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Concert marks Legendary Carnatic Music exponent Saint Tyagaraja’s 170th Death Anniversary

Born in Thiruvarur in the Thanjavur Maratha Kingdom, Kakarla Tyagabrahmam, (May 4, 1767-January 6, 1847), was one of the greatest and most prolific composers of Carnatic music

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Sri Rama Thyagaraja Krithis - Marugelara, Youtube

Mumbai, Jan 19, 2017: Around 100 musicians playing veenas, gatams, mrudangams, violins and other instruments, besides singers, rendered the ‘Panchratna Kritis’ (Five Gems), composed by the legendary Carnatic music exponent Saint Tyagaraja to mark his 170th death anniversary here.

Born in Thiruvarur in the Thanjavur Maratha Kingdom, Kakarla Tyagabrahmam, (May 4, 1767-January 6, 1847), was one of the greatest and most prolific composers of Carnatic music, including the noteworthy Panchratna Kritis and was later revered as Saint Tyagaraja.

The music concert on late Tuesday saw over 2,000 Carnatic music lovers gathered in the Shanmukhananda Hall swaying and singing to the tunes of the great music giant in Ragas like Sri, Nattai, Gowlai, Arabji, Varali.

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The occasion, which coincided with the beginning of the 250th birth anniversary year celebrations of Saint Tyagaraja, saw the unveiling of a lifesize 650-kg copper and brass statue of the musical genius at the venue, said a spokesperson K. A. Viswanathan.

Incidentally, the day is marked with thanksgiving to Saint Tyagaraja, Carnatic musicians from all over the world unite to sing the Panchratna Kritis as a tribute.

The five gems in praise of Lord Rama – the first which he composed at the age of 13 – are: Jagadananda Karaka, Duduku Gala, Sadhinchane, Kanakana Ruchira and Endaro Mahanubhavulu, set in Adi Talam, with each Raga representing the mood of the songs and meaning of its lyrics.

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On ‘Bahula Panchami’, the day when he attained Samadhi, singers and musicians from over congregate at Thiruvarur, Tamil Nadu on the banks of River Cauvery for the annual ‘Aradhana Festival’.

Considered an avatar of Saint Valmiki, Saint Tyagaraja’s compositions are rich in devotional and philosophical content with superior structure, superb handling of the Ragalakshanas and apt choice of Ragas and lyrics. (IANS)

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Ease Pain and Nourish Social Connections through Music

Over the years, medical studies have shown that music has many health benefits, too. Those range from facilitating regular breathing and lifting mood to improving emotional function and motor control in patients

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Music has long helped people express their emotions and connect with one another. Over the years, medical studies have proved that music has many health benefits. They range from facilitating regular breathing and lifting mood to improving emotional function and motor control. VOA

It’s 9 o’clock in the morning, time for 3-year-old Lucas’ weekly music therapy session. “Lucas is autistic,” his mother Katey Hernandez explained. “He has a lot of sensory processing sensitivities, which means he’s really sensitive to loud noises, bright lights and a lot of [activity] around his body, and he really likes to jump and swing and climb and anything active.”

Dixie Mazur brings to Lucas’ home session a bag full of instruments. During the session she plays music and sings. “I like to bring in a wide variety of instruments because, especially with younger kids, the attention spans naturally are very short and I like to be able to give them the freedom and ownership to kind of move our session in the direction they want to go,” Mazur said.

She brings in a piano, a couple of drums, rain stick and egg shakers, “things that provide a lot of sensory feedback as well.” Hernandez is happy with the results so far.

“It’s been very helpful,” she said. “Ms. Dixie has come up with a few songs to help him with social dialogue. So, it helps him communicate with us a lot more, when we can’t figure out what he needs.”

Healing soul and body

Music has long helped people express their emotions and connect with one another. Over the years, medical studies have shown that it has many health benefits, too. Those range from facilitating regular breathing and lifting mood to improving emotional function and motor control in patients.

So, it has become a part of the therapists’ toolbox, used either in one-on-one sessions or group settings. It can be passive, where patients listen to music, or active, where they participate in playing instruments and singing.

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Kelsi Yingling, NeuroScience Music Therapy founder, says a music therapist should have passion for music and helping others. VOA

Zoe Gleason Volz brings music therapy to a group of people with a range of cognitive disabilities. “As a group, they don’t really engage with each other,” she said. “So, a lot of my work is trying to slowly get them to positively engage with their fellow group members and actively engage with me.”

The instruments stimulate patients’ senses and muscles. She says the impact is obvious on brain scans of people listening to it. “When you’re listening the entire brain is lit up because it’s having the music and the intellectual sides both kind of firing all at once. Whereas when you’re talking with somebody, you’re probably more into one hemisphere of the brain rather than both.”

Becoming a music therapist

There are more than 6,000 board-certified music therapists in the United States. They’ve gone through 1,000 hours of training, including getting an undergraduate degree and completing a six-month internship, and passing a certification exam.

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Music therapist Dixie Mazur brings to Lucas’ home session a bag full of instruments. During the session she plays music and sings. VOA

ALSO READ: US Researchers Finding Ways to Treat Dementia

But Kelsi Yingling, who founded NeuroSound Music Therapy, where Gleason Volz and Mazur work, looks for more than a certificate. “The type of skills we wanted to see in a therapist are strong musical skills, interpersonal skills and the ability to relate to our clients,” she said.

Music therapists should be patient and able to adapt to various situations, she says, adding that the work is easier when therapists have passion for music and for helping people. “The fact that I get to use music to help other individuals achieve their goals and their highest potential is really one of the most rewarding things I can be doing in my life,” she added. (VOA)