I had the great opportunity to participate in a Coffee Chat with Daniel Meyer, Erie Philharmonic Music Director, Tom Brooks, Chorus Director, and Martha Summa-Chadwick, Music Therapist. I first met Martha five years ago when she was in Erie for a performance of the Erie Chamber and spent a day with our students and staff. She is an amazing woman.
The topic of our discussion today is music and health. I think that we have all turned to music during the quarantine as we seek out what is personally comforting. However, we also know that as we look at the history of music, there are many composers who used music as an outlet for their own self-expression and needs. Schumann was bipolar and Beethoven was afflicted with deafness. But, it was not until after World War II that the importance of music as therapy and its impact on the brain came to the forefront. Today, there is a great deal of research looking at how music and rhythm can actually help redirect neural networks.
Did you ever consider the benefits of singing? Tom Brooks discusses how singing works the lungs and diaphragm and thereby strengthens the immune system, improves aerobic capability, and energizes the body. We can’t sing in a chorus right now, but we can definitely sing at home.
I hope that my brief summary has “whet your appetite” and that you will tune into our discussion tonight a 7 PM on the Erie Philharmonic Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/EriePhil/ or on Youtube at https://eriephil.org/calendar/2020/5/19/coffee4.