” by Red Velvet. I quickly got the LSS with the song because of the R&B-like rhythm of the music. At first, I thought it was an American composition. The chorus goes something like this “You got me feeling like a psycho,” so I instantly got caught up into it. When I asked her about that song, she said it was K-Pop. I was hesitant to continue asking her about it, but I thought maybe it is worth a shot to listen to it since I am already hooked up on some of the few lines of the song. Then, that’s it. I began playing the song entirely the whole day.

Source: wikimedia.org

After that, I began searching for more Korean songs, and that is where I discovered Twice’s. Right now, they are the third K-pop girl groups that I like. I love all of their songs and music videos, especially the 2nd to the last released song, “Fancy.” I find them cute and lovely that even watching them brings happiness and smiles to my face. I also watched the Korean entertainment show where they all auditioned to become a Twice member. I loved all the episodes, and I rooted for all of them to win. Though that is entirely what happened, and they already formed the girl group.

Source: wikimedia.org

So after a couple of days of being stuck with Twice’s songs, my sister introduced me to BlankPink. Crap! These girls are badass, like literally. I recently read an article that this girl group performed in Coachella with other world-known artists, such as Beyonce. My goodness, they pulled it off. That is where I got hooked and listen to all their songs. There was this one time I had to play all their songs and listened to it non-stop for two days. I don’t know. I just felt like I wanted to hear their songs because it makes me want to dance and jive with the beat. That is, although I don’t entirely understand what the hell they are saying.

Source: wikimedia.org

So I was feeling like a Twice and BlackPink music lover. I told myself I should stop there because I pretty much understand now the distinguishing music of Asian songs. But it didn’t stop there. I began to notice BTS. Yes, I heard a lot about them, but I was not that interested in getting myself acquainted with any Korean songs before. But damn these boys! They took my K-Pop obsession to the next level. I began downloading their songs on my phone and used it as ringtones. I even used some of their photos as my laptop and cell phone’s wall covers. I also bought some collectibles and pictures of them. I watched their concerts on YouTube. I even viewed their videos and clips more than a hundred times.

I must say, the great thing about the lockdown for me is getting to know K-Pop and used it as a stress-reliever.…

Read More »

My Music Therapy: Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next

I was a tag along during the 2019 Music Therapy Conference. The music therapist was my best friend, Gigi, and not me. I am a skin care consultant, and because I owed Gigi my time, she asked me to accompany her to this conference. At first, I was bummed out when she pulled out the “you-owe-me” card and said, “Come with me to the music conference.” I was like, “What??? Seriously? What am I going to do there?” When she said that she just needed my presence, I understood. My oldest and dearest friend needed my support.…

Read More »

Things To Do During A Pandemic Quarantine

With the global case of COVID-19, all people around the world are forced to stay at their homes. Well, there is nothing much to do about it because, as of now, that is the only way that keeps us safe from the pandemic. As much as we want to go outside and travel, we need to prioritize our health first. Besides, as optimism gets, there are lots of time to do that once this world health issue is over. But until then, we all have to stay at home and stick together. As for that, here are some of the things we can do during this pandemic quarantine.

Source: wallpaperflare.com

Learn To Cook

With all the busy schedules and less time to spend at home, most of us don’t cook. We go to work and school every day that we find no time to prepare a healthy meal. We are all guilty of indulging in fast foods because they are more accessible and convenient. But since there is a lockdown and we all have to stay at home, it is an excellent time to learn to cook. Not only we get to enhance our skills, but we can also make delicious food.

Learn New Things

It is not too late to learn new things. Given the quarantine situation, we all have lots of time for ourselves to learn something. We can learn to play some instruments and compose music. We can learn to speak a new language, sewing, drawing, dancing, and we can also do speed reading. Honestly, the options are limitless. And the best part of it is that everything is free. You can watch tutorials on YouTube or follow some instructional articles from the web.

Source: wallpaperflare.com

Binge-Watch

Perhaps this is the most favorite thing that we all want to do. Getting a list of TV series and movies and watching them together with our family secures an enjoyable moment during this lockdown. We can always switch preference and watch documentaries, or listen to podcasts when we got bored with watching the usual. And if we want to have alone time, we can enjoy binge-watching in our room through our smartphones.

Organize

Not all people may appreciate the lockdown. However, things can change when we manage to do something productive. One of them is organizing. Admittedly, we all have something in our stuff that needs organization, and this home quarantine is our chance to do that. We can clean our house, rearrange our furniture, fix broken stuff, etc. It can be a fun activity because there is no pressure in doing it. Not only can we keep ourselves busy during the day, but we can also remove stress along the way.

Source: pxfuel.com

Exercise

We can all agree that this is the most beneficial thing to do during this pandemic lockdown. Since we all want to be safe from the virus, exercise can keep us fit and healthy.  No, we don’t need to do some rigorous workouts. As long as we pay attention to our body’s strength, we don’t need to overdo it. Spending a couple of minutes a day performing light to medium exercises is more than enough.

Source: wallpaperflare.com

Meditate

Meditation is essential, especially in this pandemic situation. There’s a lot of stress and anxiety that can tear down our mental health. We have to find that inner peace within so that we can stay positive despite the crisis. If we try and change our perspective, it would be much easier for us to accept and fight the situation. We have to care more for our emotional and mental health as much as we do to our physical wellbeing.…

Read More »

Music Therapy Is Legit

I am delighted to have attended the 2018 Music Therapy Conference at Capilano University. Not many people understand how we, music therapists, can assist clients through music therapy. Those who do not know of its essence laugh at our face and say, “Hey, you’re ripping us off!” But what is music therapy anyway? Can it help a person with his mental health?…

Read More »

Sia’s Chandelier Analysis

Before the hit song “Chandelier,” the name Sia was not known. She struggled in pushing her career specifically when her partner died in an accident. She turned to drugs, suffered depression and even planned to commit suicide. The use of drugs and alcohol was her escape. The song “Chandelier” was written during this tumultuous time…

Read More »

The Meaning Behind Rihanna’s Unfaithful 

Several songs can put down your souls and lift them up at the same time, and this song has that quality. The song “Unfaithful” is talking about a broken relationship where the girl is cheating on his guy even though she knows that the guy knows about this. In singing this song, Rihanna puts little voice cracks and high pitches that make it more dramatic. She did a fantastic job of interpreting the song. 

“We all know that both sexes are guilty of infidelity and that blame for a broken relationship is not the fault of a gender, but there are several aspects of male infidelity that are more attributable to men then women.” –Katrina Bilhimer, Ma, LMHC

Read More »

New Rules: Musical Review

 

“New Rules” by DuaLipa has been on the majority’s top 10 lists after it was released on August 2017 in the US. Before that, it was released in England as a single in July. It also boosts her career as a singer-composer and includes her in the most searched artist on Spotify. It talks about rules for those who had their breakups. 

Read More »

Julia Michaels’ Issues Review

At her very young age, Julia Michaels already wrote several songs for other artists. This includes “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, “Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld, and Ed Sheeran’s recently-released single “Dive.” It was in January of 2017 she released her first single as a signed solo artist under her name. 

Read More »