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The Soul in Music

During a music lesson recently, an adult music student was asking about the somatic healing work that I offer.

Since somatic means the body rather than the thinking mind, there is only so much we can say, and I find it more effective to have an embodied experience over an explanation.

As she sat in front of the piano, I invited her to close her eyes and bring her awareness into her body.

To find her feet resting on the floor

to allow her sitz bones to anchor into the chair

to imagine her spine lengthening

and her torso widening

feeling gravity.

I invited her to notice her breath,

without any intent to change it,

just to notice it

and to imagine her entire torso expanding with each inhale

like the body of a whale

Once I could tell that she had settled in, I asked her to begin playing one chord on the piano.

Rather than practicing the song we had been learning, we focused on the sound of just the one chord, playing one note in the chord at a time, and letting the impetus to play a new note arise from her spine, from her center.

She played like this for a while, offering loving attention to each note, letting each note ring out and decay before adding another note in the chord.

Gradually, I suggested that she begin to play with a pulse, adding in a slow and gentle rhythm and letting her whole body rock with the rhythm.

And finally, once the rhythmic pulse felt solid, I invited her to turn her exhales into gentle sound, starting on a humm, keeping her lips lightly closed, and directing the sound into her bones, into her sternum, feeling the vibration of her sound. She practiced like this for a few minutes and as I listened, I felt lulled into the space with her. I felt more present in my body too. And it dawned on me, this may be the space we call “Soul”. I think this is what it means when someone says that music has Soul. Although this student has only been learning music for a few weeks, she used her sound as a vehicle to travel inside her own body, and she generated a field, where anyone in earshot would be invited into this space with her, into their own embodied presence.

The next time you enter into a sound and resonance practice, I invite you to practice in this way. Even if you just play one note, or one chord on your instrument, or simply use your voice, take a few minutes to go within and let the sound arise from your felt sense of being in your body. Send the sound into your bones with your intention.

No force, no effort, just vibration.

Let me know what you discover...

Much love,



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