With the increase in the stress and the tension levels in our lives, the dependence on medicines has increased considerably. To eliminate the use of medicines and to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, music has been chosen as the medium by Piyali Maitra (Gayaki Mata) and Dr. Avijit Ghosh (Sarod Baba). In a conversation with Sholoana Bangaliana Corespondent Priyanka Dutta, Dr. Avijit Ghosh revealed why they chose this path of music to eradicate tension.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– What is music therapy?
Avijit Ghosh– We are involved in the process of treating human minds which are suffering from stress, anxiety, tension etc with the help of live music. It can be Indian or western music. Music therapy helps the troubled mind to get a soothing effect. I am one of the musicians in Kolkata who has started this. I choose a specific raag and play it on my sarod. If it is a morning recital I choose a morning raag and for an evening recital, a Raag suiting the occasion. I play the raga in an alaap and start the session with an Omkar Sadhana.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– What are the benefits of music therapy?
Avijit Ghosh– Music can help to calm the anxious and agitated patients and help to enliven the depressed patients. This is the magic of music. Many hospitals in Chennai and also abroad have started music workshops for the patients. The passive form is beneficial in enhancing concentration and memory, reducing stress, heart problems and hypertension. The active form is of immense help in treating neurological problems. Playing soft music in the background while working at one’s desk has also been found to reduce stress. Music therapy not only instills self-confidence in employees but also explores hidden talent within the organization. For sure, music does play an important role in many of our lives and such participatory activities enhance people’s productivity levels to a great extent. I did conduct seminars which showed amazing results. I have done workshops in renowned schools. It benefitted students a lot.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– What inspired you to do this?
Avijit Ghosh– Way back in 2002 when I had a workshop “Reduction of stress and mental strain with live Indian music” in Malaysia it was very helpful. There was no Indian music in the Rainforest World Music Festival. I was the first Indian musician to play there. I performed three stages of alaap for nearly 2hours.Thereafter when I realized if western audience can grasp the feel and leave with a calm mind, the Indian audience who are aware of Indian music can automatically do it.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– How do you see the present scenario of music therapy?
Avijit Ghosh– Across the world, physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, psychologists are seeking the help of music therapists for better results. In the U.S., you can claim insurance money you spend on music therapy. It’s a proper science. Though, new in India, music therapy is gaining significant popularity. It is at the take-off stage. But awareness is growing multi-fold and is increasingly acceptable to many organizations and a few centers of training for music therapists have been set up. Some hospitals are training psychology postgraduates and doctors in music therapy too. Introducing music therapy in hospitals of Kolkata is very much necessary.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– How do you plan to take this treatment mode ahead and reach out to more people?
Avijit Ghosh– I am using music as a healing aspect. I believe Indian musicians should have a social responsibility. I released an album on stress management through music in association with a group called Serge run by Brandon Maccarthy. I am doing live music therapy sessions with renowned schools and corporate bodies too. The more the responsible position more is the tension and stress. I am trying my level best to promote music therapy and help people come out from sleeping pills.