[ Social Justice ]

‘Sounds of Wellness’ program explores history, healing benefits of music

By Kara Smith


Sounds of Wellness leaflet

he impact of music on emotions, mental health and wellness was the focus of a February Black History Month event facilitated by NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer J. Philippe Abraham. “Sounds of Wellness,” part of NYSUT’s Many Threads, One Fabric social justice series, shared the important uses of music when it comes to managing stress and reducing fatigue.

“The goal is to gain a deeper awareness of the role that music plays in promoting wellness,” said Abraham. “It’s been proven that listening to music increases blood flow to regions of the brain that produce chemicals like dopamine and serotonin — music has the power to evoke emotional responses in listeners.”

In addition to promoting wellness and mental health, music also played a key role in the historic and dangerous journeys enslaved Africans followed to freedom, continued Abraham. “Courageous freedom seekers used songs to communicate messages, give directions and warn others of dangers and obstacles along the route.”

Event speakers included Grammy award-winning songwriter Angélique Cinélu; children’s book author Tia Spells; and Leven “Chuck” Wilson, assistant director of health issues for the American Federation of Teachers.

NYSUT member participants included Nakia Wolfe, Amityville Teachers Association; Cordelia Anthony, Farmingdale Federation of Teachers; Karen Alford, United Federation of Teachers; Aaron Garmon, Faculty Federation of Erie Community College; Patrick Romain, United University Professions; and LaShonda McKenzie, Cheektowaga Central TA.

To watch a recording of the “Sounds of Wellness,” visit nysut.org/ManyThreads.