Music and Mental Health - Mindful Melody
Updated: Oct 28
Following on from last weeks feature with Lisa T, I got to talk to David Dawson from Mindful Melody Magazine, to which we are proud sponsors. David is the co-founder along with Maxim Mower and the magazine focuses on music and mental health.
David and Maxim have known each other since secondary school. When at University, Maxim became the editor of the University magazine and asked David if he would contribute, leading David to writing guest spots. Maxim is currently still at University studying a masters degree in Buddhism and Spirituality, and based on what he had learned started writing a blog a day for 30 days during lockdown David would then provide feedback. Following this, Maxim suggested that they do what they have always joked about doing, starting an online magazine based around music. Using Maxim’s Buddhist teaching, David’s personal experience and their joint love of music it was a natural pairing.
In the Spring of 2020 they started to come up with ideas, writing articles and lining up interviews. Originally just an idea throughout lockdown it has now grown into something neither could imagine giving up. David writes from a personal perspective, having experienced struggles with mental health himself. This is something he is very open and honest about but feels he can express himself more through his writing. Although David writes more for himself, he hopes that will help other people going through a similar situation.
During the day David is an Administrator at ‘England Golf’, a job which keeps him busy and luckily wasn’t affected by the pandemic. He also has a passion for music and studied it at University. Whereas Maxim is a huge Country fan, David loves everything. Taking a lot of direction from his parents, his mother is into Northern Soul and Pop (Obsessed with ABBA) whilst his Father is into MOD, Ska and Reggae. David always tries to incorporate these into the magazine, though he thinks sometimes he can be a bit hip hop heavy for his mum's taste.
While pulling the magazine together they have never really had a ‘Focus’ as such, drawing inspiration from things around them or what is happening in their lives and the world, at the time. Maxim writes from a more academic view on occasions, using what he is currently studying as a starting point whereas David says he can be driving down the street and an idea could pop into his head. Each issue has a personal piece from them both, telling people what they have been up to and what they have been experiencing. This helps readers feel connected to the writers, especially when they explore mental health. Issue 6 was their first issue which had a theme and focus ‘Slow Down and Simplify’ which is very apt for mindfulness and well-being. It presented a different set of challenges as they needed to ensure all articles were in keeping with the brand and theme. This is something they have enjoyed and are keen to keep doing in the future. David hopes that the articles and interviews help people in whatever way they need them too and has been able to open up to people in ways he never thought possible before through Mindful Melody Magazine.
Some feedback they have had regarding their articles came from sources they didn't expect. A radio presenter read an article and really liked it so invited the boys onto the show to discuss it further. He has since asked them to appear on more shows to discuss individual pieces written in different issues. This has been great publicity for the magazine and really helped to get the message across to people.
In each issue they include the Top 10 songs and they always have a different theme. As they are both into different music, Maxim and David do 5 songs each. This can lead to a weird amalgamation of music but all songs are along the same theme and are purposely selected to help the listener. It also means that the magazine is open to individuals with all tastes in music, rather than specifically to one genre.
Maxim and David have no intention of stopping the magazine now that lockdown has been lifted, in fact they have plans to grow further. At the time of the interview with David, a launch date had not been decided due to delays, however, they have since announced printed copies of the magazine will be available for purchase from this Sunday, 11th July! The cost will be £4 (including P&P) in the UK (a little more in the US). This is the first issue which has been available in print and hopefully there will be loads more to come.
They are hoping that with the success of the magazine they will be able to produce some merchandise in the not so distant future and get a Mental Health Charity involved, possibly collaborating on some Merch. At the moment they raise money through their live streams with artists using a ‘Tip Jar’ so make sure you check them out. For now they are focused on putting out great articles and interviews, making sure they fulfill their ever-growing ‘Wishlist’ of interviews.
David’s Top 5 things to get him through the day:
"My Support Network - I'm really lucky to have an amazing girlfriend, best friend and family. I owe them a lot and they help me more than they realise each and every day.
Music - Who could live without music! As a musician in a few bands and as a keen listener and writer music is a big part of my life. Music has this power over me where it can lift my whole mood when I need it the most.
My Phone - Social media can be pretty toxic and I've actually written about this in the past but during lockdown and isolation my phone has become so important. Whilst it cannot substitute for human connection, the ability to message any of my friends when I need them is really important.
Exercise - I may be pretty unfit but I still go running every morning. I don't go very far or fast but that peaceful hour in the morning breeze really allows me to collect my thoughts and prepare myself for the day. My Job - Keeping busy is so important for me. Lots of people were unfortunate in losing their jobs over lockdown but thankfully I was able to work from home. Keeping this structure to my day kept me going. Even post-covid having work and aspirations gives me focus and motivation."
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