How Music Helped Me Battle Lyme Disease

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300 different symptoms are associated with Lyme Disease. I think I’ve experienced most of them. I started feeling sick when I was 8. Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong because of the large range of symptoms. There were so many different ways that I hurt. My pain was at a seven. Seven was my baseline.

11 years of testing and doctors without any solution or relief. When I was 19 I was finally diagnosed. FINALLY AN ANSWER. A culprit. A name for my pain. I can remember how relieved I was when we finally had an answer. It gave me a new outlook. I thought the doctors know what’s wrong and they can treat me and I’m going to feel better.

That wasn’t the case. It meant more doctors, more traveling, more pills, and more unanswered questions. In the midst of everything my older brother Eric started playing the acoustic guitar.  He played all the time and he was good. He naturally caught on and he had rhythm. I had always been interested in music but that interest became an obsession when I saw my brother start playing. I had to start playing too. Playing the guitar always made me feel better. Even when I was weak and it was difficult to find the energy, it always made me feel better to hit those strings. Instant relief. When I was sick I didn’t have the power to do anything. But I had the power to make beautiful music that made me feel good inside and out. Most days were still a battle but in the back of my mind I knew I had my guitar and I could always play.

After I had been playing for a few years I still wasn’t getting any better. Out of frustration, I quit taking all the prescription meds and started taking Mitosynergy Supplements and continued playing guitar. The combination was what my body needed and what I was looking for. Mitosynergy impacts the bodies cell energy producers and helps your systems push out the bad and start rebuilding. Mitosynergy was giving me results and my body was rebuilding on the inside while I was rebuilding my soul through music.

Many people know that I have Lyme Disease and that I’m a musician. But not many of them know the true impact music has had on my life and continues to have each day. Music is a huge part of healing for me. I’m grateful to play and I’m gratedul to share my music with others. The journey I’ve been through is nothing compared to the journey music takes me on.

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Tunes I Rock

Its difficult for me to categorize my music. Its hard to pick one genre. I appreciate music of all styles and I’m influenced by music from all styles. And my music pulls from every style. Here’s a few of the artists that I’ve been jamming to recently. Some local, some mainstream, all incredibly talented musicians.

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Henhouse Prowlers I had the pleasure of seeing this group perform this summer at the first annual Blue Ox Bluegrass Festival in Eau Claire WI. Wow. I was sucked right in. Their finger picking was impressive and  they sounded so polished together. This band will be touring as long as they want to.

ben josephBen Joseph I met Ben in Chicago at Rax Trax Studio when I was recording my debut album “I Wrote These Songs For You.” His song “Dreaming of Electric Sheep” is a mood lifter. Its got almost a sexy jazz vibe to it.

Brian-Wilson-the-beach-boys-33556919-680-400Brian Wilson The impact that Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys had on the music industry is something that could never be measured. Brain pushed the limits early on and paved the way for others. Musical genius.

steam-powered-giraffeSteam Powered Giraffe This group is all about the experience. They are true performers. Their shows include comedic skits, multimedia visuals, steam effects, and robot pantomime. Their style might not be for everyone but their level of talent is unmatched.

Who Really Likes Getting Their Picture Taken

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By far my least favorite part of releasing a new album is the ever dreaded photo shoot. Being behind a microphone is awesome. Being on a stage is incredible. But being in front of that dang camera is a really awkward feeling. I’m always pleased with how the images come together but that awkward feeling still resonates inside. If anyone has tips or tricks to melt away the “all eyes on me” feeling, please do share. Here’s a tiny sneak peek.

Just Like That My Second Album Has a Title

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My second album is in the final stages of production.  As a musician and songwriter for 17 years I have never felt more excitement to show people my creation, my craft, and my talent. Dreams don’t work unless you do.

Photo shoot is scheduled, video shoot is scheduled, and one of my fans helped me come up with the title…’Welcome To My Head’. Counting down the weeks!

20 Surprising, Science-Backed Health Benefits of Music

“One good thing about music, is when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

Judging from the quote above, Bob Marley was part poet, part scientist. That’s because there’s truth to his head-bobbing lyrics from the song Trenchtown Rock. Research suggests that music not only helps us cope with pain — it can also benefit our physical and mental health in numerous other ways. Read on to learn how listening to tunes can ramp up your health.

RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT MUSIC CAN…

Help Physically:

1. Ease pain. Music can meaningfully reduce the perceived intensity of pain, especially in geriatric care, intensive care, or palliative medicine (an area of healthcare that focuses on preventing and relieving the suffering of patients) .

2. Motivate people to bike harder. A study of healthy male college students found that, while riding stationary bicycles, the participants worked harder while listening to fast music . Extra bonus: They also enjoyed the music more.

3. Improve running motivation and performance. Here’s an easy way to beat your best time if you’re a runner: Listen to your favorite “pump-up” music. Listening to music may help people run faster, boost their workout motivation, and enhance their endurance .

4. Increase workout endurance. Listening to those top workout tracks can boost physical performance and increase endurance during a tough exercise session . This works partly through the power of distraction: When we’re focusing on a favorite album, we may not notice that we just ran an extra mile .

5. Speed up post-workout recovery. One study found that listening to music after a workout can help the body recover faster . While slow music produced a greater relaxation effect post-exercise, it seems that any kind of music can help the physical recovery process.

6. Improve sleep quality. Listening to classical music has been shown to effectively treat insomnia in college students, making it a safe, cheap alternative to sleep-inducing meds .

7. Help people eat less. One study found that playing soft music (and dimming the lights) during a meal can help people slow down while eating and ultimately consume less food in one sitting (perhaps because slowing down helps them to be more mindful of fullness cues) .

8. Enhance blood vessel function. Scientists have found that the emotions patients experience while listening to music have a healthy effect on blood vessel function. Music both made study participants feel happier and resulted in increased blood flow in their blood vessels.

Help Mentally:

9. Reduce stress. Research has found that listening to music can relieve stress by triggering biochemical stress reducers (think of these physiological processes as anti-stress ninjas) .

10. Induce a meditative state. Listening to slow musical beats can alter brainwave speed, creating brainwave activity similar to when a person is meditating or in a hypnotic state. Some research suggests that using rhythmic stimuli (such as music) to induce these states can have a therapeutic effect, easing symptoms of migraines, PMS, and even behavioral issues .

11. Relieve symptoms of depression. When you’re feeling down in the dumps, music can help pick you up (much like exercise) . Research suggests the kind of music matters: Classical and meditative sounds seem to be particularly uplifting, whereas heavy metal and techno can actually make depressive symptoms worse.

12. Elevate mood. A 2013 study found that music helped put people in a better mood and get in touch with their feelings . Study participants rated “arousal and mood regulation” and “self-awareness” as the two most important benefits of listening to music.

13. Improve cognitive performance. Background music may enhance performance on cognitive tasks . One older study found that listening to music allowed test takers to complete more questions in the time allotted, and get more answers right . More recent research suggests that whether or not music improves cognitive function depends on whether the music first improves a person’s emotional state.

14. Help people perform better in high-pressure situations. Want to sink the game-winning shot when the pressure’s on? Listen to some upbeat tunes before the big game. One study found that basketball players prone to performing poorly under pressure during games were significantly better during high-pressure free-throw shooting if they first listened to catchy, upbeat music and lyrics.

15. Reduce anxiety as much as a massage. One study found that music’s effect on anxiety levels is similar to the effect of getting a massage . Here’s an idea: Treat yourself to a massage and bring your favorite chilled out tunes to play during the session. Double the relaxation!

16. Relax patients before surgery. One study found that listening to music helped put cardiovascular surgery patients at ease as they awaited their operations . That’s a major benefit for the nearly four million people who get heart surgery each year in the U.S.

17. Ease stress after surgery. Music isn’t only helpful pre-surgery. Another study revealed that listening to music while resting in bed after open heart surgery helped relax patients and decrease their stress levels.

18. Elevate mood while driving. Listening to music while driving can positively impact mood . So when you’re feeling cranky in the car, try cranking some of your favorite tunes.

19. Help cancer patients manage stress and anxiety. Music has been found to help cancer patients communicate their feelings, manage stress, and ease physical pain and discomfort . It can also reduce anxiety and improve their quality of life .

20. Ease recovery in stroke patients. Researchers in Finland concluded that when stroke patients listened to music for two hours a day, their verbal memory and attention improved and they had a more positive mood compared to patients who didn’t listen to music or who listened to audio books .

Regardless of your taste in music, it’s clear that tunes benefit our health. The best part? Now you have an excuse for blaring Beethoven while your roommate is trying to study.

The Rough Stuff

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I began recording my second album a few months ago at Studio H and I now have 14 rough cut songs. It can be difficult to understand what goes into recording an album. Everything else in your mind gets put on hold; you become completely consumed with making every song sound amazing. Its more than just the time and money spent in the studio. Its the countless hours of preparation writing the songs, composing the music, and finding other musicians. Now, if I could just come up with a name for the album!

Love & Mercy

bw“I would have the musicians keep playing over and over again till the sound made sense. I worked overtime on that; I worked hours to get it right. If the sound didn’t make any sense, then I wouldn’t know what to do — I’d be lost! It’s instinct that tells me. I have an instinct for music, or a feeling about it, and I’ll have my feelings guide my hands.”

— Brian Wilson

My Songwriting Process: No Paper Necessary

I often get asked about my song writing process. When I respond that I don’t sit down and write people are always surprised. I’m a songwriter that doesn’t physically write anything down. The story starts in my head, maybe with just one line or a few words. I grab an instrument and start playing. I continue to play and sing and then usually leave it for a little while. It gives me a chance to run words through my mind. I play. The song has a verse and a chorus. I take a break. I play. I play. I play. Never once picking up a pencil never once writing words down. My process is as much physical as it is mental. I let the song take its own shape.

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