Monday, November 10, 2008

Can one person sing famous movie themes in harmony?

Do you like John Williams? If so, you're going to love these renderings of various John Williams movie themes, all done by one person! Please let me know what you think! Alice

Thursday, October 23, 2008

An interesting musical tidbit: can one whistle and be angry at the same time?

A couple of nights ago I was speaking to a lovely group of people about music and healthcare, supportive counseling and death and dying. One member of the audience shared with us that she had been told once that if one whistles, it is impossible to get really angry. I thought this was such an interesting concept that I've looked all over the internet to see if I could find any information that might support this idea and I cannot. HOWEVER, I did find something else that's kind of fun; when I was a child my mother used to talk a lot about a piece called "The Whistler and His Dog" and she could actually whistle it for me. Apparently, back in the 1950's, whistling was quite a highly-valued skill and there are actually lots of records of people whistling everything from hymns to Christmas Carols! Enjoy this little YouTube excerpt of "The Whistler and His Dog," and by all means don't let it get you angry!!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

More Benefits of Healing Music

Meanwhile, a second team of researchers has found that music has a powerful effect on the immune system, boosting compounds that defend the body against infections.

Evidence is growing that music can have a beneficial effect for patients. Researchers have been looking for effects in conditions as varied as stroke, autism, heart problems, mental health, depression, pain, fractured limbs, Alzheimer's and lung disease. Piped music has been used to ease anxiety before operations, and harp music to reduce pain after surgery, with some research suggesting it can be as effective as the sedative Valium.

Listening to music has been found to aid recovery after a stroke and heart attack. A study of 60 men and women at Helsinki University found that patients who listened to music soon after having a stroke recovered better. Three months after the stroke, memory had improved by 60 per cent in those provided with music, compared to 29 per cent in a control group. Concentration, mood and attention to detail also improved in the music group by 17 per cent, compared to no change in the other.

Music has been found to ease chronic and acute pain, too. Research at Dongsan University in Korea on 40 patients with fractured legs showed that 30 to 60 minutes of music a day lowered levels of pain and of blood pressure, and also improved respiration rates.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Music and Healing The Power of Meaningful Words and Music

We All Have a Favorite Piece of Music that Moves Us to a Special Place in Our Hearts. This is a conversation About the Music We Love and How It Colors Our Lives.
JUSTIN:My favorite piece of music, depends on the mood, jazz is music for all moods. My favorite jazz piece would be - as a sax player - My Favorite Things by Coltrane, or anything by Thelonios Monk. Soft lighting, Kalhua and milk and company always suits Monk or vice versa.
Driving is made for music so anything by crowded house makes a trip to anywhere (even work) worth it. How can a song sound so simplistic yet be difficult to play. what does Neil do?
but my favorite piece would be from the shine soundtrack, a piece called “Nulla in mundo pax” by Vivaldi, which I am listening to now.
IMELDA:Every piece of music represents the expression of the composer of that music. The piece of music that I like the most is the piano instrumental music because it does not say in words as other kind of music. The person who listens to the instrumental music has to try to understand what messages the composer is trying to tell through the piece of music. It is challenging in finding the meaning. Furthermore, when I listen to the instrumental music, such as “A Maiden’s Prayer” by T. Badarzewska, I believe that this piece is messaging us to surrender to God. If I got chance, I’d love to play my favorite pieces.
KEN:This is old stuff to those who know me, but I am a huge James Taylor Nut. And my favorite song is ‘The Water is Wide’ If MP3s are legal I will put it up on this site. But I will have to check first.
Every time I hear it, I feel transformed to a different place, where everything is pensive, and people walk in the streets heartbroken, but with the hope that life will be kind to them again. It leaves me with a lump in my throat each time. There is something comforting in the song that leaves me appeased and convinced that whatever trial I’m facing, someone’s faced it before, and someone’s overcome it before.
That’s what music should do. The song and the artist both inspire me endlessly. It inspires me in a way I hope that I can inspire people.

To read the rest of this, go to

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Music and the 4th of July!

Many, many holidays are associated with very specific music but the music associated with the 4th of July is jubilant and festive in a way that wins out over most other holidays! No other holiday is so filled with parades, picnics and fireworks as the 4of July! This YouTube clip is from a celebration at the famous Hollywood Bowl in California. Enjoy!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Music Therapy and Bone Marrow Transplants

In some medical settings, such as mental health services, music therapy has been used widely to decrease patients' perception of pain, anxiety and depression, and boost their feelings of relaxation. It's also used in hospice to comfort terminally ill patients. But it's not commonly used with bone marrow transplant patients, who are often hospitalized for a month or more. Because their immune systems have been wiped out, visits are kept to a minimum to avoid infections, and feelings of isolation often set in. Patients can have a variety of side effects, including pain, nausea, fatigue, anemia and dehydration. 'One reason we began this study was because patients were requesting new ways of treatment,' says Sahler, a behavioral pediatrician who works with children who have chronic and terminal illnesses. 'The patients told the staff, 'I know I'm about to go through a major challenge that will be very painful and isolating. What do you have to offer me to help me get through this?' Music therapy was one answer. We originally began the study with children but quickly decided to enroll adults as well.' Sahler teamed up with Bryan Hunter, Ph.D., an associate professor of music and the coordinator of music therapy at Nazareth College and adjunct associate professor of pediatrics at the Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong, who has established music therapy programs in several hospitals. Hunter's students visited patients at the Wilmot Center's Samuel E. Durand Blood and Marrow Transplant Center, providing a range of music-therapy services. Sometimes students simply brought and played music the patients requested; other times they helped the patients play music themselves, or write their own songs, or talk about a favorite set of lyrics. Patients were also encouraged to visualize a peaceful and joyful setting during each session. 'The program has been very well received,' says Hunter. 'When a program like this is first introduced, typically we get mixed reactions. Some in the health care field are skeptical at first. But when they see the positive effects on patients, they usually change their mind. And other doctors and nurses are excited when it's introduced - they think it's a great idea right from the beginning.' An early problem with the study, Sahler says, was that staff members frequently turned the music therapists away, saying the patients were too ill. 'It's taken awhile for staff members to recognize that music therapy can be very helpful to people when they feel most distressed,' Sahler says. 'Nurses and doctors originally thought that the patient had to be playing an instrument or singing along, but passive listening or simply the presence of the therapist providing music itself can be therapeutic.' Now with funding from the National Institutes of Health, the team is conducting a larger study to check its results. In the current study, scientists will also measure the amount of medicine that patients receive for pain and nausea, and they'll monitor levels of the patients' cytokines - molecules in the body that are key to helping a patient's immune system establish itself after a transplant. In addition to Sahler and Hunter, immunologist Jane Liesveld, M.D., medical director of the bone marrow transplant unit, helped direct the study.Contact: Tom Rickeytrickey@admin.rochester.edu585-275-7954University of Rochester Medical Center

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Are you watching the KY Derby today?

The KY Derby will be run at 6:05 EDT today! It’s a beautiful day here in Louisville and the favorites include Big Brown, Pyro and Colonel John.
I want you to watch the crowd as they pan across faces of people from all over the world singing together “My Old KY Home.” There something about this beautiful melody from Stephen Foster that just touches the heart of everyone and makes them feel overwhelmed with love for their fellow man (and woman) on this beautiful day. For two minutes everyone has a dream that their turn will come today! It’s just magical…do not miss it!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Korean piano prodigy...5 y.o. and also blind!

A friend sent me this video clip of a 5 y.o. Korean piano prodigy who happens to be blind. It's a rather long clip but worth watching. The little girl has never had any formal training but can play most anything by ear after hearing it once. She also composes her own music! Kids like this are truly very rare! Enjoy!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Have you hear about "Dvorak Diplomacy?"

SEOUL (Reuters) - The New York Philharmonic will try a dash of Dvorak diplomacy with an unprecedented concert in North Korea next week, hoping America's oldest orchestra can bring a change of tune to one of the world's most isolated countries.
U.S. government officials may be expecting some rare harmony between the bitter foes, but analysts say they should brace for a different note from the North's propaganda machine, which is likely to bill the concert as homage to its jump-suited leader Kim Jong-il.
The New York Philharmonic arrives in Pyongyang on Monday for a stay of about 48 hours which will culminate in a concert on Tuesday featuring the works of Antonin Dvorak and George Gershwin played before the hermit state's elite members.
"If we are gradually to improve U.S.-Korean relations, such events have the potential to nudge open a door that has been closed too long," the orchestra's music director Lorin Maazel wrote in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week.
The orchestra has tried to break the ice between Cold War foes before with a celebrated visit to the Soviet Union in 1959.
The Bush administration has called the North an outpost of tyranny and part of an axis of evil.

The North's official media say Washington is run by political philistines bent on toppling its leaders and igniting nuclear war on the Korean peninsula.The two states have no diplomatic ties, are technically still at war and have troops staring each other down across the heavily fortified border that has divided North and South Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease fire.
It will be the biggest group from the United States since North Korea seized the U.S. spy ship Pueblo 40 years ago and held its 82 crew members for months.
The concert will be broadcast live in both North and South Korea.
One person who will be watching intently is Kim Cheol-woong, a classically trained piano prodigy from North Korea who defected to the South to pursue his passion for Western music.
"The message that will be delivered to North Koreans is: 'the U.S. is kneeling to our Dear Leader Kim Jong-il'," he said.
But pianist Kim believes the concert does have the potential to change hearts and minds in the reclusive state.
Access to foreign music is banned and under normal circumstances, listening to the works that will be played at Tuesday's concert could land a person in prison, he added
The concert will be a study of contrasts.
The North's "Dear Leader" is a music buff whom state media says has penned revolutionary operas. A staple of state TV are broadcasts of groups of school girls playing accordions to tunes such as "Our General is Best."
The New York Philharmonic's program includes Gershwin's "An American in Paris," about a foreigner discovering the "the city of light."
A shortage of electricity means most of impoverished North Korea is in the dark at night.
The other piece, Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 "From the New World," highlights an immigrant's discovery of America's music. It will be played in a country that forbids most citizens from leaving.
Brian Myers, a North Korea specialist who teaches at the South's Dongseo University, said U.S. and New York Philharmonic officials are mistaken if they think the concert will create any goodwill with the North's leaders.
"The United States is seen as a very duplicitous paper tiger. In other words, as a country that is very frightened of North Korea and its strength and is now trying to while its way into the hearts of the North Korean people," Myers said.
An emboldened North often says it developed nuclear weapons to fend off a hostile United States and that the might of its 1.2-million man military can turn back an invasion.
The chief U.S. envoy in international talks to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program said he hopes this concert will help draw the hermit state out of its shell.
"Sometimes the North Koreans don't like our words," Christopher Hill told reporters in Seoul earlier this week.
"Maybe they will like our music."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Can any music be healing?

One of the questions that I get asked most is whether or not any type of music can be healing. We know that Mozart is really great for healing purposes, as is Gregorian chant, simple vocal toning and Baroque slow movements. But what about jazz, folk music, hip-hop, or the Blues??
Well, I'm here to tell you that any music can indeed be healing for you. It's a very personal and individual process and it dependent on your personal life experience and all of the associations you have with any particular song or piece of music.
The process of choosing healing music is not a quick and easy process. When I work with people to choose music for their surgery, it takes at least an hour of my interviewing them about their life history, their own personal music history and understanding why they are having surgery.
If you're interested in having a personal consultation in preparation for surgery, childbirth, or amy other life event, please go HERE to sign up for a consultation. The price is very reasonable and either you can make your own playlist or CD or I can do it for you.
The benefits of healing music are well-documented. Give yourself and your family the gift of healing music.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Teleseminar on Healing with Music...Replay

Greetings to all my friends and students! Last night we had a great teleseminar experience with lots of listeners and many important healing music topics covered. I wanted you to be among the first to get the replay while it's still free! There is also, on my homepage, a link to a very special offer that I have up for you for a limited time only! Go to my site, and you will see it there! You can click on the layer below to hear the entire teleseminar. Please post comments on this blog if you have some! Thanks so much!


Monday, January 07, 2008

10 Top Tips for Using Music in 2008

Looking for some powerful New Year's Resolutions, resolutions that you can start right now and that won't cost you a penny? Resolutions that can utilize things you already have (like CD's, MP3 player and a voice?) Are you trying to steer away from traditional prescription medications or even over-the-counters medications? Then this year, give music a try! Humans have used music for healing purposes for hundreds of thousands of years. They have used it for lulling a newborn, for calming a toddler, for energizing a tired adult, for celebrating a birthday, a wedding, or a graduation. We use music in nearly every possible aspect of life to enhance the positive effects of the occasion. Music as medicine, complimentary medicine is becoming as well-known as OTC medications. Here are some of the top ways I recommend using music to my patients on a daily basis:
1. If you are a pregnant woman, sing softly to your growing infant for 20-30 minutes each evening. It will calm and comfort both baby and you. more
2. If you sang to your infant, now these same songs will calm your toddler and pre-schooler. If you didn't sing to your infant, start now to associate soothing songs with comfort; crying will stops quickly. more
3. Having relationship problems? Try finding some of the songs that were "your songs" during your courtship. Playing them when your spouse arrives home in the evening or just humming them softly changes the mood and energy in the room quickly and effectively. more
4. Feeling stressed out with work, family and bills? Choose your favorite soothing music and listen to it for 5 minutes upon awakening, while driving to work, during lunch, on the way home, right after dinner and right before bed. These five-minute doses of calming music will do wonders for your body and mind. more
5. Anxiety, nervousness, jittery? Try the technique of vocal toning. It is quite simple and does not require a "beautiful" voice, vocal training or even knowledge of music. Toning just involves make along vowel sound such as "ahhhhhhhh" or "ohhhhhhhhhhhhh" on the exhaled breath. Five minutes of vocal toning 2 or 3 times a day has a very centering and calming effect on the mind and the body. more
6. Trying to quit smoking, or cut back on eating or drinking? Vocal toning can also help you through the craving moments when you're most tempted to give in to your habit. Once you've mastered this technique you'll find all kinds of uses for it. more
7. Insomnia keeping you from getting the rest you need? Music, whether making it or listening to it quietly though headphones, will calm down your heart rate, your breathing, and help you release and relax muscles. As you get more relaxed, your thoughts slow down and your mind empties itself as you drift into peaceful sleep. more
8. Having surgery or a medical procedure this year? If you're having anything requiring anesthesia whether local or general, bring your headphones and iPod or Discman. Listening to music through headphones before, during and after the procedure will allow you to use less anxiety meds, anesthesia, and pain meds afterwards. This is a well-documented phenomenon that few people take advantage of! more
9. Do you struggle with arthritis, fibromyalgia or other achy joint pains? Listening to favorite music through headphones can help you relax and simply take your mind off of your aching body and joints. Music will not take the place of analgesics but it will definitely help you to need less and your stomach will thank you for that! sample healing music
10. Have a family member of loved one with Alzheimer's or other dementia? In the latter stages of Alzheimer's, after the patient no longer knows their family members or where they are or what year it is, they can still hear the music of their courting years and youth, and recognize it and sometimes sing along to it!! You can get this music and lots of other healing music on my website, including "Music for Memory Care," and a "how-to" tape on singing with Alzheimer's patients. more
Make 2008 the year that you tap into the healing power of music and cut back on chemicals to feel better, Music allows your brain to release the natural endorphins and serotonin that makes you feel like yourself again. Give it a try!Dr. Alice H. Cash is a clinical musicologist who has devoted much of her career to researching the healing powers of music and teaching professionals and patients about using music for health and wellness. Her website has been viewed and enjoyed by people around the world. She also has ten blogs, each one focusing on a different aspect of music healing. See