Posts categorized “Music and Healing”


The Organ Seems to Express The Full Range of Human Sentiments.

The pipe organ has been called the king of musical instruments because it takes up all the sounds of creation. The organ has a wide expressive range, from piano to a thundering fortissimo. The largest pipes (the lowest) can make the floors of a church or hall shake, while the smallest pipes (the highest) can sound like a delicate bird.  It seems to echo and express the fullness of human sentiments, from joy to sadness, from praise to lamentation. Differences in the shape of pipes enable the organ  to imitate many other instruments, which creates a wide variety of sounds (timbres).

The Almost Endless Possibilities of the Organ Remind Us of the Magnificence of God.

Beautiful organ music, like all music of quality, seems to transcend the human sphere, and evokes the divine. The endless range of timbre and variety of sounds of the organ seems to remind us of the immensity and the magnificence of God.

“The Lost Chord” by Organist,  Adelaide Anne Proctor

The beginning of this poem by organist, Adelaide Anne Proctor, puts into words the magnificence of the organ.

Seated one day at the organ,
I was weary and ill at ease,
And my fingers wandered idly
Over the noisy keys;
I know not what I was playing,
Or what I was dreaming then,
But I struck one chord of music,
Like the sound of a great Amen,
Like the sound of a great Amen.

To hear some magnificent organ music ……


Our reaction to music isn’t always “joyful” pleasure.

One evening, Hector Berlioz, a French composer, started sobbing loudly at a concert. The person sitting next to him asked if he wanted to go out to the lobby. Berlioz replied, “What?! Do you think I come here for pleasure?” The melancholy and grief he experienced from the music obviously gave him a certain pleasure. This is why we enjoy crying at a sad movie or story. It’s cathartic to get in touch with all our emotions, good and bad, and express them. Music is a safe way to do this.

Music helps us get pleasure from even negative emotions.

When music puts us in a sad state, we feel that maybe the pain occurred for a reason. There is always a resolution in music, from dissonance to harmony, and we can identify with that since life is a series of ups and downs, conflict-resolution, sadness-joy, stress-relaxation. When we allow all the emotions to come to the surface, it is cathartic. Wayne L. Misner, owner of Healthcare CIO, says, “Songwriters somehow have learned to share my memories, your memories, and with their memories merge them into a song ball. Forever bouncing the song ball off us, they play dodge ball, hitting our minds and hearts.”

It’s healthy to get in touch with our emotions, both happy and sad.

Like Berlioz, go ahead and experience the “pleasurable grief” from music. Choose any kind of intense music that stirs your emotions, and let it help you get in touch with your inner needs. Learn more about how music is so powerful “Music, Healing and Harmony” http//



Establish a Routine at Bedtime and Be Consistent.

Sing lullabies, give your baby a bath or read a book.  The routine helps the baby relax, feel safe, and is also a signal that it’s time for sleep.

Use the Same Music Each Time You Put Your Baby to Sleep

When a soothing lullaby begins that the infant hears often, a sense of order and calmness begins.
Choose music that is approximately 60 beats per minutes, which is a calming rhythm. The music establishes a correlation between the baby’s general physiology and the outside world.  The rhythm of a lullaby is similar to the baby’s heartbeat.  The quiet repetitive melodies of a lullaby is a comfort and a relief.

Put Your Baby Down as Soon as He or She Is Sleepy.

Babies (and adults) sometimes have a hard time getting to sleep if they too tired.

Listen to some soothing harp lullabies at 




Music Engages people in Ways that Words Can’t.

Music, whether listening or performing, has qualities that allow us to express ourselves in a non-verbal way. Often we are at a “loss for words” and can’t seem to describe our experiences. When emotions are pent up or withheld, this leads to stress. The stress can lead to tension in your muscle groups, neck, back, shoulder, and jaws. Hanging on to feelings can lead to psychosomatic illnesses like headaches, high blood pressure, asthma, depression and cardiac problems.

Music Stimulates Brain Regions Related to Feelings.

Along comes music, which takes us to another place – where it’s acceptable to feel anger, sadness or happiness in the music. Music has the power to move us by activating deep-seated brain regions that are used to process emotion. The brain regions stimulated by euphoric stimuli like food, sex and love also light up when we listen to music. Blood flow in the brain rises and falls along with the music in areas associated with reward, emotion and arousal.

Allow Music to Get Rid of Inhibitions and Let Out Withheld Emotions.

Choose whatever music appeals to you, and let yourself “get lost” in the music. Since music can be pleasurable, cathartic, and meaningful , allow your emotions to surface. Maybe you can find words to express your feelings or maybe you can simply be aware of the pent-up feelings. Either way you will be giving your emotional and physical health a big boost.

Listen to some samples of relaxing harp music for a start.




The Power of Music

Music is mind-altering, legal and free or low-cost, and has no negative side effects. Music can help in healing, change your mood, help you get to sleep, increase your brain power and make you forget your troubles.  I can think of at least 7 wonders of music.

1. Music is invisible.
Music is sound waves or vibrations traveling through the air. You can’t see the sound waves unless you intentionally measure the speed of the sound waves with a mechanical tuner and calculate that speed in numbers, or hertz. Everything in existence, including music, is in a state of continuous vibration. We have the power to manipulate and control energy through the vibrations of music.

2. Printed music is a universal language.

Musicians worldwide use the same music when learning a piece or song. It doesn’t matter whether the musician lives in Austria, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France, India, China – or anywhere else – music doesn’t need to be translated.

3. Music is healing.

Healing music isn’t just a new age fad. Pythagoras, who lived about 580 to 500 B.C.E., was known to seriously use music for healing. He was a Greek philosopher and mathematician, and also played the lyre (now known as the harp). He called his method “musical medicine.” Music is now used to control pain, ease depression and anxiety, aid in stroke recovery, prevent seizures, control blood pressure, help insomnia, and much more.

4. Music can change your mood in a few seconds.

Music can almost “possess” you and change your mood in a few seconds. An old song can bring back happy or sad emotions, as if time stood still.  Music can be inspirational, relaxing, or invigorating. Music has the power to overwhelm our senses, sending a message to the nervous system and brain.

5. Music can increase intelligence.

It seems incredible that something as enjoyable as music could increase your ability to learn, improve your memory and make your brain work better – but it’s true. Making music activates links to several parts of the brain because it’s a multisensory experience.

6. Music helps you relax.

Think of stress as dis-harmony or dissonance. Music is about dissonance then harmony, resolving chords and melodies. The harmony and beauty in music, whether listening or performing, affects your entire body and mind as you become in sync with the music.

7. Music brings up memories.

Music links our memories to songs we’ve heard before. You may be brought to tears by a song that was playing at a funeral. You may remember a friend or former lover when you hear a song that you heard together. For adults, listening to songs from our teenage years reminds us of carefree younger times.

To learn more about each of these 7 wonders of music, go to:

“How powerful is your magic sound.”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, The Magic Flute, 1791.



De-stress With Music

Are you worried about buying the “correct” gifts?  Are you overwhelmed with all the parties, excitement, hustle and bustle of the holidays?  Take some time to relax with calming music.  When you are relaxed by the music, beta-endorphins are released, affecting all your cells and allowing your body to heal itself. Try a little visualization. Put your problems (challenges) in an imaginary balloon and let it go up into the universe. You can get it back if you really want it! Say to yourself, “I release this challenge into the universe.” As you listen to the music, let the vibrations of the music carry your stressful challenges away. Now, take three deep breaths. Let your stomach expand to make room for the air as you take the air into your lungs.  Breathe out slowly; feel the air on your lips as you exhale. Breathe with the rhythm of the music. Now, just relax and enjoy the music for a few minutes. You will be receiving answers subconsciously, even if you aren’t aware of this. This will accomplish more than trying too hard to figure out solutions to your challenges!

Select Your Music for Relaxation

Some ideal relaxation music for me would be by a  harpist, cellist,  flutist or chanting .When you choose your music for relaxation, make it what you enjoy and love, not what someone told you was the “correct” music to play for a certain disorder or state of mind. What song makes you remember a time when you were totally relaxed? Start a collection of those songs for your de-stress time. Soon you’ll know which ones work best for helping you reach a state of relaxation and peace. After a while, you will build up a habit whereby your relaxation music will get you to the quiet time sooner and sooner. Your brain will build connectors and make the association between your special music and your time to relax.
If you love some of the Christmas music, use that.  If you’re tired of hearing it everywhere, choose something entirely different.

Use Upbeat Music to Beat the Blues

Many people get depressed during the holidays.  You can use music to get out of  blues, too.  Choose music with a faster tempo and a fun rhythm – something that will make you want to tap your toes or swing.  Some of the Christmas music is like this, as well as any of your favorite songs.  Let the music lift you up, and take you to a lighter place.  Christmas is a time for joy, and music can help you enjoy the holidays.

Check out some relaxing harp music for yourself or for gifts.



The cells of your body respond to music. There is practically no other cultural activity that is so pervasive, shaping and controlling human behavior with invisible vibrations. Certain types of music contribute to your well being and mood. Deciding which style of music and which selections are best for you is like choosing the correct diet to lose weight. It may take some experimenting to find the music that works best for you, and that may change from time to time. If certain music feels right and you enjoy it, then that is right for you. It may be something entirely different for another person.


* Meditation and Nonthinking
Gregorian chants, which use the rhythms of natural breathing
New Age or improvised music with no dominant rhythm or predictable harmony

* Study or Work
Slower Baroque music (Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli)  These create a mentally   stimulating environment along with order and stability.

* Concentration, Memory and Spatial Perception
Classical music (Haydn and Mozart) Creates clarity and elegance.
Any music that is played at a moderate or moderately fast tempo helps to normalize the brain waves.

* Compassion, Love, Emotions
Romantic music (Schubert, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Liszt)
Any music that emphasizes expression and feeling

* Creativity, Daydreaming
Impressionist music (Debussy, Faure’,  Ravel)
Free-flowing music evokes dreamlike images and puts you in touch with your subconscious.

* Inspiration, Uplifting
Jazz, Blues, Dixieland, Gospel, Calypso, other dance forms
Can be cathartic, releasing deep joy and sadness

* Awaken and Energize
Salsa, Rhumba, Macarena, and other South American dances can get your body moving. Samba has the ability to soothe and awaken at the same time.

* Stimulation
Fast, loud classical music or rock music can stir the passions, stimulate active movement, mask pain and release tension.


Listen to different styles of music, and notice how each style affects your mental, emotional and physical well-being. The music that appeals to you may change, sometimes quickly, depending upon your mood. You are unique, and you know what is right for you. Music is a powerful and beautiful gift. Enjoy it and take advantage of it.

You can learn more about the power of music in my book, “Music, Healing and Harmony,” also available as an e-book or audio book.
To hear an excerpt from the audio book, go to


Choose Memorial Music to Comfort Family and Friends

One of the main reasons for a funeral or memorial service is for friends and family to remember and honor the deceased. Keep in mind that some of the music may stick in our minds and serve as a reminder of the friend or loved one for a long time.  Every one who attends the service may have different likes and dislikes when it comes to music. The music can be a combination of classical, religious, country, and popular. Even for the non-religious family, they may like Amazing Grace, In the Garden, or other familiar songs.

Did the Deceased Have Favorite Music?

It is a beautiful tribute to the deceased to use some of their favorite songs or type of music. Maybe they liked a particular genre of music, artist or composer. The strains of these melodies will offer comfort and bring back the memory of the loved one. If the deceased had a type of music or a song they disliked, of course that music wouldn’t be included.

Some Music I Like to Play and Suggest for Memorial Services

Amazing Grace
Ave Maria
How Great Thou Art
On Eagles’ Wings
In the Garden
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Hymn of the Universe
It Is Well With My Soul
Reverie – Debussy
Clair de Lune – Debussy
New World Symphony (Going Home) – Dvorak
18th Variation – Rachmaninoff
Popular and Folk
Angels Among Us
The Rose
Over The Rainbow
Wind Beneath My Wings
What a Wonderful World
Danny Boy
You’ll Never Walk Alone

To hear samples of these songs and many more ideas, go to Click on any CD and any song to listen.

Funeral/Memorial Music Is a Very Personal Decision

Keep in mind the personality of the deceased. They may have requested that their passing be a celebration rather than a mourning service. One person even asked that everyone dance. If the service is in a church and the deceased was religious, maybe all the music will be hymns and religious music, with some classical music.

Memorial Service Music Can Be Both Joyous and Reflective

Often the people attending the funeral or celebration of  life event will experience a range of emotions, from grief and mourning to happy remembrances. The music can also be a combination of reflective and  spiritual to uplifting and happy. We are saying goodbye in whatever way seems appropriate.





“That’s Music to my Ears”
We often associate music with happiness, good news and joy. Have you used the phrase, “That’s music to my ears”  when you got a compliment, even though you weren’t really hearing music?  Music sets the mood for any occasion, and certain songs bring back memories. Do you feel young again when you hear a song that was popular in your teenage years? Put on some of your favorite old songs to help you go back in time for a little while.

Listen to Brighter, Happier Music for a Better Mood.
The next time you’re in a bad mood and have no energy try listening to some upbeat music that you enjoy, music that makes you feel like dancing or singing. Soon your brain waves, heartbeat, blood flow – your whole metabolism will be in synch with the music. You’ll have more energy and you’ll be enhancing your health, well-being, spirituality, mood and energy.

Music in Movies and TV is Chosen to Evoke a Certain Mood.
For many movies the music is more memorable than the dialogue and scenes.  Pay attention to the music playing in the background the next time you watch a movie or show. The music sets the mood. I sometimes have someone come up to me after I perform and ask the name of a piece – and what movie it was in. The music and the movie are woven together. Puccini’s Musetta’s Waltz was in the movie Moonstruck, and the music often makes someone remember the movie.   This piece is from my CD, “Classical Favorites from the Harp.”

You can set the mood for your own life story with your choice of music.

Music Has a Way of Saying “My Life Has Meaning.”
French composer Olivier Messiaen spent several years in a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. While there, he finished composing a piece of music, “Quartet for the End of Time.” He and three other imprisoned musicians performed the quartet for piano, cello, violin and clarinet for the other inmates and the guards of that camp. It’s hard to imagine why he would want to bother composing music when he was in pain, hungry, not knowing whether he would survive. But music, visual art and poetry has been created in situations like this, perhaps to take away the pain and to say, “I am alive.”  Music is a part of the human spirit, a part of survival, and is sometimes the best way to express who we are.

Celebrate your life, listen to music that lifts your spirits and makes you thankful for your life.





Music Helped Americans Deal With 9-11 Attack

On the night of September 11, 2001, many people in Manhattan neighborhoods gathered and sang.  No matter what their political preferences were, they sang songs from elementary school, religious songs like “Amazing Grace,” patriotic songs like “America the Beautiful” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” They gathered around firehouses, using music to get them and others through the horrible destruction of the Twin Towers. Several days later everyone gathered at Lincoln Center to hear the Brahms Requiem. Later, the reopening of Broadway was celebrated as a big step in the recovery of New York. Perhaps the music helped them understand, better than words, the senseless act that took so many lives.

Music Unites People Worldwide

Often musicians unite people worldwide with a concert to benefit a charitable cause or victims of a catastrophe. Even if the language isn’t understood, people share emotions , feelings, memories, joy or sadness. As the music reverberates through our bodies, the shared feelings allow us to know that we are not alone but are connected.

The popular song “Let There Be Peace On Earth” has been translated into many languages. Those who are familiar with the song only have to hear the melody to feel that there is hope for peace.

Classical music is more likely to be known and enjoyed around the world than other styles of music. People everywhere can communicate through their music, which acts as a messenger that carries history and experience across time and space. We understand the message and get to know others, whether we can speak their language or not. When the music is powerful and beautiful, the language doesn’t matter.

Watch and listen to American fallen soldiers and “Amazing Grace.”