Trojans soothe stress with sound – Annenberg Media

At this point in the semester, dealing with mental health is generally promoted as a form of managing the increasing amount of work. During the first semester in person since spring 2020, students also face the challenges of post-pandemic healing. USC’s Music Meditation Club and other Trojans have found a sound solution.

The Music Meditation Club aims to expose the student body to the benefits of sound therapy. During the meetings, the group comes together for musical mantra meditations, guest speakers, and vegan desserts.

“Different sounds make us feel different things,” said Danny Etkin, president of the USC Music Meditation Club. “If we heard gunshots, it’s a sound vibration and it would make us anxious or anxious. Then you take something as simple as someone saying “I love you” it’s a sound vibration and how does that make you feel? “

Etkin thinks the sound is extremely powerful.

“We try to use uplifting sounds in the Music Meditation Club to bring people into a positive space and provide them with positive sounds,” he said. “Throughout the day there are so many sounds coming from other people, and even within ourselves, that might not be uplifting. At the club, we try to provide people with delegated time where they can be absorbed by positive sounds. “

Sound, and music in particular, has long been considered to have medicinal properties. The Integratron outside Joshua Tree has been operating spiritual sound baths for over 20 years. But this belief became particularly important during the pandemic when music was used to treat patients with the virus, as well as those suffering from isolation anxiety, according to NPR.

Music can be seen as an extension of communication, which, in a world marked by separation during the pandemic, has never been more precious. “In many ways, music, especially song, is an elevation of speech,” said Scott Spencer, professor of ethnomusicology at USC. “Adding music to the speech equates to an extra level of depth or response. “

The music and sounds that people associate with are generally representative of what they feel and vice versa, according to Spencer; often these sounds can say a lot about a societal situation.

“If we look at the listening behaviors of people, especially over the last three years, we see a really dramatic change: lo-fi music, everything that involves nostalgia, all these types of music that people use. to calm down or relax, these are the styles of music that are exploding right now, ”Spencer said.

People, especially this generation of students, seek comfort through the sounds they associate with. “It’s funny, I asked my child the question, he’s 20, he’s in college. I asked him ‘Why are you listening to smooth jazz? I hate smooth jazz, ”Spencer said. “He said, ‘Dad, my generation was born just before September 11, your generation put us in economic turmoil; I won’t have a job when I get out of college and now this pandemic, what are you waiting for?

Other USC students have come to the conclusion that people today have a special relationship with trauma and sound therapy and that these could be revolutionary in dealing with today’s social climate. hui.

“We’re a music therapy app that uses audio and visual sounds to help people with mental illness,” said Brian Femminella, CEO of USC and CEO of SoundMind, an app he co-founded.

The goal of SoundMind is to guide people through an accessible form of music therapy in today’s circumstances.

“We want to target trauma and severe anxiety,” Femminella said. “What made us pivot is the pandemic. The pandemic has brought so much loneliness and so much isolation. “

SoundMind, however, also takes into account circumstances outside of the pandemic, recognizing that life is being lived quickly in today’s era, which only adds to the stress while preventing recovery. “With a lot of students, the excuse is ‘I don’t have time’,” Femminella said. “Our generation, unfortunately, endures more mental trauma, especially with social media.”

Mental health has become a conversation as trauma builds up and sound has proven to be a familiar and welcoming form of healing for a fast-paced generation who may need it even more desperately in the future, according to Femminella.

“Sound therapy is going to be so important moving forward, with our fast paced world and ‘back to normal’ but still grappling with the consequences of the pandemic,” Femminella said. “But there is a second pandemic to come, the mental health pandemic, for which we are not ready. And something as simple and unique as sound therapy can really provide that extra relief that people need.


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