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Steven Halpern at Rhodes

Current Newsletter

June 2017

Anniversaries: Big 50th (SGT. PEPPER), Big 40th (EASTERN PEACE) and Reflections on Creativity and the Muse

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 ©2017 Steven Halpern

Stimulated by the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity lately. A lot of musicians, from all genres, have described how they feel when they are “in the zone” of heightened states of creativity. 

Where does creativity come from? Is it totally random? Can you summon it? Are there techniques you can do to get yourself ‘into the creative zone’? Do you just accept it with gratitude when it occurs, and say ‘thank you’?

I invite you to pause for a moment and reflect on those moments in your life when you’ve experienced creativity above and beyond ordinary creativity.

Musicians from ancient Greece to modern times have described their experience of high creativity as being a gift received from their Muse, angels or spirit guides. There’s a long list, including Mozart, Liszt, Santana, Alan Jackson, Joel Andrews, Iasos and myself (If you’ve read my album liner notes, you know I often refer to composing as a co-creative process.) Musicians often say that “The song wrote itself. The whole thing took only ten minutes.” 

Master poets Jack Clarke and Albert Glover, who were also scholars of William Blake and Charles Olson, were my professors while I was at the University of Buffalo. They accelerated my growth as an artist in many ways, including introducing me to the collaborative nature of the artistic creativity. Indeed, iconic poets like Ezra Pound believed that artists are the antennae of the human race. Leading quantum physicists suggest that we can tune in to the non-local, invisible information fields. Whatever it is, the process is different for different people; it also sometimes different for the same artist at different times in their career.

High Creativity and the Beatles

When the Beatles released their masterpiece, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, it changed music forever. It was such a quantum leap, on so many levels, from their earlier music. Some of my musician friends and I wondered if they were getting some inspirational assistance beyond LSD and Sir George Martin. How did so much creativity come together through those five individuals at that time? 

The 50th anniversary Sgt. Pepper package includes a DVD and book accompanying the remastered album that shares many hitherto unknown stories and secrets about the making of the album. But I’m sure there’s a lot left unsaid. I look forward to reading and listening, with new ears.

If LSD and marijuana were the complete key to creativity, why haven’t the millions of others who used those substances produced another masterpiece?

I almost got an opportunity to get a direct answer to that question. In November, 1980, John Lennon called into radio station WBAI in NYC when I was being interviewed. He told me and the host, Robert Knight, how much he dug my music. I wanted to ask him right then about his Muse and creative process, but there was no time while I was on the air. He invited me to visit on my next trip to New York. How I wish I had changed my plane ticket that night and visited with John right after the radio show. No one dreamed he’d be taken from us just a few weeks later.

Meditation and Creativity in a Sacred Redwood Grove

When my teachers at the University of Buffalo introduced me to the Greek perspective on the arts and creativity, I began praying to get into contact with my Muse. Of course, I also put in many months of practicing eight hours a day on my instrument during the summers of 1968 and 1969. Then things shifted into another realm.

Throughout my life, there have been numerous occasions where the ‘music plays itself’. I may not always be able to identify the source of the inspiration, but the ineffable vibrational field feels quite different from my own energies and ‘normal’ levels of creativity.

Of course, what really matters is how the music transmits healing energy, and how it feels to you. I have always chosen to let the music speak for itself, rather than let the identity of my collaborators become a distraction.

EASTERN PEACE documents a new chapter in my own creative process, which built upon the first life-changing breakthrough that occurred during a deep meditation in a sacred redwood grove near Santa Cruz, CA in November 1969. That experience directly led to my shift from being a high energy trumpet player to becoming a meditative keyboard player and sound healer.

The celestial music that I heard in my head, and the natural, peaceful high that I experienced at the keyboard making the inner sounds audible, became the foundation of my mindful meditative music ever since. Details of that day are included in the CHAKRA SUITE and SPECTRUM SUITE product pages at www.StevenHalpern.com

Classical Inspiration, the BBC and Rosemary Brown

Two months later, in January 1970, another quantum leap in my creative process transpired unexpectedly in a used record store in Santa Cruz. Going through crates of jazz/rock vinyl LPs, my right arm suddenly reached out into a nearby crate of 100 classical albums and grabbed one from the middle of the tightly packed crate, sight unseen. To my astonishment, it was Rosemary Brown’s BBC recording, A Musical Séance. 

The liner notes describe how Rosemary, an untrained pianist, had channeled new music from composers on ‘the other side’, like Liszt, Debussy and Schubert, among others. As you might imagine, that was rather mind blowing.

She described how some of the composers would speak to her. None of them, however, introduced themselves to me. But she also wrote that other composers actually moved her fingers as she was playing. That really resonated with me, since it paralleled some of my own experiences! (I was largely self-taught on piano, with only a few formal lessons in blues and jazz, but this was a whole new ballgame.)

The BBC experts generally agreed that an untrained musician like Rosemary could not possibly compose music in those varying styles and complexity. I decided to keep an open mind, and invite you to do the same.

In April, 1977, I was one of the only American speakers, along with Dr. Jean Houston, at the first Festival of Mind, Body and Spirit in London. After the show, I tracked down Rosemary’s phone number and called her. When she answered the phone, and I introduced myself, she said, “We’ve been waiting for you. They told me you’d be calling.” You could have knocked me over with a feather, like the one on her album cover. 

I‘ve always wondered if some of the classical masters that I’ve had a lifelong affinity for have inspired me through the years, as a number of psychics have told me. A few months later, my belief system went through another paradigm shift with respect to creativity, composing and consciousness.

The Genesis of EASTERN PEACE

In November 1977, I was a featured presenter at the first major New Age health, science and spirituality conference in New York City. One of the other presenters, yoga and martial arts master Michael Andron, introduced me to Greta Woodrew. Greta was a remarkable woman whose amazing story, of her ET contact with the Ogatta group from another galaxy, is recounted in her two bestselling books, On a Slide of Light and Memories of Tomorrow

I was invited to a private channeling session at her home, during which I participated in an extraordinary philosophical and ‘healing music lesson’ download from Bilakka, the Ogattan ambassador of music. That amazing event is referenced in Greta’s books, and in the liner notes of the 40th anniversary version of EASTERN PEACE: www.StevenHalpern.com/easternpeace 

During my recent interview with Whitley Strieber, the New York Times # 1 bestselling author of Communion, I go into much greater detail about my encounter with the Ogattans. This included a dematerialization of a cassette tape inside a tape recorder as it was recording! I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself. At the very least, it certainly expanded my belief system as to what was possible in our physical reality.

You can hear the full interview for free this month at www.unknowncountry.com/dreamland/steven-halperns-amazing-discoveries-about-healing-power-music

Ogattans in the Mix… in the Studio

About two months after meeting them, I unexpectedly felt the same Ogattan vibe again, this time in the recording studio. I was in the middle of recording a new album, but intuitively understood something special was about to unfold. 

I remember barely being able to speak, telling my engineer to put on a new reel of tape, and to just keep recording. I put my fingers on the piano, closed my eyes, and about 20 minutes of music came through in one continuous download. That was the first time that an entire half of an album ‘arrived’ complete, with no need for editing! (I also appreciated that it was a very cost-effective way to compose and record.) 

Whatever the source of the heightened creativity, the music will transport you to an elevated state of consciousness and inner peace. EASTERN PEACE, CHAKRA SUITE and my other albums were used in Greta’s healing work, along with her close friend, Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, with great success throughout their lifetimes, and continue to help heal millions to this day.

Music, Meditation and Mindfulness 

In the music that evolved from these High Creativity breakthroughs, the spaces between the notes speak as eloquently as the tones themselves. Silence, and the gap between thoughts, is an essential component of the arrangements. The free flowing structure allows you to shut off your analytical mind and be totally present in the Now. It is music of Be-ing, rather than Do-ing. Without any effort, your breathing and brainwaves slow down, activating your innate relaxation response and higher states of coherence between your brain and heart. 

To receive the full power of the music, I suggest that you focus on the subtle, sustained overtones and ethereal harmonics of the notes I actually play. Listen with attention and intention, especially with headphones, and you’ll receive a more multi-dimensional vibrational healing and meditative experience.

Stay tuned!

Steven Halpern