Your Blog Title

Rhythmic Sensory Stimulation 

If you are a musician, you know the beautiful effects of sound and music. But isn’t it sad that the general public and governments don’t realize its effects on our health? If they would only realize this, then music education and live music in general could be more integrated into everyone's daily living. 

There are many incredible effects of tonal music and other vibrations whether or not it is produced rhythmically, especially the effects of vibration and resonance during singing, both within our own bodies and its vibrational effects on others. But for now, I am going to focus specifically on rhythmic sound stimulation. 

I've been searching for a scientific explanation(s) as to why I have found rhythmic sound stimulation so powerful, whether instrumentally, vocally or through the drum, but especially during my experiences with Samba Squad more recently (ie scientific explanations beyond the social elements, the required focus and concentration and the friendly energy) as well as my pre Samba Squad experiences with:  Ballet Creole, COBA and independent teachers from West Africa and its Diaspora.

Sometimes, it is very challenging to explain because there are so many factors involved such as dynamics, the integration of frequencies from a variety of instruments, DNA, and spirituality. But I thought I'd share a tiny bit of what I've located in my search, in the event you didn’t already know about the effects of 40 hz (eg the lowest E on the piano). It would appear that 40 hz helps all parts of the brain communicate with each other and brings everything into sync (the paper below demonstrates that there may even be benefits for those with Alzheimers). 

As musicians we intuitively know that the interconnectedness of drums and other instruments integrate various frequencies and that complex rhythms can create a tremendously powerful effect on the brain and health in general. But narrowing in on one isolated frequency is so fascinating in and of itself. This might explain a small fraction of my positive experiences with sound in general. 

Science is only a way to prove what we already know from experience. Unfortunately, the general public and policy makers/government want this kind of proof. Why won't they take a master drummer like Rick Shadrach Lazar (leader of Samba Squad) and the experience of a Toronto School Board educator like Janet McClelland's (Samba Squad administrator) word for it? Why won't they listen to Master Drummers from around the world who know?  My understanding is that Indigenous Healers (who use sound) know in intimate detail what science is only now being able to prove through the use of newer technology.  The following is only a glimpse at some of the scientific proof. 

"There is substantial evidence that coherent 40 Hz 
neural oscillation is a fundamental frequency of 
healthy brain activity and of intra-brain communication 
[8–10]. Further it has been determined that the 
40 Hz oscillation is a covariate of cognition and not 
simply an induced sensory phenomenon [9]. This is 
important for persons diagnosed with AD since they 
appear to have lower levels of 40 Hz oscillation than 
persons of the same age with ‘normal’ brains [8]. 
Important for the premise of the present study is the 
finding that auditory stimulation in ‘normal’ persons 
can reset the 40 Hz oscillation [9]. More recently, it 
has been shown that 40 Hz steady state oscillation can 
be stimulated or “driven” with vibration [11]. 

"The quantitative results of the study are encouraging 
and suggest that 40 Hz stimulation over time 
can lead to increased cognition. Further studies are 
needed to confirm this and to assess which if any of 
the AD groups (mild, moderate, severe) benefit the most 
from this treatment." 

Clements-Cortes, A., Ahonen, H., Freedman, M., & Bartel, L. (2016). Rhythmic sensory stimulation and alzheimer's disease. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 25, 17 

This paper is referenced in this video talk below at around 10:40 minutes


And a great Samba Squad performance at this link!