Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Practice--Uncovering emotional blocks through favorite music

Exploring Music from Childhood and Beyond (Healing Potential)

music of my teen years
In the realm of healing with music, two theories predominate.  First, music therapists employ music to remove blocked emotions, relieve overtaxed brains and nervous system, help with brain diseases and malfunctions, motivate depressed or lethargic clients, etc... Second, sound healers raise the frequency or vibration of their client’s body.  So this leads to two views of what to do with harder-to-digest music such as heavy metal or hard-edged hip hop.  While I understand both points of view, and practitioners and researchers from both camps have evidence to back up their work with music, if someone’s goal is to lift their vibration, heavy metal and hip hop with hateful lyrics won’t accomplish this mission.

However, for the purpose of this article, I’m gazing at music therapy in the form of a psychological tool.  After acquiring a higher speed internet service and discovering all the musical treasures on YouTube, I also discovered that listening to music from certain times or eras in a person’s life, can unblock stuck emotions from that time.  I know many people don’t want to listen to romantic songs that remind them of a breakup in their lives.  However, we cannot keep repressing those emotions, put on a brave face, and get on with life.  By doing this, we give those repressed emotions hidden power and control over our future.

Songs that cause us to feel deep seated emotions and that churn the fires of release are precisely the songs we need to listen to when unblocking emotions from different times in our lives.  Music provides powerful medicine when it is used correctly and respected for its potency.  So in the past few months, I have revisited different times in my adult and childhood life through listening to certain songs.  I have traveled back to the 1960s when I was born and through the 1970s and 1980s known as my adolescent years.  I have returned to favorite songs, and other people’s favorite songs. 

Sometimes I returned to a song only because of the text which provides more meaning to me now.  I think of Cat Steven’s “Cat in a Cradle” for instance as a song for dealing with father issues.  In fact, any psychologists or spiritual coach worth their salt need to apply music and the memories dredged up by this music in their healing tool kit.  Omitting music from therapy is a grave error because music affects every cell in our body, our brainwaves, our heart rhythms and we have stored music in different parts of our bodies. (This is my own belief).

Make a list of your favorite songs from early childhood, from late childhood, from adolescent years, college years, young adulthood, etc... Make a list of your parents’ favorite songs as well as, your former partners, siblings, and friends’ favorite songs.  Make lists of songs that affected certain turning points and events in your life.  Make a list of favorite movie soundtrack and stage musicals.  Make a list of songs that motivate you, songs that allow you to release stuck emotions such as fado, flamenco, or American blues.  Once you have lists of songs and music of your past, start exploring music from around the globe that suit your current life purposes.
Sound Healer’s Gaze

While music therapists have a purpose for harder edged pop and rock music, I lean towards sound healing and raising the frequency.  However, you cannot raise your frequency if you experience emotional blocks.  If you are blocked and you raise your frequency you end up feeling sick and at dis-ease as your body purges stuck emotions.  A better approach is to release stuck emotions with safer types of music that provides as much energy as rock and pop music.  I give you these examples: Flamenco, fado, rebetika (Greece), American blues, African blues, American gospel of the black church, and drum circles.  You can release stuck emotions joining a drum circle or drumming on your own, dancing to poly rhythmic African and Afro-Latin music.  Try placing a speaker on the floor and play pow-wow music while you lay on the floor receiving the vibrations from the music directly into your body.  Don’t do this however, if you have heart problems.

No More Excuses

So you say that you don’t have any of this music in your collection.  Go to your local library and explore the music CDs in the library collection.  That’s how I got started in the mid-1990s when I made my transition from rock/pop to world music.  The point is, you don’t have to become a music therapist or a sound healer to benefit from the healing power of music.  You grow more musically conscious as you experiment with different types of music.  And since we are all different, it is possible that the new age music that relaxes others puts your teeth on edge.  Perhaps, you would prefer African ballads or ragas of India or polyphonic music of Italy.  Brazilian bossa nova has a relaxing quality and is far from smooth new age music.

I hope this essay gets you started in a healing with music direction.  Please feel free to leave comments.  I do respond to them.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Top 10 Favorite Classical (Music Medicine)

Maurice Ravel
1. Prokofiev, Piano Concerto 3

2. Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto 3 (Olga Kern)

3. Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of the Faun

4. Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata

5. Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake (Dance of the Swans)

6. Mozart's Clarinet Concerto

7. Mozart's Magic Flute (Queen of the Night Aria)

8. Bach's Goldberg Variations (Glenn Gould)

9. Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez (Yepes)

10. Ravel Piano Concerto in G (Grimaud performing 2nd movement)

This list of pieces runs the gamut from pastoral peaceful to passionate to enchanting.  These pieces have been my favorite consistently over time.  Since this music sets a variety of moods, listen to it purposefully and appropriately.

If you would like to hear or view the entire compositions, check out CDs from your library, buy them, and watch concerts on YouTube.  If you can attend live concerts for best results.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

FYI: Whole Music (the book-in-progess)

In 2005, I wrote the first proposal for a book on raising music consciousness. The title I came up with was "Whole Music (Soul Food for the Body, Mind, Spirit)" and my plan at that time was to draw a comparison between whole foods and wholesome music.

In 2007, I launched this blog thinking that would suffice as far as, reporting the latest sound and music research and letting you know about the latest acoustic recordings.  However, the book proposal stayed with me though its vision has expanded given all we have seen in the realm of sound healing and traditional music in the past decade alone.

I signed a publishing contract with a startup publishing company, Synclectic out of Washington State.  During the next year I will compile research and interviews from this blog, conduct new interviews, research through books, field recordings, and attending various healing music events and concerts.  I look forward to exploring music in depth with you, reporting some of my findings on this blog, and connecting with those of you also raising music awareness.

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