Thursday, December 28, 2006

Post-holiday wrap-up

You may think that it goes without saying, but I had a great holiday and I loved pretty much all of the music that I heard, sang or played! Last night about 10 PM I was returning home from the fitness center and I decided to put my Christmas CD that I made for myself into the car CD player one more time. Before I did that, I was hot, sweaty and tired. After about 10 minutes I realized that I was singing away on "Walking in a Winter Wonderland," and not feeling a bit tired or sleepy. In the past I might have been drinking a Coke (Diet Coke!) or eating something for energy but last night I realized I had not put a thing in my mouth and was feeling great! So now we have a new use for music...weight loss aid! Enjoy the rest of your week and let me know how YOU did with your music!

By the way, my last-miute gift sale is still running so just click on the link above to get in on some pretty amazing deals!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

How does holiday music affect you?

I think that just about everybody has some kind of music that they really like. Every culture that we know about has created music of some kind: drumming, chanting, singing and playing of all kinds seem to emerge as people evolve. The music is written for self-expression, for healing or perhaps, for entertainment.

The music we hear at holiday time is very specific and we tend to hear dozens of the same songs over and over. I happen to like most of them but some people (including one of my own daughters!) tell me that they think this music is "cheesy." I take this to mean that people think they are corny, schmaltzy, or even just junk!

I'd be interested to know how holiday music affects you. Do you like it or not and if not, what is your objection? You can post a response to this blog or just email me! Happy Holidays!


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Listen Up: Music Can Ease Pain and Depression

An article on the Healtholgy site had this to say:

People can help relieve chronic pain, depression and feelings of disability by listening to music, according to a recent clinical trial.
Nursing researchers from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Case Western Reserve University in Ohio studied 60 volunteers suffering long-term pain from conditions such as arthritis or spinal disc disorders. A third of the subjects were assigned to a control (nontreatment) group. The other 40 were split between two treatment groups: listening to their own favorite recorded music or to music relaxation tapes an hour a day for a week.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Music Healing and Thanksgiving 2006

I am spending this Thanksgiving holiday week-end with my daughter and son-in-law in Boston, home of the Thanksgiving holiday! We had a fabulous meal and wonderful time together yesterday. We also had a great time together and went for a long walk together this afternoon in the crisp Fall air. I was hoping to work off some of the calories I consumed yesterday but I don't think I made much of a dent in the number of calories I piled on yesterday.

On Tuesday I will be doing a two-hour workshop on Music and Wellness at Indian Hill Music School right outside of Boston. The school is starting a program for music and wellness and we are all quite excited about this. If you live in the Boston area, come on's free!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Music and Politics: What's the Connection?

Good evening! Are you watching the election returns? I am and I can't help thinking about all the music that has accompanied election campaigns and political campaigns of all kinds in the last few centuries. The first song that comes to mind for me is "Happy Days Are Here Again." This well-known song became the theme song for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1932 inauguration - and was synonymous (with its upbeat tempo and cheerful lyrics) with the promised emergence from the Depression and Roosevelt's New Deal. There have been hundreds of other songs before and after this one, but on this important election night, I can't help but consider how important music is in setting the tone and the mood of a particular candidate, a particular race, or even a particular political party. A friend in another state is running for Secretary of Education. Imagine how much better her campaign is for using "School Days" behind television ads rather than "I Can't Get No Satisfaction."

What is it that creates the strong feelings? The lyrics, obviously but also the tempo and the rhythms; a strong march-like rhythm with strong lyrics gets most people involved and makes the words more memorable. Think of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." That song has been sung for generations and will last for many, many more.

Music enhances and reinforces every human experience. Notice and be selective about what you include in your sonic environment. Music can heal and it can also wound. Give yourself the healthiest and most beautiful, uplifting music you can get.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What music is best for healing?

I get this question quite frequently. Understandable. People want to know what music to go out and buy so they can begin healing their mind, body, and spirit. I used to feel the same way. Tell me what to buy so I can go buy it, maybe 2 or3 of them so I can give one to a friend. But guess what?! The music that is best for YOU is the music you already know and love. It's the music that is familiar to you and has calmed you or energized you in the past. Now obviously, the more music you know or learn, then the more choices you have. The more calm, soothing music that you have, especially if it brings back pleasant memories from the past, the better off you will be. Generally speaking, purely instrumental music is better than music with lyrics. Lyrics tend to engage the analytical side of the brain and cause us to start thinking too much. If you're feeling ill, depressed, anxious, stressed out, or craving a drug, you want to put on some slow, familiar music that will bring back some pleasant memories of happier times.

In case you don't have any music like this, there is a link above and on the sides of this blog to my CD's and downloads. Best wishes for a healthy recovery.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Why do we love the music of our childhood?

Much has been written in the music therapy literature about how, as we age, we love the music of our childhood more and more. Not that we love children's music but, for example, if you grew up listening to light classical music there's a very god chance that you will enjoy light classical music as an adult and even more as a senior citizen. Same with church music; if you grew up in a specific religion and had a positive experience there, there's a good chance that you will love this same music more and more as you age. Why? I would say that as we age, the world continues to change as begin to prefer having things the way they always were. That's human nature. Part of things staying the same is listening to the music we grew up with. I think it's safe to say the very few people over the age of 50, in any time in history, liked the music of the teenagers of that time. That was reiterated to me again today as I spoke to a group of senior citizens about "Music in the Golden Years." Think about it and let me know what you come up with!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Can a tune get stuck in your brain?

Have you ever had the experience of having a tune stuck in your brain? It goes round and round and round and you think you'll go nuts if it doesn't stop. To my surprise, I found out several years ago and these tunes actually have a name: earworms! Kind of makes sense doesn't it? And certain tunes, like commercial jingles, are especially likely to turn into earworms. A few years ago the restaurant Chili's had a song about their babyback ribs. Apparently it became an earworn for millions of people. According to one website on earworms, some of the top earworms are:
  1. It's a Small World After All
  2. YMCA (by the Village People)
  3. The Macarene
  4. Who Let the Dogs Out
  5. We will rock you
  6. Whoomp, there it goes
  7. Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (opening motive)
  8. Kit-Kat candy bar jingle

What they all have in come is lots of repitition. Research shows that men and women are bothered equally and that musicians are bothered more than the average person.

What is your experience?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why Use Music for Healing?

First of all, let's define healing: "the ameliaoration or lessening or improvement of symptoms as reported by patient." (definition by Dr. Cash) Healing does not mean curing. No one can claim to have a 100% cure for anything. Life is full of exceptions but guess what? As many people report healing from alternative or complimentary therapies as report healing from traditional Western medicine techniques, i.e., surgery, antibiotics, psychotherapy, etc.

If music is so powerful, why don't more people turn to it? Because they don't realize it's power despite the fact that 99% of people on the planet will tell you what kind of music they like...and don't like! Every culture that we know of has music that reflects that culture whether it's gamelan music in Asia, hip-hop in South L.A., or Western classical music in London or Vienna. We are hard-wired to produce and respond to music.

Soooo, is it that surprising that music can also be healing? Doesn't music help you to relax, to forget your troubles for a while at least? Doesn't music bring back wonderful memories and those old feelings or love or infatuation? Music therapist and music researchers in the health field have documented music's power to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, and stabilize the heartbeat and breathing. Music connects people heart-to-heart.

So what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

BBC Reports Music Does Aid Healing Process

We've known this for along time, but because it's difficult to prove in a scientific way, physicians just don't talk about it very often. Now a hospital in London has carried out studies that provided empirical documentation of music's healing power. Please take note:

Music 'aids the healing process'
By Pallab Ghosh BBC News science correspondent

Could music actually help the healing process?Listening to music makes us feel better - but many doctors are now beginning to believe that it does much more.
There is emerging evidence that it can bring about physical changes to the body that can improve our health.
The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London has regular performances - and has seen impressive results.
A scientific study by the hospital has found that patients who listen to live music need less drugs and recover more quickly than those who do not.
We are approaching the point where a doctor would legitimately be negligent not to actually recommend music as a therapeutic intervention
Professor Paul Robertson
According to Dr Rosalia Staricoff, who carried out the study, there is growing scientific evidence that music aids physical changes which can help heal the body.
She said: "The physiological benefits have been measured. Music reduces blood pressure, the heart rate, and hormones related to stress."

This is exciting news! Please remember this when you're not feeling well and tell your friends too!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Can Healing Music Be Funny?

Someone asked me this today and it made me stop and think. Can healing music be funny? Of course it's not a simple yes or no question. It all depends upon what the issue is. I think that sometimes little kids can just be grumpy and tired and fussy and a funny song with funny sounds and motions can turn things around. If you're talking about adult depression or anxiety, it's not so easy. Hearing a funny song from your past (i.e. "Purple People Eater") can momentarily distract you. Hearing a funny song for the first time, can be funny for the moment, but not turn the day around for you.

What do YOU think??


for more info go to

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Music and Memorial Day

Do you know how much music has been written at times of war? Music has been composed for just about every type of human event imaginable, but music written for wartime is especially poignant. Now don't get the idea that I believe in any type of war because I don't, but this is not a political essay so I only want to emphasize how important this music has been to comfort, console and sometimes keep the soldier's morale up. Some songs are funny, some are ballads, some are angry, but read on and you'll see the great variety of songs and realize how many of these you probably already know.

Music in the Revolutionary and Civil War One of the characteristics of military music for hundreds of years has been drums, bugles and fifes. Going back to the Revolutionary War, you can find picture after picture of the bands surrounding George Washington and other war heroes. Many of the surviving songs and band pieces utilize these instruments. Think of "Yankee Doodle"
Barbara Allen This song "Barbara Allen" is a sad, love ballad. This song was also a favorite of George Washington. There are many different versions ranging from the British to Scottish, but there was also an American version. The song is about a man named Sweet William, who dies from his heart split in two over his better half, Barbara Allen, who is treated very cruel. In 1976, the song was two hundred years of age. Music has always been an important part of American society and it was no different during the Civil War. Military bands were called upon to play at recruitment rallies and their patriotic marching tunes were sometimes a great incentive to inspire young men to enlist.

Music in World War I
The music of WWI, just like the music of the other wars, reflects the time and the culture in which it was written. War is always a frightening and sad time, but somehow, people manage to come up with rousing, upbeat songs and music that helps everyone to get through it. Some of the songs that you probably already know from WWI are:
"Over There"
"Waltzing Matilda"
"La Marseillaise"
"It's a long, long way to Tipperary"
"I didn't raise my boy to be a soldier"
How do you feel when you listen to these songs? click here to listen
All of these songs feel very sad to me even though they have an upbeat tempo.

Music in World War II

Women made a big contribution in WWII doing everything from working factory jobs at home to fighting in the trenches to singing war-related songs in clubs and on stage.
A well-known icon is WWII is Rosie the Riveter
Songs that you may know are:
I Wish that I Could Hide Inside this Letter (1943)
Little Bo Peep has Lost her Jeep (1942)
Lili Marlene
Mairzy Doats
There is a lot to be found on WWII and its music at

Music in the Vietnam War

This is the first war that I really remember and even though I was a teenager, I really didn't understand what it was all about. I do vividly remember hearing Peter, Paul and Mary singing "Blowin' in the Wind" and other protest songs. Some you might remember are :
Ballad of the Green Berets
Tie A Yellow Ribbon
Up, up and Away
The song that best captures the spirit of this day is “The Wall” by Vietnam Veteran Tim Murphy. His haunting chorus reminds us that when a soldier dies, part of our spirit dies with him.
“And every name’s a father or a husband or a sonor a daughter or a brother or a cousin to someoneor a name might be a classmate or a friend you may recallthere’s nearly sixty thousand fallen namesstill waiting at The Wall.”
Many of these songs and a lot more can be found online and are fun to go through and listen to samples. It also gives a tremendous feeling gratitude to the men and women who have risked and sometimes lost their lives so that we can be a free country.
Celebrate Memorial Day by listening to some of our rich treasury of songs!


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Can a machine heal??

Greetings from Charlotte, N.C.! I am attendingan amazing seminar here about a machine thathas healing programs on it. I will let youknow more about it after I've learned a littlemore about it. Usually I'm pretty skepticalabout machines that heal vs. using all of theinborn tools and mechanisms we all have, oncewe've decided to 'get better.' Yes, our minds and bodies are connected and we can use all ofthe wisdom and information 'out there' to getabout as healthy as we choose to be. Rarely isit too late to change your life so that you canenjoy radiant health.
Vocal toning is a powerful tool for healing asis using music both actively and passively tochange your state of mind and your state ofhealth.
Stay tuned more information!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Did your Mama sing to you?

Music and Mother's Day: Songs My Mother Taught Me

Do you remember your mother singing to you? Usually there is
a mother or mother figure from our childhoods that sang to us, lulled us with song, and often taught us many of life's important lessons through song. Not surprisingly, these songs become more and more important to us as we get older.

I am constantly encouraging new mothers and even pregnant mothers to sing to their child. The emotional bond that is created is so very important and, as an adult, can bring comfort, solace and joy when heard as adult.

One of the powerful stories related to me by a patient was of a woman, paralyzed by an accident, who was waiting in her wheelchair to be picked up for a doctor's appointment.
Before her ride could get there, a sudden ice storm blew in to town and falling trees blocked the street where the woman lived. Not only that, but the power went out and while the woman was patiently waiting, her apartment began to get colder and colder. In attempt to set her thermostat up, the lady fell from her wheelchair onto the floor and could not get up. The woman lay there, helpless on the floor, and began to cry softly. Suddenly the idea came to her to hum the song that was the first one she ever remembered her mother singing to her; the song was a very familiar one to many of us...'Jesus Loves Me.' She would hum the song for awhile and then she would sing it for awhile.

She claimed later that it not only helped the time pass, but it also made her feel physically warmer and safe. When she was rescued many hours later, everyone was amazed at what good condition she was in, since she had laid on the floor for probably 4-5 hours!

The songs we learn in early childhood from mother or another significant adult figure, are powerful. I can remember as a preschooler lying in the bed at night and listening to my mother play 'The Teddy Bear's Picnic.' Going to bed listening to her play was a wonderful feeling and made me want to learn to play too. You don't have to be a good musician or even have a great voice to sing to your children and grandchildren, but what a gift it is! As I approach my grandmother years, my childhood memories of songs my parents sang to me and with me grow fonder and fonder. Are you singing to your kids? Do you listen to music with them, even just in the car?

The bond that music creates between people is powerful and can empower both of you to love better, stronger and longer. Pick up the phone and sing 'You are my Sunshine' or 'Let me call you sweetheart' or most anything that will make your child (or your parent!) feel loved on this special day.

I have a CD of lullabies that I recorded last year and on the cover is a picture of my mother with me on her lap. You can purchase the CD or the download at


I also have a CD of songs from the 20's, 30's, and 40's that I recorded last year and that has a picture of my mother and me me a couple of years ago. You can purchase the CD or the download at
By the way, my summer and fall calendar of speaking engagements is filling up. If you'd like for me to visit YOUR town and present and talk or a workshop on 'The Healing Power of Music,' 'Music as Medicine,' 'Toning and Chanting for Health and Wellness' or any other music related topic, contact me soon! The contact page is on this site!

Happy Mother's Day!


Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mozart Power: Is it real?

Hello again! Hope you're all having a great weekend! I keep thinking about Mozart and all the hoopla going on this year because of his 250th birthday. Not that he doesn't deserve all of this. He truly was one of the greatest musical geniuses of all times, but is his music given more credit than is due for things like IQ boosting or improving performances on standardized tests?

There's quite a bit of research out there on Mozart and his effect on humans. I'd like to know YOUR experience. Have you personally tried listening to Mozart before a test or while doing a task that requires great concentration such as doing your taxes or balancing your checkbook? Do let me know! Thank you!

Alice Cash

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Music healing/Musicmedicine/Music Therapy

What is the difference between music healing and music therapy? Or music healing and music medicine? It's pretty subtle actually and different people would definte each discipline or methodology differently. These are MY definitions today:

First of all, healing does not mean curing. Healing has to do with decreasing symptoms, physically, physiologically, psychologically, emotionally, or spiritually.

Music healing is the process of using already composed music in a passive (listening) or active (singing, playing an instrument) way to ameliorate symptoms and help a person to feel better. Music healing has a spiritual component; not religious but spiritual.

Music therapy is now a well-established discipline which is evidence-based and often used in rehabilitation settings. Many hospitals, nursing homes and clinics employ music therapists. one can get college degrees in music therapy and if you want to be in that field, it is a requirement.

Music and Healing

Music and Healing

Monday, March 06, 2006

Healing Music Academy

I am very excited to announce the opening of Healing Music Academy here in Louisville, KY. I will be offering onsite and online classes on the most popular of the seminars I do around the country and in Canada and Europe.

The first class will be this Friday and will be called "Music and the Mind-Body Connection." The onsite class will be two hours in length and is limited to 12 people. There is no pre-requisite and no previous knowlegde of music or ability to read music is required. We will cover a brief history of what humans have believed about music's effect on us, have look at the current state of mind-body medicine, look specifically at the ways that different kinds of music affect us today and survey some options for using music to improve our lives.

For those taking the course online, it will consist of the same information divided into five emails sent a week apart. The entire class is $25.00 payable online. This is a temporary introductory price, so take advantage of it. The tuition will go up as demand for the class increases!

To register online, go to or call me at 502-419-1698.

any questions?