Modal Improvisation in Therapeutic Music Part 2

See Modal Improvisation in Therapeutic Music Part 1 Here I have recorded a short improvisation on the harp in each of the Seven Healing Modes to give you a brief introduction to how they sound. I have chosen not to list examples of the feelings, modes and emotions commonly associated with each mode. This isContinue reading “Modal Improvisation in Therapeutic Music Part 2”

Modal Improvisation in Therapeutic Music Part 1

Unfamiliar music In Therapeutic Music – that is, music intended to effect positive change – the most beneficial music for the recipient is often unfamiliar to them. There are several reasons for this: unfamiliar music presents a “clean sheet” so the recipient can go on their own inner journey in response, free from previously heldContinue reading “Modal Improvisation in Therapeutic Music Part 1”

Keening Jones’ Hill Wood

Yesterday I stood and watched as an ancient, irreplaceable wood was destroyed. I hadn’t gone to listen, but to bear witness and yes, to hope that by doing so, I may be able to come to terms with my own sorrow. Sorrow for the trees, the bats, the foxes, the badgers, the plants, the insectsContinue reading “Keening Jones’ Hill Wood”

Listening With Wonder, Reverence And Joy

Wistman’s Wood, Dartmoor, Devon Wistman’s Wood is a special place. It is one of the highest oak woods in Britain, but its not like any other oak wood I’ve ever visited. The oaks grow through crevices between large granite boulders called clatters; as a result their growth is stunted and their trunks and branches areContinue reading “Listening With Wonder, Reverence And Joy”

Listening to Water

Venford Falls, Dartmoor, Devon I was in the mood for a waterfall. But, as I’m sure anyone who’s read any of my posts so far will already have anticipated, I wasn’t in the mood for a crowded one. Venford Falls, sometimes known as Dartmoor’s secret waterfall, seemed to fit the bill nicely. When I toldContinue reading “Listening to Water”

The Kantele

The kantele is a plucked psaltery from Finland. The kantele and its cousins – the Latvian kokle, Lithuanian kanklės, Estonian kannel and Russian gusli – are known as Baltic psalteries. I play the diatonic folk kantele. Most folk kanteles range from 5-11 strings, but mine is a large 19 string kantele. The additional bass stringsContinue reading “The Kantele”

The Ichigenkin

The ichigenkin is a single-stringed zither from Japan. Its silk string is plucked by a tubular plectrum on the right hand index finger, while a slide on the left hand middle finger depresses the string at the desired pitch. The slide and plectrum are collectively known as rokan. The ichigenkin was popular during the 17thContinue reading “The Ichigenkin”

Absolute Pitch

Absolute Pitch (often referred to as Perfect Pitch) is the ability to recognise and name a musical note without a reference tone. It is possessed by about one in ten thousand people. I have just finished re-reading This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin. Levitin is a leading neuroscientist who specialises in musicContinue reading “Absolute Pitch”

Non-Aggression in Music

One of the most difficult things for me to learn as a musician has been the practice of non-aggression. This can be a tricky concept and there is often aversion to it when it is explained. But, as Chögyam Trungpa says “transcending aggression is the root of all the artistic talent one can ever imagine.¹”Continue reading “Non-Aggression in Music”

How Sound Healing Works

Vibration Everything in the universe consists of vibrations. This includes our bodies, organs, cells, feelings, emotions and mental processes. Fundamentally, sound healing works by creating vibrational changes in our physical, mental, emotional and etheric bodies. When these changes occur, they can initiate transformation and healing, by returning us to harmony and wholeness. Resonance Sound isContinue reading “How Sound Healing Works”

Benefits of Sound Healing with Gongs

  The Gong Sound Calms, Relaxes and De-Stresses You The sound of gongs, singing bowls and other therapeutic instruments lowers the frequency of our brainwaves. From the everyday, active and busy, Beta brainwave state (13-30 cps), we slow into the Alpha brainwave state (8-13 cps). This is the state just before sleep, where our mindContinue reading “Benefits of Sound Healing with Gongs”

What is Therapeutic Music?

For many of us, listening to music contributes to our wellbeing. The right music at the right time soothes, relaxes and uplifts us emotionally and spiritually, restoring us to harmony and equanimity. Music can also bring about physiological changes that have a positive effect on our body and mind:  “Music initiates brainstem responses that, inContinue reading “What is Therapeutic Music?”

Sound Healing with Gongs

The gong is indispensable for bringing back the full resonance of health and happiness to people all over the earth.  Don Conreaux – The 7 Golden Years from 2019-2025 The sound of the gong is so comprehensive, dense and all-encompassing that it cannot be matched by any other instrument. The skilfully played gong gradually builds up intoContinue reading “Sound Healing with Gongs”

The Celtic Harp

  I was at a festival in 1993 when I first heard Robin Williamson play the Celtic harp. I knew straightaway that was what I wanted to do. Still, it took over a year of obsessing about harps before I finally got my hands on a small, knocked about one. By 1995 I had grownContinue reading “The Celtic Harp”

Improvisation From Scratch

I know plenty of musicians who would rather be lowered head first into a pit of adders than improvise music. Even some gifted jazz and rock musicians, who would think nothing of creating endless variation on a pre-existing melody, would be petrified at the thought of improvising from scratch. Which is odd, really. What leadsContinue reading “Improvisation From Scratch”

A Silent Minute

Chalice Well Gardens, Glastonbury Somerset One of the most wonderful things about being a Companion of Chalice Well and staying at Little St Michael’s retreat house is the freedom to be in the garden at any time, day or night, for the duration of your stay. I fell irrevocably in love with the peaceful andContinue reading “A Silent Minute”

Tuning Forks

The tuning fork was invented in 1711 by John Shore, Court Trumpeter and Lutenist to Queen Anne. Originally intended as a pitch standard for tuning musical instruments, the accuracy, constancy and purity of the tuning fork’s tone has led to it becoming a valuable tool for healing and the development of spiritual consciousness. The tuningContinue reading “Tuning Forks”

Reiki Drum

“Drumming provides solace, retreat from anger, courage when afraid, even ecstasy.”Michael Drake – The Shamanic Drum The Reiki Drum Technique is a transformational combination of Reiki* healing and shamanic drumming: both are gentle and non-invasive, yet deeply powerful. The two were brought together as Reiki Drum™ by the American, Michael Arthur Baird, in 1999: theContinue reading “Reiki Drum”

Bardic Pilgrimage: Taliesin

Bedd Taliesin, Llangynfelyn, Ceredigion Today was a big day. For years, I have wanted to pay my respects at the grave of Taliesin, Primary Chief Bard of Britain. Never mind that this is a Bronze Age round cairn and the real Taliesin lived sometime in the 6th century. If you’ve read any of Taliesin’s poetry you’llContinue reading “Bardic Pilgrimage: Taliesin”

Bardic Pilgrimage: Daffyd ap Gwilym

Strata Florida Abbey, Tregaron, Ceredigion By now, my northward road had taken me as far as mid Wales and the second stop on my Welsh pilgrimage: the isolated, ruined abbey of Strata Florida. I had gone to pay my respects to the 14th century bardic poet, Daffyd ap Gwilym, who is believed to be buried there.Continue reading “Bardic Pilgrimage: Daffyd ap Gwilym”

Bardic Pilgrimage: Henry Vaughn

Henry Vaughn Physic Garden, Talybont-on-Usk, Brecon Beacons So, with happy anticipation, my Welsh pilgrimage has begun. The plan is to take three days heading north from Monmouth until I reach St George/Llan San Siôr on the north coast of Wales. My mother’s family have their roots in this small village, but I’ve never been there before.Continue reading “Bardic Pilgrimage: Henry Vaughn”

Meet The Gongs

Welcome to the Gong Space Welcome to the gong spaceA space of rest and renewalOf harmony and wholenessOf being held by sound and healed by sound Welcome to the gong spaceA space of loving acceptanceOf safety and non-judgementOf letting go and letting be Welcome to the gong spaceA space of unlimited possibilityThis is your spaceContinue reading “Meet The Gongs”

The Native American Flute

This native American style flute in western red cedar with a stylised bear claw block was made for me by David Cartwright of Second Voice Flutes. I often play it during a sound healing session. It song is evocative, mellow and soothing for the listener. The origins of the native American flute are lost inContinue reading “The Native American Flute”

The Hitzaz Flute

This is my hitzaz tuned flute, made for me by David Cartwright of Second Voice Flutes. It is in spalted ash in the key of E, with an Arabian stallion carved block. The hitzaz/hijaz scale is common in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Jewish music and the hitzaz flute is intended to evoke the plaintive soundingContinue reading “The Hitzaz Flute”

A Screed Against Aggressive Noise

The Silent Pool, Shere, Surrey “There are days when an uncanny silence seems to hang over the surface of ‘Silent Pool’, a small lake surrounded by trees a mile west of Shere in Surrey. And if the legend that is told about the lake is true, this silence recalls the murderous lechery of a princeContinue reading “A Screed Against Aggressive Noise”

Drone On: The Drone in Sound Healing

The Use of the Drone in Sound Healing and Spiritual Development (This essay, in slightly different form, was initially written for, and submitted for my Gong Practitioner diploma from the College of Sound Healing.) In this essay, I will explore the role of the drone in sound healing and in spiritual development, by looking atContinue reading “Drone On: The Drone in Sound Healing”

A Gift of Peace and Quiet

Climperwell Spring, Cranham, Glos It was a cold, blustery, bleak day when Apollo the nose-kissing Malamute hitched a ride on my back seat from a south London pound to Cheltenham Animal Shelter. Not an ideal day to go listening, but, I reasoned, at least not many people would want to be out and about soContinue reading “A Gift of Peace and Quiet”

Learning an Instrument – Leaving the Inner Teacher Behind

When I was a child, I had a bike with a handle at the back. Dad and I would go up the road to the shops: me on my bike, him walking behind, holding the handle. One day, he let go and I rode home, not realising that he was no longer with me untilContinue reading “Learning an Instrument – Leaving the Inner Teacher Behind”

Learning an Instrument – Old, Familiar Tunes

You’ve been working hard at learning your instrument. You are frustrated. No matter how hard you try, you just cannot play that new piece you’re working on. You could give up. I can help you with this, but first it is only fair that I reveal my own approach to teaching an instrument. If IContinue reading “Learning an Instrument – Old, Familiar Tunes”

The Monochord

My monochord¹ is a Feeltone Monolina in A. This is a 34 string monochord that is designed to balance easily and comfortably on the body for sound massage. It also comes with a set of 5 optional bridges which can be set to a pentatonic scale, thus allowing some extra melodic and harmonic possibilities. IContinue reading “The Monochord”

The Conch

Of all the many different conch shell trumpets, the one I use the most is the syrinx. Its original owner, a syrinx aruanus sea snail, came from the largest snail species in the world and would have spent its days in the ocean somewhere between Northern Australia and Indonesia. Gong Master, Don Conreaux, believes thatContinue reading “The Conch”

How to Choose A Singing Bowl

When struck or stroked around the rim, singing bowls produce a sound that is rich in harmonics. This sound has a penetrative effect on the human body, reaching as deep as our bones and cells. Often called Tibetan or Himalayan bowls, singing bowls are also produced in Buhtan, India, Cambodia, Burma, Nepal, Mongolia, Thailand, Cambodia,Continue reading “How to Choose A Singing Bowl”