Sound Therapy – What is it and how does it work? (from a musician’s POV)

Have you ever noticed that any given song makes you FEEL? It may make you happy, or sad, or angry, or even a little ill? Music also has the power to heal.

Ever since I was a small child, I’ve been a percussionist.  I also sing. I started with piano when I was about three,The piano is a percussion instrument; not many people know that…it’s often thought of as “stringed” instrument by many. However, what makes it percussion is because of the hammers inside…when a key is pressed, a series of levers goes into action inside the piano, causing the felt hammer to strike a string (each string has it’s own dedicated hammer). It’s that’s simple. When the hammers strike the strings, the strings vibrate and resonates in our ears, We feel the vibration and hear the musical note.

Drums and bells (which includes chimes) are similar. When the skin of the drum is struck (whether it be a baton, stick, tipper or hands/fingers) the skin vibrates and resonates, creating the sounds/tones/notes we hear. Various pitches (or notes) are created when the skin is tightened, or loosened. Also the kind of the wood (or other material) has everything to do with the tonal quality of the note that is heard. Woods create a warm, rich sound. Conversely, drums manufactured of man-made materials usually have a thinner, colder sound…but you CAN get a warm rich sound depending on the skin. This is one of the premises behind the healing effects of a “Drum Circle.” Most percussionists are Empaths, whether they know it or not is another matter. We are also healers, and we can move energy by raising and lowering vibratory energies.


Yeah, that’s me and some of my drums at a festival

The human voice works the same; the deeper the tone, the deeper they resonate on the energy centers of the body (the chakras). The power of the “full breath” has a lot to do with pitch, tone, duration, and yes, power of the voice. Where does the sound come from though? It’s origins are in the lungs and diaphragm, which pushes air through the vocal cords. The cords tighten or loosen, creating the pitch.This is why some vocalists can break a crystal glass with their voice. Singers train long and hard to learn how to create the correct pitches without hearing them first…things that can affect the tone, are the nose and the throat…nasally vocalists drive me mad…I think the noise that exits their mouths (and noses) sounds horrific at best. My own voice has deepened with age (I can hit the alto notes now, but I’m still a soprano) and sometimes I can’t find the higher notes, unless I practice…it used to be second nature to me. I still sing everyday, but I don’t have to reach the ridiculously high pitches anymore, so I don’t bother, That’s mostly because I sing in the car and it’s tough to sit up straight and take in full breath, much less exhale with precise control…my control with regard to volume sucks anymore too, sadly…I sing very softly  now (although I can still sing over the radio!), and thankfully, my own voice has never become “breathy”.

Stringed instruments vibrate too, just like the strings of a piano. With the advent of amplification, the notes can reach even farther, faster. When I was in my 20s I played electric bass, mostly because, we didn’t need a drummer and I didn’t have the finances to (or the space) to own a drum kit…and no one had hand drums back then (this was prior to the mid-80s when percussionists started coming out of the woodwork). Hand drums were hard to find and expensive as hell. As a result of standing too close for too long to the monitors, amplifiers and drums, I have a 40% hearing loss in my left ear and about 20% in my right ear…so I am a staunch supporter of auditory protection!


Me and my “Monster”

There are seven major chakras in the human body. I’ve noticed that the deeper the tone, the more of an effect it has on the “lower” chakras, irregardless of the actual note. Conversely, the higher the note, the higher the chakra. But I want to focus on vibration, which is actually a different species with regard to healing with music/sound. Each note of the scale has it’s own vibration which activates and resonates within a particular chakra.

Below is but a very basic sampling of information on the seven major chakras and their associations:

Crown Chakra – Sahasrara

Beauty, Creativity and Inspiration


Sound: Note “B”
Color: Violet
Meridian: Central and Governing
Location: Cerebral cortex
Physical Components: Right brain hemisphere, central nervous system, right eye
Glands: Pineal
Emotional Component: Attachment
Purpose: Understanding
Basic Rights: The right to know and to learn

Brow Chakra – Ajna
Intuition, Mysticism and Understanding


Sound: Notes “A” & “Bb”
Color: Indigo
Meridian: Triple Warmer
Location: Forehead
Physical Component: Face, ears, eyes, nose, sinuses,
nervous system
Glands: Pituitary
Emotional Component: Illusion
Basic Rights: The right to see

Throat Chakra – Vishuddha
Knowledge, Health and Communication


Sound: Notes “G” & “G#”
Color: Blue
Meridian: Lung
Location: Throat
Physical Component: Jaw, neck, throat, voice, airways, upper lungs, nape of neck, arms
Glands: Thyroid
Emotional Component: Lies
Purpose: Communication and creativity
Basic Rights: To speak and hear the truth

Heart Chakra – Anahata
Balance, Love and Self Control


Sound: Notes “F” & “F#”
Color: Green / pink
Meridian: Heart
Location: Chest
Physical Component: Heart, blood circulation, lower lungs, ribcage, skin, upper back
Glands: Thymus
Emotional Component: Grief
Purpose: Love and balance
Basic Rights: To love and to be loved

Solar Plexus Chakra – Manipura/Nabhi
Wisdom, Clarity and Self Esteem


Sound: Notes “E” & “Eb”
Color: Yellow
Meridian: Stomach, Spleen, Small Intestine, Gall Bladder, Liver
Location: Solar plexus
Physical Component: Liver, digestive system, stomach, spleen, gall bladder, autonomic nervous system, muscles and lower back
Glands: Pancreas and adrenals
Emotional Component: Shame
Purpose: Transformation
Basic Rights: To act and to be an individual

Sacral Chakra – Swadhisthana
Happiness, Confidence and Resourcefulness


Sound: Notes “D” & “C#”
Color: Orange
Meridian: Bladder, Kidney and Large Intestine
Location: Lower abdomen
Physical Component: Pelvic area, sex organs, fluid functions, kidney and bladder
Glands: Testicles and ovaries
Emotional Component: Guilt
Purpose: Movement and connection
Basic Rights: To fear and to have pleasure

Root Chakra – Muladhara
Vitality, Courage and Self Confidence


Sound: note “C”
Color: Red
Meridian: Circulation / Sex and Large Intestine
Location: Base of spine
Physical Body Component: Spinal column, legs, feet, bones, teeth, large intestine
Glands: Adrenals
Emotional Component: Fear
Purpose: Foundation
Basic Rights: To be here and have

As an intuitive healer, I noticed how the latest RUSH album (Clockwork Angels) made me feel. There are songs on it that I like better than others, but I wanted to glean information about how the songs made me FEEL inside. I knew my own energy centers were getting clogged up; I could actually feel it. I had way too much going on in my hectic life, and it was beginning to take it’s toll on my own health. Worry was fast becoming my biggest enemy and it had to be squashed like a tick. In short, the songs filled me with hope. Still, I was left with the daunting task of explaining what I wanted to do and how and why it works. He’s one of those kinds of people who’s gotta know the hows and whys…and while I can certainly appreciate that, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to answer his questions and had to have my sister (who’s basically an academic) assist. She does a great job with that. She understands both where I am coming from and where he’s coming from and can put it all together for the both of us.

A month ago on my last day off before my medical leave was to begin, I sat my husband down in front of his computer and had him listen to the first track, Caravan (I’m sure that it helped that my Hubby is a long-time RUSH-geek and that he actually enjoys their music to the Nth degree). The particular notes and time signatures used in creating this piece, are conducive to breaking up and opening the chakras centers of the body…his were completely closed down and, blocked. In order for*my* particular brand of therapy to even get a foothold, much less even WORK, they had to be open…WIDE open. I would at a later time, focus attention to balancing those energy centers and getting the energies flowing evenly. But at that moment in time, those puppies had to be busted open, much like breaking down walls…and in fact, that’s exactly what it was like. He sat straight up his his chair, still as a statue and closed his eyes. I didn’t want him to get too comfortable though; much to his chagrin, I had him place his bare feet on the floor before the sub-woofer and his hands on his thighs. I played the song form him and afterward, I ran a diagnostic test on him with my pendulum and saw that his chakras were opening!Still his root chakra was being stubborn and remained closed. I opened up the equalizer and upped the bass and mid-range frequencies  and upped the volume a bit (it sounded like crap, but that wasn’t the point). We listened to it once more. I ran another test and concluded that every one of his energy centers had been busted wide open! I was ecstatic! It had actually worked for him (I knew it would)…but he had to LET it work for him. That’s paramount. Like I mentioned in my first post, “Hello and Well Met,” he and I are two sides of the same coin. I’m the one with all the faith in, well, FAITH. His faith lies in SCIENCE…not that there is anything wrong with that…it just is what it is.

Even if you’re not at all musically-inclined, you’ll soon recognize that certain notes will make you feel a certain way…this is why we have soundtracks in films and TV shows…they serve to create and illicit specific emotion at any given moment in time. I was confident that this was going to work if he let it…it worked for us and it’ll work for you too. Find a song that resonates and creates within you a particular emotion. So, be like the Goddess Nike and DO IT! 😉

Like the Partridge Family sang, way back in the day, “come on, get happy!”


Chakra Association info above can be found here: Sound Essence – Chakras


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