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Hannah Hutchison, Miriam Hutchison and Brooke Mead Happiness consultancy MACS325, “Happiness: investigating its causes and conditions” Autumn session,

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Presentation on theme: "Hannah Hutchison, Miriam Hutchison and Brooke Mead Happiness consultancy MACS325, “Happiness: investigating its causes and conditions” Autumn session,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Hannah Hutchison, Miriam Hutchison and Brooke Mead Happiness consultancy MACS325, “Happiness: investigating its causes and conditions” Autumn session, 2010 Media and Cultural Studies, University of Wollongong Subject coordinators: Chris Barker and Brian Martin The happiness consultancy assignment had two parts. For details of the assignment see 1. A report for an organisation, prepared by a team of students. Hannah Hutchison, Miriam Hutchison and Brooke Mead, working as a team, prepared a report for the Kiama Men’s Probus Choir, in the form of a slide show. The choir has given permission for this slide show to be published here. It starts on the next slide. (Student numbers were used so that the marker, Brian Martin, would not know the identity of student authors.) 2. Reflections on doing the consultancy, written separately by each member of the team as an individual task. Hannah Hutchison’s reflections — selected arbitrarily by Brian Martin from those written by the three team members — are in a separate file. This document is located at

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3 Does the PROBUS choir make you happy? Exploring themes of music and friendship, we have assessed if being a member of the Kiama Men’s PROBUS choir increases your level of happiness.

4 Your happiness: After observing your group the Kiama Men’s PROBUS Choir and conducting eight interviews with volunteers from the group we have assessed the groups overall happiness and discovered the following findings regarding your overall level of happiness as a group and would like to present you with recommendations as to how you can maintain and also increase your level of happiness within the choir.

5 Music director Wendy stated: “friendship and comradeship, we are all inspirational collectives from different aspects of life but have come together, music has bought us together.”

6 Your Thoughts: Disclosure of information will remain anonymous, however these quotes are noteworthy: “The PROBUS is a group of friends – it’s fellowship I guess. It’s also just singing- it sort of brings a pleasant feeling.” “Probus has given me the opportunity to make a lot more friendship and replace the one's you've lost, that's what happens when you get to our age” “I am very encouraging to my fellow choir members and the sense of comradery we share as a group is like nothing I have ever experienced before.” “I really enjoy it, it's one of those things that I always look forward to... I always have a song in my mind and it's a way of expressing ourselves with a great group of people” “We are so much more than a chorus.”

7 “It lifted my depression and I've never looked backed… it gives you a balance in life” “we thoroughly enjoy the singing aspect but I also think we are doing a useful thing... we go out to retirement villages and sometimes you receive a response, sometimes you don’t, but we have more fun doing it then them listening” “When we do a concert and we go to the nursing homes, we went to Peterborough School and that was very uplifting, particularly when the kids sang back to us and it’s just a great feeling, you feel as though the people are so appreciative and you feel as though you’re doing something good. I’m doing a community service, so that’s good.” “I am always touched when we go to nursing homes and very elderly people watch our concerts. They can hardly move yet their eyes light up or they might tap a finger or a toe and you feel like you are reaching them through the music and this just makes me feel so happy.”

8 Music and Happiness Music and the World Music is more ancient than the human race and therefore holds a profound power over our way of life. No culture could live without music, “music is everywhere... the universe itself has a sense of rhythm, melody and music” (Pannecoucke, 2009) Music stimulates our drive to find patterns in the environment, to make order out of disorder and make sense of the world. This is important for out higher cognitive centres. "From our culture, we learn (even if unconsciously) about musical structures, tones and other ways of understanding music as it unfolds over time; and our brains are exercised by extracting different patterns and groupings from music's performance." (Scientific American, 2001)

9 Music and Happiness Neuroscience of Music Various areas of the brain are involved in the auditory cortex to interpret, write, feel or perform music. The visual cortex otherwise known as the “minds eye” creates symbolic images that construct our imaginations canvas. Music triggers our motor cortex leading to the taping of a foot or dancing Hearing music's sound is connected to the prefrontal cortex. This induces memory reflection. “Since this is one of the last brain areas to fall prey to the ravages of Alzheimer's disease, researchers have found that people with the condition can remember songs from long ago, even when they can't remember what they did yesterday.” (Edmonds, 2010)

10 Music and Happiness Music’s Influence on Health There is a correlation between music and human well being Music intensifies are we grow older. Music therapy influences the impact for care treatment. “music has been found to boost the immune systems of patients after surgeries, lower stress in pregnant women and decrease the blood pressure and heart rate in cardiac patients... music therapy has also proven to be more effective than other types of therapies in patients suffering from depression, and it's been shown to lower levels of anxiety and loneliness in the elderly.” (Edmonds, 2010) Music is an art and a science. Reading music and playing an instrument enables creative freedom. It is a formula and does not easily fade away. Developing and maintaining musicality is both talent and practise. Learning and listening to music instigates good mental health.

11 Music and Happiness Why Music makes us Happy? Emotions evolve through deciphering changes in pitch, rhythm and melody. i.e. Music with a quick tempo in a major key evoke happiness. In contrast, a slow tempo in minor key induce sadness. Live music is remarkable to our happiness because it provides a way to forge social bonds. “When you get in a room with people who like the same thing you do, you might create more friendships, a proven factor in the search for happiness.” (Edmonds, 2010) “Music can tap into the ageless inner self everyone has inside and keep you feeling young and vital, whatever your chronological age. It can strengthen you during adversity and connect you to feelings, thoughts, and actions that make life richer. Music is even better when shared. We encourage you to bring this way of listening to music to your family, friends, and other groups you belong to, for mutual enjoyment and enrichment. The more, the merrier!” (Music&Happiness.com)

12 Friendship and Happiness in the PROBUS choir: We have observed that all choir members share a strong friendship and a bond which ultimately increases all members level of happiness. M Demir suggests in their article titled Relationships and Happiness among Emerging Adults that “empirical research has consistently established that the quality of best and close friendships is associated with happiness” (p.295) and it is clear through observing and interviewing the group that the friendships which have been formed in the PROBUS choir are those of close and enriching bonds, ultimately contributing to everyone’s level of happiness.

13 Findings also suggest that "one reason why friendship quality is related to happiness is because friendship experiences provide a context where basic needs are satisfied” (Demir, 2009 p.296). All members of the choir have similar interests such as music and other hobbies and this common activity brings all members close together creating a sense of worth, well-being, friendship and happiness and fulfils the lives of the retired choir members.

14 Recommendations: How to improve your happiness: Observation: We have observed through our attendance at practice performances and interviews that most choir members value socialising outside the PROBUS setting, however opportunities to socialise as a group are lacking. Recommendation: Increase social interactions outside choir associations and endorse family participation. Activities may be a golf day, lawn bowls, lunch/dinner and BBQ’s. Explanation: This will allow all members to be involved in activities outside choir time and allow you to get to know one another a little better, therefore increasing your overall happiness.

15 Recommendations continued... What you can do for you happiness: Observation: We have observed that during rehearsal time choir members do not have the opportunity to express issues which they may have about up and coming events. Recommendation: Request three volunteers to report on weekly events and situations for 10 minutes during rehearsal. Discuss, negotiate and offer suggestions to improve any negative or positive issues that arose. Explanation: This will allow the group to communicate more efficiently and address any problems which need to be solved.

16 Recommendations continued... Things to avoid that decrease your happiness: Observation: It is demonstrated that the music director has the ultimate choice of the choirs direction. Recommendation: The choice of songs in the program should be democratic and decided upon by all choir members. It would be beneficial to provide sheet music to all members rather than just the lyrics to songs. Explanation: This will reduce power and promote equality. It will also enhance a mutual democratic decision process for programmed songs which will benefit all group members level of happiness and satisfaction.

17 Recommendations conclusion How to maintain your happiness: Through our observations and analysis we have witnessed that the Kiama PROBUS men’s choir encapsulate positive morals, ethics and values within all conducts. We encourage that you, the PROBUS Men’s Choir maintain your smiles, enthusiasm, friendship, comradely and most of all, continue your dedication and love of music which has brought you all to enjoy happiness together, not only as just a group but as an engagement of friendship.

18 References: Demir, M 2009, ‘Close Relationships and Happiness among Emerging Adults’ in Springer Science + Business Media, accessed online 6/5/2010, /fulltext.pdf /fulltext.pdf Edmonds, M 2010, “Is there a link between Music and Happiness?”, How Stuff Works, Accessed: 28/4/2010 Music and Happiness.com Accessed: 28/4/2010 Pannecoucke, M. 2009, “Why Music is Good for Everyone: The Positive Effects of Music on Helth and Happiness”, Accessed: 28/4/2010 Scientific American, 2001, “Exploring the Musical Brain”, Accessed: 28/4/2010


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