Introduction to Music Therapy and Sound Healing
by Rebecca McClary
What is music therapy and sound healing?
1.To provide a thorough and comprehensive music therapy and sound healing definition, let 1-us first discuss its ancient origins. Many ancient cultures believed that music was an earthly manifestation of spiritual or Primal Vibration, also known as Cosmic Vibration, music of thespheres, universal mind, the Word, Om, etc., all variations of the same basic premise. Primal Vibration purports that there is an energy source, presumably of a spiritual nature, that emanates from the cosmos and impacts all matter on earth. Music is believed to be an earthly manifestation of this energy.
2.In many cultural belief systems, this imbues music and sound with the ability to healby drawing energy from the cosmic Source through the earthly vibrations synthesized via musical instrument or voice. This belief contributes to the applied use of music and sound in many of the world healing traditions as the vibrational quality and harmonic ratios were thought to be both healing and therapeutic to the psyche.
3.When delving deeper into the question: "What is music therapy andsound healing?" it should be noted that, along with the belief in vibrations, ancient cultures also believed that how music and sound was used in society had an impact on the individual. This concept was captured in the axiom "as in music, so in life" which infers that the vibrational content in one’s music reflects what is in a person’s psyche. This idea dominated human history until the Age ofReason, approximately 100 years ago. As new technology advanced, natural ways were considered primitive, thus upsetting the natural laws of the human race and as a result people began to lose their spiritual connection with the cosmos.
4.As society has moved away from this purposeful attunement with the cosmos one finds social environments becoming fragmented which poses many challenges forindividuals to find their way back to one’s true path. Though the cosmic connection has been lost there are ways to find one’s way back to one’s Self through community. An example of this can be seen in how music is used in Africa to connect a person with one’s birthright. It has been recounted that:
5.When a woman in a certain African tribe knows 2-she is pregnant, she goes out into thewilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own song, a vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose. As the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else. When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child’s song to3-him or her. Later, when the child enters education, the village gathers and sings the child’s song. When the child passes through their initiation to adulthood, the people again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person hears 4- his or her song. Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the person’s bed, just as they did at theirbirth, and they sing the person to the next life. (Cohen, 2003, pg. 48)*
6.Music, as demonstrated by this tribe, becomes the source for connecting with one’s true Self in life. Occasionally, one may fall out of tune with the cosmic vibration and will lose one’s way. If this should occur during the person’s life [and] he or she commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called tothe center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around the person. Then they sing the person’s song to 5-them. This tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of who we truly are. When we remember who we are and recognize our own song, we would have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another....
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