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Tune up your health with music

Sarah Kelsey is a lifestyle writer, editor and spokesperson based in Toronto. She was the editor of AOL/The Huffington Post Canada’s StyleList, Style and Living sites. Today, she's a freelancer writing for some of North America’s top pub...

Hit a high note for health

Eating well, exercising, nixing cigarettes, cutting back on alcohol: They’re all things we should be doing to improve our everyday state of health and well-being. But what about music? According to research, taking up an instrument or playing in a band can drastically improve the way you feel about life. To learn more, SheKnows.com chatted with Lorne Lampert, founder and chief drumming officer of Mystic Drumz.

Woman playing drums

How music affects our health

"Music can help people relax. It's one of those activities that lets the mind wander freely. We need to let go sometimes and just go with the flow, that's music's main purpose. It can transport the listener to other places, different times in their lives and even give them hope and courage," says Lampert. "Music can also help people focus. My 12-year-old cousin used to tell me how, if he practiced his instrument 30 minutes before each hockey game, his performance [on the ice] was better. Music helps wash away the cobwebs and clear your mind."

Adding music to your life is easy

"Find an instrument you feel attracted to and buy it," says Lampert. "Try to learn it on your own first (through friends, books, YouTube, etc.), then take lessons. A professor at York University [in Toronto] told his class something years ago and I still spread the message today: 'All you have to do is practice five minutes a day to become a good musician.' I believe in this message and promote it because I know it works."

Why making time for music is so important

Music is fun. It's easy. And anyone can play. Music can be silly and different and there is no right or wrong way to create it. Lampert says music can also help build relationships among people of all ages and social standings. "We do team-building workshops for major corporations where the CEO plays drums with mailroom staff. This really breaks down walls and helps promote a healthy work environment. It also increases productivity."

What not to do: slash school music budgets

We've all heard the stories about arts budgets being slashed in schools. Lampert says that's a bad idea, because music helps kids establish a sense of well-being and community. "Playing drums or music in an ensemble brings everyone onto the same level. Kids will start to understand that every individual is important to creating the band's sound." Playing an instrument can also build character, helping build self-esteem and confidence, he adds. "Each time you do it, you get better and therefore feel better about yourself. Aristotle wrote, 'Music has a power of forming the character and should therefore be introduced into the education of the young.' That's why I've created Mystic Drumz."

More on Mystic Drumz

Mystic Drumz "The Legend of Marshmallow Island"

Mystic Drumz provides world music education to people of all ages. They travel to schools and corporations and have performed more than 2,500 shows in four countries, reaching more than 500,000 people. To learn more about music and how to add it to your life, visit www.mysticdrumz.com.

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