Does Springtime bring happier moods and happier music? One of the things that you've heard me say repeatedly is that we remember the music of our "courting years" longer than any other music in our lives. Wouldn't it stand to reason then that in Spring, when courting is probably at its peak, we would have the happiest or at least the most romantic music happening? People are planning for their June weddings, their proms, their first dates, and songs of love are in the air.
Being a child of the 1950's, when I think of Spring love songs I immediately think of "April Love," which, I believe, was also a movie. Just thinking of that melody makes me kind of mushy and mellow and I get instantaneous images of grassy meadows, bluebirds and young adults sitting under trees have picnics and more (!) Another song for me would be "Younger than Springtime" from "South Pacific." Both of these songs are kind of slow and talk about the beauty of either a woman/man or the glories of love. Every decade of the last thousand years has had its love songs as well as its songs about Spring. These are just perennial topics that humans like to write poetry and music about; as well as to paint and draw and sculpt. I invite you to be particularly attuned to the music of this Spring. My patients at the hospital have already enjoyed the song that my sister and I used to sing for "company" that would come to visit at our home as well as people that we would visit on a Sunday afternoon. That song was "In Your Easter Bonnet." All of these songs bring back happy memories and can temporarily chase away emotional dark clouds in a non-chemical way. Enjoy the music!
Alice H. Cash, Ph.D., LCSW
Question of the Month
I'm going to have surgery soon for a herniated disc. I'm wondering if you could suggest some music for the surgery and also, who should I talk to before the procedure to get permission?
A: Dear M. P.,
A. Sorry about your surgery but congratulations on your good decision to use music! All of the research indicates that listening to instrumental music with the slow, steady tempo of the resting, healthy heartbeat is the way to go. Many people like to listen to the slow movements of the music of Bach, Handel, Pachelbel, Vivaldi, and other classical composers. Others prefer to listen to more contemporary selections such as slow, but steady Jazz or perhaps Romantic piano music such as Chopin Nocturnes or the slower Preludes. Recently someone said the "Sarabande" movements of the Bach Solo Cello Suites were actually the very best music for surgery. Try listening to a variety of this type of music before your surgery to see what is most calming for you!
After that, just clear it with your surgeon and anesthesiologist. You'll need to have a new Walkman with auto-reverse feature so you can listen through head - phones. Be sure to get new batteries and a good 60-90 minute tape of your chosen music. Best of luck. Let me know how it goes!
Your Question to the ChantDoc!
My Calendar has been updated with projected new workshops, classes and presentations, including a tour to Hawaii this coming May. 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 is available on my site on this page:
Louisvillle Area Health Professionals: Opportunity!!
this month Alice will be offering classes 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.
My Gratitude to My Audiences
For the past many years I have been learning from my audiences, but in this month's e-zine I would like to express an especial debt of gratitude for all of the songs and stories of music healing that I have learned recently. I would like to start with my friend in New York City, Dottie Burman, who has shared with me many dozens of her own original songs. These delightful songs have something important to say about our physical, emotional, and/or spiritual health. The one that I have been playing most often is "Get a Mammogram" and it always goes over with a bang! Audiences love its jaunty, catchy beat and the words and message are so important. You can read all about Dottie and her message and her songs at www.DottieBurman.com and I would strongly suggest that you do so immediately! She is also available for booking!
I recently completed a series of five workshops on "Tuning Your Life" for a large church here in Louisville. Each workshop dealt with music during a particular life-stage and the stories shared with me about how music has affected people powerfully were wonderful. One woman was actually able to utilize something she had heard me say during the next week when a terrible accident occurred to a friend of her's who is paraplegic and had fallen out of her wheelchair the week following my third lecture. The woman had been lying helpless for about ten hours as a result of slipping as she was trying to transfer from tub to wheelchair. She was not able to reach the phone and her screaming and crying did not reach the ears of anyone and only served to exhaust her.
That evening the friend and a few others arrived for their weekly Bible Study and found the lady on the floor, swollen, bruised and semi-conscious. They thought she had been attacked! Her friend called an ambulance immediately and realized the victim could not speak. Thinking that perhaps she had suffered a stroke, she remembered that she had heard me say that speaking and singing come from two different sides of the brain and that often people who have had strokes cannot speak but can still sing! The woman who had fallen out of her chair ten hours previously had actually not suffered a stroke but was so upset and almost delusional by that time that she could not calm down while waiting with her friend for the ambulance. Quietly, the friend began to sing "Jesus Loves Me," (telling me later that this was actually the only song she could think of). To her great joy and amazement, this 50-something year old woman immediately calmed down and began to sing along softly with her until the ambulance arrived. Her friend felt that she had done something extremely helpful that she might not have thought to do otherwise and as I say, it was as powerful as any drug, but available just "for a song!" Later that week this woman called me and recounted the story to me herself and said that she will be forever grateful that her friend had gone to that lecture and remembered how powerful singing can be.
My final story this month will be the one shared at the last workshop at Second Presbyterian Church here in Louisville. Our topic was music in the "Golden Years" including music with the well elderly, the frail elderly, patients with Alzheimers, and music with dying patients. We were talking about the "Chalice of Repose Project" in which music thanatologists actually play pre-chosen music for patients and their families while the patient is dying in order to comfort them and to transition them into the next life. They call it "musical mid-wifery." A lady in the audience shared with us that when her sister was terminally ill with cancer, she was choosing the music for her funeral. At one point she acknowledged that she was sad that she would not be able to hear the choir sing this music, which was some of her favorite comforting music. Someone had the idea to invite just a few choir members to visit her sister and perhaps sing some of the music at her bedside. A few days later, the sister arrived and found that most of the choir had come to visit and was not only singing this music for her but was making a tape to leave with her so that she could enjoy it as much as possible in her remaining time on this Earth. What a beautiful tribute!
The things that humans can think of to do for one another that cost us nothing other than effort and the gift of love and music combined are truly amazing! This is what I think life is really all about. Keep it in mind as you go through your days!
IN THIS EDITION
I. Editorial: Springtime Music
II. Ask the Chantdoc: FAQ's
III. News & Events
IV. Special Topic: My Gratitude to My Audiences
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