By Darlene Koldenhoven, M.M.V., B.M.Ed., APP, NLP, GRAMMY,® Indie Music Hall of Fame
After applying a bit of music therapy on myself prior to writing this article, I thought I’d share with you, several ways I try to practice what I preach in my daily life, in hopes that it may inspire you to engage music, sound, and your voice throughout your day. Sometimes, for more of a deeper sonic therapy experience, I will listen to the special acoustically processed sound of iLs-APP Listening.1 But this time, I was playing the acoustic piano for a few minutes to calm, focus, and transition from one activity to another; like a clearing of sorts. When one plays an instrument, sings, reads music, all parts of the brain light up, signaling good brain health and focus.
Sometimes I clap out body rhythms with a repetitive rhythmic pattern from the east African tribe of Tumbuka. The Tumbuka set up a group rhythm consisting of body patterns that cross the hemispheres of the brain, enacting neuro-plasticity, allowing more neural connections to manifest in the corpus callosum and throughout the brain. They bring themselves into a trancelike state, slowing down the brain waves. Soon, within seconds, the alpha, or relaxation brain waves come into play where healing may occur; solutions and creativity as well.2 When I do this in my sound healing workshops, I add a breathing element to it which expedites the process – once the rhythm gets regular and comfortable, we breathe in a steady pace in relation to the timing of our beats with a count of 6 on the inhale and 6 on exhale in normal fashion, not exaggerated breathing.
Other times, I will use my voice to sing long-tones on various vowels with an intense focus on the area intended for healing; also, to regulate my breathing, vibrate my bones and balance myself. Daily, I exercise my ear muscles with my voice3 to energize and focus myself, and build faster connections throughout the brain and nervous system between the ear and the voice. This generates a healthy, strong voice for better communication, singing and a general sense of well-being. Other times I will use one of my twelve, tuned, quartz singing bowls to put myself and my heart back into a balanced rhythm.
Dr. Alfred Tomatis teaches that it is the high frequencies that stimulate and charge the brain and no better place to get them than from our own voice. (And Mozart, but that’s for a later article.) The low frequencies are soporific on the psyche. Dr. Tomatis felt there was nothing healthier one can do, but to vocalize, sing, hum, whistle, even read aloud for 30 minutes throughout the day.
The ancient Greeks used the various modal scales in western music to help regulate emotion, soothe or stimulate. Film composers use various techniques to get our emotions or physiology to respond to the picture in certain ways. The male Ketjak chanters of Bali have their own dramatic and rhythmic way of bringing themselves into a trance-like state.4 Some people find healing from religious chanting using the vibration of the vowels or sacred vowels as they are sometimes called for healing. Back in the 1960’s when the Vatican II was issued, Benedictine monks in Europe didn’t have to chant anymore and soon they all came down with a strange illness that many doctors could not figure out. Until, Dr. Tomatis came to the monastery, examined them and determined they should return to chanting as before. So simple and yet it worked within weeks!
What we listen to shapes our brain’s neuronal connections thus shaping the way our brains process our environment and human communication. It even applies to our physiology. For example, with sound/music vibration, we can do things like balance ourselves, regenerate nerve and muscle tissue, tame the beast and enhance the mind. Be careful about what you are listening to and how loud it is. Listen to healthy sounds and create a healthy life and what more pleasant way to achieve that, than with the aid of sound and music.
1. For more on Tomatis, APP sonic therapy, see ListeningMatrix.com
2. For the Tumbuka pattern and more information, see “Tune Your Voice: Singing and Your Mind’s Musical Ear” P. 41
3. For vocal exercises, etc., see “Tune Your Voice: Singing and Your Mind’s Musical Ear”
4. See/Listen to the Ketjak here: https://youtu.be/C6GxZ1I45oQ
Darlene Koldenhoven, M.M.V, B.M.Ed, NLP, iLs-APP. Grammy Winner & 3-time nominee, Indie Music Hall of Fame Inductee. Several multi-award winning, #1 New Age albums, some played in hospitals/hospices nationwide. Author, “Tune Your Voice: Singing and Your Mind’s Musical Ear.” International speaker on music education and sonic therapy. Private practice in voice and sonic therapy; in person or remotely. More information at DarleneKoldenhoven.com, ListeningMatrix.com, TuneYourVoice.net, WellnessVoiceWorkshop.com.
©2019 Darlene Koldenhoven. All rights reserved.