You know, at this point we’ll try anything. We are currently on medication number seven. We have reduced screen time. We have monitored activity levels and body stress. We are working towards cutting all sugar out of our diets (except for when, I assume, I will sneak out in the middle of the night and down several pints of Phish Food without telling anyone). We are researching medicinal cannabis oil. And now I see this article, brought to my attention by my eagle-eyed wife, that says that epilepsy can be cured by listening to Mozart. If only I had known it was that easy!
I have listened to a lot of Mozart in my day, and I have never had a seizure, so there may be something to this…
Yeah, okay, I will try not to be cynical. We’re grasping at straws here. If you told me that I could heal my son by rubbing peanut butter on his knees, I would laugh in your face, but then go home and secretly try it. And I do believe in the power of music. So I am going to try this Mozart thing. Apparently, in small studies, listening to Mozart’s K448, Sonata for 2 Pianos in D Major has caused reduction in seizures. Sounds crazy, but not as weird as the knee/peanut butter thing that I just made up.
When we were in the hospital with him, Toy Grammy came and stayed there while I had to work, and if you know Toy Grammy at all, you know that she cannot be trusted to sit quietly and be normal. When I returned one day from teaching voice lessons, I found that she and Edward had been playing with the EEG machine. They were having a grand old time, making his brain waves do silly things.
“Look!” she cackled proudly. “Edward, sing something!” My son began to sing, and instantly on the monitor we could see two (out of the many) of the wavy lines start to go crazy. “Isn’t that cool?” she said, as I wondered, not for the first time, how I ever made it to adulthood under the care of this woman. “Now catch the ball!”
My point is, music clearly has an effect on the brain. I already knew this, and perhaps we all know it instinctively. So much is activated at once when we sing, and when we play, and when we hear…music! If singing “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon can make his brain waves get down and funky, why couldn’t hearing just the right piece of music move his neural pathways just a haaaair to the right, thus avoiding whatever it is that is causing the seizures? The more I think about this insane notion, the more it makes sense to me.
I wonder, could music be more than just therapy for our souls? Could it be clinically medicinal? Could, for instance, I write a piece of music that could cure Alzheimer’s? With enough experimentation, and a row of subjects hooked up to EEGs, could someone start to construct a song that could hit just the right notes to change a person’s brain waves in a healing way? Obviously we don’t want to let this new technology fall into the wrong hands or we’d all be mind-controlled zombies, but could music actually be composed in a specific way, intended to cure or reduce neurological disorders? I have no idea, but it sounds very exciting, doesn’t it?
Until that day comes, I will just try to play some Mozart for my son tonight. And until the day comes when nobody has to deal with epilepsy again, I will remind you that this is Epilepsy Awareness Month, and I will be back over the course of November to continue to ask for your help, and your understanding, as I shed some light on this terrible thing that affects so many, and my family in particular. Educate yourself if you can, know what to do if you see someone having a seizure, and, if you have the time, try composing some life-saving music. Mozart did it, so you probably can too.