Saturday, June 13, 2009

In review--The Hills Are Alive...

The Sound of Music DVD
20th Century Fox

The Sound of Music
The Original Soundtrack

If it's not already in every sound healer and musician's library, the 1965 movie production of The Sound of Music, either on DVD or CD should be. First of all, The Von Trapp family in which the original story represented a musical family from an Austrian city steeped in musical traditions, both classical and sacred.

I had not watched the movie in years and last time I watched it, I was not on the music awareness path. Then a few years ago I read Ted Andrews' book Sacred Sounds in which he mentioned both the Austrian meistersingers, musical initiates who used music with intention and he mentioned music from The Sound of Music, even going as far as using the Do-Re-Mi song to clear chakras. Andrews book planted seeds in my mind and heart.

Recently I agreed to teach a music awareness class to theatre youth and I decided to focus on musical theatre from the inside out, with a focus on The Sound of Music, Westside Story and The Wizard of Oz. Having grown up with musical theatre playing in the background, and a great love for the three above musicals, I am not surprised they led me on a shamanic and musical path. And as you know, all of the above classics are gleaned differently as you age and evolve. Certainly I was not thinking of healing with music when I was ten years old enjoying The Sound of Music with my family. I had not heard of meistersingers or even Mozart at that age.

While you watch The Sound of Music, notice how music appears in the movie, besides, actors singing beautiful songs. You will notice Catholic chants sung at the convent and even a monastery, although that scene is a blip in the movie. References to the natural world can be heard in the theme song, Climb Ev'ry Mountain and Edelweiss. Which Hal A. Lingerman brings up in his book Healing Energies of Music in the nature and music chapter.

Also look for bells, chimes, church organ and other soundscapes in the movie. Then look at the story of the enchanted Maria who loves spending time outdoors playing in the natural realm and singing. Music is so important to her that she joins a convent because she is mesmerized by the songs of the nuns. She joins up with a family that needs healing, but has no music in their household, so she boldly goes where no nanny has gone before, stands up to the baron and father figure so that she can teach the children how to play and sing.

The music that the family performs brings healing to the family, helps the father to come out of his denial and fall in love. Music helps the family to escape Nazi Germany. It helps the father to live in his integrity and take his family along with him.

I encourage you to dust off an old DVD or VHS you have of the movie and spend three plus hours watching it. Or do as I did and check it out from your local library. I think if you watch the movie or listen to the sound track from a sound healer's perspective, you will experience a shift as grand as the one Maria did in the movie.

I hope to bring music from this movie to my Music with Nature & Ecological Themes, taught through the Mount Vernon Parks Department on June 22nd and 23rd. For information call (360) 336-6215

Thursday, June 11, 2009

FYI--Article on Hospitals & Music

A visitor to this blog forwarded this article to me. I was surprised to find this on a mainstream news site.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

In review--Musical aid to Palestine children

Rim Banna
April Blossoms
Kirkelig Kulturverksted

Helping children laugh and sing during an era of crisis is a precious commodity. More and more musicians have been doing just that, bringing the power of music, joy and up-liftment to children that have lost their innocence because of war, privation and other human frailties. Palestinian vocalist and songwriter Rim Banna has sent out a powerful message with her latest children's music CD, April Blossoms. Even with the success of Banna's previous internationally-acclaimed recordings, I was unaware that the singer was a Palestinian star of children's music.

Joining such women musicians as Navajo-Dine Radmilla Cody (Precious Friends on Canyon Records) and Sweet Honey in the Rock (Experience 101 on Appleseed Records), Banna has recorded a sophisticated collection of children's songs that could also appeal to adults. She doesn't talk down to the children, but instead helps them to reclaim their innocence, joy and playfulness with songs about springtime, birthdays, holidays, moons, shepherds, a donkey and other topics which are bound to bring smiles to children's faces.
Banna teams up with her Russian-born husband, Leonid Alexeienko, Norwegian, Turkish and American musicians and a Palestinian children's choir. The instrumentation includes the usual band instruments plus the Armenian duduk, Arabic oud, bansuri flute and clarinet.

Produced by Erik Hillestad with support from Norwegian Church Aid, and Action by Churches Together, this CD was distributed among Palestinian children in Gaza. Support this project and buy this recording for your own children or other children that you love.

For more information (although in Norwegian), go to