Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Singing from Myself

Quartet in costume leading an old fashioned singing school. Photo used in Cornell Reading ...
There was an article in the paper about research on music and the brain, and how trained musicians were better at picking out speech from background babbling. They could cut through the noise to the meaning. Several years ago, I read that singing uses a different part of the brain than the obsessing/compulsing part, and I started singing in the shower in hopes of getting a little peace and to keep moving through my day.

I sang a lot of verses of Kum-by-Yah, the only song I could really sing out, and discovered that it did free up some space in mind from the crowd of intrusive thoughts and compulsive figuring things out. I found a voice teacher, and after much indecision, decided to take lessons, even though I wasn't sure if it was the "right" choice(ie. existential questioning about whether I really wanted to sing, and how did I know for sure, and did I enjoy it enough etc.) Later I joined a choir. In the past, before my therapy with Molly, this was all unimagineable in the midst of my social anxiety, and the novelty of choosing to do something I wanted to do.

I feel good when I sing. It's not that the anxiety and obsessiveness disappears, but that I can find myself in the midst of it, and be present in the room, in the moment, be someone beyond my OCD. Like the singers in this research study, I can pick out what is meaningful when I'm singing.

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