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Iraqi Kids growing up in the sound of explosions and sirens, find Refuge in Music

The motto of "Children's Orchestra," a summer program is “Culture fights backwardness and extremism”

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Iraqi kids playing musical instruments. Image source: VOA

Sept 06, 2016: In Iraq and many other places in the world, children grow up to the sound of explosions and sirens too often. But in a classroom in Basra, a different sound surrounds them — music.

“Children’s Orchestra” is the brainchild of Adnan Sahi, head of the music department at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Basra. The motto of this summer program is “Culture fights backwardness and extremism.”

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“Human behavior in general, and children’s is a response to a stimulus- a reflection of their environment,” Sahi says. “What we’re trying do is keep the Iraqi child from the negative environmental effects caused by the surrounding violent tensions. We try to keep our children away from the language of violence, the language of exclusion.”

This is his work of art. He envisions the “Children’s Orchestra” as a safe haven for these children. Kids as young as five can join the program to learn a set of skills they would never pick up, if they were left to play in the streets.

Enrollment in this music school is free, but students had to buy their own instruments.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GofZbzDJvx0&feature=youtu.be

Ridha Falah says playing instruments is a unique experience for him. “I haven’t seen a piano before, only on TV,” he says, “but now we are playing with one in addition to the guitar and violin, so it’s way better than playing with toy guns and that sort of stuff.”

Instructors volunteer to work with kids because they share Sahi’s belief that music can shield children from the violence around them and provide them with a fun and positive summer experience before they go back to school.

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Basra’s “Children’s Orchestra” is not the first attempt to help kids heal and thrive through arts.Other projects included an art program in an Iraqi orphanage in Bagdad, and a ballet school in Arbeel.

Different approaches to the same end; using art to change Iraqi children’s lives, so they can change their world. (VOA)

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“Listening To Music 30 Minutes a Day May Be Good For Your Heart”, Say Researchers

The new study suggests music, combined with standard therapies such as medications, could be a simple, accessible measure that patients can do at home to potentially reduce these symptoms and help prevent subsequent cardiac events

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The new study suggests music, combined with standard therapies such as medications, could be a simple, accessible measure that patients can do at home to potentially reduce these symptoms and help prevent subsequent cardiac events. Pixabay

Listening to music for 30 minutes every day can be good for your heart as researchers have found that patients who suffered episodes of chest pain soon after a heart attack, known as early post-infarction angina, had significantly lower levels of anxiety and pain.

The new study suggests music, combined with standard therapies such as medications, could be a simple, accessible measure that patients can do at home to potentially reduce these symptoms and help prevent subsequent cardiac events.

“Based on our findings, we believe music therapy can help all patients after a heart attack, not only patients with early post-infarction angina. It’s also very easy and inexpensive to implement,” said study lead author Predrag Mitrovic, Professor at the University of Belgrade in Serbia.

For the findings, the researchers recruited 350 patients diagnosed with heart attack and early post-infarction angina at a medical centre in Serbia. Half were randomly assigned to receive standard treatment while half were assigned to regular music sessions in addition to standard treatment.

According to the researchers, patients receiving music therapy first underwent a test to determine which musical genre their body was likely to respond to positively. Participants listened to nine 30-second samples of music they found soothing, while researchers assessed each participant’s body for automatic, involuntary responses to the music samples based on dilation or narrowing of the pupils.

Patients continued with these daily listening sessions for seven years, documenting their sessions in a log. At the end of seven years, music therapy was found to be more effective than standard treatment alone in terms of reducing anxiety, pain sensation and pain distress. The patients with music therapy, on average, had anxiety scores one-third lower than those on standard treatment and reported lower angina symptoms by about one-quarter.

These patients also had significantly lower rates of certain heart conditions, including an 18 per cent reduction in the rate of heart failure; 23 per cet lower rate of subsequent heart attack; 20 per cent lower rate of needing coronary artery bypass graft surgery; and 16 per cent lower rate of cardiac death.

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Listening to music for 30 minutes every day can be good for your heart as researchers have found that patients who suffered episodes of chest pain soon after a heart attack, known as early post-infarction angina, had significantly lower levels of anxiety and pain. Pixabay

According to the researchers, the music may work by helping to counteract the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that drives the “fight-or-flight” response when a person faces a stressful situation.

Because it increases heart rate and blood pressure, a sympathetic response can put added strain on the cardiovascular system, the researchers said. “Unrelieved anxiety can produce an increase in sympathetic nervous system activity, leading to a  n increase in cardiac workload,” Mitrovic said.

ALSO READ: “A Nuclear War Between India and Pakistan Can Lead To Worst Global Food Crisis”, Say Researchers

The research is scheduled to be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session Together with World Congress of Cardiology on March 28-30 in the US. (IANS)