Our Increasing Awareness
of Music's Healing Power
It seems that more and more when I open a newspaper, magazine or website, I am apt to see an allusion or a reference to music's healing power or the use of music for healing. Needless to say, this is very exciting for me since this is one of my primary missions on this earth: to spread the word that music has tremendous healing power and that everyone can learn how to use it!
I see quite a few articles on topics that I would consider to be music therapy-oriented, such as music with stroke survivors and music therapy in physical rehab settings and hospitals. Then I see references to the topics that are considered more in the "music medicine" realm such as music with surgery or perhaps music with childbirth. Finally I've seen articles on music's healing power in areas that are clearly not going in the therapy or medicine realms; music for transition with the dying; or toning and chanting for healing purposes, relaxing and energizing. I am not suggesting and certainly not advocating that these various sub-sections be strictly delineated but in the past there have been those that wanted to categorize music and healing in this way. I am pleased to see any reference at all to music being used for healing, health and wellness, no matter how it is labeled.
My path to this field has been very non-traditional. My background includes degrees in piano performance, musicology, and clinical social work. I could have studied music therapy long ago but when I had the opportunity, I wanted to be a concert pianist at that time. Now I get to combine the two and nothing could be more satisfying for me that performing, teaching, healing and travelling around the world! What a wonderful life I have! Music can enrich yours too!
Alice H. Cash, Ph.D., LCSW
Question of the Month
I have a 4-year son who is asking for piano lessons. I feel like that's a bit young and really don't want to spend that much money to buy a piano either. What do you think?
D.P. J'town, KY
A: Dear D. P.,
I can really understand your hesitation. I'd let him ask for at least two or three months, then consider signing him up for something like the Kindermusik classes that are available in most large cities. These give the child a good idea of what music study is all about.
Your Question to the ChantDoc!
My Calendar lists projected new workshops, classes and presentations, including a tour to Hawaii this month. Please read about the coming events at: http://www.healingmusicenterprises.com/calendar.html .
Recently the Courier Journal.com News featured my work in an article entitled,
Music expert teaches how to heal
A new color biography sums up our services:
Louisvillle Area Health Professionals: Opportunity!!
Dr. Cash offers classes on a regular basis on:
- How to create tapes for surgery
- Using music with pregnancy, childbirth and newborns
- Understanding how music affects the Mind-Body-Spirit
- Toning, Chanting, and Drumming for Health
- Using Music with Alzheimer's Patients
2 -3 hour long classes are offered on demand for four people or more. Class can be booked for Fri am, Sat pm, & Sun eves. Also private sessions. Call 502-895-7688 to register.
The Many Uses of Music in a Hospital
As many of you know, I work in a full-service medical -surgical hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. There is not a single area of this hospital (or any hospital) that could not benefit from having music incorporated in some specific well-thought-out way. And I don't mean just having MUSAK piped in! I believe that most people today find that more offensive than enjoyable. You've all heard of the law of diminishing returns? When pre-recorded piped-in music was first invented everyone thought it was great: soothing, relaxing, calming. Now, most people detest it and find that it makes their blood pressure go up and their tempers flare. In a hospital, the ideal is to use personalized music, offered to patients as well as those in the waiting areas through clean headphones, much like those that are offered on international flights. There could be either a tape or CD library available or audio equipment embedded in the seats to plug into for a choice of music selections.
This not only allows people to relax with the kind of music they enjoy, but it also blocks out the disconcerting sounds of overhead paging, ambulances arriving, and people calling out, crying, etc. There are literally hundreds of studies documenting the effectiveness of music with surgery, pain management, childbirth, oncology, chemo and radiation. In the area of Behavioral Health, or Psychiatry as it used to be called, the benefits of using music with patients who are depressed, anxious, or chemically dependent on drugs or alcohol, are enormous. This is something that I do everyday and the rewards are one of the great joys of my job. Playing the piano for depressed patients and seeing their faces light up when they hear "You've Got a Friend" or "I'll Be Loving You Always" is just something that I wouldn't miss for the world.
I also particularly enjoy helping people pick out their music for surgery and have put together three tapes: one for the waiting area, one the or operating table and one for the recovery room. People tell me time after time that the process of making the tape distracted them from worrying about the outcome as much as they might have otherwise. Having the tape in the recovery area let them know, for sure, that they had survived the surgery and were listening to the music that they had chosen. One lady felt that her tape saved her life because the recovery room was so noisy and the nurses were rattling papers and talking so loudly!
In summary, if you must be in a hospital feel free to write to me and ask how you might incorporate music in your care. Or stop now and order my book: "Notes on Tuning Your Life with Music." It comes with a CD in the back with three different kinds of music and lots of instruction on how to use it. I also have three different tapes available. All can be ordered from my website which accepts all major charge cards. Have a Happy and Musical May!
IN THIS EDITION
I. Editorial: Our Increasing Awareness of Music's Healing Power
II. Ask the Chantdoc: FAQ's
III. News & Events
IV. Special Topic: The Many Uses of Music in a Hospital
"The '90s have been called "The Decade of the Brain," and although we have learned a lot about how the brain works, the effects of music on the brain and the body are still mostly a mystery. I want to do what I can to change that. Music does not need to be prescribed, refilled or detoxed from; neither can we say "take two sonatas and call me in the morning."
- Dr. Alice Cash, 1999.
Healing Music Products
Dr. Cash offers affordable products to help you reap the benefits of music and healing.
Products available include audio tapes, music sample CD and book as well as her ebook & Mp3 package.
Each product is expertly created to offer you sound tools for therapeutic music sessions.
"Notes for Tuning Your Life with Music"
(available as soft cover book or ebook,
with CD or Mp3 music supplement)
BOOK & CD-
(Book - $14.95; CD - $14.95 or Book/CD Combo - $24.95 & S/H)
EBOOK & Mp3s
(Ebook - $8.95; Mp3s - $5/set)
Alzheimer's & Dementia Collection
AUDIOTAPES - $10 & S/H
Tape titles include:
The Healing Power of Music
Toning & Chanting with Addictions
Why Mozart? The Research on Mozart and Learning
To order, go to Dr. Cash's products page at:
Healing Music Products
Treat yourself and your loved ones to The Chantdoc's products to help you reap the benefits of music and healing.
Dr. Cash offers her newest book and ebook "Notes for Tuning Your Life with Music" and accompanying CD and MP3s plus audiotapes - chock full
of healing music for your health and wellbeing. Reasonable and effective!
Check out our full line of products
Healing Music Services
Dr. Cash is available for
seminars, workshops, classes and other group and individual instruction
in using music for healing and promoting health and wellbeing.