Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Practice--Power of Words in Shaping Reality

The Beatles, Wikipedia, All You Need is Love
If you practice metaphysics or consider yourself new age then you are familiar with the power of words.  Similar to music, words contain vibrations and those vibrations shape our perceptions of reality.  I have also noticed that when you listen to a particular song, you carry the vibration of that song in your body, not to mention the effects are amplified each time your brain repeats the melody and words of the song.

Some people don't care about the "reality" they create and they also don't wish to take responsibility for what they create with their words, thoughts, emotions and perceptions.  I'm not addressing that crowd.  I prefer to address those of you who are on the road to mastership of co-creating and prefer to empower yourself with words, music, and sound vibrations.  Most of us may never reach mastership, but why not take the journey anyway and grow more conscious each day on the journey?

As a musician, writer and metaphysical practitioner, I don't always pay attention to my words or language I tend to use.  I have caught myself using violent language or at least darker words when I could have chosen otherwise.  Actually, I feel that my Spirit Guides point this out to me.  When I was younger and a rock musician, I listened to any song on the radio and I wrote dark lyrics.  I didn't do this because I wanted to act in a destructive manner, I did this out of pure ignorance.  Fortunately, I learned about kirtans and sound healing and I could cancel out some of those negative vibrations.  However, Dr. Masaru Emoto's work with water crystals awakened my consciousness around words and music.

So as an experiment try listening to this kirtan or any kirtan when you feel that you have headed into a negative tailspin.  You could also use singing bowls or tuning forks to clear your energy field if you have those tools available.  Didgeridoo and shakers will also break up and clear that energy.  So I'm also including a link to didgeridoo.  Then finally, I have selected three songs with powerful life-affirming lyrics.  These aren't sacred songs, but they come from popular music traditions.  


Deva Premal


Ryka Ali

Pop Songs:

All You Need is Love

Helen Reddy (empowering)
I am Woman

Ruthie Foster (words by Maya Angelou)
Phenomenal Woman  

Try these tunes out on your chakras and feel them clear.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Practice--Play Children's Songs

Mary Poppins movie, Wikipedia
We have many tools to deal with stress when it comes to musical vibration.  One way to deal with stress is to temporary distract ourselves by allowing us some playtime.  As adults we are usually bent out of shape by matters of consequence and matters of no consequence as the Little Prince character once told us.  And recently,  intuitive life coach Sonia Choquette and her daughter reminded us of how important fun and play are for our lives (in a e-newsletter).

So with all that in mind, I'm bringing you some childhood music gems from bygone eras.  By the way, you can listen to this music with adults, alone or with children.  You can sing along, whistle or dance to the songs if you prefer.  Whatever you decide, engage with the music beyond just listening to the songs.  And then when you have had your fun listening session that will no doubt keep you surfing YouTube for a good plus hour, write down the physical, emotional and spiritual results in your music diary.  You do have a music diary, no?

BTW, I loved the song Let's Go Fly a Kite when I was a child.  You might want to watch the entire movies listed below too.  Even if you end up with ear worms at least the music is pleasant.

1. Spoon Full of Sugar from Mary Poppins

2. Let's Go Fly a Kite from Mary Poppins  (plenty of songs from this movie)

3. The Lonely Goatherd, The Sound of Music

4. Whistle While You Work, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

5. Popeye the Sailor Man theme song 

6. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, theme song 

7. When You Wish Upon a Star, Peter Pan 

You can substitute holiday music from the classical claymation movies such as Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer or Santa Claus is Coming to Town, The Wizard of Oz, or other child movie classics.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Practice--Vibration in Words and Music

Anyone who has been involved with new age practices with a focus on the Law of Attraction already knows about the power of words.  But do you know about the power of words playing in the background such as with songs that play in the stores you shop or on your favorite radio station or during those trips to YouTube?

While we lacked awareness about the power of words in former decades such as the 1950 through 1980s, we can no longer claim that ignorance.  We have witnessed and experienced how the words of popular songs have affected our lives collectively.  Words that transformed into twisted mantras backed by programmed drum beats and loud guitars that blasted through our chakras bringing us unease and imbalance.

I listen to a lot of songs from various genres during my visits to YouTube.  Often times, I find myself wanting to understand why a certain song plays on the repeat mode in my brain when I haven't heard that song in years.  I ask myself why that song comes up now and perhaps the song comes from my Higher Self or the Spirit Guides that I work with as a message for me to pay attention to what I am creating in my life!

So recently, I had the song "It's So Easy" playing over again in my thoughts.  This is a song once belted out by Linda Ronstadt to a Tex-Mex beat and crunchy guitars.  It's actually an upbeat song on the surface, but I think its deeper message is to become conscious of who we attract in our life and to prevent ourselves from becoming overly attached or suffer some type of consequences.  But this song led me further in listening to other songs by this musician and what I discovered, if you look at her life circumstances over the years and her songs about heartbreak and self-pity, is she attracted more of the same.  But we didn't know much about the power of words and music during that time.  We were growing and just moving into this direction as we remembered the teachings of the ancient ones.

And I don't want to pick on Linda Ronstadt because she is a fabulous vocalist who writes strong and memorable melodies.  We could choose any artist and explore the lyrics of any pop or rock song for instance and find much self-loathing.  And this is because we can now see from a higher place just how far we have evolved in the past few decades!  However, this still means that we need to pay attention to words, intention behind the words, emotions behind the words and repetition of the words where they become like mantras, especially on choruses where a phrase is repeated.

So what do we do when we are inundated with songs in the background and foreground of our lives? How do we wash ourselves of these influences when they don't manifest peace and love in our lives? What happens when our belief systems and patterns revolve around these songs? Do we run for the hills and seek silent refuge?

In my case, I followed the words playing in my head and I made these discoveries leading to this blog post.  The words could also take us to a deeper part of us that needs healing or to a belief we didn't even know we harbored.  In those cases the songs bring us healing because they take us into the hidden parts of ourselves that we normally would not have had access! And we can practice consciousness no matter what song we listen to.  For instance, one of Ronstadt's songs goes like this, "I've been put down, I've been mistreated..." and maybe we hear those words because we believe that's true about our own lives.  And perhaps we aren't attracting healthy and harmonious relationships because we believe this and so knowing we feel this way, we can now take steps towards healing those beliefs.

The Practice:

Pay attention to song lyrics that get played in a loop in your mind

Explore those words and what they mean to you.

Once you make a connection to those words and the circumstances in your life 
and uncover your beliefs, try using EFT tapping or some other form of energetic release.

If you're working with a music therapist, sound healer or life coach, bring this discovery to their attention so they can support you in the release process.

Don't dismiss a song because you feel the lyrics are negative and could harm you.  Those words might be exactly what you want to hear because you attracted those words to you.

Again, explore why those words come to you or why your mind tunes into them, then release them.

To clear your aura, take a warm bath with Epsom salt or clear with sound healing tools such as Tibetan singing and crystal bowls.  If you feel that any of these word vibrations are blocking your chakras (good chance that they are), clear your chakras with sound healing tools or through toning.  You can even find videos on YouTube to help you with this.

As you engage in this practice, you grow more conscious spiritually and wise to the power of words.  If you are a musician and songwriter yourself, you will choose the words in your songs wisely and from an energetic perspective.  As you do this, you bring healing to yourself and others around you.  And if your songs ever play in the background of a business, you touch those people too.

Friday, December 13, 2013

WME--Top 10 World and Traditional Albums of 2013

Best Newcomer, Brianna Lea Pruett, Gypsy Bells, Canyon Records

Top World and Traditional Album
Ana Alcaide, La Cantiga del Fuego, Arc Music

2. Vieux Farka Toure, Mon Pays, Six Degrees

3. The Idan Raichel Project, Quarter to Six, Cumbancha

4. The Henry Girls, December Moon, independent release

5. Mario Adnet, Villa Lobos, Boranda

6. Maria Ana Bobone, Fado and Piano, Arc Music

7. Nitanas Largo, Serenity, Canyon Records

8. R. Carlos Nakai and Will Clipman, Awakening the Fire, Canyon Records

9. Vasco Hernandez, Luz de Otro Manana, Arc Music

10. Techung, On the Road, Arc Music

Honorable Mention: Cheevers Toppah, A Good Day, A Better Tomorrow, Canyon Records

Thursday, December 12, 2013

WME Top 10 Classical Albums for 2013

Top Album Best of Ravi Shankar, Arc Music 

2. Javier Perianes, Debussy Meets Chopin, Harmonia Mundi

3. Godwanda Dawn (South African and Indian), Arc Music

4. William Byrd Ensemble, In the Company of William Byrd, Scribe Records

5. Angela Hewitt and Andrea Oliva, Bach's Flute Sonatas, Hyperion 

6. Stile Antico, The Phoenix Rises, Harmonia Mundia

7. La Nuova Musica, Handel/Vivaldi Dixit Dominus, Harmonia Mundi

8. Ballake Sissoko, At Peace, Six Degrees 

9. Jerusalem Quartet and Sharon Kam, Brahms Clarinet Quintet, Harmonia Mundi

10. Orchid Ensemble, Life Death Tears Dream, independent release

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WME Top 10 Jazz Albums for 2013


#1 Virginie Teychene, Bright and Sweet, Jazz Village

2. Deborah Latz, Fig Tree, June Moon Productions

3. Mark Winkler, The Laura Nyro Project, Cafe Pacific Records

4. Nilson Mattas, Black Orpheus, Motema 

5. Joe Barbieri, Chet Lives!, Le Chant du Monde

6. Hector Del Curto, Eternal Piazzolla, Green Parrot

7. Ahmad Jamal, Saturday Morning, Jazz Village

8. Joe Locke, Lay Down My Heart, Motema

9. Ablaye Cissoko and Volker Goetz, Amanke Dionti, Motema 

10. Mulatu Astatke, Sketches of Ethiopia, Jazz Village

Coming up Top 10 Classical Albums and Top 10 World Music Albums...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

In Review--Lose Yourself in Imagination

Final CD Review
Kevin Seddiki and Bijan Chemirani 
World Village 

Sometimes we need to lose ourselves in our imagination and often time music provides us this avenue as fodder for fantasy.  For anyone with the desire to escape to somewhere truly exotic, the percussionist and lute duo Kevin Seddiki (guitars and percussion) and Bijan Chemirani (saz (Iranian/Turkish long-neck lute, Persian/Arabic drums and percussion) provide the soundtrack on their CD, Imaginarium (try getting that word past spell check). The mix of music genres ranges from Persian classical with improvisations to Arab-Andalusian and classical guitar.  The guitars along with the drums/percussion provide snaky rhythms, but even so, the music leans towards revelry and not foot-tapping.

La Bohême takes us on a Spanish guitar flight in all its lushness and warmth.  On Saturn’s Rings has a distracting raspy vibration which I have a difficult time with, but the following track, Azur provides a meditative moment--heavy on melodic guitar with a light percussive framework.  Fans of classical Persian music will enjoy Sar Andjam and even though this is an instrumental piece, the musicians provide a similar intensity to Persian vocals--while building and releasing tension with the saz and drums.  Since I’m a fan of Persian classical, this track sounds welcoming to my ears.  However, my favorite song, A la belle étoile which features solo guitar has my mind floating in the clouds.  And while most of this recording features contemplative music, Cochichando reminds me of Brazilian folkloric music with its lilting and yes, danceable melodic groove.

Seddiki and Chemirani bring their musical chemistry and imagination to the 13 tracks that appear on Imaginarium.  And you’re in good hands since these musicians have collaborated on other recordings as well as, on the projects of renowned musicians in world, pop (Sting), classical, traditional, and jazz.  Set your mind free.

BTW, after 25+ years of reviewing musical recordings, this is my final CD review.  I will concentrate on articles and interviews with musicians, music therapists and sound healers from this point forward.

This will also be the final year of the Top Ten Recordings, which I will post later this month.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

In review--The Intimate World of Round Dancin'

World/Native American 
Wayne Silas, Jr.
Infinite Passion 
Canyon Records

Hey everyone, it’s that time of year for Native American round dances--a merry cycle of socializing, dancing, drumming and singing personal as well as, humorous songs.  A regular performer on the pow-wow trail and round dance circles, Wayne Silas, Jr. (Menominee/Oneida) brings us his newest collection of round dance songs, lullabies, and traditional women’s songs on Infinite Passion.  One minute he’s singing at the top of his lungs, another a moment he sings from the bottom of his heart with songs so sweet, intimate and tender that I feel like I’m eavesdropping on his family.  On the other hand, when his group of talented friends joins Silas, I feel like I dropped into a party.

My favorite songs lean on the slower melodic side such as Tha Mash Up which features polyrhythms, chimes, and vocal harmonies.  Pray, a duet with Veronica Keeswood also hits the spot as far as passionate vocals go and the lullaby that ends the recording (Super Kids) points out one of those tender, sweet and intimate moments I mentioned earlier.  And anyone expecting round dance humor will find that here too with She Texts Me, She Texts Me Not. But for some other woman, Yummy Whisper offers a sexy tribute. Many of the songs come with stories mentioned in the liner notes along with photographs of Silas’ children and of himself at a young age joining an adult drum group.  It’s probably more than you asked for or hoped to know as you venture into the inner world of Wayne Silas, Jr.  Boy, talk about wearing one’s heart on his sleeve!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

In review--Accordion from the South

Toninho Ferragutti
O Sorriso da manu 

When I think of South American accordion music, my thoughts usually gravitate towards Argentine tango and the late Astor Piazzolla.  However, many wonderful South American folkloric music centers on the accordion brought to Latin America originally by Italian and German immigrants.  Brazil certainly has its share of folkloric traditions in which the accordion plays a key role.  Brazilian accordionist Toninho Ferragutti and his quartet (accordion, clarinet, percussion, and bass) team of with a chamber ensemble of strings and piano as they explore forró and choro dance songs along with an abstract version of flamenco on the recording O Sorriso da manu.

Delightfully playful and contemplative in turns, listen to Flamenta with its lively castanets and the titular track with its klezmer-style clarinet.  When I listen to this recording, I’m reminded more of Finnish accordionist and composer Maria Kalimeni than Piazzolla.  The music here falls on the brighter side with little tension, even during the staccato passages.  The instruments fit together like tongue and groove construction and the conversation with the clarinet and accordion reminds me of Galician music. No matter how you look at it, this is world music in the broadest sense with romantic interludes to faraway places and exotic musical phrases and textures.  Ethereal one minute and spirited the next, I’m enjoying listening to Ferragutti’s compositions since I usually hear his talent gracing the albums of some of Brazil’s hottest talent. And now we know why Ferragutti is in high demand.

21st Century Musical Healer--Esther Thane, Music Therapist

For a while, I have wanted to include music therapy and music therapists on Whole Music Experience.  And once again, I have found a 21st Century Musical Healer in my Linked In group Musical Healers, Esther Thane.  Below I’m including her biography found on her website (see link at the end of the post).

Esther Thane works as an accredited music therapist with special needs children in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Her specialization for the past 17 years has been in the field of Autism- targeting early intervention. Esther continues to provide weekly music therapy programs for the North Vancouver School District- where she interned 17 years ago!  In addition to ET Music Therapy, Esther is a Music Therapy voice instructor at Capilano University, teaching in the Bachelor of Music Therapy Program. 

She frequently presents at conferences and holds workshops for universities, local agencies and abroad.  Esther is past Artistic Director of the Music Therapy Symposium for Kids in Vancouver. She completed Dr. Diane Austin's (Music Psychotherapy Center, NY) first international distance training program in Advanced Vocal Psychotherapy. Esther’s publication in the book: Voicework in Music Therapy, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, focuses on her innovative method of Vocal-Led Relaxation for Children with ASD. Her online music therapy resources can be found on the Mundo Pato 2.0 website, where she is also an Account Executive for Unitus- Therapy Intelligence.

Welcome Esther Thane to Whole Music Experience.

Whole Music Experience: Among your teaching and practicing experience I noticed that you contributed a chapter to “Voice Work for Music Therapy” (Kingsley Publishing) so I am intrigued with the different ways voice is used in music therapy.  For instance, how do you first approach a new client, a child with autism using the voice as a therapy tool?

Esther Thane: The voice is a wonderful connector in music therapy work.  For many children with Autism, direct, verbal communication can feel threatening and overwhelming, especially those first contact moments.  Singing and vocalizing are ways I can get in the back door, so to speak! I can sing a child’s name, or simply hum or vocalize along with a variety of instruments, like large drums, which instill a deep, vibrational and grounding affect.  This calms the child, increases their comfort & receptivity for this new situation.  We can also interact and communicate our emotions through vocal improvisation. In the case of a non-verbal child with Autism, I can imitate their vocalizations and therapeutically guide them to communicate with me further, using various music therapy techniques…and they can feel validated and listened to for their efforts.   

WME: What is the most challenging aspect or situation working with an autistic child? And what is the most rewarding aspect or situation?

ET: For me, the biggest challenge is finding a child’s “Musical Key”… and here’s what I mean.  Most children have a certain instrument, sound quality, style of music etc. that they gravitate towards.  They have an inner motivation and curiosity for it.  Some may really enjoy “follow the leader” type improvisations, where they play a rhythm pattern and I reflect it back to them on my drum.  Some may love exploring the timbre of the piano and listening to the notes slowly fade away, while others may prefer engaging in gross motor activities like dancing and singing. It can take a few sessions to discover that musical key but once you do, it unlocks a child’s potential.  A child will always integrate and learn more readily when he or she is motivated from within. So… if the key is rhythm for a child, I can use that interest and strength to work on all the goals the rest of the team is focusing on.  I can work on his impulse control, his imitation skills, his motor skills, the list goes on.

The most rewarding aspect of my job is having the honor of creating inspiring and beautiful music with these amazingly unique children and I get to witness their absolute joy with this medium.  Often, children with Autism are very drawn to music and display higher levels of competency in certain musical areas. In general, they love to operate within music’s structure.  I have the best job in the world!

WME: It has in your biography that your focus is on early intervention so do you start working with children when they are infants or toddlers? And what would a “typical” (knowing there is no typical one-size-fits-all) session look like with a toddler? 

ET: Many of my clients are children who have recently received a diagnosis.  They may be anywhere from 18 months of age and onward.  A music therapy session is typically book ended with a hello and goodbye song so I would begin singing to greet them as they enter my studio. As I observe their energy in those first initial moments, I can adapt how I play/sing accordingly (tempo, volume levels, how much space/eye contact I give them etc).  The child will usually move around my studio, taking it all in.  If they go towards an instrument, then we start there and build a musical interaction around that.

WME: On the Kid Companions website a program for parents interacting with their autistic child through music appears which must seem like a godsend to these parents who would like to interact lovingly with their children.  Do you have any success story to share about this program? 

ET: This is an exciting new online course for parents of children with Autism that I have written and put my heart and soul into!  It is an extension of what I already suggest to the families I work with!  It is packed full of original compositions, created especially for the course and supports the parent with loads of demo videos from both myself and other parents connecting with their child through music therapy based interventions.  It takes only a few hours to do the course and you have access to mp3 files and instructional PDF’s for download.  It’s only been available for a short time now so I welcome any comments and reactions from partakers!

WME: Besides working as a music therapist you also mention Vocal Psychotherapy in your biography.  I am not familiar with this term.  What is Vocal Psychotherapy and who benefits or what conditions draw benefits from this practice? 

ET: Vocal Psychotherapy is defined as the use of breath, sound, vocal improvisation, songs, and dialogue within a client-therapist relationship to promote intra-psychic and interpersonal growth and change.  Targeted clientele is with individual adults, but the methods have been adapted for other populations.  I use many techniques in my sessions to facilitate a safe container for a child to explore in and develop their sense of self and their own creative expression.