Friday, April 24, 2015

21st Century Musical Healers Series--Dr. Haris Gershom

Photo courtesy of Haris Gershom
Musical Saws & Mind Machines as Music Therapy

Since I began hosting the Linked In group Musical Healers, I have met an array of sound healers, musicians, and music therapists from around the globe. They have collectively introduced me to modalities and instruments beyond my imagination, which gives me hope for healing us and the planet.

Dr. Haris Gershom who combines science with the arts brings a novel approach to music therapy involving a musical saw with elongated notes (Harishophone), and the H.R. Mind Machine which induces desired brain waves, mainly Alpha Waves for people who engage the machine.  A retired professor from a science college (Vallabh Vidya Nagar), in Gujarat, India, Dr. Gershom plays his musical saw with a violin bow and by doing so, has played three octaves and performed music from western and India classical traditions.

Dr. Gershom takes college students to retirement and leprosy homes once a year to give music therapy to patients. He cites that the Alpha Waves emitted by the musical saw and the mind machine elicit peaceful responses in patients and relieves pain too.  You can view the research and therapies on Dr. Gershom's website.

(This is a heavily edited version of the original interview which unfortunately suffered from syntax problems. I highly recommend visiting the professor's website for additional information).



Whole Music Experience:  When did first you get involved with music therapy or Sound Healing?


Haris Gershom: My background is in organic chemistry. I wasn’t aware about the different level of consciousness.  In 2003, I was invited to participate in International musical saw festival and competition in California by the International Musical Saw Association. I was told that saw players had to play one solo with music and one without. Therefore I was practicing for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening at my home.  I observed tremendous change in the growing of the brinjal plant. The plants that were near my music room grew to 8 feet and those on the other side grew to normal size.  I thought this was because of sound of my musical instrument, Harishophone. 


I went to post graduate department of physics and I told to the department head that I wanted to measure sound frequency, sound energy, and sound impact (pressure).  He made all the arrangements and when we measured the parameter of sound on computerize oscilloscope, we got unique results. Sound energy was 25 times more than other musical instrument. Its sound pressure 70 DB, and sound frequency was the in audible region and not only that, when I played on saw blade it emitted Alpha Waves which we discovered with the oscilloscope.  This result surprised me. 


After others referred me to books on Internet, I found that such sound penetrate through living cells whether it may be of plant kingdom or animal kingdom. I went to our chairman and I told him about this research and I requested him to allow me to do research work on effect of music on the living based on my earlier research.


I began this work in 2003 and I retired in 2005 at the age of 62.  Now I’m busy with my music therapy and I am using this therapy for poor people in slums and tribal area.


WME: What situation or event led you to create the Harishophone?


HG: In 1960, I pass my secondary school examination and took admission in a science college. During that time at my home, a carpenter was doing some repair work and his saw blade accidentally fell on the ground and I heard a terrible sound. When I picked up and held the saw blade between my legs and knocked on the blade, I heard a musical note. Then when I bent it and I knocked on the blade again, I heard another musical note. I was surprised when I found that musical notes are hidden in this saw blade. Since then, my practice started whenever I found free time. I practiced to create all seven musical notes. Then I started creating vibration with the help of violin bow and in 2000, I gave the instrumentation form.  


Today I can create musical notes up to three octaves which is my world record. I can play western classical, Indian classical and Indian songs. I can create resonating sound also that has tremendous effect on an autistic child.  I was invited in 2003, 2006, 2011 and 2014 to participate in an international musical festival in the United States that honored me with an international award. (www.sawplayers.org)


WME: By slowing down brain waves, such as an Alpha state, patients receive many health benefits.  Please describe how the Harishophone works and how it slows down brainwaves to a more relaxed state?


HG: As I have mentioned earlier, because of the Harisphone’s unique sound parameter which induces Alpha Waves during playing and experimenting on more than 500 students, all the students have experience the Alpha state and they said they felt at ease. 


Learn more about Haris Gershom at http://www.harishophonealpha.org





Saturday, April 11, 2015

21st Century Musical Healer--Karen Renée Robb

Photo by Michael Shumate
As part of the Whole Music Experience 21st Century Musical Healer series, I introduce you to sound healer/drummer/vocalist Karen Renée Robb who I met through my Linked In group, Musical Healers. Karen has participated regularly with the group as well as, doing unique sound healing work with the frame drum and vocals.  In many ways, she reminds me of Christine Stevens who also employs the drum towards peace and well-being.

Whole Music Experience: You gave up your corporate career to pursue a mission of sound healing and promoting the healing benefits of drumming. What event triggered this bold move for you?
 
Karen Renée Robb: Music and singing have been an important part of my life since I was a little girl. I started out as a voice performance major in college, but ended up with a business degree. I spent 25 years in the high-tech, digital music and musical instrument industry. In the summer of 2012, I was researching music therapy for a technology company I worked for. I had a number of profound personal experiences during that time where my singing for others in a therapeutic setting shifted the energy of the person and the room.


I had a huge “a-ha” moment while singing for a friend who was in hospice care, dying from
cancer. While I was singing for her everything in the room stood still and a peace came over her and me that I will never forget. In that moment, I recognized with all of my being that service for another person was more important then all of the widgets and physical things I had helped create over the years. A light switch went off that I consider Spirit awakening me to the true power of my voice, sound and music. 


It became clear to me fairly quickly that the company's needs for my work and what I was being called to do, no longer matched. I left at the end of 2012 and started The Music City Alliance for Sound & Music Healing in Nashville, Tennessee. The connection with the frame drum came in January of 2013.
 


WME: You quote Beethoven on your website: “Music is the mediator between life of senses and life of spirit.” The drum is both a spirit-caller and an in-the-body sensual experience. How does this quote apply to your work?

KRR: My first experience with the frame drum happened in January of 2013. Previously to that, I would not have considered myself a drummer. A friend shared a TEDx talk video done by Eliana Gilad (Voices of Eden) with me. During her talk she sang into the frame drum. As soon as I saw her do it, I knew immediately that I was supposed to do it as well. It comes so naturally. I sense it is a remembering from a previous life time when I was a healer.
My personal exploration with sounding into the frame drum vocally, led me to start drumming over people for sound vibration massage experiences. It is as if the drum has a primal force that awakens and enlivens the soul when we have a safe and encouraging place to engage with it.


The combination of singing, sounding into the drum and drumming over people stirs up the
mind, body, emotions, and Spirit in a very profound way. Most people can't really speak words about how it feels, because it is a feeling they don't normally experience in their daily lives. Beyond words. 


I am grateful to be able to help others find their unique sound vibration through their voice and innate heartbeat rhythm using the frame drum. It is a new (yet old) way to explore our whole human being-ness. We are each a musical, creative instrument that is awakened through singing, sounding and drumming.

WME: Who are your main clients? Who do you most desire to work with?

 
KRR: I have a very wide range of clients. I work with hospice, therapists, addiction recovery
programs, people diagnosed with Alzhiemer's and Parkinson's, and people who are just interested in connecting with their voice and a drum. I am willing to share this work with anyone who is interested. Since it is new to our Western culture, I courageously show up with my frame drum in all sorts of places. Once I start drumming over one person, a line usually forms of interested onlookers.


The only way for people to understand the power of it is to experience it for themselves.
In terms of my workshops and presentations, the vast majority of people who come to learn how to do these vocal and drumming techniques are women in their 40s to 70s. I really get excited knowing that women are being drawn to it and it is helping them to connect powerfully with their own authentic voice.


WME: Which aspect of your sound healing & drumming work is the most fulfilling for you? You mention, “communal music-making” on your website.

 
KRR: Once people have taken the Introduction to Frame Drum Wisdom workshop I teach, most purchase a frame drum of their own. I hold circle gatherings about once a week where drum carriers come together to support each other, practice our sounding and drumming techniques and create beautiful, spontaneous music together. It is a time where we can feel that everyone's voice is an important part of the symphony of life and music making. We don't have many ways to commune together that way anymore it seems.


The sounding drum circle provides a safe place where people can just be themselves and let their sound out with no judgement. It is really beautiful! Some have said the music made sounds like a choir of angels singing or heaven. It is truly profound when most of the people in the circle at some point in their life was told that they couldn't sing. The most fulfilling part for me is when I hear someone who at some point hated their voice or have been uncomfortable expressing themselves, come to find the beauty of it and are willing to sound it out, loud and proud. To me it is another aspect of their healing journey finally revealed. Liberation!


WME: What are your musical and spiritual backgrounds that led you on this path?

 
KRR: Growing up I studied piano, french horn, and voice. Our home was full of all styles of
music. My Dad loved listening to classical music, classic rock, pop, adult contemporary and
even new age styles. Music has always been a valuable tool and experience for me. I enjoyed
playing instruments, but found that using my voice was the most meaningful. While in the
corporate realm I always found ways to use my voice outside of work, performing and singing in all sorts of places. Focusing my life towards advocating and participating in sound and music for healing and well-being, feels very natural for me. And I am passionate about sharing it with anyone who is interested.


In terms of my spiritual background, I was raised Catholic throughout my childhood, became a Unity student for almost 20 years starting after college and in the last 5 years have left religious institutions to follow my own Spirit-guided path. I enjoy connecting with others in circles, where everyone's voice is honored and respected. I find a deep resonance with Native American culture and spiritual practices and sense I am on a shamanic path. But I really don't like to put a name to my path and just let it unfold as I am guided. I feel a sense of freedom to continually be amazed by life and the mystical experiences it can bring. I feel the same way about my connection to the frame drum. It is providing me with new experiences I never could have imagined I would have, both on the physical and spiritual level.


Visit Karen's website at http://www.framedrumwisdom.com and her YouTube channel

Sunday, March 22, 2015

FYI--Use Favorite Songs to Boost Well-Being

Image found on Wikipedia
For the past the year, my life experiences have taken a toll on my well-being.  The stress has caused me to suffer illness at times. Each time I found myself turning to music to create healing in my mind, body and spirit.  Then I realized, wait a minute, I've been doing this my entire life.

For anyone with access to the Internet and YouTube, there is literally a world of music as an offering to boost well-being.  Sometimes, curiosity and delving into music from other cultures or traditions gets our minds off our worries and problems.  When we redirect our minds, our bodies heal themselves.

Another practice revolves around listening to favorite songs, either current or past favorites because if the songs stoke our hearts we raise our vibration.  As you know when we raise our vibrations we heal ourselves on a deep level.  However, make sure those favorite songs do not contain negative text or any abrasive sounds in them.  We can fool our minds, but not our bodies and not our spirits.  For those of you already on board music consciousness, you know what feels right and what does not resonate with your being. 

Many of us, if not all of us are in the process of healing ancestral DNA including patterns and beliefs that cause "bad luck", ill health, poverty and limiting beliefs that leads to dis-empowerment and disease.  Try finding music from your ancestral lineages that you can combine with different energy healing and quantum healing modalities that clear ancestral DNA patterns.  

As we move closer to the Aquarius Age and complete the Pisces Age, music plays an important, if not crucial role in cleaning up our frequencies and vibrational fields.  While Neptune floats in Pisces for another decade, music therapy and sound healing help us make huge inroads on our paths to greater well-being and even, enlightenment.

So go to the library and pick up new-to-you music and explore the world of sound that's out there. Delve into your favorite songs to boost your immunity and heal your lives.  Just like you choose your food diet carefully and don't allow toxins to enter your body, think of music the same way. Music and food share the commonality of carrying vibration.  Music is also warm, cold, spicy; hard or easy to digest.  Experiment and learn from your mistakes, but in the end create the perfect musical medicine kit to get you through any challenging experience--physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.

Happy musical journeys.

Monday, March 2, 2015

FYI--Classical Music used as Therapy for Dogs & Cats

After seeing a post on cats and music today on Linked In, I recalled the work of Joshua Leeds and Lisa Spector.  So I went to YouTube and found this cool video.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Excerpt from Whole Music (Soul Food for the Mind Body Spirit)

Circumstances of the past two years have forced me to sit on my unpublished book, Whole Music.  And now I'm ready to publish it the traditional route.  I also thought it would be fun to share an audio clip of an excerpt from the introduction.

I used images from album covers of artists I reviewed on this blog and Wikipedia images.  So here, I guess you can watch an unveiling of a book that was published then unpublished yet the saga continues.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

FYI: Acoustics, Architecture & Health

I found this brilliant speaker on Ted Talks. It's true that the sounds in hospitals aren't conducive to healing. How can sound healers get involved here?


Sunday, February 1, 2015

FYI--Consider Sound Vibration and Frequency

I'm continually fascinated by sound frequency, geometry, and how our minds, bodies and souls are affected by sound.  I found this video on YouTube and although it's poor quality, the subject matter is worth sharing.  You might wish to skip past 20 through 45 minutes.