Vocal Revelations

Yes, me too… even though in my classes I encourage students to let go of their own self-judgment when it comes to their voice, to let go of the belief that they “can’t sing”, “can’t hold a tune”, and all of the terrible things they might have been told about their voice from childhood (which is mostly where all this negative self-talk and self-limiting beliefs come from)- when I hear my speaking voice recorded… yes, I cringe. And I love this article which explains so clearly and obviously the primary reason for that- which is that a recording does not pick up the rich low overtones which we hear internally through bone conduction when we speak. That is why we often don’t sound like “ourselves”- or the way we think we sound- upon listening to a recording of our voice.

Here is the link to the article The Real Reason the Sound of Your Voice Makes You Cringe

I also found this fascinating TedTalk which addresses the same topic.

Gradient Expansion

Last week I received a shipment of 200 CD’s- mine! My son, graphic designer Joshua Hardisty of The Midwest Visual Agency suggested a collaboration after hearing some sound journeys I had recently recorded in a couple of different studios. We both carry a procrastinator gene but somehow working together worked well for both of us. We were excited and inspired and, once we decided which tracks to use, we pulled it all together in a matter of 2-3 weeks. I did the music. He did the cover design.

It’s on this website if you go to “Shop” and soon there will be more in there! Like the really cool tote bags that Joshua also designed (the purple ones were my idea) which right now you can see on his webpage. He wrote a really great article about the design process HERE. I love that I got to collaborate with my son! In fact that may have been more exciting than creating the CD in the end.

But this is not the end- there is definitely more to come!

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Fortitude, Equanimity and Amazing Grace

Fortitude and equanimity… these are the words that have been echoing in my mind for over a week.

That’s how long it’s been since my son Ben was admitted to the University Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a rare bone disease, fibrous dysplasia and has had a series of health issues over the last two years which have kept him wheelchair bound. Last Friday he was on his way to work, which conveniently is at the same hospital, anxious to get to Starbuck’s before catching the train up to the University, when his wheelchair skidded on the ice. He flew out of the wheelchair onto the railroad tracks and broke his tibia. There were some people there waiting for the train who lifted him onto the platform- one man put his briefcase under Ben’s leg to support it and someone else got his wheelchair off the tracks just minutes before the train came. Angels all around, so it would seem.

He was taken to the hospital by ambulance and called me shortly after he got there, told me quite calmly “My tibia is toast. I’m waiting for the doctor and for them to bring me some morphine.” The doctor came, the meds came, and that evening he was taken down for surgery. The plan was to put a rod in his tibia to stabilize it. I talked to the doctor before the surgery and he seemed quite confident that it would be simple enough- basically a routine surgery for the orthopedic department. They had already done five of the same that week. Except those patients most likely didn’t have fibrous dysplasia- they had normal bones and probably fractured them skiing or snowboarding. Four hours later they finally called me. They were done. unable to do the rod although they tried for a long time. His tibia was too bowed for them to do it. They ended up having to do a plate which the doc said was less than ideal but would hold the bone in place until it heals.

So now it’s been just over a week. I talk to Ben every day, several times a day, usually for a half hour or more. I have been consistently astounded by his attitude, calm and accepting. He seems to be healing well except that he has had a fluctuating fever every day, the cause of which is still undetermined. He has blood tests and cultures and nothing has shown up positive. No other signs of infection and they have done several CT scans now to see if there is a possible blood clot.

Through it all Ben remains calm. He doesn’t get upset with his nurses or doctors, he doesn’t feel sorry for himself. Being a mathematician and a scientist he is clear and methodical and able to advocate for himself when necessary. He gets tired. I know there’s some frustration but more than that, bafflement. just trying to figure out what the hell is going on. And he just keeps on keeping on.

Wondering how I tie this all in with my general theme of music and sound healing I decided to post a video of one of Ben’s favorite recordings- Debussey’s Le Cathedral Engloutie (The Sunken Cathedral). I remember my music teacher Carl Thorpe playing it in a concert when I was 16. It brought me to tears and I have never forgotten the experience. I confess that I did not post Ben’s favorite recording of the piece- it moved too fast for me and did not have the atmospheric quality that I connect with it so I chose this one instead, which is followed by an orchestral interpretation of the piece- I think Ben will approve!

Sound, Medicine of the Future. Now.

A little over 20 years ago I had a client with essential tremors, much like the woman in the video in the attached article. The first time he went on the Soundweaver, with the vibroacoustic therapy and some light hands-on energy work, his tremors completely stopped. I would say that first time it took about ten minutes. After the session his tremors started up again like an old engine slowly starting up and within about 30 seconds they were totally back. But he had experienced relief. He told me it was the most relaxed he had been in 8 years since the tremors started up and that during the session he had no tremors at all. He said that at night when he slept he could feel his organs still shaking but during the session everything stopped.

Afterward he wrote a testimonial: “I fell into a state of meditation. I was in a void with beautiful light-blue light. All of my tremors stopped. It was like I was in a void with no end and no beginning. As soon as I felt like there was something beyond that, I reached for that Unknown and I came out of my state of meditation. as if I wasn’t supposed to go any further. It was a wonderful experience.” CST, 7.30.96

For the next year or so he came to me regularly for sessions. After the first session the entrainment set in much more quickly and it would only take about 3 minutes for his tremors to come to a total stop. They would always start right up again shortly after the music stopped, but he would get a reprieve and a period of deep rest that was very rejuvenating for him. The relief from going into such a deep state of relaxation would stay with him for a few days- which was huge. And then the exhaustion of the tremors would begin to set in again.

Close to a year later he shared another experience in a testimonial: “Most of the time I was in a marble chamber and at the entrance was some kind of a huge sculpting of a snake-like creature on the right. Inside it was calm and peaceful, no other people. Then I went into a place where everything became light. Light blue. It was so peaceful and calm that you feel no weight. When you are in there it is an extension of your life and you do not want to come back. I spent the rest of the time in the blue light. I feel like I am floating. I didn’t even feel the weight of my arms when I came out.” CST, 5.26.97

He didn’t come back much after that. It seemed that it became perhaps too painful emotionally for him to come back to his body after being in such a deeply restful and beautiful space. Not long after this he had surgery for his tremors which wasn’t entirely successful as I recall, but that’s another story and not mine to tell. He was elderly when I was treating him and passed away several years later. Working with him was an incredible gift for me and I know there was a period of time where it was extremely helpful for him. It was also tremendously educational as I was still fairly new to the work- had only been practicing a few years- and opened me to tremendous new possibilities with rhythmic entrainment and vibroacoustic therapy (introducing sound directly to the body through the use of a mat or recliner with speakers built into it).

Tonight I ran across this video about brain surgery with sound- in this case for essential tremors- very exciting!!! Click on this link for the full article.

Amusing Musical Musings

Really I don’t have any! I just liked the way all those words fit together. Let’s see what happens with a little stream of rambling though. I can’t call it stream of consciouslness because I’m not sure how much consciousness will actually be expressed here!

Some of the things I have been recently ruminating on… First, the sound journey I did two weeks ago at St. Mary’s Church in Portsmouth, RI. I played longer than usually- not incredibly longer but maybe 8-10 minutes longer… and I felt like I could have just hung out and gone on and on. I had to reel myself in at a certain point (that point being when I looked at the time).

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It was such a gorgeous space- I had been wanting to do a sound journey in there ever since I first went there for a yoga class about a year ago. I record all my sound journeys so a few days ago I was listening back to this one. I often don’t remember what I did after a sound journey- I am in such a focused and meditative state. I just remember the feeling and the overall vibe of it. Sometimes there are certain instruments that stand out or maybe a particular chant. This one happened to be particularly trippy- there were a lot of combinations of tones that were creating very interesting and powerful binaural beats and as I perceived them I began to play off them and amplify them.

A few nights ago I went to a ukulele class. Now THAT was fun!!! I expected a small group of 12-20 people but it turned out that there were over 50 people in the beginner’s class- probably closer to 60- and the songbook we have been given is so much fun. Goofy songs like “Put The Lime in the Coconut” to songs by Herman’s Hermits, The Beach Boys and the Beatles- lots of Beatles tunes. My new favorite song to practice is “Don’t Pass Me By”- not something I ever imagined playing on the ukulele!

And then I went to an amazing workshop this past weekend at John Beaulieu’s property in Stone Ridge, NY- auriculotherapy with tuning forks- ie using tuning forks on acupuncture points in the ear, a brilliant therapy that I have wanted to learn for 20 years. It was a small group and thus a very intimate workshop and just what I needed for balance, inspiration and some great new information. John also gave me a really powerful treatment as part of his demo on Sunday morning which was also sorely needed. I have been trying to get my energy back and release some of the physical and emotional toll that my trips to Utah took on me earlier this year when my son Benjamin was having health challenges. A short treatment with John- who is such an extraordinary sound healing practitioner, bringing together his skills as a psychologist, osteopath, craniosacral therapist, musician extraordinaire and so much more- was just the right medicine.

And to top it off, we were in John’s sound studio which is for me, and I am sure all of the other sound healing practitioners, artists and musicians who are drawn to being there, like Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory was for Charlie!

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MTHSMIMT #6 & #7- More of my favorites!

Every day is FULL!!! Full of life, full of people, full of music. The one thing that seems to be lacking is time. My mind also is full. Every day there are so many bright moments of inspiration and awakening that I want to share and here it is, past midnight and I am knowing I have an early day tomorrow so I can only take a quick minute to post a couple more of my favorite pieces of music.

Here you go- one of the greatest soul men of our time. In doing a little research I discovered that he died on my birthday 2 years ago. I saw him several times back in the late eighties and he was wonderful and so accessible. I called him once at his home in Chicago- (those were the days when you could still get a phone number from information!) to tell him how much my boyfriend and I loved him and he answered the phone himself! The next time we saw him he dedicated a song to us (Love and Happiness).

So put on your dancing shoes and turn it up! The second one is one of the all time greatest songs ever, imho!!!

Sarasvati, Mike Oldfield, Creativity and Healing

Sarasvati, "She Who Flows", is the goddess of creativity, wisdom, intellectual pursuits, the arts and sciences, music and language. She is the one we can invoke before we begin any creative project.

This is a great little clip of Mike Oldfield, maestro extraordinaire, discussing his creative process. I love the how he talks about the germination of an idea.

And just for the fun of it I am posting another great song of his (what has he done that isn't great?) that isn't always associated with him- but in fact he wrote it (NOT Hall & Oates as some folks believe). This is the original version on his album "Five Miles Out" (Maggie Reilly on vocals). If your only association with Mike Oldfield is as the composer of "Tubular Bells" this one may come as a surprise- but really, he is a musical genius and full of surprises.

And now, if I have your full attention, turn up your speakers, lay back and listen to the full recording of "Ommadawn"- total gorgeousness and brilliance! Talk about sound healing! I used to listen to this endlessly. It's over 40 years old now and has lost nothing over the years- still just brilliant and beautiful. I know every note by heart. It was music to disappear into when life got to be too much... This is one of those albums that could always bring joy to my heart and peace to my mind.