Read and rock for mental health

Ever find yourself sitting at home wondering, gee, what could I possibly do on a Thursday night in October that could be both fun and uplifting while benefiting mental health efforts? 

Circle October 10 on your calendar, because here’s something that’s sure to work just fine. 

Join Jim Creeggan and Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies, David Bidini from the Rheostatics and The Good Lovlies for the launch of The Awesome Music Project, a fundraising initiative to help raise money in support of researching the intersection of music and mental health. 

“Researchers will study the effects of neurologic music therapy on brain systems using positron emission tomography (PET)-based brain imaging techniques,” the initiative’s website says. 

What does that mean, exactly? It means a group of people with depression will be studied before, during and after three months of music therapy, watching how their brains change and respond to music and the long- and short-term effects of that exposure. 

We all know that music is incredible and can healing properties when we’re having a bad day, but what the Awesome Music Project wants to establish is more research on how music can reduce stress, ease depression in teens and kids, improve the quality of life for dementia patients and even help premature babies grow and develop. 

Part of the fundraising effort is a book, a collection of stories from Canadians across the country sharing their experience with music. October 10 is the official launch party for the book, at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. There will be music, of course, and stories from Nobu Adilman from the illustrious Choir! Choir! Choir! , in addition to Shaun Brodie from the Queer Songbook Orchestra and Lt. Cmdr. Shekhar Gothi of the Canadian Armed Forces, who will talk about his time in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. 

In the book, by the way, are stories from Canadians including Sarah McLachlan, astronaut and David Bowie fan Chris Hadfield and Theo Fleury, among others, explaining the impact and importance music has had in their lives. 

It’s more than just a storybook, however: “Rounding out the book are descriptions of the neurological research confirming that music is good for us. It improves our mental, emotional and physical health, wards off depression and even delays dementia. Put simply: Music makes us feel good.” 

Among the organizations benefiting from sales of the Awesome Music Project book are the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the nation’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and included on a list of top research centres around the world. 

Interested? More information on the book is available here; tickets for the launch party can be purchased here.

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

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