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Dr Daniel and Tana Amen chat with award winning producer Barry Goldstein about how music can connect people generationally and how we create new memories with different melodies.
Daniel Amen, MD:
Welcome to The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
And I’m Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
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Welcome Back. We are here with our friend, Barry Goldstein. Barry and I have a new album: Your Brain Is Always Listening. We’ll talk more about it in this episode, but we promised we’d actually start by talking about self-confidence. And I was working with one of my professional athletes this week, and that was her goal. And I created this framework of brain health. Brain health is three things, brain envy got to care about it, avoid things that hurt it, do things that help it. And we began to put together a new framework for self-confidence. One, you have to want it. Two, avoid things that hurt it, make the list of what hurts it. And three, have a regular practice to increase self-confidence.
So I don’t know why it works to me. I know this is why I want to try and get Barry’s input on the science behind this, but clearly music can affect not only your confidence, but it can also affect you in the opposite way. So, think about when you put seventies music on, certain seventies music, it affects me in a very negative way versus…
I get punished for Cat Stevens music.
It’s nothing to do with Cat Stevens personally. It’s just bad memories.
I wonder if he comes to the clinic.
I know, it’s going to be bad, but likewise, I know when I was, and this is true of a lot of people I know who are athletes, when I was training for my black belt test, I was a little intimidated by it, but there’s certain music that puts you in a state that gives you that “yeah, I’m a warrior. I can do this,” that feeling that you get. So I know a lot of people feel that way. So what’s the science behind that?
Well, I mean, music connects us to autobiographical memories. So in our heads, we’re keeping record of all the music that we like, that we don’t like. And as soon as we hear a piece of music, like you said, Cat Stevens for you, you go the other way around. For me, I have my happy song that is like the Jackson five, the love you save. And whenever I put it on, you know, it actually puts me in a happy mood.
And, but we have the ability as well to create new autobiographical memories with music. And this is really where it comes into play of knowing how a piece of music makes you feel. So when I was composing for this particular album for Your Brain is Always Listening, I wanted it to get a piece of music on there that may people connect to feeling appreciated. And Daniel and I, you and I talked about this, that we really created the intention we wanted to help people tap into that state. And so I started, first of all, I wanted to get myself in a thankful state before the compositional process, because it’s my belief that everything goes in to the composition, just as, when you’re writing a book, you can feel the author’s authenticity when you read specific words that they wrote, how has that right? That you can actually feel their emotion in that line? I believe that goes into the music as well, and is part of the recipe. But when I was creating Thankful, which is music for appreciation, Donnie’s my wife who is a nature, pathic medical doctor, I didn’t tell her what the song was about. And she came into the room and she just sat down in the corner and she said, wow, I really need this. Whatever you’re playing this music right now is just bringing me into the state of appreciation. And I was like wow–
I guess I landed on this one because that’s what this piece is about. And so for her in that moment, that piece of music that she was listening to, the power to create a new autobiographical memory for her, so now she’s connected to that piece of music, moving her to a state of appreciation. And so when you find the piece of music that you love move beyond it just being a random experience and saying, wow, that’s awesome I feel great from this piece of music, but asking ourselves the next question, how can I incorporate this into my day? So that instead of a random experience, it becomes a transformational experience. And that’s really where my interest lies. And I know that it’s where your interest lies as well. I want people to move to a state of transformation where after they listened to a piece of our music, they’re moving into a state where they’re better than they were before they listened to it. And so, you know, it’s an improvement. It’s a step up in their energy that they can now plug in to their day. And that’s where we can take this.
That’s conscious living as opposed to unconscious living.
Correction instead of reaction.
And I actually called my clinic. It was called, it was actually called the center for effective living, but I want us to have conscious lives rather than unconscious lives. And just putting on this album or any of our albums helps you do that. It helps you direct your energy to what you like rather than what you don’t like, or rather what’s random or what’s even worse, what is used to manipulate your mind.
Like the news.
Well, the social dilemma, remember when we were looking at companies who manipulate our mind to make money for their advertisers and we all need to be warriors and really guard against that.
Yeah, I know this is such a good point, but even within your albums, like I know certain people are drawn to certain sounds. It’s so interesting to me because even within like, I loved Brain Warrior’s Way and the next one after that was…
Bright minds, I love Bright Minds. But I find myself drawn to the drums and the bass and away from the other, like music that doesn’t have heavy bass or drums and it feels a little flighty to me I don’t know if that makes sense at all. It doesn’t feel, I can’t sort of grab onto it. And so what is it about certain sounds that make certain people react?
Yeah. And well, you’ll be glad to know too. The, so in Your Brain is Always Listening the first two pieces, I really wanted to take people on a journey and it does have some drums and bass, you know, as you go on, because I feel that these kind of anchor you in and help you move energy, you know? So when those drums come on, it creates a movement that helps you move into releasing something like releasing anxiety. It helps you move into connecting to appreciation because the symbols swell and the drums open up and your heart opens up with that. And in general, you know, like low frequencies, think about that. They’re low right base as you go up. I think of it like building a house, but you build on a foundation and the lower frequencies are the foundation of the music and connect us to be more grounded. You know? So the base, you probably like that because if it makes you feel like you, you have your footing and you’re grounded and you’re safe, you know, and you’re nurtured. And within that, you can actually have something to hold on to.
Yeah and I feel more energy.
Yeah. And you know, the other way around, as well, if you think of those higher frequencies, you know, they tend to be more Ethereum. And, you know, the Native Americans talked about this as above so below. So when we’re kind of bringing ancient and modern together, you know, I like to cover a lot of the frequency spectrum and a piece where it’s lows and highs, but we can incorporate both into those higher energies, connect those more to a sense of spirituality or a sense that there’s something beyond us and the lower ones connect us more to the earth. We have a more rounded experience.
That is so interesting. That’s cool.
I wonder if there’s any connection to music our mothers listened to when she was pregnant with us or music that our grandparents responded to positively or negatively that actually gets written in our genetic code. I think musical skill, musical preference, probably they’re genetic codes for those things and what we like and what we don’t like.
Yeah. I think a lot of it’s passed down. I know that when, you know, I listened to anything, that’s like Frank Sinatra, cause my dad loved Frank Sinatra, I immediately, you know, can feel my dad’s energy. My mother, you know, loved Chopin, and she also loved Tom Jones. You know? So when my mom passed, you know, talking about playlists and how people can create their own programs, I created a music program to help me move through grief because during the process of her passing, you know, I had to show up and be there for the family, and, you know, I had to take care of a lot of things that a lot of people do when someone passes and I wasn’t able to fully grieve. And I realized that months later that I hadn’t, and I said, I want to put together a playlist that honors my mom.
So it was kind of very out there because it has beautiful classical music, but it also had Tom Jones on it, What’s New Pussycat, you know, and I just said, for this 10 minutes, I just really want to allow myself to do whatever needs to be done. And I started sobbing in that peace and releasing that grief, but also just felt a connection to her and felt really happy. You know? So it’s a great way. When you talked about healing, you know, what is healing? It gets into a larger conversation, but for me, anytime we can release a block, not just physically, but mentally emotional spiritually, when we can release something and become lighter, we’ve experienced a healing of some kind and music, you know, utilizing these playlists and different types of music, it’s like nourishing ourselves, just like we do with food. I call it musical nourishment. We have the ability to nourish ourselves with music.
Well, and music has been used in psychiatric circles for a long time as a specific form of therapy. And that’s what we think of is with our poor Alvin therapeutic interventions that have no side effects. I love that. When we come back, we’re going to talk about each of the pieces and our new album. Your brain is always Listening. Stay with us.
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