Archive for the ‘Music Therapy’ Category

“Glowing Skin”

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Beloved singer/songwriter Amy May has joined the movement of The Acne Practice.

Here she is:

here she is playing live:

I’m a fan, I bought her album “The Grace Sessions” and use it as music therapy anytime I get stressed out.

I highly recommend it.

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Hanging out w/ Dr. Neal (Episode 2: Anxiety and Depression)

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

©2012 “Northbound” by Dr. Neal

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Music Therapy with Dr. Neal

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Stress is an elusive force. Tough to recognize, tough to beat.

I’ve found that accompanying your own voice with the guitar or piano is one of the best medical therapies I’ve ever encountered.

If you long to sing and play guitar for fun, this video will help you get over the hump.

Part 2

Share the gift of playing guitar with your family and friends:

Guitar Links:
Guitar Center
Tuner: use Korg chromatic (black) or iphone app called “cleartune”

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Anxiety and Depression: A Study of Our Humanity

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011


While helping people with chronic conditions for the past 10 years, I have been thrust into a position to work with all sides of our humanity. Specifically, the very common situations of Depression and Anxiety. Through my personal experience and while working with countless others, I have developed a vast arsenal of weapons to fight this powerful force of nature. I’d like to share my experience on this blog to help those who still find themselves searching for balance.

My healing philosophy is called
It’s made up from the terms “Energetics” and “Expressivity”

Energetics: (Energy and Movement)

I have observed that anyone who sits most of the day and does not exercise every single day will eventually decompensate emotionally. This reality of the natural world is not really negotiable. In my opinion, it is a matter of fact, universal consequence of a seated culture. The only aspect that is negotiable is whether it happens today, tomorrow, or next year. If you watch The Discovery Channel, you will see that the animal kingdom has evolved to constantly move around. Once anyone sees the objective nature of this reality, they will be in a strong position to do what is necessary to find control of their lives.
To take action: see the crossfit category of the blog. (or the crossfit for beginners category)

Expressivity: (Expression and Emotional Release)

As we all know, being athletic is not the only key to happiness. As social beings, we are interactive, expressive, and in need of heart-felt connections to survive. While relationships are not created instantaneously, there are many other ways to express one’s self.
Some common examples are dance class, acting class, singing class, karaoke, etc. My favorite is learning how to accompany your own voice with newly aquired guitar or piano skills.
While challenging, you need to know that millions of people all over the world are learning how to play and sing cover songs every day. Its not quite as difficult as you may imagine.
Since I wrote the post, “Anyone Can Play Guitar”, I have taught many people how to join in on the action that I finally found at age 29.

I want to share with you an intimate moment from this past holiday season that illustrates the dramatic emotional power of music therapy.
I’ll set the scene:
I just met the lead guitarist Eric that day and the drummer is a keyboardist who was experimenting on two drums. The real music therapy story however lies with my buddy Alex who was playing the harmonica. He’s a 36 year old full time professional who had never played music in his life. In an effort to enrich his life, he bought a harmonica and amazingly was able to seemlessly join the session after playing for only 3 weeks…!
Watch his face at the end of the jam as he miraculously turns from a non-musician into a musician. This level of transformation is truly a healing phenomenon.
Try not to let the modern business of music or any critic sway you from this human need to express. It is vital to emotional wellness. Watch his face at the end of the jam, it’s amazing…

I wrote that song during a rough patch a few years ago when my skin was bugging me, my energy was low from being overworked, and my expression level was not high enough.

Here’s the lyrics if anyone is feeling it:

“Let me go”

I run for miles and I can talk through smiles,
I guess I’m alright.
you never know,
I can’t be so right.
you’d tell me so, oh

I made you holler,
I’ve been, concocting knowledge,
I am sorry, to let me go.
I meant to call you,
to let you know,

that it’s time, It’s time to let me go.
cause this fight, It’s all I really know.

I run for miles and I can’t find my smile,
this can’t be alright.
I think it shows.
you’re always brighter, girl, but,
it don’t work no more. no

I feel you standing with your,
hair it’s landing across my shoulder.
but not this time, you know I’m trying, girl, but,
there ain’t no light.

cause it’s time, It’s time to let me go.
cause this fight, It’s all I really know.

run for cover, run for cover.
leave me there in the morning.
run for cover, run for cover.
don’t ask me why in the morning.

oh it’s time, it’s time to let me go.
cause this fight, it’s all I really know.

©2011 “Anxiety and Depression: A Study of Our Humanity” by Dr. Neal Schwartz

2 Responses to “Anxiety and Depression: A Study of Our Humanity”

  1. Michael Says:

    I’m feelin this… I think there’s a lot more to health, wellness, and disease than we fully understand, and you hit on this holistic idea in this post.

    p.s. nice jam!

  2. lynn Says:

    Very inspiring!

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Anyone Can Play Guitar…

Friday, October 17th, 2008

     For those of you who make music every day of your life, there is no need to read this.  We’ll focus on some more detailed physical activity techniques later on for you…

    For those who don’t sing with your own piano or guitar,  you have no idea of the stress relieving and soulful experiences you are missing in this one and only lifetime.  I lived for 29 years without a real base of making  music or singing in my life.  When I finally found the guitar and my voice 4 years ago, it was probably the biggest shift of my life.  It’s a physical vibration that can help soothe any personality.  

   As a doctor, a teacher, and a healer, I’d like to share my experience with my dramatic transition from non-musician to musician in a way that hopefully will change many peoples lives in infinite ways.  I’m going to share the exact  details of how I used the internet to teach myself guitar and exactly how I was able to play and sing my first two real songs in the first week of playing….

So without further delay,  I introduce to you:  


“Dr. Neal’s One Week Transformation Into a Full Blown Musician”


1)    Buy a reasonably priced guitar.

      Used guitars are everywhere and if you are shopping around for guitars, try to find someone to help you who knows what they are supposed to feel and sound like.   If you’re on your own,  consider getting help from the guys at the music store.  For a new one, you are looking for a simple guitar between 150-300 dollars.  Any less and you will throw it out.  Any more and you’re posing a little bit…

Special Tip:  If a regular sized guitar feels intimidating, uncomfortable, and doesn’t sit well in your lap at first,  you may have a beginner’s edge if you buy a junior guitar made originally for kids.  It’s easier to handle, easier to push down the strings, and easier to get over the hump for those who are scared to buy a guitar and not make it to the other side.  They are about 130 dollars. Fender and a couple other brands make them.  Check them out at you local guitar shop.

Accessories needed:   capo $20, picks $5, tuner $30  (buy the black Korg chromatic tuner.  The cheaper silver one is a waste of money.)


2)  Pick a Song

     This is the fun part.  choose a very popular classic rock, pop, or rock song that has been covered by many other guitarist before you.   The 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s have unlimited amount of choices that have very simple guitar interpretations.   

To find you version of the song to play on the guitar (or piano),  go to

Enter a song or band name in the top search with the appropriate category checked.  Choose a song that has many versions already written by other musicians.  Select the version that is in Chords and has a high rating with many votes. 

Here’s an example of one of the first songs I ever learned:

Notice how this chords are placed on the lyrics usually close to where the chord should change.  You’ll have to use your familiarity with the song to help fill in the gaps.


3)  Chord Interpretation for Guitar (or piano)

The new ultimate-guitar site has actually been making all the chords expandable to show the finger postions.  

For a Closer look at where your fingers should go,  go to

Notice the finger positions and whether to play an open string or not to play an open string.  (the piano chords can be found at the link at the bottom of the page)

Major chords are all chords with no other elaboration or description.  m  is a minor chord, etc…


–Those who catch the music fever will not put the guitar down until their fingers are sore and developing the needed caluses on the finger tips.   Those who don’t catch the fever and play only once or twice a week will have a much lower chance of making it over the hump.  If you sprint in life toward a destination, unbelievable things can happen.  Only a sprint will get you playing your first song by week one….  The rewards are massive if you make it.    I hope you do….


some side tips:

-fingernails ultra short on your string hand (left) so you can go completely vertical onto the real tip of your finger.

-Observe your own neck hunching and fix it when you can.  Try to keep the guitar upright after you’ve found your place.  It will allow you reach around the neck easier.

-Right hand (strum hand) can start with a pick or just your thumb. The right hand plays the familiar rhythm of the song you chose. (I’ll try to add a video of this later)

-don’t forget to check the top of the song to see if you need a capo and where to place it.


For those who make it over the hump, let us know how it feels…..


Be well, 

Dr. Neal


©2008   “Stress Relief #2 (Anyone Can Play Guitar)  by Dr. Neal Schwartz

6 Responses to “Anyone Can Play Guitar…”

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