A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned some interesting studies that I came across in relation to our work with primal music. And for those of you just now coming along for the ride, primal music is music that we make together with drum and voice. It's "primal" because it is rudimentary, simple, intuitive, and engaging in the way that music should be for its full benefit to be realized.
You can read through some earlier posts to get an idea, for sure, but here's where we start trotting out some research to back up and build on all that has been said. And we'll start with a study that just blew me away.
People making music increase their pain threshold. This is not true for those simply listening to music. It is necessary that one be a part of the process, singing, drumming, or even dancing. All of a sudden, the work song has some real physiology behind it.
Check out this Alan Lomax recording of prisoners at work back in the late 40s:
It seems that in the making of music we release endorphins. In a nutshell, the researchers put a blood pressure cuff on participants and pumped it up until the the subject cried uncle. The researchers noted the reading. Then the various groups, a bunch of drummers, church singers, practicing dancers, and people just passively listening to music at different tempos, were rechecked with the blood pressure cuff after engaging in their particular activity. Those that were participating in the music had a notable increase in their pain threshold. Those that merely listened to music, no matter what kind, had no appreciable change in their ability to tolerate pain.
Make music together, go farther, harder, and longer.
We live in a time when academics with some grant money are the ones to tell us what's going on. I do enjoy the validation that comes from reading their work, but I should get a whole lot more from my own personal experiences.
Learning to trust that experience is a challenge.