Tag Archives: Music

Tag Archives: Music

Music and the Brain Workshop with John McAndrewRecent studies show that music has healing effects as well as triggering effects for those in recovery from co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders. When we hear music, dopamine is released in the brain that creates pleasure. However, we know that memories are associated with music, which can trigger happiness or trauma. This session will review music and music therapies that are applied in a variety of treatment settings to bring about therapeutic change. Presenter John McAndrew will perform several compositions to describe the events in recovery that make a difference for people with substance use disorders, and dual diagnosis disorders.

Event Details:

WHAT: Music and the Brain Workshop
WHERE: Scarritt Bennett Center – 1027 18th Avenue South, Nashville TN 37212 – Laskey Welcome Center (2nd Floor-Laskey B)
WHEN: Friday, August 16, 2019
Registration/Breakfast: 8:30AM
Workshop: 9:00AM – 11:00AM
COST: $30.00 CEUs, $15.00 General Admission (Breakfast is included for all registrations)


Upon completion of this session, attendees will be able to:

  1. Define how music affects brain function in three different ways
  2. Describe how tonality is linked to emotions
  3. Experience a demonstration of how the brain predicts music and its effects on emotions

I’ve been playing music and telling stories in treatment centers for more years than I want to admit. But it has been decades. I’ve had a front row seat to how music effects the brain, the body and the spirit. It never ceases to amaze me when someone wakes up and starts their healing process right in front of our eyes.

I want to share a story that happened recently at Cumberland Heights where I work, and I call it, “The man who never wrote a song.”

It always starts with meeting them where they are musically speaking and spiritually speaking. What instrument can they play, and what are they comfortable doing. And where are they in honestly facing their disease and recovery. We start by playing together and talking about each other’s stories to see where the meeting place will be. This patient played guitar, but not for long, and was not real confident. But I made sure that he knew what he did know was good.

I asked this patient to start journaling about his thoughts and feelings and bring them next week to start writing a song. he said, ” I’ve never written a song, do you think I can?” I said, ” I know you can.”

The next week he brought some lyrics and we took pieces of those and added others and I started with some easy piano chords that he could join in on guitar with. We talked more about his powerlessness, and he said, “I ain’t going back!” That became the working title and the song flowed out of him after that. The voice he found was new to him and it was fun to see him smile about how well he could sing. We then recorded it in a rough fashion on a cell phone so we could remember what we did.

The following week we do a Spiritual Emphasis Day and often in the afternoon of that day patients get an opportunity to get up and do creative things in front of the whole population. This day “the man who never wrote a song” let alone perform in front of people, got up and did his song.

It was amazing to see him find things inside himself he never knew was there, and when the standing ovation faded, he was in tears. Here now stood a man who has made his first commitment to recovery and to the solution. It happens over and over again, and it is a testament to the power of the human spirit and music. I’m blessed to have had a front row seat.

Misuc & the Brain is a musical and spiritual journey from self-centeredness to humility, using stories and songs. This journey is a long and difficult one in recovery.Singer/songwriter and piano player John McAndrew, Bogie Bowles, LMSW, and Tammy Stone, LADAC, LPC-SMHP take us on a musical and spiritual journey from self-centeredness to humility, using stories and songs. This journey is a long and difficult one in recovery. Recent studies show us that music can reach the parts of the brain that are linked to addiction, and can function as an integral part of recovery. This experiential session demonstrates how music and music therapy can be applied in a variety of treatment settings to bring about therapeutic change.

Cost for this workshop is $30 (lunch is included).

WHO: Anyone & Everyone!!
WHAT: Music and the Brain Workshop – A musical and spiritual journey from self-centeredness to humility, using stories and songs.
WHEN: Friday, July 27, 2018 from 11:30AM – 2:00PM CDT
WHERE: Belle Meade United Methodist Church, Fellowship Hall
121 Davidson Road
Nashville, TN 37205


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