3 Common Benefits of Music Therapy

Lately I’ve been becoming more and more interested in music therapy, which involves creating, playing, singing, or listening to music to help address various physical or mental ailments in patients. While anyone can experience the healing and therapeutic benefits of music on their own, music therapy sessions are generally conducted or overseen by a licensed therapist or specialist. Administering music therapy under the care of a trained music therapist can greatly increase the benefits of this time-tested and popular practice.

There are many different applications and benefits of music therapy, and I hope to dig deeper into each of them on this blog at a later date. In the meantime, here are three of the more common benefits and uses:

Helps with Pain and Recovery

Music therapy can help change our perception of pain. Surgery patients, people with chronic pain, and cancer patients have reported a reduction in pain levels when undergoing music therapy.

Helps with Symptoms of Depression

Music can have a tremendous effect on our moods. Many therapists use music therapy to help those suffering with depression because of its ability to help regulate emotions and promote general well-being.

Helps Improve Memory Functions

Because of its melodic and repetitive nature, music has the ability to improve our memory and general cognitive functions. Studies on patients with Alzheimer’s have also shown that music therapy can help recover previously lost memories.  The effects here can be particularly dramatic; see for example this remarkable video of a memory care patient named Henry:

Henry not only remembers his love for music, but even the name of his favorite singer (Cab Calloway) before then crooning a familar Christmas tune.  I’ve served as a pianist/songleader at memory care facilities, and while I’ve never seen anything quite this dramatic, I have seen previously unresponsive people open their eyes wide (like Henry does) and literally dance in their chairs.  It’s amazing and truly a joy to behold.

Brad Carlin: Three Tips for Filling Out a Winning March Madness Bracket

Brad Carlin March Madness

With March just around the corner, there’s a good chance that someday soon one of your coworkers will be making the rounds, trying to get participants for your office’s March Madness pool. Even if you haven’t watched a NCAA game all season, there are a few tips that can help you fill out your bracket like a pro.

Use the free online Poologic calculator

Poologic.com offers a free online program that helps you construct a bracket with a higher probability of winning. It uses point spreads, team rankings, and other metrics to determine your bracket’s best inputs.  The program handles a fairly wide range of office pool designs, including those with fairly complex upset bonuses and other incentives.

Know your competition

It’s important to know any local biases of the competition in your particular pool. If you’re playing in an office pool in Kentucky, chances are many of your colleagues will be picking Kentucky to go all the way. Staying away from the local favorite will help increase your odds of ending up in the money.

It’s also important to know how many people are participating in your pool. For smaller pools of, say, 20 to 30 entries, you can feel more confident in sticking with the higher seeded teams knowing that they have the highest likelihood of winning and tied entries are unlikely. Yet, if you were to employ this strategy in a large office or national pool, you’re likely going to come up against a significant number of entries that have nearly the same picks you do.  This would mean lower average payoff since, even if you win, your earnings are more likely to be shared across the multiple winners.

Being overly conservative is not necessarily your friend

Choosing the number one seeds across the board in the Final Four may seem like a safe strategy.  However, it’s also a strategy that a lot of other people are likely to use, particularly casual players who don’t typically follow college basketball.  And in any case, it’s unlikely the Final Four will be comprised of only number one seeds: it has only happened once in the history of the tournament.

Optimal selection in NCAA bracket pools requires tools from both probability and game theory, making them a fun and challenging pastime for the sports nerd.  If you want to know more, I heartily recommend the brand new CRC book by my good friend Tom Adams, Improving Your NCAA Bracket With Statistics.  Tom is a systems analyst, mathematician, and long-time March Madness guru who created and maintains the poologic.com page.  His book is an easy and engaging read about both the history and optimal solution of bracket pools. It includes plenty of pragmatic strategies, including the “contrarian” approach of being somewhat skeptical of the very top teams since they tend to be overbet by other players.  Good luck and enjoy the 2019 NCAA mens’ and womens’ tournaments!

Statistician to be one of the fastest growing jobs across the next 10 years

According to a recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Statisticians will find themselves among the fastest growing job categories in the U.S. between 2016 and 2026.

According to the report, the number of jobs for Statisticians will grow 33% from 2016 to 2026, which is 26% greater than the average job growth rate of 7%. This ranks statisticians as the fifth-fastest growing job category in the nationally over the next 10 years. In 4 U.S. states in particular – Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, and Massachusetts – statisticians will be the fastest growing jobs segment.

Given the increasing availability of data, the demand for professionals who can apply mathematical and statistical techniques in order to analyze data and provide real-world business solutions will continue to rise.

To read the full report or for more information on the Statistician career track visit https://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/mathematicians-and-statisticians.htm