Depending how you look at life, Community Music Victoria is winding down/gearing up for the holidays. The serviettes and paper plates have been counted out, the glasses are on ice and the end of year party happens this weekend. And what a year it has been!
Now if you’re waiting for us to share some great turkey cooking tips or table setting layout ideas, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Neither can we advise you on how to gift-wrap like a pro. This time of year has a tendency to get a little crazy, as we all know.
It’s easy to over indulge and what starts out as fun can impact negatively on our mental and physical health and well-being, so we instead we’re focusing on ways to avoid seasonal burn out using, you guessed it, a spot of community music making.
Instead of knocking yourself out shopping and cooking, how about pausing to draw breath?
Try a spot of mindfulness and reflect on all the positives that have presented over the past year. Invite a group of relatives, friends or neighbours over to sing some songs and make some music together. Add food into the equation and both your body and soul will be nurtured. December 21st is the summer solstice when the sun reaches its highest point in its journey across the Australian sky and is the perfect time to sing and play late into the lightest night.
The effects of music making will have a calming effect as you release endorphins and feel genuinely connected with those around you as your heartbeats align through the act of singing together. And that’s not all! Your immunity will be boosted too. A study at the University of Frankfurt in 2004 found that the concentration of a protein called Immunoglobin A was found to significantly increase in singers during a 60 minute rehearsal of Mozart’s Requiem. This stuff is an antibody that works to fight off the multiplication of microbes in the body.
Levels of hydrocortisone, an anti stress hormone, was also found to have increased in the singers during the course of the same study. Sounds like the perfect come down to a day spent schlepping around the shops in search of a pink-python printed collar for the cat’s stocking. And it won’t leave you with a headache.
Are you convinced yet? Well here’s another thought: It’s pretty tricky to eat whilst making music, so while we recommend blending the two activities, the more you sing and play the less chance you’ll have to scoff those party pies and nobody really wants sausage roll crumbs and dropped cake adorning their instrument. However please note, we can’t be held accountable for what you drink to keep your reed moist or your whistle wetted; you’re on your own there kiddoes. Let us know how you go…
Before we release you back into the wilds of December, if you’re reading this, then you’re one of the many people who have signed up to our new blog and we thank each and every one of you for joining us on this journey and for the comments and feedback over the past few months.
It feels great to engage with you all. Dina Theodoropoulos was key in getting this blog up and running and at the end of the year she moves on from her current post as Communications Coordinator for Community Music Victoria. We owe her masses for the fantastic work she has done in presenting our outward face to the world so darned well.
Finally, don’t forget, we welcome material about your experiences as community music makers and activists and would love to hear about your own musical traditions for marking this time of year. Wishing you all peace and joy for the holidays and good things for 2015.
Online Editor for Community Music Victoria