The Rhythms of Life
by Rahel Limor and Sue Hurwitz
WEBSITE: Therapeutic Music for Healing & Transition
WEBSITE: Musical Massage & Healthcare Arts
“The time is fast approaching when man will select his music with the same intelligent care and knowledge he now uses to select his food. When that time comes, music will become a principle source of healing for many individual and social ills, and human evolution will be tremendously accelerated.” – Corinne Heline, Esoteric Music
There’s rhythm to everything in life. If two people are operating at different rhythms and energies, they will very likely have communication issues. Music plays an intrinsic part in our lives. There’s the rhythm and tempo of everyday life – fast and slow, smooth and staccato. We experience all these and more every day of our lives. Our very heartbeats are the constant rhythm/drumbeat that means we are alive.
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order and leads to all that is just and good and beautiful.”
The information presented in this abstract is a brief introduction to the wealth of research and knowledge that has become available from the last millennium to today about the impact of music in our lives. The music we play is chosen with great care, keeping in mind the vast amount of research, evolving scientific “proofs”, and our own first-hand experiences working in the field. Sample a typical day, from the moment one opens his/her eyes to the moment s/he rests them again; and on a larger scale, from conception to birth to death and finally, transition.
NOTE: Each and every one of us has our own unique rhythm, and individual musical tastes and choices. There is no one musical formula that fits all. We recommend choosing any music that works best for you!
The Power of Music
“Music is the birthright of humanity. It is something we are all born able to do. We cannot help it; we ARE music.” – Laurie Riley CMP, Body, Mind and Music
“To be human is to be capable of music, just as to be human is to be capable of speech.” – Rosamund Shuter-Dyson, The Psychology of Music Ability
Music is powerful on many levels. Many people think of it as a hobby, as something we do instead of something we are inherently.
David Tame writes in his book, “The Secret Power of Music”:
“Whenever we are in audible range of music, its influence is playing upon us constantly – speeding or slowing, regularizing or irregularizing our heartbeat; relaxing or jarring the nerves; affecting the blood pressure, the digestion and the rate of respiration. Its effect upon the emotions and desires of man is believed to be vast and the extent of its influence over even the purely intellectual, mental processes is only just beginning to be suspected by researchers.”
“The powers of music are multi-faceted, sometimes uncannily potent, and by no means, as yet, entirely understood. They can be used or misused. We forsake the conscious, constructive use of these powers to our own loss. We ignore these powers at our peril.”
The ancients believed that music could shape the character of man, determine the morality of people, and influence the consciousness and direction of the human race! Tame relates two examples of the immense and perhaps even “magical” power of music;
1) The biblical story of the fall of Jericho:
“Jericho, a city rampant with evil, had closed its gates and prepared to withstand the siege of righteous Joshua and his forces. But when Joshua had arrived near to the city he met a strange man, who called himself the captain of the hosts of the L-rd, and who told Joshua how to destroy the mighty walls of Jericho through the use of sound produced in sequences of seven. Following the instruction, Joshua’s legions marched around the city, headed by seven Cohanim/priests blowing seven shofars/trumpets of rams’ horns. The rest of his men Joshua commanded to remain absolutely silent, uttering not a word. Once, they went around the city, and again on the next day; and the same for a total of seven days. But on the seventh day they circled the city seven times, and on this occasion Joshua told his people to shout along with the sound of the trumpets. This they did – and the walls of Jericho, according to the account, fell down flat, the city then being stormed and taken.”
2) Emperor Shun of ancient China:
“Each year, in the second month Emperor Shun could be found journeying eastward in order to check upon his kingdom, and to ensure that everything was in order throughout the vast land. Yet he did not do so by auditing the account books in the different regions, neither by observing the state of life of the populace, or by receiving petitions from them; nor by interviewing the regional officials in authority. No, by none of these methods, For in ancient China there was considered to be a much more revealing, accurate and scientific method of checking on the state of the nation. According to the ancient Chinese text, “Shu King”, the Emperor Shun went about through the different territories and… tested the exact pitches of their notes of music.
Back in his palace, if the Emperor wished to monitor the efficiency of his central government, what did he do? Get expert advice on policy making? Review the economy, or the state of popular opinion? The Emperor was not ignorant of any of these methods, and at times may have taken recourse to all of them. But most important of all, he believed, was to listen to, and check, the five notes of the ancient Chinese music scale. He had the eight kinds of Chinese musical instruments brought before him and played by musicians. Then he listened to the local folk songs, and also the tunes which were sung in the court itself, checking that all this music was in perfect correspondence with the five tones.
According to the philosophy of the ancient Chinese, music was the basis of everything. In particular they believed that all civilizations are shaped and molded according to the kind of music performed within them. Was a civilization’s music wistful, romantic? Then the people themselves would be romantic. Was it strong and military? Then the nation’s neighbors had better beware. Furthermore, a civilization remained stable and unchanged as long as its music remained unchanged. But to change the style of music which people listened to would inevitably lead to a change in the very way of life itself. “
Pre-Natal, Infancy, Early Childhood & Childhood
“In the beginning of human creation, no language such as we now have existed, but only music. Man first expressed his thoughts and feelings by low and high, short and prolonged sounds. Man conveyed his sincerity, insincerity, disinclination, pleasure or displeasure by the variety of his musical expressions.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Sufi Message
“The fetus has been conditioned to rhythm and sound since conception and has, even while in the womb, evolved its own rhythmic movements.” – Day & Lily, 1968
“The infants’ sense of security is helped by continuing the rhythms and sounds to which s/he has become accustomed as a fetus.” – Dr. Salk, 1962
Pre-natal developing babies hear the “music” of the mother’s body, i.e. heartbeat/rhythm; sounds of bodily functions. A six to twelve week old fetus is conscious of sound vibrations. The developing baby is aware of the mother’s voice, and of other sounds outside of the womb such as loud music. In addition, the growing baby hears the mother’s heartbeat, and research has proven that newborn babies sleep better, cry less, and gain weight more quickly if they can hear the sound of a regular heartbeat.
Musical education pioneer, creator and founder of the “Listen Like Learn” music method for babies and young children (www.listenlikelearnmusic.com), Ms. Barbara Cass-Beggs z”l writes:
“Before birth the fetus is aware of pulse, movement and sound. At birth these familiar experiences can be recreated through music. Music stimulates movement so important for the baby's physical and mental development, while singing to the baby triggers speech.
Music encourages the ability to listen and thus to concentrate. Songs encourage speech and auditory discrimination. Babies can be introduced to high, low and medium pitch through vocal and instrumental sounds and learn to distinguish between quick and slow, loud and soft. Music helps the baby to understand a variety of concepts, such as high and low, fast and slow, loud and soft.
Music groups provide a sociable non-threatening form of communication. Recent research has confirmed that infants and young children thrive in an environment rich in variety, freedom and sensory stimulation. The easiest and most effective means of creating such an environment is through the use of music.
The infant has a natural response to music through his conditioning as a fetus to rhythm, sound and movement. Singing, croons and lullabies give him/her pleasure and a sense of security. Rhythmical music encourages the movement essential to physical and mental growth. Listening to music that is rhythmical and also has a beautiful melody pleases baby; it helps concentration and prevents boredom.
At a later stage the songs and rhymes that baby enjoys also provide a valuable source of speech patterning. Because music naturally attracts the baby it can also help to distract baby when in a difficult situation. Simple percussion instruments help with muscular coordination and provide an emotional outlet, while singing games and any group music sessions encourage social responsiveness.
All children respond to music if they have the opportunity for continued participation, thus the ability to enjoy music can provide an enriched environment for an entire lifetime.”
Children are born with an innate sense of timing. Their natural movements include swaying, rocking, and bouncing. Researchers have found that people possess their own sense of “personal timing”. They have found that many aspects of our lives and learning are connected to this inner sense of “beat”.
Music is a holistic approach that accompanies us through life. Music is a non-threatening form of communication. It can attract or distract. It is something that the child remembers. It is secure. It can go with the child wherever s/he goes. It can act as a discipline. It can tell the child what to do, and it can introduce concepts such as shapes, and colors, and it can aid the socialization process such as taking turns and such. Musical experiences encourage movement, trigger speech development, improve concentration, encourage social responsiveness and stimulate learning. Use of percussion instruments aids in coordination and gives an emotional outlet.
Music affects all of the following areas:
Physically: muscle development, coordination, posture, breath control, diction, basic skills, imaginative improvisation, relaxation
Mentally/intellectually: listening, concentration, understanding concepts and sequence, language ability, development of visual and auditory perception; (development of the mind and the senses). Music provides a bridge between the imagination and reality.
Emotionally: Expressing emotions, experiencing emotions, controlling emotions, role playing, dramatization, accepting the value of emotions. By the child sitting on the parents’ lap, a positive physical and emotional connection is established. Bonding occurs when a parent and child sing together, sway together, rock together, play and interact together in a warm and supportive environment.
Socially: The warmth of the circle, the non-competitive attitude, gives a sense of belonging, self-confidence, feeling of success, self-control and discipline, discovering others, and they learn to take turns. In a mixed nationality group, music provides a common language. In a family participation, it provides a bridge between the old and the young.
Aesthetically: Discovering all things in life that are worthwhile in them, and brings a sense of perspective. “The eternal in the finite world.”
Fun, Happiness & Well-being: Confucius said, “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”
The early years lay the foundation for many social and emotional skills that are linked to success in learning and relationships. These skills are reflected in what we know about brain development and are shaped by experiences. The music center is the right side of the brain. Without music, a part of the brain is not developed.
Teens to Adulthood:
"Rabbi Shim'on Hasida said: 'David hung his harp above his bed and when midnight would arrive the north wind would blow upon the harp (vibrating the strings) and causing music to emanate. David would immediately rise and begin studying Torah. He would continue his studies even as the first light of dawn appeared in the sky.'" (Talmud Tractate Berachot 3:b)
Teenagers like tribal-sounding rhythms. They themselves are tribal in the way they socialize in select groups. Music is especially beneficial to teens when used as a way for them to express and explore their emotions, trials and tribulations. It is a safe way for them to separate from their parents as they discover their own separate identity.
Music remains a constant as teens grow into adulthood. As people get busy it becomes essential to include music in a daily routine and to take a “musical time out” as often as needed and is possible. Today there is a wealth of scientific research that validates the multitude of benefits that music has to offer. To name a few, music can:
- Improve body movement and coordination
- Slow down and equalize brain waves
- Relieve anxiety and stress
- Induce mental imaging
- Foster a sense of safety and well-being
- Sharpen mental focus
- Provide distraction
- Elicit emotional catharsis
- Music changes one’s perception of time and space
- Music masks unpleasant sounds and feeling
- Music can strengthen memory and learning
- Music can generate a sense of safety and well-being
- Provide companionship
According to Ms. Laurie Riley (ibid):
“Learning may slow down somewhat in old age if we are not properly nourished …. But we are never too old to learn as is commonly thought. New neural pathways can be formed at any age. Once built, these pathways do not atrophy unless they fall into disuse, and even so, can usually be revitalized through practice or repetition of the ‘forgotten knowledge’”.
Riley reminds us,
“It is important never to underestimate the intelligence, sophistication, and musical knowledge of elderly patients.”
Working many years with the elderly has taught us that it is the feeling that one has become useless, that life no longer is meaningful, and that can eventually lead to all sorts of physical and emotional ills. Caregivers are being urged to engage and challenge our elders with goal oriented tasks and/or chores that will them feel they are doing something of worth. Music can engage people on many levels; singing, moving, dancing, speaking, emoting and expressing, and reminiscing. It can even trigger valuable discussion, critical thinking and lively debate.
It is now widely known that victims of different kinds of dementia, including those living with Alzheimer’s disease, respond well to music, especially to familiar music. It has been proven that they may become lucid for up to sixty-minutes following a music session. So much so that s/he may temporarily recognize a child or relative and engage in coherent conversation before his/her communicative faculties leave again.
A music session can be beneficial regardless of their ailment, especially to those who are not afflicted critically or terminally.
Laurie Riley urges us to note;
“It is a generalization to say that the elderly respond well to familiar music, since many also appreciate the unfamiliar…. Don’t ignore classical music, blues, jazz, and so on. What is familiar to the elderly may be anything that they listened to when they were younger, so the range can vary tremendously.”
We can’t stress enough how important it is to pay attention to the (musical) wishes of the individual.
End of Life – Dying, Death and Transition:
“Music that is gentlier on the spirit lies, Then tired eyelids upon tired eyes; Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies.” – Tennyson
Music can play an important role in providing relief from pain, discomfort when in the final stages of physical life on this earth. Music is useful to aid in the process of active dying and in providing support during transition. Trained music practitioners will play non-rhythmic or non-metered music, rhythms that might reflect the natural sequential sounds of nature, perhaps the falling of rain or the ebb and flow of ocean waves, the singing of birds or the wind; “earth music”.
Stella Benson, CMP, describes this process in her book, “The Healing Musician”:
“The sound of non-rhythmic music can be very effective in helping to transcend physical pain and calm anxiety. The brain may become less active while listening to non-rhythmic music. This type of music may fall under the category of sedative music… which can ‘decrease the activity of the locus coeruleus in the brain stem and lead to relaxation, drowsiness and sleep’…. This may be helpful for the actively dying patient…. Without a definitive beat, the listener is cleared from relying on that steady pronounced delineation of time [s/he is no longer ‘grounded’]… For the dying it may help them disengage from life.”
General Health Benefits:
“Every sickness is a musical problem. The healing, therefore, is a musical resolution; the shorter the resolution, the greater the musical talent of the physician.” – Novalis
“Think of the body – not as a well-oiled machine, but instead, as an orchestra receiving and producing a symphony of sounds, chemicals, electrical charges, colors and images.” – Don Campbell, The Mozart Effect
While music may not be able to cure it can most definitely ease and alieve physical and emotional pain. Ancient healers regarded and used music as a powerful energy medicine.
“… emotions of any kind are produced by melody and rhythm; therefore by music a man becomes accustomed to feeling the right emotions; music has thus power to form character, and the various kinds of music based on the various modes, may be distinguished by their effects on character – one, for example, working in the direction of melancholy, another of effeminacy; one encouraging abandonment, another self-control, another enthusiasm, and so on through the series.”
"The spirit of G-d departed from Saul, and he was tormented by a spirit of sadness and melancholy from G-d. Saul's servants said to him, 'Behold now! A spirit of melancholy from G-d torments you. Let our lord tell your servants who are before you that they should seek a man who knows how to play the harp, so that when the spirit of melancholy from G-d is upon you, he will play the harp with his hand and all will be well with you."
So Saul said to his servants, "Seek now for me someone who plays well and bring him to me. One of the young servants spoke up and said, "Behold! I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who knows how to play the harp, is a mighty man of valor and a man of war, who understands a matter, is a handsome man, and G-d is with him."
Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said “Send me David your son who is with the sheep....
And it came to pass, that whenever the spirit of melancholy from G-d was upon Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand, and Saul would feel relieved and it would be well with him, and the evil spirit would depart from Saul.”
There are many ways music can help us physically. These are just a few:
- Reduce need for anesthesia and pain relievers
- Reduce blood pressure
- Stabilize heart rate
- Affect respiration
- Affect body temperature
- Decrease muscular tension
- Increase endorphin levels
- Boost the immune system
- Accelerate surgical recovery and physical healing
- Facilitate transition
The Therapeutic Musician:
“It is necessary for us to understand that ‘rhythm is nature’s way,’ and it is up to our species to learn as much as possible about how these remarkable processes affect our lives.” – Hall, The Dance of Life
The trained musician, or healer, who serves using music as a complementary therapy in support of and/or in tandem with standard medical practice, understands the powerful impact of music. This is NOT entertainment. By shifting his/her awareness from “self” to “other”, the therapeutic music practitioner now focuses all attention on the patient/resident/client, allowing his/her attention to be focused within.
Laurie Riley, CMP, author of Body, Mind, & Music: A Practical Guide to Musical Wholeness, states:
“When the patient can move inward, without feeling they must be paying attention outwardly…the result is a relaxed state of mind….This is the state of mind in which endorphins can be produced and neuropeptides can do their work.”
It is important to understand the many ways that music is used for therapeutic purposes. We offer these clarifications based on information provided by Ms. Riley (ibid):
1) Service (passive therapy): Live music at the bedside as an unobtrusive enhancement to the healing atmosphere (not requiring active listening). Those qualified to do this work are musicians who have been trained by a recognized and/or accredited program.
2) Entertainment: Live music played in a common area or day room where ambulatory patients may come for entertainment. Most musicians, as well as trained practitioners are qualified for this work.
3) Active Therapy: a) Live music used with groups of patients for the purpose of social or neurological rehabilitation. Those qualified for this work are Music Therapists. b) Live music used at the bedside with individual patients for the purpose of rehabilitation. Those qualified for this work are Music Therapists and Therapeutic Music Practitioners and trained Healthcare Artists.
It is important to hire a trained music therapist or practitioner when offering music to patients. The trained musician is not only talented, but will be knowledgeable and skilled in the many ways music is used as a healing tool. To give you some insight about “Caring Music”, there are two types of music: rhythmic and arrhythmic, which are two terms that beg clarification.
To quote Ms. Riley again (ibid):
“Music with rhythm is not always fast or loud, and does not necessarily contain drums. Rhythm is simply an inherent beat that can be counted or felt, and it can be subtle or slow. Any music with a time signature is rhythmic unless interpreted by the player in a loose way that ignores or draws out the count. If you can tap a finger to it, it is rhythmic. A slow waltz, for instance, has rhythm.
Arrhythmic music has no time signature, or if one is indicated in notation, it is played with long pauses at the ends of its phrases (note: a phrase is not necessarily a measure!). It should not be counted in a regular, consistent fashion. This does not imply that it has no melody, although there is some arrhythmic music that consists mostly of chord patterns.
The effects of rhythmic and arrhythmic music on the human body are very different…. We are rhythmic beings. All our vital signs reflect that. When our bodies have rhythm, we are alive, and if these rhythms cease, we are dead.”
“Music alone does not cure. Healing, understood within the context of therapeutic music, is best understood as a process of a means to an end, not a product or an end in itself. Healing music, or music medicine, is lie and agent in a dynamic system to help make that system whole.” – Stella Benson, CMP, The Healing Musician
Not all music is appropriate, or has the potential to be used for the purpose of healing, though it may provide some form of comfort. There are some rare cases where music can be harmful, as in musicogenic epilepsy, a rare condition induced by listening to orchestral music. Hitler used loud and boisterous music to excite his audiences before his speeches. Some forms of contemporary music played very loudly might incite rowdiness or cause listeners to become violent or destructive. Is this all “bad” music bad though? No. The music is not, in itself, bad. The “bad” comes from the intention or in the way the music is used and/or received.
We must keep in mind that everybody does not play, hear or listen to music in the same way. Nor does music affect everyone the same way. We cannot make absolute claims as to what determines “healing music”. Sometimes music that is considered “cheerful” does not work for people who are sad. In fact, we’ve experienced situations where people who are in the throes of depression have requested to hear more “sad” music with lyrics that expressed the same feelings and emotions that they were experiencing. By immersing in more “sad” music, they could identify with the emotions and feelings expressed. This allowed them to safely work though their own issues. Finding relief and release they could then move, or allow themselves to be moved to a cheerier state and enjoy happier music.
“Soothing” music does not always work for people in pain.
Don Campbell, in his book, The Mozart Effect, noted:
“The healing power of music varies according to the composition, the performer, the listener, the posture assumed in listening and other factors.”
“Live” vs, Taped Music:
Music that is “static” is defined as music that is set, like music on a CD or already recorded and heard through a listening device. This music is isolated from the environment. Music that is “dynamic” is music that is “live” or played in “real time”, literally. Dynamic music can be changed at will whereas music that is recorded can only change if manually replaced with another.
Though both static and dynamic music are recommended in general, it is advantageous to use “live” music over recorded music wherever and whenever possible. A live trained musician can immediately address any sudden needs that might arise. This may sound trite but it is in fact extremely important in many and most situations. Our bodies and our environments are dynamic systems that are constantly changing. Therefore the use of “live” music supports the natural organic ebb and flow as needed.
Lyrics, Vocals and the Voice:
The voice is an ancient musical instrument. When singing, studies show that the “breath is deepened, the vibrations can regulate blood flow and increase oxygen, and gland secretions may be increased and decreased.” (Rider, Mickey, Weldin, Hawkinson, The Effect of Toning, Listening and Singing on Psychological Responses). In the 1960’s a French physician, Dr. Alfred Tomatis, was called in to see about a strange disorder affecting a group of monks. They were experiencing fatigue, listlessness and mild depression. Dr. Tomatis learned that the practice of daily and nightly chanting had been recently dropped. Tomatis diagnosed the “illness” as an audiological one. The monks resumed their chanting and it was noted that they became healthier through vocalizing. It was determined that the chanting slowed down breathing, lowered blood pressure and lifted moods.
While perhaps obvious, singing songs with specific lyrics versus singing or playing wordless melodies or instrumental music, including humming, crooning, and droning, should not be overlooked. Speaking from experience we can safely say that lyrics can have a powerful positive effect, as mentioned above (i.e. persons in the throes of depression). However, lyrics can also throw a person into a panic or create anxiety depending on circumstance. One must remain sensitive as to whether or not to sing lyrics and, if so, to choose songs carefully with care.
“Time Out” – A Word about Croons, Chants and Lullabies:
"The essential art of the musician is to build melodies from pleasing vibrations that will dispel any vibrations of negativity." - Avraham Greenbaum: The Wings of the Sun
We bring your attention to the importance of taking a brief “time out” at regular intervals during day, especially in today’s overly stimulated and busy world. For the newborn, toddler and young child it is a ‘given’ that they will nap regularly at least once during the day. But what happens to older children, teens and adults? An active person must have time to slow down and rest in order to refresh and revitalize. Not just mentally and emotionally, but physically as well. A rested body will be better equipped to care for itself thus allowing for the active person to gain much needed energy in order to adequately accomplish tasks and achieve success in life.
Musically, a “time out” for young children might include “crooning”, chanting or singing a lullaby.
Ms. Cass-Beggs (ibid – Listen Like Learn) notes:
“Croonings – sounds like ‘there there’, ‘bye bye’, or just hummings of comfort – and lullabies – extensions of croonings and usually accompanied by rocking – are important, for they give pleasure and a sense of security to the baby and young child. In addition they provide the first steps on baby’s long road in learning and will help baby to speak and to understand speech.”
Just a few definitions:
Lullabies; Lullabies are love songs. They are sung to soothe the child to sleep, or at a time when the child needs the feeling of peace and security. They are usually accompanied by a rocking motion and, like folk songs, are passed on from generation to the next, continuing the oral culture and tradition. Lullabies are simple, soothing, rhythmic and repetitive. The feeling in the lullaby, more than the words, is most important. Lullabies express joy, tenderness, anxiety, unhappiness, cherished hopes, and the wish for rest and sleep.
Croons: Croons are spontaneous sounds that follow the natural rise and fall of the breath.
Chants: Chants are defined by the rhythmic use of the voice in speaking and singing. They are repetitive. Babies naturally chant (i.e. da-da-da, mum-mum-mum etc.)
We urge everyone to find a way in which to translate the above information into a format that can be used for your own individual “time out”. Adults may turn to different styles and genres of music that actually mirror lullabies, croons and chants. This might include: love songs, new age, easy listening, ambient, world, cool/smooth jazz, jazz, waltzes, classical, music for meditation and relaxation, nature sounds and instrumental music.
The Importance and Benefits of Rest and Relaxation:
Music can promote the relaxation of tense muscles. It aids in releasing tension that may have built up during stressful and busy times. Other ways that music can aid in stress relief is when a person is soaking in the tub, by guided imagery, self-hypnosis, and yoga, in addition to other stress relief activities. Music is helpful in putting a person’s mind into a meditative state. For those who find meditation intimidating, calming music can serve a similar function.
As helpful as calming music is, upbeat music can help refocus one’s mind and lead to more positive and optimistic feelings. Affirming lyrics help influence a person’s self-talk and lead to more positive energy.
Scientific studies have found that the structure and form of music can help children and adults with disabilities feel more order and security. Music encourages communication and coordination.
When pre-surgical patients listen to music through headphones, or are able to have a “live” session with a trained musician at bedside, they’ve been shown to experience less stress and anxiety.
Music can contribute to the lessening of distress of chronic pain and post-operative pain.
A Word about the Divine:
“Music is the ethereal connection between this world and the other.” – Stella Benson, CMP, The Healing Musician
“It is the responsibility of the musician to create heaven on earth and to create balance, peace and harmony in the environment.” – East Indian Principle
“G-D exists in many different forms and is found in many different places amongst us. Each of us has our own unique experience. If we find peace within ourselves, we can make peace throughout the world. Listen to the sounds…” – Rahel, “Tikkun”, www.cdbaby.com/rahelmusic
These days we are well aware of the sensitivities surrounding what is considered “religious” or “spiritual” and what might be considered offensive depending on one’s beliefs, leanings or particular culture and traditions. Nevertheless we cannot dismiss the fact that at some point in our lives we will either find ourselves questioning and confronting our own beliefs and/or the beliefs of others that may be found in our circles of life, while we suddenly acquire a thirst to seek and know a “higher power”, or G-D. Most people have a sense that there is something greater than physical “man”. There is no need for debate or to argue about our different beliefs. We simply need to listen, acknowledge and accept that we are all unique.
Most people will probably agree that music is a “universal” language that can touch us profoundly. There is a body of work that most agree deeply reflects human outcry and the reaching out to a higher source, G-D, if you will. Believed to have been originally sung, and indeed today, much of its contents has been put to music boasting versions in numerous languages that are sung in many cultures and traditions. These are known as “Psalms”.
The Psalms/Tehillim/Hymns have the power to bring out the hidden good that exists in the varied moments of our lives, providing inspiration and spiritual healing, and promoting health.
These songs and meditations express an emotional outpouring of the heart from the depths of the soul. Kabbalistic sages have taught that the original Hebrew text of the Psalms contains profound hidden wisdom and includes a complete musical system referred to as the “Ten Types of Songs” (or ten types of pulses). Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810) taught that there are ten Psalms that contain all the “Ten Types of Songs”. He called these ten the “Tikkun HaKlali” (The Complete Remedy).The Ten Psalms are: 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137 and 150.
Sages believe that when one abuses his/her G-d given powers s/he becomes spiritually flawed which, in turn can cause physical illness. At times, one may find that traditional methods and remedies may not help.
Avraham Greenbaum, author of The Wings of the Sun; Traditional Jewish Healing in Theory and Practice, explains,
"This is because they do not go to the essence of the problem. The Hebrew word, ‘tikkun’, means 'remedy'. Rebbe Nachman's ‘Tikkun’ attacks the flaw at its very roots, drawing on the most powerful creative force in the universe: song. … We are taught that every negative experience has its own remedy but the “Tikkun HaKlali” is the Complete Remedy. It should be said as a whole, uninterrupted and in sequence, by those seeking a remedy for any problem they might be experiencing.”
NOTE: Rahel has produced a musical work based on verses from the “Tikkun HaKlali” called “Tikkun” www.cdbaby.com/rahelmusic. Additional CD’s that we have produced and recommend are: Song of the Lark (ask about this!), Time Passes By www.cdbaby.com/annrachel , Hinay Ma Tov www.cdbaby.com/rahelmusic2 , as well as numerous selections for children and adults alike (see www.rahelmusic.com) .
Body, Mind, and Music - Laurie Riley, CMP
Barbara Cass-Beggs - Abstract based on her research
The Healing Musician; A Guide to Playing Healing Music at the Bedside – Stella Benson, CMP
The Secret Power of Music; The Transformation of Self and Society Through Musical Energy - David Tame
Your Baby Needs Music - Barbara Cass-Beggs
Your Child Needs Music - Barbara Cass-Beggs
Music Empowers Foundation
About Rahel and Sue:
“Ultimately, musicians of the world must come to realize the potential of their calling. Like the shamans, we may serve as healers, meta-physicians, inciters, exciters, spiritual guides and sources of inspiration. If the musician is illuminated from within, s/he becomes a lamp that lights other lamps.” – Kenny Werner, Effortless Mastery
RAHEL is a compassionate, insightful, sensitive, versatile award-winning performing guitarist, vocalist, recording artist, songwriter and healing artist. Her musical versatility highlights a wide reaching repertoire that is intelligent, musically sophisticated and ethnically diverse showcasing musical compositions that reflect an acoustic-eclectic-ambient-folk-ethnic-world-roots sound with hints of jazz, Middle East blends, further East mantras and sometimes driving rhythms and sometimes gentle sounds. Her guitar playing draws attention to beautiful finger styles and open chord progressions.
“Music has always been integral to my life. I was exposed to music at an early age. I studied solfeges, music theory and appreciation and learned to play on the piano, recorder and flute, but it was the acoustic guitar that was to become my main mode of musical expression. I’ve been an active working musician since 1976. I enjoy collaborating with other musicians and artists the most! Music has introduced me to worlds I might never have immersed in otherwise. The experience of living in two countries, Israel and the USA, each with a multitude of ethnic and cultural influences, contributes greatly to my composing and songwriting. It is through music that I experience joy and happiness and by way of music that I facilitate healing, growth and joy in others.”
Rahel is a juried artist of the NH State Council on the Arts; N.E.F.A. (New England Foundation for the Arts), N.E.S.T. (New England States Touring Artist), and a member of the Sound Healers Association, NH Healthcare Musicians, Hollis Arts Society, and the NH Jewish Artist Connection. She is a recipient of the Shem Tov Award for her contributions to enriching Jewish life in NH and two-time winner of Israel's AACI English Songwriting Competition. She holds a B. Sc. in the Arts from Empire State College at S.U.N.Y, certifications in Music Education for all ages, from newborns to seniors and is a trained Therapeutic Healthcare Artist working musically with the ill, dying and all those who can benefit from it.
Sue Hurwitz is a Life Coach, certified in the Still Point Method of healing. She specializes in working with clients on issues of self-confidence, particularly with musicians and artists. Sue has had a wide variety of yoga trainings; Childlight Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Musical Yoga, Yoga for Special Needs, Mommy & Baby Yoga, and Creative Kids Yoga. She co-founded a business which teaches yoga and creative movement with live music for all ages, called ‘MugaLive!’ She has over 17 years’ experience working in Special Education. In addition, she has earned her certification in Special Education.
Sue is a professional musician, and is the flutist in the chamber group Resonance, which she also founded. Sue is the flutist in Sunflower Fusion, which specializes in World Music. Ms. Hurwitz is a member of Lyric Duo, a piano and flute duo which plays at weddings and special events. She plays in Acoustic Breezes, an eclectic folk music group. Ms. Hurwitz is the co-founder of Song of the Lark, along with Rahel Limor. This guitar and flute duo plays calming music for people who need some time for self-care and a relaxing ‘time-out.’ Their programs can include meditation, yoga and stretching, journaling, and art. They present their programs at varied venues such as yoga studios, private homes, women’s groups, and town recreation centers.