Flourish Through Music brings joy to campus life


Kristine Campbell

Dr. Katherine Decker (left) and student Bridget Mullin (right) perform.

Emma Klein, Columnist

Uplifting music will play in the Titan Underground on the first Monday of every month this semester from noon to 1 p.m. as part of “Mindful Music Monday.”

The event as envisioned by Kristine Campbell, counselor at the UW Oshkosh Counseling Center, and Alison Shaw, chairwoman of the music department, is a collaboration between the Counseling Center and the music department.

Flourish Through Music is an “exciting new initiative to improve the wellness of all students and our campus community,” Campbell said.

“Mindful Music Monday” is a great first step in providing students resources to help improve their mental health. They hope the Flourish Through Music program spreads to more areas around campus such as Clow and Sage halls, Campbell and Shaw said.

Shaw said “Mindful Music Monday” is open to all kinds of live music.

“Where we are right now, we need to see what the response is, and the interest is too, and we don’t want to eliminate anyone who might have something to share,” she said.

Good mental health can’t be achieved quickly or easily, but music can aid in the healing process. It is easy to access, sparks joy and allows for relaxation.

According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, listening to music makes people happy because of the chemicals it produces in their brains.

Feeling connected to friends and society is also important for mental health.

“People are consuming music in a really different way,” Shaw said. “We consume it in an isolated manner.”

When people view themselves as isolated from others, it can create a perception of emotional distance from others. When people get together to listen to music, it decreases isolation’s effect on mental health and increases people’s well-being because it breaks through emotional barriers.

Flourish Through Music and other events do not have to be long to be effective forms of self-care. In fact, having small moments of mindfulness each day can be better than longer periods of self-care less frequently because there is less stress buildup.

Long events can cause discomfort for many reasons. Campbell said short music initiatives can improve stress by helping mental health, making people feel good, building a community and helping students with performance anxiety.

Many people struggle with their mental health; when these issues are out in the open, it shows people they are supported.

The lineup for “Mindful Music Monday” includes music majors and UWO faculty such as Assistant Professor of Music Katherine Decker, Chancellor Andrew Leavitt, Dean of Students Art Munin, Associate Dean Kiersten Bloechl-Karlsenl and counselor Tim Arnold.

The first “Mindful Music Monday” performance featured Decker on the cello and music performance major Bridget Mullin on piano.

“The music seemed to be enjoyed by everyone who was present and gave everyone a chance to hear something pretty, calm and nourishing to the soul,” Decker said.

Chancellor Leavitt will be playing the saxophone for the next performance on Nov. 4 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Titan Underground.

New student organizations UMatter and Music & Wellness support “Mindful Music Monday,” as well as faculty, students, staff and other organizations.

Flourish Through Music gives everyone the opportunity to improve their mental health through music in a safe environment.

This initiative is a win for everyone involved. It shows what the campus community can achieve when people come together to help others.