Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Healing at the Speed of Sound by Don Campbell, Alex Doman

book cover
Healing at the Speed of Sound
by Don Campbell,
Alex Doman

ISBN-13: 9781594630828
Hardback: 288 pages
Publisher: Hudson Street Press
Released: September 29, 2011

Source: Bought through

Book Description from Back Cover:
Based on over a decade of new research, Don Campbell, bestselling author of The Mozart Effect, and Alex Doman, an expert in the practical application of sound and listening, show how we can use music and silence to become more efficient, productive, relaxed, and healthy.

Each chapter focuses on a single aspect of everyday life, providing advice, exercises, wide-ranging playlists, and links so readers can use the music they love to create the perfect soundtrack for any goal or task.

My Review:
Healing at the Speed of Sound is a scientific look at how music and noise (and silence) effect our emotions, our health, and even our ability to learn. They talked about managing noise, protecting your hearing, and using the music you like to influence your day (on waking up, for exercise, traveling to and from work, at work, in the evening, and before bed). The advice was pretty basic, and the "soundtrack for your day" is very much based on what you like. So you notice what songs effect you in certain ways and use them to wake up your mind instead of coffee, help you to keep going when exercising, relax when stressed, etc.

They also talked about how listening to certain types of music, playing music, and making music as a group can help us to learn and remember things better as well as other positive health benefits. They also talked about how music can effect a baby's development before birth and brain development problems or a brain injury after birth.

There was a chapter on using music to tap into "spiritual experiences." They treated all religious music or chanting practices (from witch doctors to Buddhism to Christianity) as equal in positive effects. The way they phrased things made me think they believed spiritual experiences are completely brain-induced. All I'll say is be careful what you play with or you might end up getting more than you expect.

Throughout the text, there were links to free songs and further information on their website. Much of the "further information" was an expert saying the information given in the book, but some gave more in-depth information. One link was to a blog where a lady was blogging about how great one of their music therapy products was, but she made it sound like the music was a mind-altering drug--she's stressed, so she grabbed their relaxation music to calm down, etc.--rather than something that made a lasting change after the music was off. This left me a bit confused about which music has a lasting effect or for how long an effect lasts.

Overall, it was fun to see scientific evidence for things I'd already noticed about music and it did make me more aware of my sound environment, but I didn't really feel empowered by the book. Except in regards to exercise, the advice tended to be so unspecific and subjective ("go with what you like!") that I'm at a loss as to what to play from the large variety of choices that I have. Also, my day is not routine, so what I "need" to listen to and when would vary from day to day. So I haven't actually made any changes in my daily routine.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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