Journeys In Sound: How Music Affects Mind, Body, and Soul
The Journeys in Sound series is a deeper dive into what’s happening in our mind, body and soul as we listen to our favourite music. The first episode explores the effect of music on our brain, the roots of music making and evolution of music. How a piece like Stevie Wonder’s Superstition triggers our fight or flight response in a good way and how the brain’s interaction with our favourite music can help us relax more easily or run faster.
^ Nemone DJing
Of course, all this is accompanied by music to fire the synapses, move our bodies and enliven the soul. It’s soundtracked by records from the aforementioned Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Albertine Sarge, Ellen Allien, The Fall’s version of Lost In Music, Lizzo, Planningtorock, Prince, Max Cooper, Jon Hopkins, The Beastie Boys, Bach, Tchaikovsky, and Beethoven.
The second episode looks to understand more broadly how music affects our bodies. I was fascinated to learn about crafting music specifically to help us sleep; intentionally not keeping the tracks rhythmic or in time so we don’t get comfortable with the sound and follow the melody. Instead, this music incorporates electronic sounds and textures, geophony - the sound of earth elements; wind, water, rain - and biophony - the sound of non-human living organisms - so there’s a blurring of those to craft a dreamlike soundscape where there’s no clear definition. We’re also now battling a volume of sound in everyday life that threatens our sense of wellbeing profoundly so creating music to soften and soothe these effects is more important now than ever.
In the final episode, conscious of my tendency to be drawn to science (neuroscience in this case), I wanted to ensure I integrated thinking from different modalities and cultures as to how music affects the body; exploring how sound and music makes up our very being through vibration on many different levels. Understanding the idea that all music has been out of tune since the 17th century and how we might get back in tune with primordial vibrations to aid our health and wellbeing. At the very heart of this series is also the idea of how music can help us where we find ourselves now in this more fragmented and isolated world. The role both music and sound play in connecting us and supporting more cohesive communities.
How does all of this come into my work as a therapist? Tuning into the sound of the client’s story. Curiosity about modulation in the client’s voice and any difference in my own. The exquisite and excruciating dance of regulation and dysregulation as the musical and rhythmic quality of a session. Working in an embodied way, all senses are enlivened in the therapeutic space. Sound and music offer more layers by which we tell our narrative and how we navigate the world.
I hope the series provides a balm and place to escape in these extraordinarily challenging times. All 3 episodes are available now @BBCSounds: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/brand/m000rblb Full welldoing.org article about how the series came into being: https://welldoing.org/article/journeys-sound-how-music-affects-mind-body-and-soul And here is the Ambient Focus Mix inspired by the series: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000rt2l
Nemone has been broadcasting for a quarter of a century, the last twenty years at the BBC. Joining Radio 1 in 2000, she has taken stints broadcasting to mainstream audiences on Radio 2 and Five Live before finding her spiritual home at BBC Radio 6 Music. She has produced and presented documentaries for BBC Radio 2 and has hosted numerous television shows reflecting her passion for sport and music, including but not limited to TOTP, BBC Ski Sunday, ITV’s coverage of the British Touring Car Championships.
A fully qualified psychotherapist, Nemone is an insightful interviewer and vocal champion of mental health issues.