The therapy of music performance


 Winter is most definitely here and with it brings darker and colder days. These wintery days are no friend to people who suffer from depression. If you’re one of those people then you may have found yourself drifting slowly into a darker place lately, and wondering why you’ve lost your motivation.

I’m a depressive and I can’t deny I suffer from this on a daily basis. Some days are worse than others and those are the days when I feel myself sinking into a dark pit. Lucky for me, I have some proven ways of picking myself up and rising above the pit.

One of the best way’s for me, as a musician, is to pick up a guitar and chuck on a backing track (ie: While my guitar gently weeps or Little Wing) and just let myself completely loose on the instrument. After I have finished playing lead guitar for an hour and I feel positively boasted. Somehow the act of improvising the notes with your soul taps into the heart of your pain; kneading the notes over and over so that the vibrations produced are like waves on which the pain rides out of your soul. It is truly liberating and leaves you feeling lifted and much lighter than before.

I guess the important ingredient to start with is a sense of ‘feel’ for your playing and the ability to improvise freely. Because it is through ‘feel’ that you exorcise the pain, and it is from doing this in freeform that you can locate it in the first place. Playing your own tune, so to speak, so that you can really dig under your own walls and lift them long enough for some of the darkness and weight to leave. Believe me, this works and does make a difference.

The pure act of unleashing your emotions through your musical instrument, It is an incredibly powerful way for a musician to channel their feelings, and considering that most musicians are prone to depression, then this is the perfect way for them to fight it. If you are not musically gifted then there are certainly other effective ways to combat depression; including exercise, socialising, amongst other proven methods. Exercise, like music, is also a very powerful way to fight depression, and works well as a preventative, especially during the winter months.

It’s a lot to do with mind over matter. When you’re depressed you don’t feel like doing anything. But that is the time to remember the real power of exercise or music. It’s not easy to motivate yourself to do something like this when you’re spiralling down, but those are the times to concientously & pro-actively remind yourself. ie: know that there are very real benefits to gain and all it takes is to pick up your guitar, or jump on your exercyle for a short period of 15 – 20 minutes or ring up a good friend. Just one foot in front of the other, so to speak. After which you will feel better and your world will become much brighter. Onwards and upwards, rather than backwards and downwards. When you’ve proved it to yourself at least once then the next time will become easier to apply yourself. Half of the battle is really just knowing that you can manage a way through.

Don’t give in to the wintery blues, Don’t give in to depression. Take the simple step of applying one of these proven techniques. Whether it’s though music, exercise, or socialising, be sure to apply your weapon of choice in the fight against the gloom.

*NB: these are suggestions only and are not the advice of a professional therapist. Please consult a professional if your depression is more severe or of a ‘clinical depressive’ nature. The fight against depression can be a complicated affair, and can take more than just one solution.

“Music is my salvation. Music keeps me sane in an insane world. Music feeds me. Music loves me. Music is always there for me. Rock n roll is my only religion, where no other gods come before music other than the gods of rock n roll”

– By Kingsley Smith

KingsleyKingsley Smith is a veteran musician who cut his teeth in the Hamilton music scene 25 years ago. He has been in dozens of original and cover bands. Has opened for Tania Donnelly, Anika Moa, Pluto, Renee Geyer, and The Black Seeds. Has 3 solo albums and recorded keyboards for other artists including Cassidy and Max Creepy. He is a multi-instrumentalist in his home recording studio and has been working hard this past year on new material for a new studio rock project known as Audio Storm. Kingsley also produce’s and DJ’s a music radio show called the NZ Hard Rock Show featuring the latest original hard rock from all around the country. It is played on 12 FM stations around NZ and also overseas on Rock Bandom Radio.


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