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Listening to the Oldies
Our local radio station plays all “oldies.” In this case, the oldies are songs from the 70's. Other stations refer to the “oldies” as songs that came from the 50's. Then there are those that refer to a special selection of songs as “classic oldies.” Those would be songs that were made very popular by musicians like Elvis Presley, the BeeGees, the Beetles, the Carpenters, and other musical icons of the past. But what about the oldies of all oldies? The real classic oldies? Or should I say classical oldies? You know, the ones by those good old boys like Mozart, Bach, Pachelbel, and Beethoven.

Classical music has been shown to improve mood, calm nerves, and improve the function of the brain. Listening to these oldies not only benefits all forms of depression, but is a benefit to anyone who happens to live in this stressful world. Dr. Neil Nedley, expert on depression recovery, reminds us that we don't have to actually enjoy classical music to benefit from it. In my own depression recovery, I chose to listen to classical music as medicine. What I discovered, however, was that the more I listened to it, the less it seemed like medicine and the more it seemed like food! This is the effect that it has on most people if they will just give it a try.It's important to know that all forms of classical music will not bring the same benefit. It is best to stick with the true oldies such as Albinoni, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and other traditional composers rather than going with experimental creations of the classics. Listening to classical music no less than one hour every two weeks will help lift your mood and establish good mental clarity. Listening daily is even better! Why not give the oldies a chance? Here are some suggestions for infusing the benefits of classical music into your daily life:

1. Sweating to the Oldies. A few years ago, I purchased an exercise video called "Sweating to the Oldies" with Richard Simmons (no relation as far as I know). I enjoyed the exercise routines that were done to songs of the 50's. But this morning, for the first time, my husband put on a classical CD while we did our morning exercise routine. It was great!

2. Set your car radio to a classical music station.
Public radio stations are good sources for this. Often our most stressful times are when we are driving to or from work. So tune in the oldies and tune out the stress.

3. Listen at home.
One person from the depression recovery program gave a testimony of how listening to power classical music in the morning and relaxing classical music before she went to bed made all the difference in her day, not only in mood but in productivity as well. If you don't want to invest in CDs, there are places online you can find classical music. A couple of choices are: www.drnedley.com and www.pandora.com. I enjoy going to those web sites and having the classical music playing in the background while I'm working on the computer. I find I am much more productive. In fact, as I'm writing this, I'm listening to Strauss.

4. If you are a student, take seriously the scientific research that has proven that listening to classical music before studying or taking tests improves test scores! Again, though, stick with the traditional oldies, not the experimental ones.

5. Share the oldies.
Next time you're looking for a good gift to give someone and you can't think of anything they don't already have, pick up a CD of the real oldies! Good chance they won't already have it.
It has been said that classical music “isn't for everyone.” I agreed with that in the past. But I am now convinced that while it may not suit everyone's particular tastes in music, it does speak to everyone's need. We all have human brains and we all live in a challenging world. And since the human brain does respond positively in a variety of ways to classical music, it does speak to everyone. Why not take a listen?

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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