TED Conversations

Singer Songwriter & Vocal Coach, Lizanne Hennessey - Voice Coach

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Integrating music into our everyday lives.

My idea is all about making music and singing as a tool to set a positive cycle in motion that will encourage respect, communication and expression, which to me, are key ingredients to a society of individuals who can truly change the world.

No, this is not a new idea - but I think it's something we forgot how to do, and I want to help us remember.

I made a video to explain how we can reap the benefits of integrating music into our everyday lives called "Growing Back into Music", which you can watch here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGRXwk_PHjI

I'm so curious what you all think!

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    May 29 2013: Music has Spiritual Powers. No one really knows where Music came from but there are many theories that suggest music predates the existence of Mankind. One of the most commonly known uses for music was religious and sacred tribal events. In Mayan civilization music was used in celebration of a victory at war and even at the burial of influential figures.

    Some of the earliest recorded moments in Music took place in the Medieval times with choral pieces for church prayers. Much emphasis was placed in the organization and use of specific harmonies to create moods that would illicit a spiritual experience.

    Even today, many people claim that music is the key to God and to a holy, more fulfilling life through the Church.

    And music is the Key to Creativity. Music fuels the mind and thus fuels our creativity. A Creative mind has the ability to make discoveries and create innovations. The greatest minds and thinkers like Albert Einstein, Mozart, and Frank Lloyd Wright all had something in common in that they were constantly exploring their imagination and creativity.

    Listening to instrumental music challenges one to listen and tell a story about what one hears. In the same sense, playing a musical instrument gives you the ability to tell the story without words. Both require maximum right brain usage which not only exercises ones creativity but also ones intellect.

    The strength of all the Arts including writing, painting, dance, and theater have the ability to create a similar effect.
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    May 31 2013: Also one of the advantages of music is helping children to learn.

    Music can also teach young children to be disciplined. If they have discovered that music is part of their being, they will impose strict compliance to instructions that will enhance their talent. Like for instance, they will be able to know the importance of following their mentors. In this way, they will most likely apply this training to be obedient to their elders too.
    • Jun 1 2013: Hi Ahmed,
      Sure, music tells a story, it sends a message, it aids, it helps, it teaches, it encourages.
      Yes, music teaches discipline, especially learning an instrument (as ling as the method of instruction is inspiring!!)
      Although following mentors and discipline are important to kids, following their hearts and freedom of expression may arguably be more important... What do you think?
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        • Jun 2 2013: Don, you are a devoted grandpa indeed!
          I love how you say, you let the kids teach you. This is idea is based on that very thing - allowing the kids to take the reigns and, with minimal guidance, create music about how they feel, which we undoubtedly can learn from!!
  • May 30 2013: Really enjoyed listening to your perspective on music. Thank you for sharing! I feel very much the same and cannot imagine life without music.

    After many years of doubting my capability to learn how to sing (you are quite right about the music industry, I think!), I decided to just try it and started taking singing lessons last autumn. I enjoy it so much - I wish I had not waited so long!

    I also have noticed another aspect about singing, which I had not expected: For me, learning more about how to make sounds and how I can alter my breath and voice etc. brings me back to my self and my body. It let's me focus on the present moment in a very sensitive way, it's almost like a form meditation. I have learned a lot about my character and I have become more aware of myself through singing.

    So yes, I agree with your view and I believe that there are even more benefits from integrating music in your everyday life - no matter how :)
    • Jun 1 2013: Thanks, Flurina, for your kind words, and kudos to you, for nurturing your love for singing! Yes, there are so many benefits! How wonderful you and your voice have found each other. The benefits truly are overwhelming, absolutely. Here's to wailing our hearts out!!
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    May 29 2013: I have seen music give hope to people where there is none. I believe that it is a truly international language that unites humanity across the globe, regardless of class, culture or sex. It would seem that the commercialization of music, especially in the western world has done much to devalue it and twist it for the purposes of those who wish to simply seek profit. Music, however, is far to strong and adaptive to succumb, it has long been not only a unifying force over vast distances across the Earth but through time as well, connecting us with the both past and future simultaneously. As someone who grew up in a non-religious household, I read Nietzsche's quote to mean that music can elevate us beyond where and when we live and help one reach a higher sense of being, one we cannot fully understand. Though he framed this path to enlightenment it in a religious context, that is largely (well, arguably I suppose) a product of the age in which he lived and we should not let it blind us to the wisdom and insight in his words.
  • May 28 2013: Has anyone heard of, or seen the Landfill Harmonic?
    A small village in Catuera, Paraguay, is situated on top of a land fill. The people there literally live amongst garbage.
    A group of local kids have found a way to bring joy and meaning to their lives through music, on instruments made out of trash:
    http://vimeo.com/52129103
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      May 28 2013: Lizanne.......I am speechless..........

      "We shouldn't throw away trash carelessly...we shouldn't throw away people either"

      This quote, from the video, says it all.....in my humble opinion.

      Lizanne, thank you for sharing this, I will share it with others.
      • May 28 2013: Mary, I am so glad to read how this touched you!
        I heard about this initiative about a year ago, and am so thrilled to see how enthusiastic and determined these kids are about their music. Not to mention, the great care and respect they have for their instruments.
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          May 29 2013: You know Lizanne, I think it goes beyond the instruments......they could have made the instruments and sold them as souvenirs somewhere....but notice that the "youth" of the area are the ones benefitting from this.

          This place appears to say that the humans who live there are not worth much.

          How could the government of that country allow what is happening there?
          And, regardless, life dealt those people lemons......and they proceeded to make lemonade.

          Goes to show we humans are ingenious. And our spirit to make something beautiful, out of something ugly, and to feed the spirit, is very very strong.

          Wouldn't they make a great TED presentation?
      • May 29 2013: Oh, Mary, you are so right! Indeed, the value of those instruments goes beyond money - they truly do cherish them, as if they were a part of themselves. It's a bizarre and beautiful paradox - reminding us all indeed, how wonderfully unique each and every individual on this planet truly is.

        *gasp* I get butterflies in my stomach to think of the Landfill Harmonic doing a TED presentation! Is there a way to suggest them??
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          May 29 2013: I know that every once in a while a TED staff member will post a conversation about who we would like to see at a TED event.

          But other than that, I guess you can email the TED team yourself.
          Go for it!!!!

          (Ask for a free ticket to the event...hahaha......oh, and one for me for suggesting the idea woohoo)
      • May 29 2013: I will, Mary!! :)
      • May 29 2013: Thank you, Fritzie! I actually found someone via the 'About TED' link, and already received a reply!
        Great news, is that the Landfill Harmonic is already known to TED! This is the reply I just got:

        "We're very familiar with the Landfill Harmonica and already have them in our speaker/performer database.

        We really value your effort on this, as we find many of our speakers through recommendations from the community."

        Fingers crossed TED can set up a presentation with this amazing, inspiring initiative we can all learn from!!
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    May 23 2013: Hi Lizanne,

    The philosopher I was referring to was Friedrich Nietzsche. I'll give you the quote he says about music:

    "God has given us music so that above all it might leaps us upwards. Music unites all qualities: it can exalt us, divert us, cheer us up, or break the hardest of hearts with the softness of its melancholy tones. But its principle task is to lead our thoughts to higher things, to elevate, even to make us tremble"

    I personally don't believe in God but I think that is a great quote nonetheless because I believe music does have that effect on us. I'm sure you would agree.

    that is very cool that your are getting your children involved with this idea as well. That is very neat. What I like about dance is that you are literally actively creating with each movement. It find if fascinating although I am not much of a dancer. Great conversation and I hope you enjoyed the quote as much as I did.
    • May 25 2013: Orlando, this quote gives me the chills! It truly does embody how I also feel about music. Thank you for sharing this.

      I also agree with you, that movement is a natural reaction to music, especially for children.
      When it comes to dancing, I am completely uncoordinated, but I won't hesitate to sway, step, shake and shimmy to a beat that touches my soul!
  • May 7 2013: I agree, especially when you referred to music as being a universal language. I've been working with students with severe disabilities lately, and what I have seen is that one thing that these students have in common with their non-disabled peers is that they both love music. Listening to music is a very relaxing and soothing activity for them. Getting these students to play music and become familiar with the instruments is a different challenge though.

    Music can also become an important outlet for students, especially during their teenage years when they may feel alone or misunderstood. It can also help to develop creativity and identity. Music is a part of our everyday lives. We hear music everywhere we go. I think that understanding and developing an appreciation for music is something that can definitely benefit our students.
    • May 7 2013: Hi Brian,
      music therapy is a wonderful thing, and I am full of admiration for anyone who takes on the task of helping disabled people benefit from music's healing qualities!
      Making music can be challenging, especially when the expectations are too high. Which is why I feel there should be no expectations. That singing is literally a question of just opening up your mouth and letting it out!

      I've just been reading an article about anxiety in teens, and how simply listening to music can relieve tension. Singing has even more positive biological effects - it releases endorphins, for one! If I could only work out how to engage teens who are self-conscious and embarrassed about singing out loud to participate in this idea...
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        May 7 2013: I think you can get teens to sing quite easily, if they are singing in groups.

        Example: March 14 is sometimes called Pi Day, because pi starts 3.14. On the internet one can find pi day songs, which are pi-related lyrics put to popular tunes, like Happy Birthday or Jingle bells.

        Not only have I surprised secondary school students in my math class by pushing those lyrics under the document camera and just saying, "okay, all sing!" but I have scooted for a minute into a neighboring math class and made the same move. I have posted the lyrics in the hallway as well and seen kids stand at the display singing with their friends.

        The key is groups. Young people enjoy the stress-free unexpected.
        • May 8 2013: Fritzie, you've hit the nail on the head about singing in groups.
          I found out during my research for this idea, that choral groups are apparently healthier and happy because they sing together! This study shows how singing together can be therapeutic - possibly more so than individually... an interesting concept that could indeed 'solve' the problem of getting insecure teens to sing out loud!
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDrmH0uM5xM
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    Jun 5 2013: LIZ YOU NAILED IT! Your video is very inspiration too! You have encouraged me on my post and I greatly appreciate that! I wholeheartedly believe that you are nothing but right about this! Keep the ideas coming you have a beautiful mind and an even better attitude! You are an inspiration to many and i see your kids are already expressing similar traits. Teaching their friends how to express themselves! Simply amazing! Keep it up!
  • Jun 5 2013: As mentioned by Mary and Pabitra, this conversation is indeed coming to a close. I just want to say thank you to everyone who contributed, your thoughts, ideas, comments and insights have been truly invaluable!!

    As a parting gift, I have created a sequel called "Growing into Music part 2":
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P5YDscaZ9Q

    My wish is coming true already, thanks to you all.
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      Jun 5 2013: Great part 2 video Lizanne!!!!

      You've inspired my 'inner goofball' ....I'll have to jot down the songs we "wing" in the next few weeks.

      All the best to you and your family.

      I'll keep an eye out for information and ideas that you might benefit from.
      Thanks for the tiger balsam suggestion, I'm going to pick some up.

      TTFN
      (ta-ta-for-now)

      Mary ♫
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      Jun 5 2013: Very inspiring. And thanks for the statutory warning at the end. I started experimenting in my office lab. :)
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  • May 25 2013: This is a really great thought.
    Most people who listen to music do it to distract or entertain themselves and I hate when people change songs before one has finished.
    I think a great place to begin is to teach people how to listen! To great melody, harmony, the depth of a note, the planet, trees, each other.
    In some cultures music is used to learn and memorize things and this is indeed something that current educational systems refuse to capitalize on. (check this out...learn basic swahili through song! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK0wPpLryc4)
    Great nations were bound together by music, through nationalistic songs etc. Maybe you should compose a ted anthem!
    • May 25 2013: Thanks to you both, Umaid and Juliette!
      Umaid, you are so right - in order to utilize the natural benefits of music, it needs to start with silence, listening to one's 'own rhythm', in order to allow feelings and emotions float to the surface. By learning how to listen to themselves, kids can learn how to listen to each other.

      Juliette, what an amazing talk, thank you for sharing this!!
      Trust is a big part of this concept. It's all connected - respect, communication, expression, based on trust and empathy.

      I also love the idea of a TED anthem!! Wow, I would want to incorporate musical influences from all countries represented here on TED - how many are there, I wonder??
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        May 30 2013: If you click on the "TED community" up on top of this page, you can see all the different countries TED members come from.
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    May 23 2013: I like this idea very much. :) Vibrational frequencies form, shape, and create all matter and the world we live in.
    • May 25 2013: Absolutely, Nicole!

      Yesterday, I was talking to my kids about our bodies. When we got to 'the heart', the searched for their heart beats, and were pretty excited when they found them! My son said, "Mama, I have my own little drum inside me!"

      Being in tune with those vibrations through silence and self-exploration, then allowing them to take shape in an abstract way is what music is all about.
  • May 20 2013: Lizanne, wanted to add to my other post, just a question, have you ever just listened in an absolutely quiet room, literally and figuratively where you can actually hear a pin drop, where you can hear your own heart beat, where you can feel more than ever before.

    Because of your last kindness, I wanted to and so I thought I'd share this with you.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8TFcLgu5Ow

    &

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJD-M2FpKNU
    • May 21 2013: Tify, these are amazing videos! Thank you so much for sharing these!!
      The 2nd video, with those 5,000 children meditating, just sent shivers down my spine. The concentration, the total surrender to their inner selves is truly inspiring.

      When I see this, I see how our thoughts on this are actually so similar! We both share a passion for the importance of self-exploration, which can only happen in silence. Daring to look that deeply into yourself takes a huge amount of courage. And expressing it, likewise.

      Thank you again, my dear friend!
      • May 24 2013: I laughed when I read it, I smiled when I read it, I loved that I read it.
    • May 21 2013: Tify, your comments have led me to an epiphany!

      I think, in my haste to get this idea 'down', so to speak, I overlooked the essential aspect of silence.

      How can music emerge, without it?! Silence is about allowing yourself time to reflect, about diving deep into oneself. It is the very cornerstone of building empathy.
      It's not about answers 'out there', but about the ones inside us.

      Thank you again!!!
      • May 24 2013: If you read the above comment, I laughed...

        I read your epiphany comment Lizanne, i love you because you have self-realized, there is -no- embarrassment -nothing- to be ashamed of, to write that you've trying to find the light. It was a brave statement, one that truly deserves the praise of the highest merit.

        Because in a world where saying "dont know" is looked on a nearly a sin and everyone avoids it, you have shown the only true way forward, is by two people communicating, sharing, understanding, thinking an not begin afraid to throw away, or build on something.

        It's so incredibly important, and yet it so many times over looked, we have to know ourselves, in order to know and understand others, regardless of color, creed or country.

        To me the only thing we really have in this world, is not a iphone, not a car, not a large house, no the only thing that really matters and lifts our souls, just like a child's, is the connections and the emotions that sharing give us. Be it through the contact and beauty of finding each other in our minds or in our bodies.

        I think we are, the rivers, the mountains, the oceans, the countries, we are and the connections we make to ourselves and humanity are what truly matters. Be it our children, our lovers, friends, or people we have yet to meet, these things are the human experience. A smile, love, sex, hugs, laughter, wink, all are expressions that we've made that connection.

        Art, music, dance are simply the expressions of that too, in mankind's feeble way through; the visual, the audible, or movement; to express such connections. There is yet another way, it's the only we have Lizanne words.

        That form of communication, the ability to express ourself is, what has taken us from cave paintings to the internet; even though the medium(s) have changed over 4000 years, the need, the desire to make that connection has not evaporated, and I'd safely say it never will.

        Not for us, not for children, nor of future generations.
      • May 25 2013: Thank you Lizanne, some people are worth the effort, so I try :)

        And always it's a pure pleasure when I get to meet people without dogma, who are receptive to new and different perspectives, because it allows a flow of consciousness that elevates one's thinking. What's particularly nice is when they get that moment of clarity, that moment of insight, that epiphany.

        Whats particularly amazing about you Lizanne, is it did not take much work :) And in that lays an answer that says something about you, that it truly means you are a special person, and even though you feel no older than a kid, your children have a special mother. To have one like that that can change and see insight and act on it, it's an incredibly valuable commodity to have for your children's growth as you will be able to give them the possibilities, those moments that you had, your children can expect to have too as they grow up.

        It means, as you've said before Lizanne, that we are more alike the more we've connected as the more you have read. And since that's true, then you will show those children of yours, the path, just like I hope I've helped you to the moment of your epiphany. I hope you too approach it the same way, where you don't force them down a road, but guide them, you too humbly allow them to find their own moment of revelation and revel in it.

        And in that revelation which can be in harmony of music, the visual pleasure of art, the imagination in literature, the beauty of mathematics, the glory of history, you let them discover world and all that it has to offer, with a gentle and invisible hand holding theirs, but remember ... don't hold on too tight :)
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      May 15 2013: Today on NPR I heard an interview with a Tampa journalist named Jeff Klinkenberg.

      He actually conducted an experiment to see what happens when music is played to alligators.

      Mind you, it is a certain key on the musical scale.

      Here is a link to a video of the experiment, and a small article.
      Enjoy.

      http://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/post/klinkenberg-talks-alligators-b-flat
      • May 16 2013: This is crazy, Mary!
        He wrote a book, too, apparently.
        What surprised me, is how quickly the alligator reacted to the tone! Instinctive. Amazing!
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          May 16 2013: Isn't that crazy?

          I was cleaning yesterday, and turned on NPR, which I don't normally do.....but the programmed being aired was on Florida Wacky stories. So I said, why not?

          Lo and behold, the second story was this one.
          The more I listened, the more I thought it would have a terrible ending, like someone would get hurt or something like that.....but no, nothing of the sort.

          Isn't it amazing. I told my husband and he just stared back like I was pulling his leg. I couldn't get him to believe me. :/ No more rags for him this week, I'm cutting his quota.
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    May 14 2013: This is cool Liz!

    My mom sang to my brother and I when we were growing up. We don't sing as much anymore. :-( But now that I think about it, it seems like people decide at a certain age that singing becomes "unacceptable" and that's kind of strange and unfortunate.

    I was in choir for seven years in junior and senior high school. It was a really great experience, some of my favorite memories. I honestly believe I learned a lot more than just how to read sheet music and sing my part for a song correctly. I learned a lot about teamwork, communication, especially how to give and take constructive criticism which benefited me throughout college when I was studying industrial design, which constructive criticism plays an important role.

    And that part about the music industry, that's messed up and so true.
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    • May 14 2013: Carolyn, thank you so much for sharing this!
      I think it is a wonderful way to show others, that integrating music can be as simple as this - just doing it. Humming, whistling, playing a ditty, singing and playing, no matter what anyone thinks (especially the neighbor's cat!!) ;-)

      Like I said, this idea is nothing new. You've been doing it a lot longer than I have, so if anyone should be looked up to, it's you!
  • May 14 2013: Did anyone see Commander Chris Hadfield's version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity", performed from outer space?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/video/2013/may/13/hadfield-david-bowie-space-oddity-video

    I think, what thrilled me even more than this musical tribute and farewell, was the fact that someone thought a guitar was as important as any other 'instrument' needed in space.
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      May 14 2013: "floating in my tin can......" Precious precious video.

      Thank you for sharing this Lizanne......I will share it with my neighbor.....an amateur star gazer who is fascinated with the ISS.

      Have you seen the ISS pass over you guys?
      We have seen it pass above our head several times.......it is quite a site.

      A guitar.....just as important as any other "instrument".......yes, how wonderful that he took it up there huh?
      • May 14 2013: We recently downloaded an app of a rocket being launched into space, and as it orbits the earth, the ISS passes by... I am inspired by this tribute, and the TED talks on this topic, to educate my kids about this! They're (finally) old enough to grasp the hugeness of it all... exciting!
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    May 13 2013: Music brings happiness , harmony in your lives.
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    May 10 2013: Hi Lizanne,

    Thanks for a great contribution.
    For me music, although I don't make it anymore and do not intend to, is still a sort of a sanctuary, a personal way to get rid of negative emotions and enhancing the positive. It may be a bit of jogging with aggresive sound in my ear-plugs to ease the tension, it may be seeking some confirmation (there are people in the world who are like you, feel the same way, here's some music as a proof of that), it may be a lot of things to a lot of different people.

    I started at a music school at the age of 6, it killed some of the passion due to the fact that the system I was placed in was not about celebrating the arts, but about figuring out the system behind the arts. I felt I was being trained in the system, not inspired to create and when I was finally placed in a composition class, there were teenagers around me, they were bigger and more confident than me and their presence scared me, I mean it.

    Tori Amos can also help here - she started making her own music at the age of 4, she was in a conservatory, but left it to play in bars. She believes in individuality and emotions in music, her summary and comment on the choice she made was "you can't make love to a metronome, right?"

    It's good to learn about the system, the scales, the rhythms, but never forget that it's art you're dealing with, not just a rigid system.
    • May 10 2013: This is such an important point, Anna! Thank you for bringing this up!

      How sad to read that the system killed some of your passion for music!!!
      I also know too many talented individuals who have lost their desire to make music due to the 'rigid system' you describe! As soon as making music becomes a 'must' instead of a 'want' by someone else, then the reason to make music is lost. This system is all about instilling a fear of failure, which is the exact opposite of what my idea is all about.

      It comes back to our ideas of success, like in your conversation: http://www.ted.com/conversations/18259/what_is_your_definition_of_suc_1.html
      At the end of the idea, our own idea of success (especially when we are young) can be either supported or destroyed by those who provide guidance. When dealing with a form of expression, that guide needs to be open-minded instead of fixed on a certain method of execution. Kudos to Tori, for discovering that at such a young age!
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    May 9 2013: I just read this article and I HAD to share it with you!!! It's amazing!
    http://carladoll6.tumblr.com/post/48154615484/thegodmolecule-here-is-a-tribe-in-africa-where
    • May 9 2013: WOW Bogdan, how can I thank you for sharing this?! It's truly amazing, and makes so much sense!

      I love the last paragraph, it brings tears to my eyes.

      "You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn’t. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well. You may feel a little warbly at the moment, but so have all the great singers. Just keep singing and you’ll find your way home."
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        May 9 2013: :) You already did! And you're welcome!

        I also want to thank you for making me more aware about music and all what's related to it.
        Since I read your idea and engaged into this discussion I was more and more aware of music, my music and now this article.
        So once again, thanks for helping me grow! (i consider each piece of information a step further in our growth as human beings)
        • May 10 2013: Bogdan, how wonderful that you have become more aware of the music that's already in you, that's an achievement we can both celebrate!!
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    May 8 2013: some one just shared this , and and and. . . it so about educating through song ,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHfdd-PQVwo
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      May 13 2013: Speaking of Neil DeGrassi Tyson, and speaking of science, and speaking of music, and speaking of educating......

      This is one of my favorite links

      www.symphonyofscience.com
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    May 8 2013: Hello,

    I thought your video was very interesting and I really like your idea.

    I am a mostly self taught filmmaker/musician. I think I've always had a love of music, but I haven't always liked the way it's been taught at least in elementary school. I think the first thing teachers should do is get their students excited about learning music they actually like and not just "Row row your boat" type songs. This isn't always possible to start with learning their favorite song, but I think it should at least be a goal they work up to.

    I'm trying to start an online art community to help alleviate stress. I know how much music and other arts have helped me, so I'd like to compile some resources. Here's the link if anyone's interested and you're welcome to join.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/570984432935505/571010386266243/
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    May 7 2013: Alison Gopnik: What do babies think?
    "Babies and young children are like the R&D division of the human species," says psychologist Alison Gopnik. Her research explores the sophisticated intelligence-gathering and decision-making that babies are really doing when they play. http://www.ted.com/talks/alison_gopnik_what_do_babies_think.html
    This to me is where the the magic begins. all the good singers, all had mothers who sang and played music. this is where we break the patterns . . as well as instill the values and views. . this is Sir Ken Robinson's favourite. .
    to me? we are cosmic in nature and divine by design
    from the moment of conception we absorb the feel of every sound, sense it all. . indeed are being programed from the word go as we are fast forwarded through all the billions of years of memoryes of life's taking form and we assimilate linage and locale . . every cell of our being knows enough to function within the body of our sense of beingness, the sum of any is greater than its parts, one would think, we would like wise, innately follow up our purrpoise and play . wish you much success
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    May 6 2013: Attending high school is stressful and I've been encountering emotions that I've never experienced before. Music in my everyday life is a way of coping with these factors. If I'm feeling down, playing piano or the guitar helps me focus and know that I have the potential to create something beautiful. If I'm feeling self conscious, singing has always helped. I'm aware that my voice is flat, but the voice in my head is always pleasing. Thank you for helping me realize the importance of music in my life. I will appreciate and cherish it.
    • May 6 2013: You don't need to thank me for anything, Michael - you obviously already have a firm grasp on this concept!
      Hats off to you!
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      May 7 2013: this is so the reason I perceive music is the medicine of choice, it works like a charm when words fail. how many make music because it calms them down. . I think it has saved the sanity of many. I think it better than any kind of talking therapyes. talking about it is like picking the scabs off wounds and constantly making them bleed again, instead of letting them heal. I took to playing a small organ while I was going through a very intense time. just hold a number till I found the next. . it always cleared my mind.
      I've also had more healings happen when touched, by another's singing. I've literally found mys self lifted off the floor, when the violinist walked by and I was standing with a large sand dollar donut to one ear and a 5 pointed Stone StarFish Castle to the other. . i could feel the sound vibrations meshing in my spine . as she saw me standing there let out a high riff, and the rush of energy up my spine, literally lifted me off my feet.
      its left me think that music is best played in 5 sided chambers. all a wee different in size.
      in speaking to another violinist, it added up to all you take in is synthesized into the music you make.
      it is also well to remember that babyes start making music soon as handed a rattle, and they motor through their development with the greatest delight
      hope you don't mind my sharing this here, flood gates open at all that comes to mind
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    May 6 2013: Great presentation, almost TED class :)
    I cannot agree more. Just one question. You say, Respect - Communicate - Express. Do you mean in only as an externalization? Can the process be internal too? I am asking because I used to do something during my school years which sort of became a fad within my friend's circle.
    There are 12 cranial nerves and during my childhood I found the names of these nerves funny. After failing for days to memorize the names, I started singing the names out. First I used some popular tune and then finding it difficult to fit the names in the tune, I changed the tune. Soon enough a strange song got composed, but guess what, the names went into my memory to never leave it.
    My friends tried the trick. Within a year periodic tables, electrochemical series and electropotential series became songs in the campus. Some students were spotted humming in exam halls too.
    Later I learnt that it is not that novel idea at all. We, in India, have a legendary singer named Kishore Kumar, who confessed on record “I could do little else besides singing. I was never good at studies so I used to compose different tunes for different subjects. For instance I composed a tune for a paragraph on the Malthusian theory of population.”
    Does this have anything to do with what you are proposing?
    • May 6 2013: Absolutely, Pabitra!
      This is exactly what I'm talking about!
      Utilizing a natural ability to sing and make music and implementing that ability in your life.

      If this idea were to have a 'core purpose', then it starts with self-exploration, a very internal process.
      As Henry said in his comment below (and I hope 'm interpreting this properly), some families aren't 'lucky' enough to provide an environment for kids to sing and make music freely when other issues that have something to do with creative expression take priority. But each individual possesses the natural ability to use music as a tool, in whatever way he/she wants or needs. That is the beauty of music, and the benefit - as you've clearly described with your anecdote! I bet you still know those songs! How wonderful, you set a music-influenced trend to aid your studies! Awesome!
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        May 6 2013: :) Thanks! I had to wait for nearly three decades to get confirmation of my idea from a professional musician.
        I think you hit a treasure with your idea. Best of luck!
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      May 7 2013: you two make my day. . think I just mention about my daughter wishing for exactly what you are speaking of. I finally got to the point of stating, if it can't be sung about, maybe we ought question the value of it . I like Sugata Mitra's talk to. . about kids figuring thingKs out for their selves. and education a continuous process of getting an or the idea and moving one. . or was that yet another tedtalk. Much magic to both
      • May 7 2013: Good, you did read Pabitra's story! Ignore my question above...!
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          May 7 2013: I knew you would come to this one. I think it awesome what you are doing, you totally on the right track, I also love the spontaneity of coming up with fitting songs for the occasion.
          flower power to the people, with the music you make
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        May 7 2013: Dear Renessa,
        There is simply no doubt in my mind that Lizanne has hit on something truly profound. I think your daughter did figure out what she should do with music. Every discovery of life need not be hyped and publicized but as explorers we all have our ways, kids certainly more ways than adults :)
        Just embrace with joy what you found and cherish it.
        Kind regards from India!
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    May 6 2013: Good video Lizanne! I believe EVERYTHING is interconnected, and you make some wonderful connections with music and life. As you say....there will always be music, and we have the opportunity to explore and enjoy music in our lives.

    In addition to the many forms of music created by, for, and with humans, I enjoy talking/singing with the birds in their beautiful musical language, which I have learned to a certain degree while playing in the gardens. The birds are very patient with me, and seem to like the interaction as they follow me around the garden while we chat/sing with each other! There is a beautiful red cardinal who sings outside my bedroom window early in the morning (my wake-up call), and if I can get the lips working while waking up, I respond to him, so he's there almost every morning, and I love it!

    I plan to always embrace music in my life, and will continue to explore the life experience, including music, with curiosity, and unconditional love, until I take my last breath in this earth school, because it is a gift I would not deny myself:>)
    • May 6 2013: Colleen, how inspirational and beautiful! What I love about music in nature, is how random and yet structured it can be - a specific bird's call is repeated and recognized, crashing waves fluctuate gradually in tempo, the breeze rustling the leaves in a sort of constant, extremely pleasant 'white noise'!

      "it is a gift I would not deny myself". I love that most of all.
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        May 7 2013: I appreciate the feedback Lizanne....thanks:>)

        It is another gift I give myself...."BE what I want to "SEE" in our world.....walk my talk...it is much more enjoyable than the alternative, and I observe that it is sometimes contagious....just like smiles:>)

        Smiles are contagious.....be a carrier:>)
        • May 7 2013: I read somewhere on the net, 'surround yourself with positive people' . I feel, there's no need to gather positive folks around you, they'll gravitate towards you naturally if you radiate a positive vibe yourself.
          I like this quote: 'Be the person you've always wanted to meet'.

          Like you, I'm proud to be a carrier, Colleen!
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        May 8 2013: Good quote..."Be the person you've always wanted to meet",

        "Keep good company and ye will be counted one of them"
        (Scottish)

        I've observed that people do seem to gravitate to one who carries and radiates a "positive vibe":>)
    • May 6 2013: Colleen, I just stumbled on this article about singing birds and thought immediately of you!

      http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-10/plos-stf100308.php
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        May 8 2013: Thanks for the interesting article Lizanne! Talking and singing with the birds does indeed create a positive emotional state, as it reminds me again of our interconnectedness:>)
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    May 6 2013: Hi Lizanne,

    I agree in a big way!

    Many thanks for your insights - your video has been helpful with my own perception of this subject.

    I am reminded of Julie Fowlis and her work recovering the old Waulking songs of the flax workers.

    The last 8 years my life have been dedicated to promoting the pennywhistle as a cultural instrument - a way back into our musical hearts. It is cheap and no one expects master-class performance on it (although some become masters).
    It does not become a platform for "the music industry" as the guitar did, and it is not recognised as an orchestral instrument - and so escapes academic isolation from the people. Others are doing similar work with the ukulele, harmonica, concertina etc. Small easy methods of expressing music regardless of how well one can sing.
    But, of course, singing is the root of music along with dance.

    You correctly identify the isolation of the community from its song. This seems to me a part of the process of exclusion that is practiced by those seeking disproportionate wealth and status. We see it in every aspect of our lives.

    It is plain, that music is part of the "totem" of community identity .. when we sing together we subconsciously accept the community of the singers - it binds us.

    My experience down the years is that musical ability is innate, but will atrophy if there is no exposure in early childhood. This atrophy manifests as "tone deafness" and results in someone who believes they cannot sing. It is a kind of poverty. Surrounding our children with music and song enhances the health of the family and community.

    It is a travesty that we are made to pay for something we already own. The argument of excellence and mastery is always rolled out to overcome the truth. For those who accept that lie, I would suggest they get involved in an Irish music session, learn some of the traditional tunes and participate. When you do that, you can see plainly that there is no "audience" - just togetherness.
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      May 6 2013: Mitch, I enjoyed reading your opinion about this idea and I am glad I did it.
      Your answer was very well argumented and it made me think about other ideas and made me make more connections.
      I also consider playing an instrument, weather at a beginner lever or at an expert level, is very useful for human development and growth. Too bad the society is not supporting this behavior and act.
      I also consider, as you and Lizanne did, that it's not necessarily about the talent, but about expressing your emotions and your inner feelings through music.
      • May 6 2013: Thank you so much, Bogdan!!
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        May 7 2013: Hi Bogdan,

        This notion of "talent" is over-blown.
        It is not necessarily "born-into" people.
        From my experience it mostly flows from the reality experienced in early childhood.
        There may be an inherited component - but that would amount to the cumulative adaptation of a community with music. Talent is the default - not having talent indicates a poverty of community.

        Wherever you are on this planet, you will find some group of musicians maintaining your cultural musical tradition. They are often "invisible" to the those who walk modern lifestyles, but they are not hiding - If you look for them you will find them - and they will be more than happy to help you develop any skills, either in song or instrument. Folk festivals are a good place to start the search.
        It's well worth the journey.
        • May 7 2013: Hey Mitch, oops - I missed this comment of yours!
          I agree, 'talent' is something not everyone possesses. What a world this would be, if we were all possessed natural-born talent!
          Talent is aptitude, and when stimulated in a positive way, can become a skill, and even a profession.
          What I believe, is that we all possess the gift of music and singing, regardless of the level of execution.
    • May 6 2013: Thank you so much for your thoughts, Mitch! I wholeheartedly agree with what you said, that "It is a travesty that we are made to pay for something we already own". We all posses a 'toolbox' of music that we have with us at all times, and can utilize at all times, whenever and wherever we may find ourselves! It's a question of stimulating it and teaching kids to utilize it, not just as children but for the rest of their lives.

      On a side note, I too am an avid pennywhistle lover. My Irish heritage played a strong role in my upbringing, we had a basket of pennywhistles in every key that was within easy reach and played with fervor at any given moment. I have followed that tradition in my home - it's the instrument my kids' friends always reach for first when they come over to play!
      Thank you for passing on your passion for this wonderfully accessible and traditional instrument!
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        May 7 2013: Hi Lizanne,

        There is something that awakens when one fully integrates music into one's life.
        To start with, one starts being more than one.
        Practice of music enhances every other aspect of life. It integrates mind, "spirit" and body and sharpens awareness.
        Then a journey begins.

        It is not by accident that musicians often recognise the dynamics of social capital and turn their backs on commercial intellectual property. Copyright-seeking "performers" are not musicians in my book - having been such a copyright seeker at one time, I am glad to have escaped it.
        There are still places for excellence - excellence as a personal goal seems to come as a side-effect of the love of music, but the instant wealth or fame becomes the goal, music departs.
        At one time I played pop music. The people in that field were often rather nasty. The people I find in the folk music community are not like that - they are humble, open and inclusive, and in my opinion, better musicians than those you find in the "music industry".

        If everyone were to find their voice in music and simple community, all would recognise the perversion of modern economic and political doctrines.
        These are large claims - but seem obvious from my standpoint. Without observing true community dynamics first hand, one would not be able to understand this.
        I promote traditional music - it is not just a whimsy - it is the spine of folk-tradition that maintains the ancient flow of human wisdom. Once you "get it" it all becomes clear.
        • May 7 2013: Hi Mitch!
          Yup, I've been in that boat too!

          I agree with you about traditional and folk music, the fact that it is so deep-rooted and so connected with humanity and culture is reason enough to promote it!

          Personally, I can't place one genre over another. There is popular music that rubs me the wrong way, and pop music that inspires me. I think exposure to all genres is important in understanding and appreciating music in its entirety.
          Taste, however, is up to each individual, and indisputable!
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        May 7 2013: Yes .. there's "stuff" and "stuff" ..

        It all looks the same till you taste it .. I mean really taste it ..

        Commitment ..

        I have this total image of the "work of your life" ..

        If you never found it .. you would have no idea what I just said.

        So our work starts with making little doors - we all love each other .. and any door we can make .. any little window that light can get through .. that is our work. It is only through these tiny stupid little doors that take a whole lifetime to open, that we can actually love each other.

        That is worth spending a life to do.

        I salute you for the door you have opened. Those who come through it will realise how well you have done. .. for the rest .. let's see how many we can get through?
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        May 7 2013: A story:

        Before Christmas, I got a note from an old flute-maker.
        He asked me about my "waiting list" and honestly revealed that the cancer that was killing him prevented him from playing his own flutes at his favourite session .. and please, could he have a whistle - it takes less breath.
        So I dropped everything, took the best bit of wood I had, and the best metal and spent a whole week honouring his need.
        I got an email from his widow last week .. he has passed, and the whistle was given to his grandson - who played it at his funeral.
        I Replied my condolences, and hopes for the new life.

        Blue mixes with yellow .. and life is composed of all colours.
        • May 7 2013: Wow, this story gives me goosebumps. How truly generous of you, and how wonderful you understood the urgency and the need for this man's desire to make music!!
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        May 8 2013: It wasn't his desire that moved me - it was his reality. And his honesty.

        Up above all the rubbish we have to do to get through the morass of mistaken humans and their short-sighted imperatives and lies, opinions and illusions .. there is the truth.

        You know you have truth when you are part of these stories.

        I am in denial that all humans cannot tell these stories - we all can .. why aren't we?

        To me .. that is important.

        And look - science proves beyond any controvercy - talent is available to all - it's simple brain plasticity - the older you get, the longer it takes .. there is no limit.
        But having exposure in early childhood puts you ahead of the field.
        Ego makes up self-inflating stories - don't fool yourself.
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      May 6 2013: In my son's public grade-school, they all played recorder in music class. And, of course, starting in pre-school, kids do lots of singing. It stops as a regular thing in secondary school, but it is easy to get secondary school students to sing together- solos harder. I think percussion instruments of all kinds are extremely inclusive as well.

      Later this month, I will be attending, as I have for the last twenty-five years, the largest free folk festival in the United States. There are 7000 registered performers, but all sorts of people will walk onto the grounds for four days with their own drums, fiddles, flutes, and washboards, guitars, didgeridoos... and position themselves wherever they please, alone or in the drum circle or on 'blue-grass hill"...

      I thought of you immediately, Mitch, when I noticed the first performer I will announce (I am an emcee of a couple of stages for three hours on two different days). He plays native american flute.
      • May 6 2013: Oh, the recorder... I personally have a love-hate relationship with it, partly because it was my first instrument and partly because of the shrill sound it makes, with so little space for dynamics!

        I think playing an instrument is an entirely different story - the benefits of which are also too many to list here! I think the beauty of this concept is that you already possess everything you need to make music: your body, and your voice. And you already possess everything you need to sing and make music about: your thoughts, emotions, questions, achievements...

        This festival sounds simply incredible, Fritzie.
        Who knows what inspiration will arise from a gathering of music enthusiasts of all walks of life!
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          May 6 2013: I agree we come with a voice. But we can also make percussion instruments out of common objects all around us. And lots of kids, particularly boys, really connect to the active aspect of percussion.

          I sing all the time, with an average voice. But I treasure my melodic drum (I have forgotten to what key it is 'tuned."
      • May 6 2013: Absolutely, Fritzie!
        I put that part in the video about banging on the dinner table with your silverware for a reason!
        And similarly, a set of pots and pans and a wooden spoon make for a super drum kit.
        And, actually, who needs equipment at all when we've got our bodies ready to beat a rhythm on and with!

        I agree, there is something very primeval about beating out a rhythm, that plays as much a role in this concept as using our voices.

        Is there a certain key a melodic drum should be tuned to?
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          May 6 2013: They are each built to a key. Some keys are preferable for novices, because all sorts of spontaneous combinations sound good. Other keys are better for people with more music experience.

          If you do a search, you will find sites that will let you hear the difference in the drums they make. I will not link one here, because these will be sites of little businesses.
      • May 6 2013: Interesting, Fritzie - I'll google it!
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        May 7 2013: Hi Fritzie,

        If all goes to plan, I will try to get to that festival in a year or 2 .. along with the Willie Clancy fest in Ireland.
        Part of my journey has been the exploration of making the whistles. As an exercise in manufacture, the journey has lead me away from the common modern trade paradigm. The whistles became popular and my order book got up to 2 years long waiting time. 2 years is an insane time to wait for something - and there was no way to promise when, if ever, the order would be fulfilled. So I stopped taking orders and started accepting requests. Even this didn't work, so I closed my request book. When the book is cleared, I will make the whistles and take them to festivals for the players to discover. There is a specific magic that happens when the right player meets the right instrument. It has to be done in person, in the real world, and there is no formula to predict which player will "click" with which whistle .. the whistle might be a simple $5 tin whistle, or it might be one of the grand ones that take me days to make. There is no place for bald economics in music. We enjoy our wonderful technology - phones and internet and such, but the only way to be truly alive - is in-person.

        On the recorder: the recorder is a chromatic woodwind. The chromatic tradition is based on the even-temperament of the piano and has come to dominate western music.
        Real music is played in the just-temperament which has exact harmony where the even temperament does not. Even-temper is a compromise devised to standardise orchestral instruments for the purpose of playing 11 recognised keys. Real music is not compromised like that.
        The reason that recorder is taught in western schools is that, at one time, to qualify as a teacher, one had to have proficiency in an orchestral instrument.
        Educators are not always musicians, so the teachers would quickly learn recorder to get their qualification.
        If not for that, whistle would be taught in schools - it's more intuitive.
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          May 7 2013: When you come to Folklife, I hope you will get in touch. I don't travel to it, as I live a few minutes from the festival grounds.

          Your description of the magic that happens when the right player meets the right instrument reminded me of the first of the Harry Potter books, The Sorcerer's Stone (or, in England, The Philosopher's Stone). In the wand shop when Harry is to purchase his wand, the proprietor explains that the wizard doesn't pick the wand. Rather the wand picks the wizard.

          Harry gives several a wave, with poor effects. Then he waves one that works as if it were made for him.
        • May 7 2013: Do you mean the Folklife Festival in Seattle??
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        May 7 2013: Yes, it sounds trite, but it's true.

        At any given time there will be 10 to 20 "Olivanders" of the whistle on planet Earth.
        It is a protected branch of humanity due to the fact that there are not many pennies in a pennywhistle - because of this, there will never be enough master whistle makers - and because of that, there is no such thing as competition. We mostly know each other due to the internet and welcome new entrants - according to orthodox economics: the demand will always exceed the supply .. but the match of instrument to player is the true economy - it is well balanced in the real world.
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      May 6 2013: It may be co-incidental but I am drawn to a musical instrument of my native Bengal as if it is a living being. It's an one string instrument that minstrels and wondering holy men play as accompaniment of their songs. It's called Ektara or Gopichand. Since Mitch mentioned ukulele, harmonica and concertina, I could not resist mentioning it.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ektara
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ai6yj5tMTo
      • May 6 2013: I'm familiar with the Ektara, Patibra - hauntingly beautiful, indeed!
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          May 7 2013: Hi Lizanne,

          As a singer you will appreciate this:

          I am told that, to be an Indic traditional singer, one has to spend the first year or 2 finding one's personal note. After that is found, the raga are then permitted to be performed by the singer - and all the instruments (including the drums) must be tuned to the singer.
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        May 7 2013: Hi Pabitra,

        The musical tradition in the sub continent is not properly understood in the west.

        The Indic musical tradition is fully integrated into all facets of life. It is not isolated to a theatrical stage or packaged as a commoditised "entertainment".

        Here's a little story: I set out to make a dedication whistle to honour some Mysorean rosewood that came out of India with the Raj. Based on the Mysore festival, I decided to call it "Durga".
        As part of the research, I was contacted by a North Indian fellow who explained the full meaning of the Durga festival, so I had to understand the legend and how it fit into the culture.
        My friend read to me the legend of Durga over the phone - he read it from an ancient Sanskrit book owned by his family - a tale that took 2 hours in the telling.
        From the legend I found I had to make 3 whistles in a set - Durga, Shiva and Mahishhah Durga and Shiva have their own raags, - and the whistles were tuned to play these raags. For Mahishhah, there is no raag, so I used the western diatonic scale to represent the Raj - but tuned it to the 22 note southern Indian tones. The final designs were executed in the Mysore rosewood by a flute-maker in Barrow-upon-Humber in England and sent to me.
        None of these whistles were sold - the spiritual thread of the instruments carried them away into the community - Shiva and Durga are presumably changing hands - into the hands which require them. Mahishhah remains with me - I keep him to remind me that heaven cannot be taken by force.
        What also remains with me is the grand integration of music and life - and the "magic" that happens when that integration is allowed to happen.
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          May 7 2013: I liked your story, Mitch :) You will be happy to know that I come from a part of India where Durga festival, locally known as Durga Puja, is the mainstay of the culture. I am very happy to know that you are familiar with the legend of Durga, the motherhead of power and destroyer of evil.
          Interestingly, in the tradition of North Indian Classical music, there is raaga named Durga.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durga_%28raga%29

          I found it very interesting that Durga, the legend as you say, is identified with a raaga, not a raagini (a feminine form of movement as contrasted with a raaga), despite Durga is a mother deity.

          I also tend to think, when it's a legend, a musical movement and a cultural mixture - there is no better ground of integration one can imagine.

          Cheers!!
      • May 7 2013: Oh yes, I've heard that, Mitch!
        There are singing workshops that work with that premise too - people find their own note and wander around the room, keeping to their note, while listening to each other. I don't remember what it's called, but I have tried it and it is pretty incredible. But, finding your own note is not something that takes a matter of hours, but indeed, a matter of years.

        I really love what you wrote about "the grand integration of music and life - and the "magic" that happens when that integration is allowed to happen. " Here, here to that!
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        May 8 2013: Pabitra,

        There are 22 prayers of overcoming that the Goddess Durga gives us as the defence to the violators of heaven.
        There are 22 exact tones in the southern Indic scales measured from the singer's note.
        There are many times of day that hold certain reality - we are there or we are in a no-place. And the song of our life is a symphony of journey in this universe.

        Durga is a goddess made up of all the most powerful parts of all the gods. She slew Hahishhah - the immortal of Brahma - using the discus of Shiva.

        The other part of Durga is Kali.

        I have met them both - and both of Shiva and both of Mahishhah.

        Here is the truth of gods:

        If you sacrifice to them them - they bless you - and show themselves to you.
        If you deny them - they bless you - and do not show themselves.
        If you do their work - they do not bless you. You become them.
        The blessing is not of you - it is of them - all that power! And none of it for you.

        So spoke Shiva and Durga to me.

        I am yet to explain why Brahma blessed Mahishhah and why it is permitted of the demon lord to take and to destroy. Is there no future in heaven?
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          May 8 2013: I think you are referring to Mahishasura, the demon?
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahishasura
          I love Durga story, the legend as myth and do not deny that the spiritual message of awakening of power to fight against and win over 'evil's as found in the story is culturally profound. However, my appreciation ends there. It's a story, an interesting one, a large section of humanity attaches spiritual importance to it, that is awesome - but a story nonetheless. And there are several different versions of it , just like resurrection of Jesus Christ.
          I, by no means disrespect your sentiments and feelings about it, but I am on a different page, I guess :)
          "If you deny them - they bless you - and do not show themselves." True. I have never seen them.
          I can find out 21 of the stotram (prayer) for Durga.
          http://www.greenmesg.org/mantras_slokas/devi_durga-mahishasura_mardini_stotra.php
          Am I missing something?
          Or may be we should discuss this somewhere else?

          Cheers!!
        • May 8 2013: Pabitra and Mitch, as far as I'm concerned, you guys are welcome to continue the discussion here - I think information from all possible musical genres and cultures is essential to learning more about how important music is!
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          May 8 2013: Ok, I shall make an attempt. I am not a musician so my view may be non-conformist :)
          You said : integrating music into life : Growing back in Music. I see Om or Aum in Vedic tradition as the first syllable and note both. I don't know if any other ancient culture ever had a sound identified as the purest form of spirituality.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Om
          And you may be interested in the oldest heard musical rendition in vedic chants.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjduAAvCD8E

          For at least 3000 years this is one unbroken tradition of worship where music and life merged with one another. I don't believe in a God but certainly believe in the strength of tradition.
        • May 9 2013: Pabitra, you say, "I am not a musician so my view may be non-conformist". Well neither am I! No one needs to be a musician to understand and appreciate the importance, and indeed tradition, of music.

          Those links you shared are truly fascinating - when I do vocal warming up with my students, we often begin with the sound 'om', I was aware that it had meaning, but I never knew about the deep-rooted significance of that sound!

          Chanting is another way of using our natural rhythmic and singing ability together, getting a message across as a whole, which would not exist without each individual. Very beautiful, and incredibly strong! Thanks!!
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        May 9 2013: @Pabitra,

        I learned Mahish-hah - the son of Rambha lord of the demons.
        Mahish is the buffalo.
        In the old Sanskrit book Shyamala was not cursed to be a buffalo - she was just an attractive buffalo that Rambha desired to rape. The rape child was mahishhah.
        Rambha heard news of the child and was fearful that he would challenge him and had all the buffalos killed - the slaughter began and Shyamala went to Brahma for help - Brahma made Mahishhah immortal and thus he escaped the massacre - which took his mother.
        Mahishhah blamed the gods and in rage and revenge attacked heaven - and defeated the hosts of heaven.
        In their sanctuary, the great gods made a golem called Durga of the parts of the greatest gods armed with the most powerful weapons and mudras.
        Durga went to battle against the legions of Mahishhah before the doors of the sanctuary of heaven and in a 100 day battle finally cut Mahishhah's throat with the discus of shiva.
        Across India the story is told in different shades and names.
        This is the story told me from the old book - I cannot say the talk amongst the gods as it is a story that takes 2 hours to tell - and I would have to get it translated to me again. I preserved the story in whistles and they have the Sanskrit names engraved on them.
        When I delivered the work to this world, these gods came in the form of humans and blessed me.
        It takes courage to pronounce OM - and it takes courage to ask for the words of Om that are the words of your self - the secret words that none must know.
        You will see - the plastic wrapper being woven around your secret word. I would say .. cover yourself in buffalo turds and the plastic wrapper will dissolve.
        Who are the Brahman except you and I my friend?
        I am Shaman of the north - I bring news of the south.
        Time for courage.
        Time to be the Buddha.
        Time to enter into courage. And life.
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          May 9 2013: Dear friend, Brahman is no God. it is a conceptual pinnacle of spirituality and detached from divinity. Brahman is the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world, which cannot be exactly defined. I completely disagree with Radhakrishnan who described Brahman as the absolute Godhead which is the divine ground of all being in modern Hinduism.
          I am quite awed and humbled with the knowledge of humanity's spiritual journey and evolution from ancient times. The pillar of Hinduism, the first of the four canonical texts of Vedas, the Rigveda is a collection of hymns of a pastoral, nomadic people settling in an unknown territory and it is profound enough how they started to worship natural elements.

          When I was 11 years old, I was initiated into Brahminism through a ritual named 'Upanayana' (a second birth of a human into knowledge of self) where I was taught, as a fresh Brahmin, the Gayatri hymn, which was amongst the first musical/lyrical inspirations I got.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gayatri_Mantra
          I don't know how courageous I am, honestly. But with the story of life where I stand today, it appears to me that looking at life at it's face, asking questions and weighing answers on the razor's edge all the while when Gods allure one to stop and submit and get peace is no act of cowardice either.
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        May 10 2013: No .. we cannot be gods.
        This much is clear.
        And, as in the prayers of the dead - to be properly human is to "not get stuck" by Shiva or Durga or Ganesh ro Jesu or Yaveh or Albert Einstein or the grunting fascination of lovers lost in each other.

        I have only windows into Hindi and Buddhist teaching through the teachings that were laid before me by .. I presume are gods ... I am of the simple shaman in tradition. That which is found, not taught. Compared to the Indic wisdom .. I'm like a wild dog. All I say is not any more than vomit.
        But as a wild dog I vomit and roll in corpses. It's not popular, but it makes me happy.

        The nice bit of carrot in this particular regurgitation is the way that the Indic music is not music as westerners see it .. except maybe the Irish .. it does not exist up on some vaunted stage above the commoners .. it is like blood .. it carries an essential fluid of life that will never stop .. we just sing - we are all dogs howling at moons and ambulances - birds in treetops singing "I am here".
        And it's fun to do that - we need no justification - and payment is only to parasites - they can be scraped off with a scaling knife when the itch gets too much.

        (Pentameter is fun to use I think,
        But haiku is best - it gives us 3 things to say, when we feel the urge)
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          May 11 2013: I salute you the shaman of the North and call you a friend. :)
          With all my silliness, let me tell you that there is no East or West in the depth of a human soul. Over some great distance on earth you and I are tied to the same umbilical cord that is life. If you mass spectrograph our tears and track the muscle movements of our smiles - none can tell Mitch from Pabitra.
          I will never discard your wisdom as vomit.
          And we revere Irish connection here in Bengal through Margaret Noble.
          I hear what you say my friend.
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        May 11 2013: HI Pabitra,

        Friend indeed!

        I am just a dog. Who needs more than that! I have learned a lot from dogs .. and cats .. and trees as well. In fact .. my "money" comes from trees right now . I am allowed to keep living because I know how to make a bit of tree become a bit of a human. .. I am a kind of tree/human match maker and arrange marriages between them through the ring of music.

        I mourn that so many of our brides are extinct .. The whistle that I made for the dead man was made of a wood extinct 100 years .. it is the true west indies cocus - long gone .. and the best flute-wood ever found. The Conquerors of South America did more than despoil the gold in their attack on heaven - they plundered the very skin and bones of the earth for the entertainment of dead children to have money that has long since expired from life - we call them "capitalists" and they have all been "amortised" .. made dead .. they are the zombies and exist in video-games - but some of us are allowed to see .. and in seeing, contain the map .. and nothing will be lost when we come home .. many years from now.
        Fun now .. or life. It's just entropy. No one is qualified to judge, because the court is life. And it never ends. Even having the arrogance to inflect entropy enough to allow our skin is bold and dangerous, but the rule of life is that we must. And I will not apologise for that :)

        I am joyful to find a friend!
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        May 12 2013: Here is a gift.

        Here is another friend of ours who we have not met yet:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLki68uLfjw


        I can see the waves that flow over us - it dictates what we talk about .. it's kinda silly when you watch it. You see the wave .. then everyone is talking about the wave .. very few talk about what the wave is saying - and no one talks about what makes the wave in the first place.
        Although quite a few have asked us to talk about it.
        If I could get anything done .. it would be to convince myself .. and everybody else the thing that cats and dogs and trees already know:
        Be still .. all is well.
        That is the only mantra worth chanting - or contemplating.

        I have a draft thesis that will remain in draft for all of time.
        If you would like, I can send it to you. It is not found in any university - except my life. And only my friends can have it.
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    May 5 2013: Lizanne, this is an amazing idea! I fully agree with you and I consider it's time to be kids again, to be as creative and indifferent to others opinion as they are.
    I always considered the kids state of mind the best one. It's sad when we discover ourselves grown up and with no joy and creativity in us...
    Unfortunately that's what society does to us. We trying to impress others and to fit in the projections of others, rather than our true identity.
    Thanks again for sharing this idea!
    • May 6 2013: Thank you, Bogdan! I agree, "It's sad when we discover ourselves grown up and with no joy and creativity in us..." We forget how to feel good about even the smallest of achievements when we get older - I truly believe if we can teach children how to use musical tools they already have, they will posses tools that will aid them for the rest of their lives.
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        May 6 2013: Yes, Lizanee, you are right and I agree with what you've said.
        It is very important to expose children to music from a very young age. Also by doing that we will aid ourselves too. By teaching them how to feel good about all the achievement in their lives, even the smallest ones, we also learn to do that and eventually will start doing it with our lives. Often people think that teaching is a one way process, when in reality is a double way thing. The teacher passes it's knowledge to the student, but he is also learning from the questions asked by the learner and from the feedback.
        • May 6 2013: Absolutely!!! That is exactly how I perceive it.
          Education is a two-way street, if the educator is willing to see it that way! I am as excited about learning something new from my students, then I am about teaching them something new! Thank you for this!
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      May 6 2013: Hello Bogdan,
      You are reletively new to TED conversations? Welcome:>)

      I agree that a kids state of mind is the best....open, honest, trusting, joyful, creative, curious and unconditionally loving. We do not have to "discover ourselves grown up", unless we accept that script,

      Society does not do that to us....we do it to ourselves, by living our lives based on the expectations of others.....as you insightfully say...by trying to "fit in the projections of others, rather than our true identity". I really believe this concept is changing, because more people like you are following their heart....living and loving the life adventure with curiosity and exploring all there is to explore.

      It appears that sometimes we (humans) are remembering again what this life is truely about. In my humble perception, it is to learn, grow and evolve, which cannot happen when we are living in a box, which others have created for us. Perhaps it is time to remember:>)
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        May 6 2013: Hello Colleen!

        Yes, I have joined TED conversations only 2 days ago. I hope that my idea(http://www.ted.com/conversations/18169/travel_around_the_world_for_fr.html) is worth spreading. Also I joined it because I like to learn new things and I like to debate various subjects.

        Regarding your reply: Unfortunately I consider that too many people live to the society's expectation, rather to theirs. On the other side, I happily discovered that a great amount of people are not trying to fit in and they are doing what their heart and inner feelings tell them to do.

        Definitely it is time to remember, and also to look inside of us. In my humble opinion I consider that we(humans) should be anarchists. I know it sounds drastic but through "anarchists" I refer to not fitting into society's trends and labels. To live as your heart dictates and how your instinct tells you, not the TV, magazines, etc.
        • May 7 2013: I think I understand what you mean, Bogdan, that we should all become 'anarchists'.
          More of us should go against the grain and pave our own path to follow, without falling into the trap of individualism, but taking into consideration each other and respecting all.
          The majority of society tends to blindly follow what society dictates, our 'survival mechanism' has evolved from finding food to having the latest iPhone, or I'll DIE.

          Time to go back to where it all starts and teach children how to explore themselves, so they can pave their own paths to their own idea of success in their own tempo and on their own terms, wherever they may lead.
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          May 8 2013: Hello Bogdan and Lizanne:>)
          Yes....look inside of our "self" to find what we are seeking, and in my humble perception and experience, it is by following my heart, rather than the expectations of others, that I discover more information.

          I feel that it is very natural to seek answers inside our "self", rather than externally, and it seems natural to follow my heart with life explorations, while recognizing the interconnectedness of the whole.

          I agree Lizanne that the majority tend to blindly follow, and this happens sometimes because of a need to be appreciated, respected and accepted by the society. People sometimes think/feel that if they do what everyone else is doing they might be more appreciated, respected, accepted, when I observe the opposite to be true.

          Those of us who DO follow our heart/intuition are generally demonstrating something that more people would LOVE to do BECAUSE it is natural:>)

          Lizanne, you write..."singing as a tool to set a positive cycle in motion that will encourage respect, communication and expression, which to me, are key ingredients to a society of individuals who can truly change the world".

          I have had this experience while traveling in other cultures when the spirit moves me. Although I did not speak the language, I broke into song to express what I was feeling, and it seemed to be accepted and appreciated, sometimes encouraging others to sing as well. I certainly have no illusions about changing the world, and I also know that I contribute to change in many situations:>)
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          May 8 2013: Love all that's being shared on this thread alone. make my day, and its only just begun. WoW, this the second time, on this thread alone, at posting the link first as an awesome example of using songs, and hip hop in this case and then reading this thread. The cosmic winks, also known as synchronicityes are showering us with lightbulb MOMends, as I will purrceive your IDeals Lizanne, while eye consider a a shower of lightbulb MOMends, as fAIRy dust. . . . love being creative with words, so many treasures are hiding within and we've never thought to pick up on since. . this is the correct way. . .
          when you speak of Anarchy Bogdan, it has the same ring as speaking of Spirituality. Anarchy being political and spirituality the religious version of the same IDeal.
          the whole of creation is a happen and stem from within. . Love, that you speak both ENGlish and Dutch since the MISSing links are left in Dutch. Tip of the ice berg, or ratHer, the WhitE BUFFaLo calf, crack off land, make big Splash and rides out to sea in all her MaJestY, a rose in dawn's early light, lest a menAce in the fog and sharp enough to sink the Titanic, as it heads down to the Grand Banks of New FoundLand for a meltdown. So with stem speaking of both VOICE and VOTE in dutch, our spokes pick up on the rhythms and rites seeing nature at work and do all, with the greatest of ease. .
          Bogdan, love how your focus is on travel the world. . and with it, the peoples rivers of babble on continue to dyeVers'ifY with use , there are many overlaps as well as bring our UnIqueKIness out.
          Colleen, much as Ted and Chris has so aptly spoke of connecting and spreading the knowledge, what has near gone unnoticed is how the instant translations are becoming available to one and all. This to me is as grand a step in connecting the human communityes or the global village. we are, at the emBryONic state of stemcells connecting intoo bodyes of knowledge and insights of the where, who and how we are. aLOeVEra coming up.
        • May 8 2013: Colleen, thank you for sharing your experience with singing in a different culture than your own, and the positive effect that was a result of it! Music truly is universal, human, and natural. Especially singing, which anyone who has a voice is aware - it is the most vulnerable and personal form of musical expression. I feel, singing simply as to be appreciated when it is so pure and genuine.

          When I put this video together, I actually hesitated about saying anything about 'changing the world'. My initial instinct was, that is such an unfathomable concept. How can I suggest in any way that this is the path to a better world? Then, I realized, the path to a better world really does begin with individuals. The more, the better!
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    Jun 5 2013: I take the opportunity to tell you once again that you have hit a profound truth of life by this idea. Whether or not it materializes as a project, it can simply be a lifeview and continue to benefit all. Thank you for sharing.
    Sending you a clip of my son singing in his study - just to feel good.:)
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/44057359/blowin%20in%20the%20wind.mp3
    • Jun 5 2013: Pabitra, listening to this right now, and it thrills my heart!!!
      I couldn't agree more, if I have been able to inspire and motivate others through this idea, then it is more successful than I ever could've imagined. It's in the world now! Not just in my head...
      A huge thank you to your thoughts and input as well, my dear friend!!
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    Jun 4 2013: Your fantabulouslywonderrific conversation is closing soon.
    I really enjoyed it Lizanne. So many wonderful thoughts.
    And look, Don himself is mesmerized. LOL

    Here is a piece of music for your soul.
    Beware the invisible violin.

    Sending smoke-free love your way,
    Mary ♫

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iq43Vs8CEw
    • Jun 4 2013: Oh Mary, I'm going to miss it too! I have learned so much, been able to integrate so many insights into this idea, all of which have been so helpful, to make it even better!

      Guess what, I am now working on a "Growing Back into Music" sequel... This saga has only just begun!

      x
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        Jun 4 2013: Can't wait Lizanne,
        Today my kids and I watched your video above a second time, then we realized you had additional videos.

        We watched the spider song, and the thank you song.

        Both were just fantastic.

        You really need to make a CD and market it to the pre schools and elementary schools as well as to parents. I am not exaggerating. Dr. Jean, the kindergarten teacher, turned famous CD producer, did this very thing.

        Once she had alot of songs put together, she produced her first CD. Now she travels the country in the summer, and trains teachers (who attend educational conventions) on how to use the songs in class.

        Well, I'll keep looking out for your conversations, and your great comments.
        I'm a bit down now, because I had a fall and have a cast on one ankle, but, on the UP side.... I got to ride an ambulance for the first time. :) :( ......
        I'll be ok in a few days.
        • Jun 5 2013: Mary, thank you so much!!!
          Together with my husband, we're working on a CD, absolutely. It's tough to find the time between 'earning money' to dive into the studio to record them, but it will happen! We have some wonderful ideas of helping kids and their grown-ups in a fun, funky and functional way through music!

          So sorry to hear about your fall!! No fun at all! The ambulance ride - my oh my, I've been there... But, there are even more up sides while you've got your foot up - lots of extra pampering, you can catch up on those sudoku puzzles you've always wanted to do, do even more reading, and more TED!!! And, 'Growing Back into Music Part 2' will be online today...
          By the way, I used tiger balsam to soothe the muscles in my upper leg when I was in a cast. This might help... Hoping it won't be long before you're up and about, Mary!
          Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement!!