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The Mozart Effect

Author: A podcast by Mostly Mad Music with Esther Pavel-Wood.

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Welcome to a fascinating world of mental health, the arts and society. As the founder of a charity which explores the relationship between mental health and music, I have come to realise that the arts impacts almost every aspect of who we are, how we think and what we do. On The Mozart Effect, I cover music, the arts and their intersection with health and well-being, mental illness, creativity, mood, memory, identity, faith, social change and revolution. I will be talking to musicians, artists and writers as well as therapists, activists, social commentators, academics and people with lived experience.
24 Episodes
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2021-03-2801:05

The Mozart Effect - a Mostly Mad Music podcast. A world where music meets mental health and science. Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
My first guest is Mary Mangia - a licensed Mental Health Counselor and currently the Director for Outpatient Behavioral Health Services at a local hospital in Miami, USA.We had this interview last week where we spent an hour discussing all manner of interesting things  relating to creative approaches to psychotherapy. In this segment, we had some lively conversation about toxic positivity versus the tendency to focus on negative aspects of mental health moods during recovery. This is a short segment about the importance of validating and accepting mental states.www.mostlymadmusic.org.auYou can find Mary on www.instagram.com/mary.the.collective.view Her side project is www.instagram.com/thecollectiveview.co which she cofounded with partner www.instagram.com/jaynenj.the.collectiveviewCheck them out for loads of free resources, information and holistic approaches to wellness and living. Mozart piano sonata played by Peter Fancovic.
Our first episode looks at creativity, mental illness and reality. Dreams, hallucinogenic drugs, psychosis. Is it all just a spectrum of alternative realities? And how does that translate through a creative lens into art, poetry, writing and music?Subscribe to our newsletter, follow our socials or leave us a comment here. Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
In this episode we talk to clinical psychologist and co-founder of Heavy Metal Therapy, Dr Kate Quinn, from the UK. Heavy metal music, perhaps more than any other sort of music, has a reputation for the negative effect it has on its listeners’ behaviours and mental health. Historically, it has been linked to mental ill health and antisocial behaviour. But recent studies show the opposite might be true. Join us as we dive into the fact and fiction of heavy metal music.  Heavy Metal Therapy was founded by a group of metalheads with either lived experience of mental health struggles and/or expertise by training in mental health professions.   The idea for Heavy Metal Therapy came from several things including personal experiences, clinical work and most importantly a belief in the power of sharing stories of how metal music and the metal community have supported people with their mental health. Heavy metal therapy is an online resource and community of people who find metal music helpful for mental well being.  Learn more about Heavy Metal Therapy here. Extra reading here.  Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
Anxiety and panic attacks can be debilitating. But they are also relatively treatable. In addition to other more conventional management strategies, music might also be able to help. In this episode I discuss some creative musical approaches to help manage panic attacks and anxiety. Relaxing playlists - classical and Electronic Dance Music (EDM).  Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
There are a disproportionately high number of musicians with mental illness. Why? This week’s episode explores the relationship between low mood, anxiety and the creative process in song writing. We also look at how the creative process can help channel low mood and anxiety in a therapeutic way to achieve a greater understanding of who you are. Finally we look at  the importance of mental health advocacy in the music industry.In earnest is fuelled by the dual songwriting of front-couple Sarah and Thomas in a bid to encourage open and honest conversation around mental health. Their sad indie noise is a dialogue from two perspectives; a call from one who feels too much and a response from the other who must plead for them to stay alive. Hailing from Southend on Sea, UK, in earnest is made a trio by the inclusion of instrumentalist Toby. With influences ranging from alternative rock to folk, the band propel forward with their own brand of emotional, genre bending indie music. In earnest have so far attracted critical praise from BBC Introducing, Atwood Magazine and EARMILK amongst other international indie press. Their self-titled 6 track EP, released in October 2020, explores themes of hope vs hopelessness, desperation, loneliness and identity in their rawest form. Follow In Earnest on Spotify and Instagram.Subscribe to our newsletter, follow our socials or leave us a message here! Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
Dr Sandra Garrido is a pianist, violinist, researcher and writer of Why Are We Attracted to Sad Music?  Dr Garrido says melancholic music impacts people differently, depending on their mental health. “Evidence suggests that people with tendencies to clinical depression respond to music differently at a cognitive level," she said. "Those with depression usually have the same motivations for listening to sad music as other people, so they think that they're benefitting from it in the same way, and often don't realise that it's not working in their case." The MARCS Institute for Brain Behaviour and Development at University of Western Sydney is developing an app called Moody Tunes to help young people understand how music and mood work together. Learn more about the MARCS Institute and Moody Tunes here.  Subscribe to our newsletter, follow our socials or leave us a comment here! Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
This week I explore arts in health and healing with Dr James Williams PhD, from the University in Derby, in the UK. Arts in health and healing refers to using things like music, literature and art in healthcare and community settings for therapeutic, educational, and expressive purposes. Results from over 3000 studies have identified a major role for the arts in the prevention of ill health, promotion of health, and management and treatment of illness across the lifespan. We will also be learning about ethnomusicology and discussing James’s recent site visit to a Tibetan refugee school. We’ll explore whether a greater understanding of other cultures and their relationship to music can contribute to more inclusive arts in health practices in Western countries. Yep we’re covering a lot! Dr James Williams is a senior lecturer in therapeutic arts (music) and an ethnomusicologist at the University of Derby UK.  Dr Williams plays several instruments including the violin. He recently spent time studying music-making as a means of cultural preservation in Tibetan Schools for refugee children in Northern India which was subsequently written up in a co-edited book called Musical Spaces: Place , Performance and Power.  It explores geographical approaches to ethnomusicology and is available for pre order. Dr Williams is also the Principal Editor of the international and peer-reviewed Journal of Music, Health, and Wellbeing. You can find out more about Dr James Williams and his work here.Subscribe to our newsletter, follow our socials and leave us a comment here. Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
This week we discuss urban areas in large cities and the impact that living without access to trees or parkland can have on mental and and even physical health. We look at access to green and blue spaces (water and parkland) and their relationship to wellbeing. We also discuss the mental health effect of COVID and being indoors for extended periods of time as well as some “nature” strategies, including music, that can help offset some of those negative effects. We even discuss playing music to plants!Tarika Powell is a policy analyst and speaker in the fields of fossil fuel infrastructure development, public safety, land use management, and equity. For the past six years, she has helped lead Northwest opposition movements to false clean energy solutions like fracked gas. This work has made her a regional expert on energy policy. Tarika lives with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She is an advocate for increasing public education around mental health. Tarika is a graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School. She also holds a Masters  of Education and undergraduate degrees in English and African-American Studies from Oberlin College. You can find out more about Tarika here. Check out our nature playlists for green spaces and blue spaces.  Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
Today I speak with Peter O’Shea about what inspired him to leave a corporate career to work with young kids from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. Peter works on several programs. The Grapple Gang teaches jiu jitsu to kids in schools  and the Gloves not Gunz initiative provides a sporting and community centre to help young people move away from possible antisocial and criminal activity.  Lastly, Peter works on a program which takes yoga into the prison system.  We spoke a lot about Peter using his lived experience of postttraumatic stress disorder  (PTSD) to connect with kids, as a form of early intervention and the positive impact this can have on their understanding of their own trauma and mental health. I also talked to Peter about his  personal journey. We take a dive into what PTSD recovery can look like, what it feels like to be triggered and  the need to be supported on the trauma  journey. We looked at Peter’s coping strategies, including nature and music! Our two faves! Trigger warning: there is some discussion of suicidal ideation but no details are given.  The DSM-V describes  posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as characterized by exposure to a traumatic event and the subsequent development of symptoms that fall into four clusters (i.e., intrusions, avoidance, negative alterations in cognition and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity). You can see more about Pete’s Gloves not Gunz program here and the Grapple Gang UK program here. Subscribe to our newsletter, follow our socials or leave us feedback here! Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
This week I am taking a closer look at mental health, identity, addiction, loneliness and music. How do they all fit together?  Associate Professor Genevieve Dingle PhD and I discuss the dynamics of social identity, its advantages and possible disadvantages and how to create positive social identities using the arts - like music and dance. A really interesting topic. Genevieve Dingle is an Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology with a research interest in how groups and communities can influence mental health and wellbeing of adults of all ages. Dr Dingle is a registered clinical psychologist and supervisor with 20+ years practice experience in adult mental health and addiction treatment services. She is the developer of the Tuned In program (music listening based emotion regulation program for young people); the Groups 4 Belonging program (addressing loneliness in people recovering from addiction); and Sharper Minds (stepped care package for monitoring and early intervention of university students' mental health).Subscribe to our newsletter, follow our socials and leave us a comment here. Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
My very first podcast episode was about the links between creativity and alternative perceptions of reality. In this episode, I want to revisit creativity and the relationship between creativity and loneliness, seen through the lens of writers and poets. Subscribe to our newsletter, follow our socials or leave us a comment here! Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
This week I continue to explore social identity, music and mental health with Sonia Orlu. What impact does it have when you join and leave new social groups? How does this affect your sense of identity and your mental health? What is the importance of faith in forging identity? And what role does music play?Sonia Orlu is Nigerian and a PhD student in Political Science at Simon Fraser University, Canada. Her current areas of academic interest are identity politics, diversity and inclusion, and free speech in the era of social media as the new public square. Sonia's commentary titled "Why I do not support the Black Lives Matter movement" was recently published by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. Her written work has also appeared in various Canadian news publications. You can check out some of Sonia’s writings on her website here and her Instagram here. Subscribe to our newsletter, follow our socials or leave us comments here.  Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
This week I talk to Maxton Hunter about social media as the new marketplace for artistic expression.  The early heady days where “blowing up” and finding “instafame” was possible are long since gone.  Now potential audience members are often prevented from finding artists they like, instead being presented with an array of images, pages or advertisements Big Tech choses for them with its endlessly changing algorithms.  Visual social media platforms like Instagram add pressure to artists;  increasing the competitive and comparative nature of artistic output, and diverting precious “creation” time to endless self-promotion, fighting shadow bans and battling code.  Exhaustion,  creative burn-out, anxiety and depression are increasing amoung people working in the arts.  Maxton Hunter is a producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and podcast host based in Los Angeles, California. He grew up in Santa Barbara, on a secluded ranch near Goleta,  showing an early interest in creative expression, which ultimately led him to music and songwriting.  Over the last decade, Hunter played in and alongside a variety of psych, rock and DIY outfits before officially setting out on his own in 2019. Hunter’s latest production, Paradise Syndrome, is a vibrant blend of ambient pop and modern psychedelia with  singles “Say What You Mean” and “Honestly” coming out this US summer. Maxton Hunter also hosts a podcast called Life, Liberty and Creation which explores the different ways inspiration manifests and flourishes within the mind, delving deep “into both the uncomfortable truths and exploratory sides of the creative process”.You can contact Maxton here. Subscribe to our newsletter, follow our socials and leave us a comment here. Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
The World Health Organisation describes health promotion as enabling people to increase control over their own health. It covers a wide range of social and environmental interventions that are designed to benefit and protect individual people’s health and quality of life by addressing and preventing the root causes of ill health, not just focusing on treatment and cure. With over one billion monthly users, Instagram has become a go-to for mental health and well-being issues for many people. Instagram provides an immediacy and intimacy to the delivery of health promotion that large institutions simply cannot emulate. But as an organisation which works actively in this space, using social media platforms to disseminate music and mental health content and messaging to people around the world, I do have mixed feelings about this. How do consumers know which sites to choose or which health promotions are right? Join me this week as I talk to Mary Mangia, licensed mental health counsellor and Jayne Jaramillo, Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist, co-founders of the total wellness hub, Collective View.Find out more about the Collective View here. Subscribe to our newsletter or leave us a comment here. Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
This week I talk to my friend Allen Higginbottom, lived experience of paranoid schizophrenia, about psychiatric and sociological interpretations of mysticism and spirituality. Together we begin a preliminary exploration into the vast unmapped world of unshared experience. I talk to Allen about staying grounded and using music to manage mental health. We also cover some of his top tips for managing mental illness and any advice he would give to younger people who might be struggling with schizophrenia.Allen is currently working as a disability/mental health support worker. He has a Certificate 4 in Community Service, a Certificate 4 in Bowen Therapy and a Diploma of Mental Health. Allen is a talented singer songwriter and enjoys writing and recording original material.  Allen was recently featured in our documentary about creativity and mental illness (link below.)Check out our "Exploring creativity and schizophrenia mini-documentary" here. Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
Binge listening is described as repeatedly listening to a song, artist or album for an extended amount of time. This is a very common occurrence with teenagers. But why do we do it? And is it good or bad for us? In the absence of any significant research in this space, I decided to take the question of binge listening to my peers and Instagram followers - where we had a live talk about binge listening and some of the reasons we think we like to listen to music repetitively.Subscribe to our newsletter or leave a comment here. Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
Loneliness is often described as social pain—a psychological mechanism which motivates individuals to seek social connections. For many people, loneliness is associated with unwanted lack of connection and intimacy and can affect physical and mental health. It can take root deep within the psyche as a restless longing for something. It can be most intense when you’re surrounded by smiling people or in the middle of crowds. Loneliness can drain you of energy and feeling, and yet, somehow, loneliness seems to have birthed great work of art after great work of art. Or has it?I am currently exploring the connection between creativity and loneliness. One of the things I have been looking at is the way loneliness is treated in text by different writers. Here is a list of poems from the Romantic Era which look at solitude and loneliness. I will be exploring them today to see how these authors share the [universal] human experience of loneliness with us.I’ll be reading the poems aloud and exploring the text in some detail so feel free to download the poems and read them along with me and my surprise guest!I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud - William Wordsworth Alone - Edgar Allan PoeKubla Khan - Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Albatross - Charles Baudelaire (translated George Dillon)Sign up to our newsletter or leave us a comment here. Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
Music, identity and mental illness: Using music to arouse empathy for and between identity groups such as abled and disabled people (people with severe mental illness).The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) stated that it 'is seriously concerned about the inequalities in terms of physical health and life expectancy of people with serious mental illness'. People with serious mental illness live, typically, between 10 and 25 years less than the general population. Around 80% of this higher mortality rate can be attributed to the much higher rates of physical illnesses, such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and cancer experienced by this population (RANZCP 2015). Although there has been improvement in general social acceptance of mental conditions such as anxiety and low mood, significant stigma and discrimination toward people with severe mental illness persist, which affects their employment, housing, health care and personal relationships. They also feel less accepted and supported by family and friends, making them more likely to conceal their mental health status to avoid stigma or discrimination. This means people with serious mental illness are less likely to seek much needed social contact, support and access to mental health support networks. Increasing public acceptance is an important first step to improving their mental health outcomes.Can the association of music with mental illness change perceptions about people with mental illness? Can music transcend group identity by encouraging empathy between individuals in different groups, including people with disability?Subscribe to our newsletter, follow our socials or get in touch with us here. Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
The recent world events and  subsequent bombardment of graphic tragedy in real-time have got me thinking once again, about the news, why I feel compelled to watch it, and what the (long term) negative implications might be. This week I look a closer look at vicarious trauma (VT),  ‘the negative transformation in the helper that results (across time) from empathic engagement with trauma survivors and their traumatic material, combined with a commitment or responsibility to help them’ (Pearlman and Caringi, 2009, 202-203). The greater the exposure to traumatic material, the greater the risk of vicarious trauma. Vicarious trauma results from witnessing and engaging at an empathic level with those affected. And while the phenomenon of vicarious trauma is widely acknowledged, it can be challenging to recognise and deal with it. Its dynamics and `ripple effects’ are complex, pervasive and damaging. Risk of vicarious trauma can be reduced by lessening exposure to distressing material and using  music and other strategies to help you take time out, relax, distract or channel low mood.If you are feeling edgy, irritable, teary, sleeping worse and/or ruminating, maybe take a break from the news. Find out more about us here: https://linktr.ee/mostlymadmusic Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/charity/4075258)
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