What is music therapy?
Ageneral introduction to the increasingly popular technique of what music therapy is.
The benefits of music therapy in relieving stress and improving relaxation are widely accepted, as is its value in the well being of children and the elderly. Some studies have shown that music can affect the rhythm of breathing and heartbeat, and can alter blood pressure.
As we enter the 21st century, we are all aware of the pressures of daily life - home, family and work combine to increase levels of tension, and finding your own personal cure for stress becomes more important. Finding time to relax, however, can be hard when you're always on the go; people today are spending more time working and less time on leisure activities, which directly impacts on their levels of stress. Music is a great antidote to the demands of life today - whether you play a favorite CD, attend concert recitals or play an instrument - the therapeutic benefits of music can calm even the most troubled mind.
Music must be as old as language: speech is basically musical, and rhythm and phrasing are even more fundamental to language than the meanings of the words themselves. The use of music as therapy therefore probably predates the appearance of any written records. It is known that the ancient Egyptians and Greeks thought highly of the curative powers of music - in Greece, Apollo was the god of both music and healing. It was also in Greece that Pythagoras formulated the rules of harmonics and used them as the basis for a school of philosophy and medicine. Similarly, musical cultures evolved in ancient civilizations such as those in China, Persia and India as well as Europe. It has long been used for self-expression and as a healing remedy, and there are numerous accounts of the healing properties of music in the Bible.
What is music therapy?
At the simplest level, music has the power to soothe and calm, and to enhance or alter moods. Media advertisers, shopping outlets, film moguls and many others exploit the power of music for one purpose or another. Hospitals are increasingly using music as a means of creating a peaceful atmosphere in which treatment can be carried out more easily and with greater success. In addition, many practitioners of music therapy use passive music - simply listening to music - in treating patients who suffer from emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression, autism and other developmental disorders. Such therapists believe that music promotes healing through the vibrational energy of different tones or pitches of sound, and that exposure to music can help to bring the tissues and organs of the body into harmony. Active music therapy, on the other hand, is mainly used in the treatment of those who have difficulty in expressing themselves and relating to other people. It may also be valuable in the care of those suffering from Alzheimer's disease. It can help the elderly and disabled to maintain healthy mind and body coordination.
Consulting a Therapist
Therapy usually involves group sessions at least once a week, each session lasting an hour or longer. You will be encouraged to participate in the group in playing musical instruments or singing. It is not important if you are not musical - rhythmic shaking of a tambourine or beating a drum can be just as satisfying as playing a flute or viola. Music sessions - under the leadership of the therapist - are geared to the needs of the individual patient.
Music therapy is ideal for self-help. You can enrich your life if you can spare the time to learn a musical instrument; or listen to special therapeutic tapes or choose music from your own collection that accurately reflects your current mood or the mood you want to experience. For instance, if you want to feel confident, listen to brisk, cheerful music; if you want to feel romantic, choose something soft and melodic. However, this technique is not just to alter your mood, but also an avenue to explore and examine a specific, usually adverse, frame of mind. For instance, if you are feeling irate, it may be therapeutic to play "angry" music, which will allow you to look for the roots of your antagonism and exorcize them. You may also want to try a technique known as "toning", which involves singing at the most primitive level, using grunts and groans, and cries and sighs, as a way of venting and releasing pent-up emotions.
Ice Skating: How to forward spin
Ice figure skates and spinning. Each spin has several factors: foot, direction the skate is travelling in, rotation, and position.
Figure skating is the third most popular television spectator sport after football and baseball, yet many fans do not know the meaning of basic terminology. In ice figure skating there are two basic spins: the forward spin and the back spin. Let's look at the the forward spin.
Each spin has several attributes that define which spin it is. These attributes are: foot, direction the skate is travelling in, direction of rotation, and position. Several of these attributes are interconnected.
The most basic of these attributes is direction of rotation. This is either counter-clochwise (CCW) or clockwise (CW). Most skaters spin counter-clockwise. One notable exception is Todd Eldrege, who normally spins clockwise. Additionally, Michelle Kwan is famous for having learned to spin in both directions. This is a very difficult skill which very few skaters take the time to learn.
The direction of spin determines which foot the forward spin is performed on. The CCW spinner performs the forward spin on the left foot; the CW spinner performs the forward spin on the right foot. Let's use the CCW direction for simplicity.
For a forward spin, the skater stands on the left foot and rotates CCW. The skate is going FORWARD. That is why this is called a forward spin. Technically, there is no edge to this spin. The skater is directly over his or her skate, there is no lean to either side.
The forward spin can be performed in many different variation of position. The forward spin can be performed as a sideways leaning position (a variation allowed in the ladies' short program), a sit spin position or a camel position. The most common variation is the layback spin, which is one of the required elements in the ladies' short program. For the layback spin, the skater enters the spin, centers it and then thrusts her hips forward while lifting her leg slightly behind her and to the side. She tilts her shoulders back. Arm positions vary, but the most classic position is to have the arms lifted in a graceful arc over the chest.
For excellent examples of the forward layback, look at film of Peggy Fleming, Angela Nikodinov or Sarah Hughes. Each of them has a beautiful classic position and a lovely strong spin. For another amazing example, look at the layback performed by master-spinner Lucinda Ruh. Her layback is known for it's extremely extended back position, exquisite centering and lovely leg turn-out. Her spins are also known for their excellent quality.
The quality of a spin is often difficult for a beginning fan to judge, but the requirements for good spinning are fairly simple. As with the back spin, or with any non-edge spin, in a good forward spin the skate should pivot around a small spot on the ice. Poor quality spins often travel, that is, they spiral around on the ice instead of staying centered in one place. The position should be attractive, with turned out and pointed toes, extended limbs and graceful lines. The spin should be fast, not wobble and should have good speed entering and exiting.
Spinning is often taken for granted by the judges, but good spinning is a much better indicator of a strong skater than good jumping. Next time you watch skating, think about who is the better spinner.