Stephanie’s Article

Have you ever watched a movie with the sound off and then rewatched the same scene with the soundtrack playing? It’s a marked difference. Or how about have you ever driven on the freeway with no music playing, stuck in traffic, and felt your blood start to boil, but then decide to play some uplifting music and start to calm down and feel the shift in your emotions? There is no denying music’s effect on us.
According to, as early as 323-373 BCE, Aristotle wrote that “flute
music could arouse strong emotions and purify the soul.” There is
proof everywhere that the medical community takes the healing of music
seriously in the evidence of the abundance of music therapy programs
offered and the significant programs in places like John Hopkins Center
for Music and Medicine where they provide money, research, and support in
the studies of music and healing.
In an article from “Harvard’s Health Watch,” the author cites how “music can ease anxiety and discomfort during invasive procedures, for example in controlled clinical trials of people having colonoscopies, cardiac angiography, and knee surgery, those who listened to music before their procedure had reduced anxiety and a reduced need for sedatives.”
Robin Spielberg, pianist, composer, and author, in her Tedx Talk, “The Healing Power of Music,” tells how when her premature baby was in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit, Robin played a CD of her piano music and the vital signs of her daughter and every infant within earshot improved. She also recounts how post-WW2, nurses noticed how veterans recovered quicker and got up on their feet faster when hearing big band music. One of the most profound experiences that she talks about is when she goes to play at a nursing home. She walks in and the patients there look depressed and she starts to play piano and no one really responds to her performance so she proceeds to play and finish out her set and heads out of the building. But, then a nurse runs up to her and tells her how one of the gentlemen listenings sang along with her on “Moon River.” The nurse tearfully went on to tell her that in the past six months after his wife died, he hadn’t talked to anyone including his family and that her performance had broken through to him and now he was willing to talk to his family again. In her own words, Spielberg tells how that was her most successful performance and she played at Carnegie Hall. I had a very similar experience in my singing career. I was presenting a concert to this retirement home as some volunteer work I used to do and it was a Memorial Day concert so I was singing patriotic songs. After my performance, I was walking around saying hello to the residents and one of the nurses came up to me with tears in her eyes. She told me how one of the gentlemen at her table had never spoken since he’d been there but today when I sang, he sang along out loud with me. I, like Robin, remember feeling very touched and moved by this and that’s when I really started to understand the healing power of music.
If you enjoyed this article, please check out my other articles and see how music can heal. I also do Facebook Lives on Thursday nights at 7 pm to share tips about singing.
Enjoy your music. ❤️
I have never been a fan of going to the doctor or getting medical tests. I’ve learned recently that a lot of people experience that which makes me feel I’m not alone. My blood pressure is always higher when I’m at the doctor and anxiety kicks in. Recently, I had to do two different MRI tests. The first one was for my knee. I went to the imaging center and when my name was called, I was led back into a little room where the MRI was. I was told to lay down on the table and to be still. They gave me some headphones to put on to block out the banging noise of the machine and then slid me halfway inside. Now, the headphones helped a little, but I could still hear the clanging of the machine and it was nerve-wracking. The test seemed like it lasted forever. Finally, they told me they were done and slid me out again. I was so relieved to be out of there.
The second MRI was for my back and I was frustrated already going into the test. This MRI was at a different place that I had never been to before and I drove around and around trying to find the center. Finally, I found the address, and then I walked around the entire building attempting to find the entrance, dragging my feet the whole way. When I walked inside, I was stopped and had to undergo 20 questions because of Covid. By the time I signed into the front desk, I was feeling pretty frustrated about the whole experience. After filling out a ton of paperwork, I was eventually led back into a waiting room. There, someone came out and handed me two gowns to put on and instructed me to strip out of my clothes and put one gown on front and one gown on the back. My anxiety was rising, as I did what I was told. I took off all of my jewelry and clothes and then went back to sit and wait. When they finally ushered me back into the room to do the MRI, I was starting to feel more anxious. As they slid me all the way into the machine, I began to feel claustrophobic, and I couldn’t wait to get out. Then they gave me headphones, so they could speak to me through them. However, this time, they gave me the option of listening to music during the test. I told them yes, I would love that and when they asked me if I had a preference, I told them I wanted to relax, soothing music because I knew the effects of different music on the mind and body and what would help me calm down. Seconds later, beautiful music washed over me and filled my spirit to the point that I actually began to relax for the first time during the whole experience. I lost myself in the moment, with the sounds of the different instruments playing, and forgot about the earlier annoyances of the morning.
By the time the test was finished, I was in a much better mood and I found myself smiling and cheerfully thanking everyone as I left the building. Those two entirely different experiences proved to me what music has the ability to do for us in the way that it affects our emotions and transforms our thoughts.
If you enjoyed this article, please check out my other articles and see how music can heal. I also do Facebook Lives on Thursday nights at 7 pm to share tips about singing.
Enjoy your music. ❤️
Did you know that “music has the ability to reduce stress, expand creativity, treat depression and help us heal from traumatic events?” Yes, that’s correct. According to Psychology Today’s, Dr. Dana Klisanin, in her online article, “Why is Music so Healing,”‘Neurologists have found that music activates the brain in unique ways…and singing, drumming, and playing instruments are some of the oldest healing techniques known to humanity.’ Have you ever thought that singing in the shower actually has real health benefits? Dr. Klisanin says, ‘it’s healing at a deep level.’
In her book, “Muse Power,” author, Cheri Shanti tells how ‘music is found in every known culture, past and present.’ She goes on to explain that Wikkapedia tells how “music is highly functional in African ethnic life, accompanying childbirth, rites of passage, harvesting food, marriage, hunting, and even political activities.”
Shanti says that “in more traditional cultures, music has been passed down from generation to generation as a doorway for healing, community sharing, initiations, rites of passage and for the invocations or banishment of spirits to bring rain or prepare land for harvests, as well as for entertainment and countless other purposes.” Shanti explains how “music resonates the strings of human connectivity and brings us together to celebrate, mourn and feel together with the experience of life.”
As a singer, I can relate. I’ve sung at countless weddings, funerals, and memorial services and I’ve seen how certain songs can have a huge impact on the event. I’ve been asked to sing favorite hymns, favorite love songs of a couple, and sometimes songs where one spouse wrote for the other one who has passed on. Over the years, these experiences have had a profound effect on me as I would receive tearful hugs and cards telling me how my singing for the service made a difficult time a little easier. I know on a personal level, it’s just not Christmas if I don’t listen to my Andy William’s, John Rutter Carols, and Julie Andrews CDs. That music really prepares me for the magic of Christmas and the blessings of another holiday spent with family. When I wrote my original Christmas song, “The Blessing of Christmas,” I wanted to evoke those same images and memories of spending time with friends and loved ones for people to cherish.
If you enjoyed this article, please check out my other articles and see how music can heal. I also do Facebook Lives on Thursday nights at 7 pm to share tips about singing.
Enjoy your music. ❤️

Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a cardiologist and author who has been incorporating music in his practice for decades. He states ‘that music can have a positive impact on heart rate. It tones down the sympathetic nervous system and balances it with the parasympathetic nervous system which relieves panic and anxiety.’

Dr. Joanne Loewy says we can use music in building cardiac strength and resilience.

There were some interesting things on a Gaia video titled, “Music and the Heart.” Did you know that researchers have found that listening to music can lessen anxiety and pain after major heart surgery? The researchers said that listening to music post-surgery has many benefits of the normal medications prescribed to aid in post-surgery recovery but none of the side effects. Other studies show that music modulates blood pressure, heart rate and respiration and can lower the rate of death after a heart attack or stroke. I can recall after one of my knee surgeries, I was singing in the recovery room and I remember feeling really joyful.

Barry Goldstein, an award winning composer, producer and author says music has the ability to create heart and brain coherence which means smooth orderly heart rhythms which then set the rhythm of the rest of the body

But, for example, when someone is severely stressed, experts say you don’t want to immediately play relaxing music. That can be jarring. I have witnessed when my parents have anxiety, they play Baroque and Classical music and that calms them down.

If you liked this article, check out some of my other articles on healing and music. You can also connect with me on Facebook so you can see my Facebook Lives where I share tips about singing.

Enjoy your music. ❤️

As I mentioned in a previous article, music can help us to heal from traumatic events. Karla Hawley tells how for years she suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her step-father. One night, she was awakened in the middle of the night by some beautiful music, and she crept downstairs and discovered her mother playing the piano. She had no idea that her mother knew how to play. As she listened, she describes how she could envision angels singing and got lost in the beauty of the melody. After her mother finished playing, Karla snuck back up to her bedroom and went to sleep.

Soon after, one day Karla went to the piano and found the piece that her mother had played that night. When she looked over the sheet music, she was overwhelmed by all the notes on the pages, but there was one section of music that looked doable to her. She had some piano experience, so she sat down and began to play those four measures.

As she played that music, she started to feel calmer. Karla explains that when a victim of trauma plays the music themselves, they are able to strategically target what they need and therefore have some control over the outcome. She said there were times when she would play angry but then she would get in trouble with her mother because she was pounding on the keys so she would play sadness because it was quieter and more acceptable. Alone in her pain and torment, the only refuge she found was when she was able to play that song on the piano and even though she was only able to play four measures over and over again, those four measures were her saving grace.

When Karla got older, she finally told someone about the abuse, and her family fell apart. Her mother disowned her, but she held onto that piece of music and to this day, she still plays those four measures as a source of comfort and strength.

If you know someone who is a victim of trauma, you might suggest taking up an instrument. They don’t need to be an artist or interested in being a musician to learn and play the basic instrument level. They can do what Karla did, play music to help them calm down. Playing music can help someone improve their lives dramatically.

Another idea is to work with a music therapist. They are trained to find the right music that can help someone in their specific situations.
If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy some of my other articles at

You can also check out my Facebook lives every Thursday at 7 P.M. PST where I answer your questions and give you tips and insights for healing through music.
Enjoy your Music.❤️

As I mentioned in a previous article, neurologists have found that music activates the brain in unique ways. According to Kathleen M. Howland, a Speech and Music Therapist, babies and newborns can detect the beats in music and sea chanties were used to bring sailors together to complete a universal task. People with Parkinson’s Disease can walk normally to music and children with autism respond well to it. In his book, “This is Your Brain on Music,” Dr. Daniel J. Levitin tells how he had patients who were unable to read a newspaper, but were able to read music. People who have had strokes may not be able to speak, but they can communicate through song and people who stutter, do not do so when they sing.

In the book, “Music and Autism, Speaking for Ourselves” Michael B. Bakan explains that ‘the strong identification with music that many autistic people have, sometimes in tandem with exceptional musical abilities, has been observed frequently since the advent of autism studies in the 1940’s.’ Autistic people are able to express themselves through music or the playing of music when they can’t talk to communicate.

Dr. Daniel J. Levitin goes on to say in his book, “This is Your Brain on Music,” ‘that musical activity involves nearly every region of the brain that we know about, and nearly every neural subsystem.’ In other words, nearly all five parts of the brain; the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe and the cerebellum are all affected by music in some way.

Let’s review what the different areas of the brain do. ‘The frontal lobe is associated with planning and self-control.’ For purposes of music, ‘trying to follow along with music that you know… recruits additional regions of the brain, including the hippocampus-our memory center-and subsections of the frontal lobe.’ ‘The temporal lobe is associated with hearing and memory. Listening to or recalling lyrics involves language centers… in the temporal and frontal lobes. The posterior part of the frontal lobe is associated with motor movements and spatial skill. The occipital lobe with vision.’

‘The cerebellum is involved in emotion and the planning of movements. Tapping along with music involves the cerebellum’s timing circuits. And ‘the emotions we experience in response to music involve structures deep in the primitive, reptilian regions of the cerebellar vermis, and the amygdala-the heart of emotional processing in the cortex.’

If you would like a more in-depth look at the brain and how it functions, I highly recommend Dr. Levitin’s book. He goes into intricate detail which I found fascinating but for purposes of this article, were not necessary.

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy some of my other articles at

You can also check out my Facebook lives every Thursday at 7 P.M. PST where I answer your questions and give you tips and insights for healing through music.

Enjoy your Music.❤️

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