We recognize the power of music to heal even when we don’t completely understand the mechanism. One of my first exposures to the healing found in music was the work of Stevie Ray Vaughn and his "Caught in the Crossfire”.
Recently, I heard a new CD by Jim Morgan, Hymnagination. It is compilation of hymns that bring together some older gospel hymns with common themes. When you listen to these piano solos, you will hear the familiar tunes with a new ear. Previously, I mentioned a magnificent collection by Jonathan Elias, The Prayer Cycle. (Hope) What is common to all is a theme built around common beliefs translated into music in a new and creative way.
In the broadcast “On Being”(5/2/2013), we learn about the neuroscience of creativity. A short summary is that we need to “slow down” to be able to put the “pieces together” in new ways. These insights help us put in context the new experiences and directions of our lives.
What I have learned is that the deepest language of healing is found within music that captures those beliefs and experiences and leads to new directions in our lives. Healing music has a resonance with our deep knowledge and pain. This resonance is what breaks and “names the silences”.
Hage, M. L., Tetel-Hanks, J., Bushyhead, A. (1994). Caught in the Crossfire. Duke University Medical Center
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McGregor BA, Antoni MH. Psychological intervention and health outcomes among women treated for breast cancer: a review of stress pathways and biological mediators. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity. 23(2):159-66, 2009 Feb.
Hauerwas, Stanley Naming the Silences, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1990