What comes to mind when you think of healing music? Perhaps you remember the soft, relaxing music played when receiving a massage; quiet nature sounds behind an instrumental track, or inspired harp melodies gently guiding you into a meditation. I would bet the heavy rhythms of metal music, epic videogame soundtracks, or the rampant articulations of rap or hip hop do not come to mind when reflecting on healing music. What I’ve discovered and have personally experienced is all music can be healing when we listen consciously.
As humans, we’re full of unique energy signatures that include our cells, organs, blood, bones, thoughts, emotions, memories, beliefs, and everything that exists inside of us. We’re like a harp with all these strings that resonate at different frequencies. When we’re “in tune,” we feel healthy and strong. Some days we resonate in the middle of the instrument; some days we resonate more in the lower register, and some days we resonate in the upper register. However, all of the strings make up the wholeness of who we are. This awareness of all the strings, of all our experiences, and creating the wholeness of who we are is critical in understanding how all music can be healing when we listen consciously.
One of my older harp students, a retired nurse, told her therapist that playing the harp brought up feelings of anger. “Harp music is supposed to be relaxing and calming,” he replied, “You shouldn’t feel angry.” To which she replied, “You don’t know my harp teacher.” What her therapist didn’t understand was how the strings of the harp activated the repressed emotional energies within my student through the concepts of sympathetic vibration, allowing her anger to surface in a safe environment.
Sometimes it feels great, and sometimes it’s a very heavy feeling, but it’s always a vibrational experience.
This is how I describe sympathetic vibration: When two objects of the same frequency come into close proximity to one another, they begin to sympathetically resonate or “sing” together. For example, when you strike one tuning fork and place another tuning fork of the same frequency next to it, the 2nd tuning fork begins to sing or resonate with the first one. Because everything has a frequency, and we have a full range of vibrational frequencies inside of us, we are affected by everything and everyone around us through sympathetic resonance. Sometimes it feels great, and sometimes it’s a very heavy feeling, but it’s always a vibrational experience. The key thing to remember is we wouldn’t be feeling or experiencing anything if we didn’t have those same frequencies inside of us. Sympathetic resonance can only happen with vibrations of the same frequency.
Turning the Mirror
It is with this awareness of sympathetic vibration that I experienced two journeys with breast cancer. The irony of my diagnoses came after 15-plus years of presenting, “Vibrational Awareness and the Healing Power of Music” to medical professionals, staff, and volunteers in cancer, hospice, and grief communities. I initially felt like a hypocrite, criticizing myself for not walking my talk and applying years of spiritual growth to keep my body in a state of balance.
Then, I turned the mirror and saw a woman:
- determined to take care of others before taking care of herself
- afraid to slow down because keeping busy meant she was worthy
- totally disconnected from her emotions and feelings
- ready to remember how to love herself again
The journey of remembering how to love myself again included my desire to embrace the fullness of who I am. Using the visualization of the harp, I knew there were lower notes and frequencies associated with painful memories or experiences I had repressed. Going through surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments created the opportunity for me to slow down and allow those memories to surface. What I’ve learned is the lower notes of an instrument create its deep resonance and fullness of sound; just as those heavy, dark, and often painful experiences create the potential depths of our compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude.
During my cancer journey, I listened to a specific piece of music twice a day to help support my journey inward. “The Magic Mirror – Inspired Reflections” provided a vibrational blanket of sound that offered me a safe space to surrender control, allowing hidden memories and painful feelings to emerge. As these lower vibrational frequencies surfaced, it soon became easier to embrace them with love and transform them into the fullness of who I am. Self-compassion and gratitude naturally grew from within as the journey into my depths continued.
The Healing Power of Music
Listening to this intense video-game soundtrack was one of the most healing meditations of my life—because I was listening consciously.
Consciously listening to music is a wonderful way to discover hidden aspects about ourselves. Another example of conscious listening happened years ago after taking my sons to school. I parked in the driveway and continued listening to their HALO video game soundtrack CD. It was mesmerizing—the heavy drum rhythms, expansive orchestration, full chorus, and powerful guitar tracks unlocked hidden aspects I was surprisingly ready to explore. My natural tendency had been to resist listening to this type of forceful music as it felt invasive, overwhelming, and too intense. This day was different. I was prepared to explore and feel my resistance. Consciously following the sounds as they entered my body, I imagined the music coming up against my internal resistance. Feeling where the conflict was present within my body, I took a deep breath and exhaled into the block. It softened. I continued to allow the intense rhythms and full orchestration to flow into this internal energy block. It continued to open, and eventually, I was able to discern the fears and memories held within. Listening to this intense video-game soundtrack was one of the most healing meditations of my life—because I was listening consciously.
Music is a universal language but only to the extent we are willing to listen consciously. Music can be a profound step in the exploration of self, in the conscious act of honest reflection that goes by many names—mindfulness, meditation, self-discovery, self-empowerment, and enlightenment. I believe peace begins within, and music is a powerful way in.
This article originally appeared on Well Defined and is featured here with author permission.
Amy, Strong Ink….Music, the healing , the inspiration and the soundtrack to my life, the sad songs, the beautiful notes and most of all The Storytelling. Without music the silence is a roar like the calm before a hurricane.
So beautifully stated, Larry – thank you!
Music is definitely healing or energizing.
I just love Rachmaninoff’s music in ‘Brief Encounter’. It undulates; most beautiful. Transports one to another level. Also, Music heals, it revitalizes, it calms and it does have a physically positive impact; ‘sparks’ off the ‘neurons’ (wrong word I know!). Thank you for this article. Truly wonderful and excellent advice.
I totally agree, Simon – music is definitely healing and energizing – and your comment “‘sparks’ off the ‘neurons’” isn’t necessarily the wrong word 😉 In fact, it’s exactly what I’ve been contemplating and exploring lately. Glad you enjoyed the article!
Wow Amy, thank you so much for this. What a wonderful and spiritual story. At one point in my life, I thought music would be my career, but I ended up in a different direction. With COVID, I decided to get serious about learning guitar. I have always sang and played piano, but strings escaped me. At this point in my life, the strings resonate with me and I feel the music in ways I never have with other instruments. Your story makes such great sense!
So glad you enjoyed this story, Carol – and it’s wonderful to hear how you’re experiencing music in new ways. Even though I’ve been playing music all my life, it always amazes me at the levels and depths it takes me. Keep playing and singing! 💞