The Introverted Artiste and his God

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Music as an ‘Object’ of Attachment 

Musicians and artistes differ in their approaches and passion for music. However, most who I have observed appear to receive some sort of cathartic release through their art. With the exception of those who enter the music industry for popularity and glamour, artistes tend to be interesting in terms of their relationships with music. Their attachment to their art seems to be almost like an attachment with a person. In Psychology we often refer to ‘object relations’ theory, which essentially describes how individuals relate to others in relationships as linked with their initial early attachments with primary caregivers. But I wonder how this may be linked with artistes whose art itself may become an ‘object’ to which they attach their needs, their hopes, their aspirations and their dreams.

Spiritual Connection Through Music 

So when I met Mr. Mehboob Nadeem during his Indian Classical Summer School course at SOAS University, which I eagerly enrolled for a few years ago, I wasn’t surprised by his passion and dedication for music. However, what did surprise me then and in subsequent courses with him was his attachment to God. I experienced him to be incredibly spiritual, and when I first heard him sing a Sufi song (“Yah Gharib Nawaz”) I was taken aback by his spiritual connection with Islamic mysticism.

It is interesting how little we know of the internal world of such artistes who appear to be somewhat introverted. Those who have their needs met through their attachment to God and their art perhaps have little need for worldly interests. Perhaps there is something ultimately divine in Indian Raga. It is said that such music represents sounds of nature and in Hindu scriptures, Indian Raga is believed  to represent Ultimate Truth. Each note (Sa Re Ga etc) is considered to correspond to the different chakras, and thereby each note is thought to activate different energy channels which have a direct effect on the mind and body.

Divine Faith Vs Logical Reasoning 

I am not sure how much I believe or understand the above. There is no clinical evidence for it, but somehow listening to Mr. Nadeem singing  a Sufi song and now listening to this sitar recital makes me wonder. What is it that we don’t understand in the West about music and its spiritual source? What is it we don’t understand about the internal workings of such introverted artistes? Perhaps they themselves don’t know  and are simply gifted with talent and an innate connection which ‘logical’ people like myself will never truly comprehend.

I often search for suitable music to use in relaxation exercises and I find Indian Raga both soothing and energising. There is a lot more to learn about this, and perhaps genuinely gifted artistes like Mr. Nadeem can help us clinicians and students of music to try and understand in order to make Indian Raga more accessible for the mainstream public.

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Raga Therapy: An Experiential Workshop on Indian Classical Singing

Raga Therapy: An Experiential Workshop,  29 November 2017 5.30pm-7pm

What is Raga Therapy?

Raga Therapy is essentially the practice of using Indian Classical Music for enhancing physical and emotional wellbeing. Singing specific notes is believed to activate specific energy channels around the body which can have a positive effect on your overall wellbeing.

Who will be facilitating this Workshop?

Mehboob Nadeem is a British sitarist with international recognition as an artist of great repute. He teaches Indian classical singing at the School Of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and performs both as a sitarist and vocalist. Mr. Nadeem will be taking a lead for teaching the basics of Indian Classical singing and Dr. Sidrah Muntaha, Clinical Psychologist will facilitate the overall workshop including discussions around mental health and the emotional impact of specific music.

What will be covered in the Workshop?

This will be an experiential workshop so although Sidrah will provide a background to the therapeutic benefits of music and singing, the focus will be for participants to experience this for themselves. The following areas will be covered:

1. Breathing techniques (linked with behavioural relaxation exercises)

2. Vocal warm up exercises using Indian notes.

3. Learning a specific Raga (set of notes) which is believed to reduce stress and promote emotional well-being.

4. Learning to sing a semi-classical song (depending on progress).

5. Discussion about how Indian Raga can be applied to every day life to promote wellbeing and help with stress management.

Who can take part in this Workshop?

This workshop is open only to NELFT NHS staff with an interest in alternative healing and music/arts. Prior singing experience is not a requirement although any musical background would be an advantage.

Who do I contact for further information?

For further information, please contact Sidrah.Muntaha@nelft.nhs.uk/ 07949 268 017 or to book your place, please see Ticket Bookings.