I am excited to announce the launch of a new Sound Matters project exploring the power of sound as medicine against the stress and strain of modern life.
I have always found the power of music to evoke a phycological reaction fascinating; it’s amazing how a single piece of music can encourage relaxation, boost productivity, improve your mood – or even encourage reflection through sorrow. Music truly is powerful.
When it comes to productivity, however, some music can actually have the opposite effect. I’ve found this to be particularly true with music containing lyrics – instead favouring instrumental background music to aid study or concentration.
As one of the many poor souls who has to endure the pains of open office life on a day-to-day basis, I became increasingly interested in which sounds had a positive or negative impact on my creativity at work.
Some days I would listen to atmospheric electronic music (Brian Eno’s Music for Airports for example), other days I would opt for Jazz. Eventually, I began experimenting with non-musical sound to remove further the distraction of association that comes with memorable melody or motifs.
Firstly I found comfort in many natural sounds; from Birdsong to rain noise, I had discovered the power of natural sounds as the antidote to open-office stress.
Through this reflection, I began to join some dots from earlier on in life. For instance, I noticed a distinct link between how I would fall asleep to the sound of our household vacuum as a baby, and my tendency to sleep better as an adult when a fan is running. This connection ultimately led to my experimenting with white noise. Be it natural waterfall white noise, or the synthetic varieties of white, pink, or brown noise – my stress would melt away in the face of tight deadlines or anxiety.
Ultimately, however, white noise doesn’t work for everyone; my fiancee, for example, finds the stuff rather distressing and instead favours the soothing sound of bird song. Truthfully, I use a combination of synthetic and natural sounds to service a number of needs, with each sound possessing different qualities over the next.
You can learn more about my experience with White noise and natural sounds, here.
What is Sound as Medicine?
Sound as Medicine (as it’s aptly named) is an audio curation project. Starting with White Noise, I will regularly expand the library of sounds available and make them publicly available through the Sound Matters shop for your own experimentation and use.
As a Sound Matters group member, I would like to invite you to join me on my journey for powerful mind calming and productivity boosting sounds by letting me know your own experience with music or sound as a means of easing life’s challenges. Do feel free to contact me on [email protected] – I’d love to hear what works for you.
Finally, to follow me on my sound curation journey, do consider subscribing to the Sound Matters mailing list. I’d love to update you with new sounds and tips on staying healthy, productive, and stress-free using sound.