Dr. Elizabeth Bonet interviews Bill Protzman about his work with music as a healing modality. We find out:

  • How music helps veterans heal their PTSD
  • How music saved Bill’s life
  • How to work through feelings with music
  • How to use music as a bridge to understanding someone else
  • How to get un-stuck if you’re stuck on an artist or in a decade
  • And what about screamo?

Bill’s fascination with the near-medicinal effects of music has caused him to study the topic widely and stay constantly engaged with the most recent research. He works with veterans, individuals, and teams about how to use music to improve performance at work, strengthen communication and relationship skills, and take better care of ourselves mentally, emotionally and physically.

You can learn more about him at his website https://quest.musiccare.net/

Jump to Transcript


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Listened to in over 140 countries, Hypnotize Me is the podcast about hypnosis, transformation, and healing. Certified hypnotherapist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Dr. Elizabeth Bonet, discusses the research behind hypnosis, interviews professionals doing transformational work, and talks to individuals who have had hypnosis. Free hypnoses are also given from time to time. If you’re interested in learning more about the magic of hypnosis, psychotherapy and mindfulness, this is the perfect place to feed your fascination!

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Transcript

Dr. Liz [0:00]
Hi everyone, Dr. Liz here. Our interview today is with Bill Protzmann. And he’s a pretty amazing musician, and very compelling to listen to. So we get a good mix here of hearing his personal story and about how at one point in his life, he was really convinced he was about to kill himself, and then how music helps save him that night. So we move from that to how he uses music to work with veterans to help them recover from PTSD, and then to how you can use music in your own life, to help you work through feelings or to help develop compassion or understanding of someone else, as well as the more simple questions of how long does it take to learn an instrument? And what do you do if you want to become more proficient at it, so I hope you enjoy it. And for the listeners in the United States, have a very Happy Thanksgiving next week. Peace

Hi, Bill, welcome to hypnotize me.

Bill Protzmann [1:06]
Hey Elizabeth, happy whatever. What are we on Wednesday? Happy Wednesday.

Dr. Liz [1:10]
We’re on Wednesday. Happy Wednesday. Yes. So I have been anticipating this interview. And I have a couple of questions for you. But let me just get started by asking you how you got started in this field for the listeners.

Bill Protzmann [1:28]
Oh, wow. It sounds like it’s a field that that’s that’s impressive.

Dr. Liz [1:33]
We call it whatever we like, right? How do you started doing this work or this spiritual transformation or this? Soul soothing.

Bill Protzmann [1:46]
Music has been minding me all my life. And the longer I live, the more I become aware of that. And the more that they’re sort of clinical research that supports this kind of feeling I’ve had since when since I was a kid. The activity of turning it around and saying it’s not about me playing the piano. It’s about you learning how to use music as a tool that started to happen in earnest in the early 2000s. And by 2007 or so I was in the lane and focused on that. And came to San Diego, specifically to do that specifically to work with programs that were doing self care like for veterans playing the guitar is avoid post traumatic stress. So I got involved with guitars for Veterans. I love teaching homeless people about how to use music as a tool because it’s free. And if you’re homeless, you need tools. Yeah, especially when they’re free. So

Dr. Liz [2:35]
Is that an event or a program?

Bill Protzmann [2:37]
Yeah, it is national nonprofit. And it’s, it’s a cool idea. If you’re a veteran, go to your VA hospital sign up for the program. They’ll give you a practice guitar and 10 lessons for free. And then once you graduate from 10 lessons, you get a brand new guitar of your very own. Wow. So you leave the program with this. You know, they raise money for that with this brand new guitar I think they’re from Yamaha. They’re nice guitars and a lifetime of really from post traumatic stress. How much better can it get?

Dr. Liz [3:06]
Yes. So let me just ask you about that program, then how do you see it as relieving post traumatic stress?

Bill Protzmann [3:16]
Gosh, so there’s research studies on this. And in the research studies where people aren’t familiar with this kind of thing, if you are going to do any intervention for something, and you can come in with, you know, 15 to 20% effectiveness, that’s an amazingly good result. That’s we all go oh my gosh, that’s amazing. good result. So when you’re doing any program, pick anything up. There’s guys who beat each other up, and then talk about post traumatic stress so pugilistic offensive warriors is a program you know, MMA followed by roundtable programs, they actually work. Yeah. Right. And it sounds crazy, but there’s a fishing program and there’s lots of guitar programs for veterans too. So the studies support the fact that that play the guitar are getting this result. They’re reducing symptoms of post traumatic stress. And the studies also support how fly fishing helps reduce the symptoms of post traumatic stress and how ma reduces the symptoms of stress, right? We’re all going, Hey, 15% 18%, whatever, we’re getting results, how do they work? I think and this isn’t this hasn’t been studied, so don’t quote me. But I think they work because those programs are one on one. You, the teacher, the volunteer are helping the veteran to do some things, some modality fly fishing, you know, playing the guitar, that creates a connection. And music is great, it does because when the connection is open, stuff can change. Mm hmm. And that might be you as the instructor helping a veteran play two chords cleanly. And the veteran talking to you about things he’s never talked about with anybody before. We could call it peer counseling, but I don’t like to get into that clinical language. It’s more about just being there just being a human being showing up and allowing someone who’s across from you to be seen, you know, as a veteran, or player, as a fly fisherman, whatever it is just like holding that space. Who was the talks about that? I’m

Dr. Liz [5:18]
holding the space.

Bill Protzmann [5:19]
Yeah, it’s somebody. I think Brene Brown talks about holding the space. It’s that. And if it turns out and somebody will do the study someday, I guarantee you, but if it turns out that it’s really just about showing up to holding space. Gosh, you don’t have to have any special skills for that.

Dr. Liz [5:43]
Well, I would imagine, though, that music teachers are pretty patient people in general. Yeah, but it reminds me of is the mirror neurons Yes, three. Yes, there you go. Know that someone with a more disorganized system is going to mirror the person with a more organized calmer system. So that would be the teacher in this case. And I remember I took 12 years of piano lessons and I think eight years of flute and I used to get my teacher like talking so that I wouldn’t have to play. But my flute teacher in particular, was really a role model to me. Right, and the way that she talked and mothered me and and I took lessons. I was still taking lessons during the year that my father died and she was just really there for me.

Bill Protzmann [6:41]
see that. That’s the that’s the master student relationship. That that is so incredible. If you’re fortunate to have it, I had it was two or three of my teachers and at various different times of my own awareness of what it is to make music. The teachers were there with with life experience. They helped me stay in my lane. And of course, I’ve done my own work and research on this and unpacked a lot more of that. And I can really tell you how powerful music is now, and why. But I mean, you don’t know that when you’re the veteran with a guitar, you’re just looking for relief, just anything that makes the demons go at least quiet for a while. And, you know, if you want to dive deep into that, you could go as far I mean, you could theoretically go as far as I have music saved my life. Or you could go with the research of people who are who need half the pain meds when they’re listening to music versus the people who get the full dose when they’re not. Wow, golfers out there. So we can we can go down those lanes to, of course. Well,

Dr. Liz [7:44]
absolutely. I would like to know how music saved you. Yes, that’s quite a statement to make.

Bill Protzmann [7:50]
follow up on that important but there’s some background first. Okay. One of the things that’s that’s new in the research is post traumatic growth because they’ve decided Learned or whatever, who cares? That trauma is necessary for us for human beings to, to step forward to grow. We grow through pain. Again, people grow without pain, too, that’s fine. But if you are experiencing trauma of any kind, it’s not meant to be permanent. It’s meant to spur you to understand what’s happening, sort of internalize that, and then let the trigger go, so that you can move forward in your life not be stuck with your symptoms. Yes. So the medical establishment is treating symptoms, right treating symptoms, treating symptoms, okay, we’ve got these people medicated enough they don’t feel posttraumatic stress anymore. Bad idea. Because the idea is, you know, to go forward, and look around, it’s all the blown up veterans who are motivational speakers are leading large companies and just there they’ve grown through that incredible, traumatic experience.

Dr. Liz [8:54]
Yes, it reminds me I was actually this is 10 years ago, even more so. I think Severe PPD with both my kids and a woman had contacted me. I don’t know how we found each other. But she wanted me to be part of a study. She said, Did it lead to transformation in you and growth? And she was doing a qualitative study. And in the result of this study, there’s several women in it. And she ended up publishing a book about it was absolutely it did, like we hit would we have wanted it to happen. No, nobody asked for that. Right. But was it something that led to growth and transformed our lives? And absolutely, it did for me, it became a PPD specialist because of that. Yes. So it’s that same kind of concept of this growth. If we put that lens on it, then it becomes easier to step into perhaps or something positive move through from this into move through it.

Bill Protzmann [9:58]
So the the idea here Before I told my own suicide story is that is that you can accept these big emotions and these traumatic experiences that happen in a way that allows you to move through them, versus resisting them. And keeping yourself from the opportunity that is there, like stuck inside the trauma. And you know, all of us were born. So the first trauma in our lives is our birth. And that trauma is necessary to get us breathing on our own. Like there’s, there’s like physical results of that traumatic experience that are important. So the idea behind post traumatic growth is even bigger. It’s, if you can get to a place where you can accept the emotions that come to you. Accept them, and somehow process them. They won’t continue to bother you. Even if it’s a traumatic trigger. You can let that go with EMDR hypnosis or something you can let go of the traumatic energy and retain the power of the emotion. It was

Dr. Liz [10:58]
yes. It’s the fighting against it that keeps people stuck.

Bill Protzmann [11:02]
Yes. The resistance, right. All stuck. Yeah. So resistance. Music is powerful for me anyway. Because when I learned to accept those big emotions, I also learned to allow them to move to move through me. Instead of stuffing them down because I didn’t want to be too angry. I didn’t want to be scared. It’s not a good time to be sad, right? Men are good at this. Yeah. But that’s just exactly backwards from the way our human systems are set up. Mm hmm. We’re resonators you know we resonate for everything and where we go wrong as we start judging. How are feeling? I don’t like being scared. Who does I mean, yeah, but if you say this fear is coming to me. And it feels terrible. But I allow it and let it flow rather than resisting it. Oh, the resistance is it’ll kill you. But the allowing empowers you Yes, art, and music is designed to get us in touch with big emotions. Mm hmm. It’s a trigger for big emotions, provided that we don’t stuff them or ignore them or resist them or judge them. I don’t like that music, you know, that kind of thing. If we allow, just allow it, then those emotions are going to come and go, come and go come and go. And it’s non binary, you can be happy and sad and the same piece of music at the same time. It’s really cool. And you know, emotions are like paint, they they mix and blend. And that’s just not all anger, it’s anger plus a little bit of fear means that you’re a little frustrated, you know. So, the way that this works with music is a practice at the piano over there. When you sit there, your job is to get in touch with the big emotions in the music and perform them in a way that lets other people experience them to train, there’s varying degrees of success, but that’s your job. You’re just this It’s like being a physical mirror. Your job is to reflect the emotion and the music so that people can see it or feel it. Mm hmm. Do that, well, satisfying performance, don’t do it at all. It’s going to sound boring and flat. Yes. And when you’re playing big emotions, you have a choice. You can’t say, Well, this is the happy part of the song is that part of the song and then you come to the sad part of the song go. And this is the sad part. And it just be like, I’m just gonna play this to get through it right? You’ve got to go set, otherwise the performance will be affected. So in, in my practice of that, from an early age, it was allowing big emotion allowing big emotion allowing big emotion. And of course, I got psychologically messed up because outside of the piano, I didn’t have a vehicle for that, you know, when I got angry, and I wasn’t at the piano. So I’ve had to learn how to reinterpret my life. But I got to a point even knowing all this, where I wound up one day of my life in 2007, it was actually the Friday of Labor Day weekend to 2007 So, great long weekend coming up, but I wasn’t in a holiday mood. I was just flat out, my kids are off at college, some wonderful things that happened, my daughter came out to me and that post is so thrilled to know that she was in such possession of herself that she knew, you know, that this was our life path. And I’ve been married and divorced then and bankrupt to get out of my marriage and it there were things that were just done, just finished right. One of the things that wasn’t done was I had a show coming up. And in this show, a really important piece of music for me, one that had been around for me for years, was on the program. It’s a very sad piece of music. It’s it’s by Rocky Mountain off just a sad slow piece of music. And I was programming the show and I realized I needed to play this piece. But the show had gotten to such a deep place. I didn’t know how to recover. I didn’t know how to turn it around. I didn’t know how to make the contrast. happened. Uh huh. And I was sort of like, you know, I was okay with that I figured it would something would happen work itself out. But that particular evening, I just felt like I’d finished it all. And I really didn’t care too much. If I ever did the concerts. And I have people I could call, I could call my therapist or call some friends. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I just wanted to let it all go. And, and instead of reaching for a rope or a gun or something, I sat in the chair. And I took my own medicine and put on that piece of music where I was so stuck. Hmm. And I just let play. I don’t know why. Maybe, like, listen to it one more time, before it’s all over. And I just let it play. And as I sat there, watching the sun go down. I started to weep. Now, that’s not all that unusual. I mean, when you experience big emotions on purpose, the effects of them come up. Yes, I was alright with that. But it was different that night, because I was weeping

at a level I’ve never reached before,

it felt that deep and that low. And, of course, along with those feelings where, you know, this may be the last night, but I’m breathing on this earth. I didn’t have a plan or anything I was going to do but I knew that I was facing this very deep moment in my life. And I don’t know how long I sat there weeping. But eventually, I woke up. So I’d gone into whatever that place was. And you know what, when I when I went full, dark outside, but when I woke up, I felt awake. I’ve never felt that awake. And of course, I was drained. I was so tired.

And so I went to bed and, and slept soundly. I just said, You know what, whatever I need to do I can do it the morning and I woke up early in the morning with voices My head that’s not that unusual because often there’s a monologue up there. And yet, that morning, the words seem to be in some kind of an order. And I realized that I have to write them down. It felt like I was taking transcription. And when I was done there, they were lyrics to a song. And there were like four verses in a bridge. And it was this funny little silly. So I’m like, What in the world where this come from? You know, I’m supposed to be the depressed suicidal guy. So I wrote this all down and and then I knew it was done. And the next thing that happened was music started playing in my head. But never had that happen for music. I hadn’t heard started playing in my head. And I quit, you know, grab some music paper and started writing out this melody. And by noon, I had a complete song. Wow, no, I don’t sing. And it’d be foolish for me to think that I should ever go in front of an audience and perform anything like as a solo piano singer songwriter, kind of a person, right. So I sat there and I said, Well, who In the world is going to sing this song I find to sing this song. And I’m not kidding as clearly as we’re talking today, the voice came and said, Bill you are. And at that moment, I realized what had happened. This song was the thing I needed in my show to turn the corner from that incredibly low place. The music that I’d spent the night the night before listening to in the chair, from that low place. To this other place, it was the contrast. Oh, yeah. Yeah, there’s a transition. And I started to realize that if I could pull it off, it wouldn’t matter how well I sang it. Because if I did a good job, the audience would be with me at the low place. Uh huh. And I could follow it with this funny little song that had come. And that would be enough to create the, the potential release that’s necessary to turn the show from a very sad low spot to an up, up upward sort of trajectory.

Dr. Liz [19:00]
Did you do it? (I did.) I did. I did. I am what happened? Was the audience with you?

Bill Protzmann [19:07]
And people who know me looked at me funny when I started this thing. But it worked. And I realized more importantly than that, that I had been given this incredible gift of a purpose and a meaning that I didn’t have on the Friday of Labor Day weekend 2007 that I did somehow have on the Saturday. Yeah. And I’ve been writing that for 12 years now. So I know how that took place. And my willingness to be with that deep darkness, I believe is what opened me to a lightness that I’ve never experienced before. So, and I don’t, you know, I still think about suicide and I choose to keep breathing when I need to. But that little event has inspired me all these years, and I imagine it will continue to do so until I find something even deeper. To go to and, and listen through that to a place where it goes even higher, you know. And that little envelope of feelings that are allowed that was in my family like you couldn’t be too sad or happy. But it keeps expanding these these little traumatic events that come along, keep opening that envelope. And it’s open it is it’s a safe opening. You know, I’m still afraid of it. But I know that if I bring my full attention to music, it will mind me, it’s not going to make me kill myself. Quite the opposite. It’s going to allow the feelings that are stuck, that need to move to come up and out and then safety without medication very safely, obviously. effectively. Yes. And just unlock the potential that’s there.

Dr. Liz [20:46]
Yes, I love that. I love that. I had pretty young I had trained myself not to cry as a protection and my family and it’s a win I was in therapy in my 30s. My therapist said you have to relearn to cry. And she’s like, however you do that put on this that TV show and that was like, Grey’s Anatomy for me. Get me there, we get me there somehow. The music was part of that. I remember making this playlist labeled for when you’re depressed. Okay, that was all like, very sad music. Yeah, because it would get me to release. And that’s what she really wanted me to do is release. So it serves that function for I think a lot of people think can therapeutically, in as long as it’s free these days?

Bill Protzmann [21:44]
Yeah, as long as we allow it, right?

Dr. Liz [21:46]
Yes, we have to allow it. It helps to allow it. Mm hmm. And not be scared of it.

Bill Protzmann [21:52]
You’ll not be afraid. It’s really hard for me to listen to fear. That’s my big one right now. Okay, so if I put on a fear playlist, that’s, that’s my most difficult emotion right now the top four fear, anger, sadness and joy would be

Dr. Liz [22:05]
a fear playlist. Just curious if you don’t mind sharing what that is.

Bill Protzmann [22:08]
All right, so we’re coming up on Halloween. I don’t know if we’re going to air before Halloween or not. But it’s great in Halloween because all the scary music comes out right? The Nightmare Before Christmas and the box the cotton few I don’t know. Oh, yeah, yeah. Okay. Peace and the rock man off has a prelude that always comes along at Halloween The Frighteners so it’s like that’s the time we go to classical music night on Bald Mountain from okay. Yeah, whatever. All the songs on mountain. Yeah. So in there plenty of modern scary songs too. I was surprised by one. And it gotten in a really deep level. A new artist named Brittany Holland. I think I ever name writer Brittany Howard. Okay. mixed race singer who grew up in a terrible way. It’s very difficult to have been mixed race in the south in our history in America. In the last 30 or so years, so she sings the song called Go ahead. And she sings it because people in the neighbor that used to leave a goat head on the backseat of their car. Oh geez. Oh my gosh, and I’m listening to the song and it’s kind of an upbeat sort of a song. And then I realized what I was listening to the lyrics are just like this. Really, this happened to you. And you know, it did she’s singing authentically right from her own hurt, right from her own experience. But it frightened me. Because, you know, this the issue we have with skin color in America. As crazy as it is, it’s still there. Yes. And how you can dial up that kind of hate?

Dr. Liz [23:46]
Yeah, right. It’s beyond me. Sometimes. It does. Yeah, truly grasp

Bill Protzmann [23:50]
that. And and I can’t imagine what it must be like to be afraid of having a cross burning your yard or you know, go ahead in the backseat of your car. Absolutely. And yet, there it is. And so I was very scared by that. And I want to say, because people sometimes associate fear with something that you can’t put aside, like you have a chronic fear of drowning or whatever my chronic fear is a fire. I’m chronically scared of fire. But when it comes to music, it isn’t something that requires you to do anything. It’s just words or the sounds. And so okay to be like, scared, it’s like going to see a scary movie. Yeah, you know, you’re know you’re going to be scared. And you just allow it. And then the fear comes up, and I learned something about myself, which I hadn’t learned before. And that was what it’s like, maybe to stand in the shoes of someone who’s been that in that place. You know, who’s been the child, wondering what’s going to be in the backseat of the car that morning. And I can feel something of what it’s like to be that way. And who knows? if I’ll ever meet Brittany in person, but I feel this connection that’s like a visceral connection at a deeper level. And when you feel that you can’t be separate, you know, once you share an emotional connection, it’s durable. Yes, you know? Yes. And if it was fear that did that, then, you know, fine, I’m good with that. But it also has released the charge the frightening part of fear is released and what’s left is this empathy

Unknown Speaker [25:33]
Hmm.

Bill Protzmann [25:34]
And, and whatever power that I might need, when that issue comes up in whatever way that it will and it will be able to say wait a minute. We’re all human here. We all share our our basic emotions are part of every human every living thing in the world. resonates emotionally.

Dr. Liz [25:56]
Yes. Why on the field compassion. There you go. You’re saying Yes, exactly. What would you recommend? Yeah. What would you recommend for? You have people say sometimes Oh, you’re feeling sad, depressed when you need to put on some happy music. Right? Yeah, what would your recommendation be?

Bill Protzmann [26:23]
The hardest thing is changing that mindset around. Because, I mean, yeah, we want to be happy. We don’t like some emotions we do like others. But if you immediately try to shift from sad to happy, for example, first of all, you’re missing whatever, it wasn’t sadness that was there for you. And by stuffing it, you’re also giving yourself some psychological trouble, you’re gonna have to work out someday. It turns out that a lot of my issues are related to emotional neglect. And I was loved as a child. But it was only love like in this little bandwidth where love goes deeper than that. And by limiting the bandwidth, I also wound up with a bunch of psychological stuff that I had to work out, you know, when I started therapy in my 30s. So, you know, it’s fine to switch your mood around. But if you’re sad, just a mood, it just chemicals, you know, brain chemistry or whatever. And that’s there for a reason. So honor that reason, play some music, that’s sad. And give your body a chance to process that sadness. Yeah. And then once it’s done that you’ll find yourself in sort of a neutral place. If you need to go happy, then play happiness, you need to go, you know, productive and play productive music, if you need to go wherever it is, you can pivot from there. But you can’t pivot when one foot is still stuck in the mud.

Dr. Liz [27:41]
Right? It’s true. It’s true.

Bill Protzmann [27:44]
So I advise to feel feel the feelings fully and build durable practices around that so that when you need them, they’re there.

Dr. Liz [27:53]
I love that. So what would be the an example of a durable practice?

Bill Protzmann [27:57]
So in my case, I’ll go back to the suicide music This incredible piece of music found me one day when I was pretty sad and, and it connected with me at my heart level. And so I’ve kept it around because it’s a great piece of music for sadness. And over time, our human systems will remember music. We just do that. It’s like a built in superpower. And its really good is that when you need music, you get the same physiological effect from remembering it. As if you put on the music and listen to it. And this is so cool, because it means that if I needed sad, I can start to play my sad song in my mind. Oh, yeah, I have the physical response. Yeah, and I don’t have to go all the way through. It’s like that you have it. It’s it’s authentic. And it’s dialed in. True. You do need to practice to get there, you know. So the science is that the songs you love are your most powerful songs. So in you in all of us, there’s We love that we recognize it. We heard them right. And we have access because they’re in there. And if you dial up that access, you get the emotion with it.

Dr. Liz [29:09]
Well, what happens when people get stuck, let’s say with some music, right? Like that’s all the listen to or that’s all they are, they get stuck in a decade or, you know, what’s going on there? What’s the process there?

Bill Protzmann [29:26]
Well, I like to say change your music change your life. So if you’re finding that your life is flat, and that you’re only listening to the K Perrier only listening to hip hop or whatever, if it’s really narrow if the bandwidth is really small on your music, you’ve got a lot of opportunity. And and you’ll know this because you say to somebody so what’s your happy song? And they say Amazing Grace, and you say, what’s your sad song and it’s Amazing Grace.

What’s your and it’ll go like, you know, what, who’s your favorite artist of all time? Well, idk, Elton John, why do you like JOHN so much. And you find out that they haven’t really listened for comparison sake to anybody except that one thing. And God bless you power positive thinking people, positive psychology. That’s amazing. But guess what? There’s more to it. So if your emotional bandwidth is contained in only one genre of music, hmm, chances are there’s an opportunity there to sort of expand the diet. And all sugar diet is great, but only if you want to live to be 20. You know?

Dr. Liz [30:29]
Yes.

Bill Protzmann [30:31]
You know, so the opportunity there to open up the musical appreciation, what a terrible word but to open up the musical diet can also open up the emotional diet in a way that you might have been resisting. Let’s face it, high resistance for a long time.

Dr. Liz [30:48]
The range so the range is wider.

Bill Protzmann [30:51]
Yeah, I mean, you can play a one note guitar, but it’s got six strings. So it really helps to be able to play chords, and

Dr. Liz [30:57]
It does. So do you recommend like giving it a certain amount of time or . . . because I learned in my 20s not my 30s that I’m even if there was music I didn’t initially like, if I listened to it enough, I’d actually grow to like it.

Bill Protzmann [31:17]
Yeah, it has value it does.

You can Supercharge Your, your need for more music. First of all by identifying your top 40 or whatever, and then figuring out if you’ve got something that covers the four basic emotions, if you’ve got music, it’s got music, it’s happy music, that’s fear music, it’s anger. If you’ve got sort of uneven blend, you’re good. Most people don’t. Most people know. It takes work, to build to practice your four primary emotion music. And most people don’t do that work musicians do because that’s what we do. Yes, you know, but but having something that fits for each one of those four categories is sometimes a challenge. It’s a necessary challenge. Because if you are stuck not being able to feel anger safely, let’s say you’re gonna have some issues, you know, they might leak out, or they might stack up and leaking out and sort of acting out on anger. Look around us at the social media today. Lot of anger leaking. Oh, you’re in my case, it became depression. And I experienced chronic depression because I was stuffing my anger all the time. There’s 7 billion people are gonna have 7 billion responses, right? different one. Yeah,

Dr. Liz [32:30]
yeah. Well, what about like, screamo? Right, like, someone who lives in angee?

Bill Protzmann [32:36]
you can live in anger.

Like, I can live just about developing my range. You know, I’m like nothing’s, you know, but living there the whole time. I don’t know. And there are people there was a study on this and article recently about how people who are really into metal find that it is joyous music. Really, and I understand that technically, I understand that. And there have been some metal concerts that I’ve been privileged to go to. I mean, it really is a privilege, where the, the incredible complexity and richness of the music is just, it blows me away. It’s that complicated. And if you get joy from that, I mean, who am I to judge? Right? It’s, it’s like that So, well, it doesn’t work for me. If we sat down together and listen to some screamo we’d be able to talk about it in a different way. Because we’d be able to say, okay, we realized that neither of us liked this music. But what’s the content of it? What’s going on emotionally? Are there lyrics that are inspiring us in some way? Or are there lyrics that are? They’re hurtful in some way? Because those lyrics have information that we might be able to access more quickly than the complexity of the music that’s around them. Uh huh. You know, yeah. What’s, what does the beat doing to me Do I feel the pulse of the music is it making me want to move you know, the dance around Yeah, is it? Is it in some way numbing me? You know, what’s the what’s the response to that the somatic response that we have to this museum, we, you and I could talk about that. And we might reach a place where eventually we will understand exactly why we don’t like to use it in a much more rich way. But on the other hand, we might reach a place where we know that we’ve got some musical tool that might help us in a given situation.

Dr. Liz [34:27]
Yes, or understand somebody else who does like it,

Bill Protzmann [34:30]
or Yes, or, and that’s

Dr. Liz [34:32]
activating in them.

Bill Protzmann [34:34]
And the music doesn’t just do one thing. It’s holistic. So even though we have an intellectual conversation, understand our emotions, and it becomes like this thing, the same music is still working on us physically. It’s still working on us mentally, like it’s either improving our intellectual acumen or whatever, or sort of deadening it. And that’s on purpose. I mean, you don’t go to the dance floor, do your math homework. Right. So yeah, there’s the That component. And then there’s the most amazing thing of all which people don’t like to talk about this too much. But that same music littered scream or Bach, I don’t care is having a spiritual impact on us? And that’s a loaded word. So what I mean by that is it it can create the opportunity for an authentic connection between us. Okay, it can create the opportunity for a connection to something bigger than us sort of a it can it can sort of the savage breast, which it does really well. And it does that by offering a space where we can come together, like that veteran that sits across me with a guitar. Yeah, the music is opening up that possibility for safety and recognition and in many cases with veterans who are injured in some way honor. You know, because even injured veterans who have internal injuries that you can’t see, yes, I’m still need honor and recognition and human connection and kindness and all of that. Yeah. And those things for me, because science hasn’t totally explained them yet. I’m just calling them spiritual. So if it comes to gratitude and kindness, those are spiritual practices. Absolutely. And could you just mention to that compassion? Yes. You know, when was the last time you went to a one of those Kumbaya kind of concerts where there was a sing along and I don’t know how big the band was, but you just want to reach out and take the hands of the people next to you. Maybe you’re in church, you know, and

Dr. Liz [36:22]
yeah, right. You don’t know them. But you’re all but you just do. Right connection.

Bill Protzmann [36:26]
Yeah. And and that’s the spiritual component of music. And to be honest with you, and this is so crazy, Elizabeth, but I have seen more spiritual connections like that happen in alt genre concerts than I have in mainstream concerts. You know, sometimes it does, like, I went to see Crosby, Stills Nash and young, and there were 50,000 people at the Hollywood Bowl or whatever. And the last half of the concert, everybody was singing along and holding hands. He’s like, how, how does this happen?

Dr. Liz [36:58]
Right? Right. Beautiful. Well, I had a follow up question though to the guitar lessons. Because I know at first learning an instrument is typically pretty frustrating and takes a high.

Bill Protzmann [37:15]
Yeah, I didn’t like it. I hated playing the piano as a kid for a long time.

Dr. Liz [37:21]
I did not have a choice in that. Not that I later I was grateful. You say that? Okay. Um, how many lessons do you recommend that someone stick with before they really? Yeah, I guess reach a tipping point. And that may be to learn maybe a setup question because maybe one lesson for somebody in 24 another but is there a typical like an average?

Bill Protzmann [37:44]
You know, I don’t know.

It does depend on the the influence of the teacher, for example, so I was my mom’s first piano student. And 30 years later, she was still teaching piano. 40 years later, she’s still teaching piano but her her way of teaching a changed. Yeah. And I know that if I’d taken lessons from my mom, like a three year old, 40 years down the road, I would have had a different experience than the one that I got when she was starting to starting to learn how to teach piano with me, as you know, people number one. So I don’t know, one of the most satisfying things about music is being able to, which we can do these days, is to play along with songs you like, Oh, yeah, I know. If you if you can’t play me, like flute at a level where you can play along with Liz. Oh, don’t worry about that. Grab a hand drum. Mm hmm. Because you can be a percussionist. Because that’s what we all do. You know, we all vibrate we all resonate. We do. Yeah, we do tension release pretty easily. Yeah. And grabbing hand drum and playing along with music you love is an incredible way to engage yourself with the music without a whole lot of technical requirement.

Dr. Liz [38:53]
Yeah, great, great tip

Bill Protzmann [38:55]
Yes. And just making music or lots of us like to sing along with me. music. I don’t have a choice. You know, I still sing in the shower and in the car and whatever.

Dr. Liz [39:04]
Yeah, me too. In fact, I didn’t even know I was bad until

Bill Protzmann [39:08]
until somebody . .

Dr. Liz [39:09]
Until I had kids! And they were like OMG!

Bill Protzmann [39:13]
Yeah, you know, there’s so much like YouTube, you can figure out pretty quickly if you’re going to be able to be proficient on an instrument because if you want it, we’ll figure it out. If you don’t want if you pick up a guitar, my fingers don’t do that bendy thing. And so guitarist for me, right? I could work hard on playing the guitar and I wouldn’t be satisfied. And I know that, but until you’ve picked up a oboe or something, or the bagpipes, or a wooden flute or pick any instrument, you’re going to really know what it’s like. But it’s so easy to do that anymore. Go out there and and find a hand drum. They’re cheap or rent one or even rent a piano. You can read a piano and see if it’s something right keyboards are under 100 bucks now at like Target. Yes, right. So you can quickly find out, you know, without a lot of time and treasure.

Dr. Liz [40:04]
It’s true. And there’s all kinds of free lessons on YouTube. Really amazing truly is an Apps even though

Bill Protzmann [40:12]
you don’t have to know how to play an instrument to get the benefits of music, you just have to know how to play a flat screen right? All it takes is Spotify or something, right to the playlist and go for it.

Dr. Liz [40:24]
Awesome. But we are coming to the end of our time. So thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Bill Protzmann [40:29]
You’re so welcome.

Dr. Liz [40:31]
Thank you, please tell people how to find you. If they’re interested in working with you are hosting you to come into one of their own programs.

Bill Protzmann [40:41]
Yeah, that’s my lane right now. I’m really hoping people who want to know how to use music more intelligently, to roll that into their toolkit and then bring that to the clients that they serve in a way that’s useful and meaningful. And there’s no license on this. It’s just, you know, music is out there. If you want to know why it’s working, read the research, but if you just want to dive in and do it, you know, I can help you with that. So best way to find out about me is quest dot music care.net so quest is the old fashioned quest for the holy grail kind of quest qu e s t, dot music care to cc net because there’s a network of people who want to know how to do this. It’s a movement people. Were trying to put a movement together here, groundswell of re engaging people and instead of having to be the musical expert to reengage every one of us with what music can do, yeah, quest.musiccare.net

Transcribed by https://otter.ai