This is another of my blog posts where I describe music therapy interactions I’ve had that are indicative of why music is so healing, meaningful, enriching and sometimes life changing! And, specific to the experience described below… spiritual.
This post describes a music therapy (MT) session with another hospice patient, an elderly woman who I have visited for approximately six months. The woman was raised in the south and has a southern Baptist background, telling me the first visit… “my favorite song is Amazing Grace…” Often the daughter, her husband and other family and friends visited. Everyone, including the patient would reminisce and sing church songs during our twice per month MT sessions. Matter of fact, I had never been in a situation where people visiting during music therapy, when singing, would sound so much like a church choir. All were very religious and many had beautiful voices with church choir experience.
This morning I received a call from our friend’s hospice nurse that she was now actively dying, and that the family was requesting music therapy. “She is mostly non-responsive now.” When I arrived the daughter greeted me saying “lets sing mom off to heaven…” As I sat near the head of the bed, the daughter sat on the bed, towards the bottom, her husband between her and myself. Of course the first thought was “Amazing Grace…” We started singing, then I stopped everyone. I said “Mary (the daughter), take your mom’s hands,” and said to her husband, put your left hand on my back and your right hand on your wife Mary’s back… “now lets sing…” At this point everyone was “connected” to their mom. Again, the husband, who was singing, had his left hand on my back (chest cavity) and his right hand on his wife’s back (chest cavity) as she held her mom’s hands. The idea is that as we all sang, vibrations generated from our voices, as the daughter held her mom’s hands, was transferred, to be felt by her mom through Mary’s arms down to her finger tips as she held her mom’s hands. And besides feeling the physical vibrations, her being able to feel and sense the spirit of the songs and her family’s love and energy is significant. Through this experience the patient and family were comforted, the family expressing how very pleased they were, being able to personally comfort their dying mom with song.
Lets now look specifically at music and sound’s vibrational aspect…
— First of all, the smallest part of our universe, atoms, are made up of VIBRATING electrons.
— Scientists know that our earth, vibrating on it’s axis, produces an overtone or sound frequency which is (actually) 7.49 hz. The following description below is from: http://www.lunarplanner.com/Harmonics/planetary-harmonics.html
“The 7.8 Hz. Schumann fundamental frequency is quite close to Earth’s 7.5 Hz. circumference harmonic (calculated using the speed of light at Earth’s surface)…” So vibrations from our earth are acting upon us at all times.
— As rhythm consists of organized vibrations, know that our hearts beat rhythmically, we breath, walk and talk rhythmically…
— And one of the oldest forms of music, Toning, which is thousands of years old, and even precedes sacred music, relies on the vibrational aspects of vocal production (not singing as we know it) to benefit individuals and groups. All cultures, except our western culture have used Toning for healing, grieving, praying, wellness, etc. See MT Toning 1, 2, 3 in Resource Center at the bottom left of my home page of musicfromthestart.com for a description of Toning.
So, “Why live music??”… To take advantage of the vibrational aspects of music and sound. Also, because we don’t have to be a talented singer (as described above) individuals can vocalize or utilize vibrational sounds for health and wellness benefits personally and/or for others. To do what I did above??? Let’s say you have an ill loved one… put on their favorite music and as you massage them or hold their hands sing or hum softly with the music, or sing alone as the family did above. The vibratory effects from your vocalizations resonating from your chest cavity, down your arms to your finger tips, as you gently massage them or hold their hand, will affect them! It’s wonderful!!! You will both benefit.
In upcoming posts I will continue with other music therapy/health and wellness related blog posts.
My prescription this week. Try this concept of experiencing physical vibrations as you vocalize. Go to the Toning info described above and “give it a whirl!” At the very least it relieves head, neck and shoulder tension and is a wonderful, pro-active way to meditate, pray and to take care of yourself.