Healing at the Speed of Sound

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Don Campbell explains how we can use music-and silence-to become more efficient, productive, relaxed, and healthy. Each chapter of Healing at the Speed of Sound: How What We Hear Transforms Our Brains and Our Lives focuses on a single aspect of everyday life, providing advice, exercises, playlists. The book also shares stories of how real people use the power of sound to improve their lives.


Don Campbell

Comments [32]

Lyla Burns

Thank you for providing this great read. I notice that when I have music playing throughout my real estate office, things go much more smoothly. I feel like the office is more productive when there is some sort of music playing because the chattering is taken down a bit. Thanks for sharing!

May. 23 2012 10:30 AM
Amy from Manhattan

A friend of mine had trouble learning rote things. Her family was very musical, & her mother set her lessons to music, which proved very helpful to her. She was diagnosed w/ADHD as an adult.

My musical problem is that I can't stand Muzak/easy listening "music" & can't screen it out! Sometimes I just have to leave the area where it's being played.

BTW, I thought Mozart didn't write the "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" melody but wrote intricate variations on it when he was something like 9 years old.

Oct. 19 2011 01:03 AM
Margaret from Somerset, NJ

I love music -- when it's for listening to. I hate music as background. I hate having to endure the constant muzak, radios playing, etc., in every business and public place there is.

Reading a previous commenter's posting, I recall having read that exposure to the deep bass pounding, some even below the frequency we can hear, can definitely be harmful to one's physical health and even the health of unborn children.

I wish we had more peace and quiet!

Oct. 18 2011 04:41 PM
Connie from Westchester

As one who learned French as a six year old (and later became a French teacher) I can vouch for the fact that a child can learn a foreign language best if the child is very young. I, too, am an ardent music lover. I share all the "pleas" for less invasive noise in the city. In the country, however, we have the "curse" of the leaf blowers, lawn mowers and chain saws .The local police seem to get their greatest satisfaction from a blaring siren just to answer a (usually false) burglar alarm! I know it is harder than ever for students to "hear" nuances of sounds due to inundation of noises from the technological gadjets that bombards their ears (brains?) . This guest is "right on".
Sorry to drone pun intended!

Oct. 18 2011 12:59 PM
mark from NJ

STEP ONE: Turn off talk radio.

Oct. 18 2011 12:58 PM
Estelle from Austin

Leslie the flight attendant: I have noticed this as a passenger, and it absolutely does agitate me, just as you suspect!

Oct. 18 2011 12:55 PM

How is this any different from the Muzak studies of the 50s and 60s?

Oct. 18 2011 12:54 PM
Eric from Nyc

Good show. Music is very important, right music for right time...Do you guys know of Roger Eno's music? Very healing and moving.

Oct. 18 2011 12:53 PM
Suzi Blade from Austin

After my daily vocal exercises and running through a song or two, I sometimes feel a physiological euphoria that I attribute to the higher levels of oxygen I am getting through the deep, rhythmic breathing. (The rest of the day, I'm a rather stressed person who probably takes shallow breaths.)

Oct. 18 2011 12:53 PM
Asaf Soof from Union Sq

What a shill this guy. So self promoting and pretentious - Meditation, long walk along the beach, star gazing, reading a book will have the same influence. Music and chanting are only part of it. And classical music - bla bla bla I am so refined...

Oct. 18 2011 12:51 PM
Leslie from New York City

I am a Flight Attendant. Airline companies are adding loud music to boarding lounges at airports on top of local vendor's music on top of boarding announcements. Then, we're required to play modern rock music on the aircraft during passenger boarding. Passengers are coming on the plane aggitated and grouchy. Shouldn't there be only soft classical music to sooth people instead of aggitate them?

Oct. 18 2011 12:49 PM
jayr from queens

does your guest speak in a rhythmic pattern purposefully? I notice a controlled pace in how he speaks.

Oct. 18 2011 12:49 PM
Lucy from Montville, New Jersey

This show is so amazing. I'm a classical musician (opera singer) who grew up surrounded by classical music. I started out playing the recorder then to flute but as a voice major I had to take piano but I found that I could never read two lines. Very frustrating for me, my parents (sister & mother played piano) but I now feel like a weight is lifted off my shoulders after the discussion of liner music learning. I also could never do math but was a great english student. I also taught Music Together and feel that music should be taught to all children.
I too am upset but the onslaught of sound around us. When you go to places like Disney you are bombarded by sound 24/7. My family and I were at the Javits center for Comic Con on Sunday and we could not wait to get home to silence. The noise was overwhelming to the point of sensory overload.

Oct. 18 2011 12:46 PM
Will from Montclair, NJ

It's kind-of funny that Don Campbell is such a bombastically fussy person,
with an occasionally infantilizing way of speaking,
that you can't learn from him b/c he's so impossible to listen to.

Oct. 18 2011 12:42 PM
Dan K from Washington Heights

Regarding Moshe's comment: I'm only guessing, but I think the reason that sirens on emergency vehicles have gotten noisier and busier is because the public had become inured to the old-style simple sirens. I certainly had. I no longer even turned around when I heard a siren on the street. Now I stop and take notice, which is the point of a siren.

Oct. 18 2011 12:26 PM
Dom from lost in NJ

Music is important - I recall reading that Max Planck and Albert Einstein used to meet every Wednesday to "jam" - Planck on the piano and Einstein on the violin...

Oct. 18 2011 12:25 PM
Dave from Manhattan

Just turned in mid-show. As someone with ADHD, white noise is just added noise and it never fades into the background. When the ventilation blower in an office switches to after-hours mode, I suddenly brief a sigh of relief and feel as if I don't have to fight against it to think.

Oct. 18 2011 12:24 PM
Al from NYC

can you please ask your guest if he ever heard the reciting of the Quran and what he thinks of the rhythm and musical qualities within it

Oct. 18 2011 12:24 PM

Some music (rap always, certain operatic arias) literally sets my nerves on end. Is this any explanation for this phenomenon? PS- the mellifluous tones of this guest's speech is as delightful as music!

Oct. 18 2011 12:21 PM

Also: I always block my ears when a particularly loud / screechy subway train comes by, and always get odd looks. Have most citydwellers already become so deaf that they aren't bothered? Would you recommend ear-plugs for going about everyday outdoor life in the city?

Oct. 18 2011 12:21 PM

Apparently, the _number 1_ complaint category for 311 is noise, but New York lusts after ever more noise. Endless noise. People blasting car stereos. Horns. Squealing brakes. Car alarms. Trucks grinding down streets at ever time (except, of course, the streets of the wealthy -- Bloomberg's street is dead quiet in the wee hours).

Oct. 18 2011 12:18 PM

What do your guest think of the aesthetization of noise in much of contemporary classical music, often inspired by modern urban experience? Does listening to too much dissonance, even musical dissonance, also create stress?

Oct. 18 2011 12:17 PM
moshe from UWS

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
for bringing this issue up. it is the mandated policy of NYPD & FDNY to make noise, louder as possible, to show presence and sometimes to show force.
smaller car and gentler sirenes as in Holland would do as well.
same applies to back up noises, buses reclining noise, alarms, etc. etc.
please help!!!!

Oct. 18 2011 12:16 PM
Cynthia from Brooklyn

What about those alarmed subway exit gates? They seem to be muffled at some busy Manhattan stations, but here in Brooklyn they're cruel and unusual.

Oct. 18 2011 12:14 PM
Michael from Williamsburg

Just had to turn up the radio to hear it over the unending construction around my apartment.

Oct. 18 2011 12:14 PM
dan k from chelsea

as architects we purposely add sound, like air conditioning to interior spaces, to drain out other random noise with a constant one, in hotels. We do the same in open offices to give greater privacy to those working from others on the phones or in conferences. Bars and restaurants also play music to make their customers feel a greater sense of privacy. Go into one with no sound and you'll likely turn right around

Oct. 18 2011 12:14 PM
LL from UWS

Another question: What about "choral reading" for elementary school students? We did this back in the 1950s. Does this help with learning?

Please invite this guest back--often!

Oct. 18 2011 12:13 PM
Matt from Madison, WI

It's not musical, but during the 2008 elections I was listening to Democracy Now every day. After passing out in a restaurant from a panic attack (I was reading The Shock Doctrine and had just seen Battle in Seattle too). I had to stop. I've been listening to you and Brian since, and feeling much better. Thanks!

Oct. 18 2011 12:13 PM
LL from UWS

Ooooh...Please tell me some scientific facts about the negative effects of BASS sounds...that Boom Boom Ka-Boom pounding that comes through the floors and walls from my neighbors. (Neighbors are lovely people and I hate to disturb their fun but. . . .)

Oct. 18 2011 12:11 PM
michael from greenpoint

i'm annoyed by the sound of this blowhard and his voice.

Oct. 18 2011 12:11 PM
Alison from UWS

I would like to hear how music and sound therapy helps children/people with autism. What the therapy is like, methods used and research validating the efficacy.

Oct. 18 2011 12:06 PM
LL from UWS

The difference between hearing live vs. recorded sounds? Or making the sounds oneself?

Ideas for sleep-inducing sounds?

I trust you will discuss how this brain research was done but I'd like to know more about the state of research and what the future may hold.

Oct. 18 2011 10:23 AM

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