Music is medicine.
There’s something about music, especially live music, that can help the body heal and improve the quality of life, according to the American Psychological Association.
Studies abound on the health benefits of music and how it can promote wellness. It can be used as therapy, to reduce stress and can even improve the functioning of the immune system. One study found it was actually more effective than prescription drugs to reduce anxiety before surgery.
As one of the healthiest communities in the country, Boulder gets this. That’s why when Boulderites listen to music, it’s not just for fun. Much local live music has a secondary purpose.
Here are nine of the many ways that you can enjoy music for wellness in Boulder County.
1. Sound Therapy
Visit a professional, board-certified music therapist for one on one therapy using music.
2. Vibrational Healing
Music is a type of vibration (and vice versa), and vibrations can also have a powerful effect on people. Atma Buti is a sound and vibrational healing school in Boulder that teaches people how to use traditional Tibetan singing bowls. Atma Buti means “soul medicine” in Sanskrit. The school is accredited by the state’s Department of Higher Education.
3. Somatic Dance
Somatic dance is a popular style of dance in Boulder. You can find somatic-inspired dance classes at dance and fitness studios. You can also study it at Naropa University. That program brings together dance and creativity with psychotherapy. It’s considered a type of dance and movement therapy.
Looking for healing dance offerings in Boulder? Look for classes that incorporate the Gestalt-based Moving Cycle or Authentic Movement.
4. Yoga With Live Music
Yoga to live music is a different way to experience the yoga flow. It can deepen or transform the practice. You can regularly find yoga classes with live music or live DJs. Check the Boulder Live Music Yoga Meet-Up group for local offerings.
The annual Hanuman Festival, a large yoga fest in downtown Boulder, also brings in live music. If you venture just a bit beyond Boulder, check out the Friday Night Yoga Club.
5. Music and Hiking
Studies show that health benefits from spending more time outside in nature. And just moving your body and going on a hike can enhance wellness. Add music to the mix for the magical trifecta. You can find occasional guided hikes that include singing or music.
One regular option is Meadow Music, offered by the popular, family-friendly, local group Jeff & Paige. On most Mondays in the summer, this group offers free concerts on the lawn at Chautauqua Park. Start with a short, kid-appropriate hike (about 30 minutes) up the mountain. While you hike, you’ll sing. Afterward, gather on the grass for a full hour-long concert. Bring a healthy picnic to enjoy while you listen.
The Boulder Philharmonic also offers Music Hikes as part of its ongoing Nature and Music series, a collaboration between the classical music group and the city’s Open Space and Mountain Parks division. Music Hikes are guided music hikes led by a naturalist. The free, public hikes are inspired by specific works of music.
6. Sound Healing Concerts
A private session isn’t the only way to experience sound healing. Sound healing concerts bring together musicians with sound healers to create a meditative, creative concert designed to stimulate overall well being.
Louisville jazz pianist Scott Martin joined sound healer Rica Potenz earlier this month for a concert at the Center for the Arts in Louisville. The show included jazz music, prayer bowls, a gong, singing and percussion, set in an art gallery.
A kirtan is a chanting and meditation group. It can be religious or meditative and is often woven into the yoga scene. Boulder has regular kirtans. For example, the Bhakti Shakti Boulder Kirtan Chanting and Meditation Groups meet every Sunday to chant simple mantras as a “kirtan choir” to the accompaniment of live music. The group meets at the Vali Soul Sanctuary on east Valmont. As many as 50 people join together for the event, which is presented with tea and snacks.
8. Gong Baths
Gong baths are another way to experience vibration for healing, relaxation and meditation. Dharma Vibration is one local group that organizes gong baths.
9. Live Music Fitness Classes
Working out to music is nothing new. But occasionally, you can find fitness classes done to live music, and that provides an entirely different atmosphere.