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Steven Halpern at Rhodes

Current Newsletter

November 2017

Next-Gen Sound Healing for Meditation, Sleep Deficit and Adult ADHD

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Dear Friends,

The past few months have seen more natural disasters, one after another, than I can remember in my lifetime. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to you if you've been directly affected.

As quantum physics has proven, we are all connected on some level. We are all affected by the suffering and loss so many thousands are experiencing. As a sound healer, I recognize that nothing will easily restore one's life to normal if you've lost your home.

As a musician, I am proud that so many superstars from rock, pop, hip-hop and country have banded together in concerts that have raised millions for hurricane relief in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, and here in California for the devastating wildfires.

Between climate change and politics, stress levels are at an all-time high. If you've been reading my newsletters, you know I've been becoming more outspoken about incorporating healing music more proactively into our life, more than merely listening as background music or aural wallpaper.

It's important to take the time to remember and nurture our spirit, to take time each day to experience moments of serenity and inner peace. Healing music can be one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to do so, if it's the right music.  

Healing Music, Music Therapy, Meditation and Media: 1975 and 2017 

What a difference 40 years makes. When I released my first recording in 1975, there was nothing like it in the marketplace. My message was that this recording represented a quantum leap in the healing powers of music, updated for the 20th century. The message, and the record, was ahead of its time. On most of my radio, TV and print media interviews, the interviewer would usually say something like "I never heard of such a thing. Why can't we use regular music, like classical or pop?" 

I'd respond with facts and figures, and the invitation to their audience to feel the difference when they listened to my revolutionary/evolutionary compositions that spoke to the innate intelligence within each of us. (I would have included the concept of mindfulness, but of course, it hadn't entered our cultural consciousness at that point.)

I had found my calling as the Johnny Appleseed of healing music, planting the seeds of sound healing into the collective consciousness and the new field of holistic health. I spoke about the physical principles of stress relief, physiological and psychological relaxation, using the metaphor of 'tuning the human instrument." (which was also the title of my first book.)

My work was far beyond the traditional approach of the music therapy field, which at that time was limited to the classical compositions of dead white European males. I pointed out that most classical composers did not compose with the intention of creating soundscapes for well-being, relaxation and healing.

Radio hosts and reporters loved it when I pointed out that Mozart and other masters were working in the caffeine capital of Europe. There weren't a lot of gigs for a composer focusing on relaxation in coffee houses. Was it any wonder that few compositions were suitable to assist individual in achieving relaxation? Nevertheless, classical music had great PR, even for relaxation. I was happy to be the one who exploded that myth!

I vividly recall attending my first music therapy conference, and hearing that it would take an hour to get meaningful relaxation with their most highly-rated compositions. When I showed them the results of the brainwave biofeedback studies involving my original music vs. the highest rated relaxing classical music, many were astonished that my non-classical music could produce meaningful relaxation within one minute! For an ex-New Yorker like myself, waiting an hour to get relaxed was not an option.

In that era, that personality characteristic was often called Type-A. Now, it shares many similar aspects as some forms of adult ADHD. Unfortunately, the letters ADD/ADHD have a stigma attached to them. It's by no means a bad thing, however. If you have always found it challenging to quiet the chatter of your mind, to relax and tune into the present moment, regardless of the label, know that you are not alone. The challenge is learning to make it work for you, not against you.

My first listeners were primarily in the meditation, massage, yoga and spiritual communities. I'll admit, it was a bit of a surprise when people from all walks of life let me know how much the music meant to them. Indeed, it has been the universality of the music that enabled it to touch individuals around the world. Music is indeed a universal language!

Today, with continued research and more artists (both good and bad) entering the field, you have lots of choices. It can become quite a challenge to keep up with things. My recent recordings support to combine the music with intention, as always, but often now add additional layers of complexity with brainwave entrainment, healing frequencies and sound codes, and beyond. The potential for healing music is more relevant now than ever before. 

The Big 40 Milestone 

MUSIC FOR SOUND HEALING 2.0 is a 40 year retrospective of the finest healing music I've had the privilege of co-creating and bringing into the world. Alas, its release was delayed due to the demise of my former distributor, who went out of business without warning last year. 

In response to many requests, I wanted to offer a comprehensive playlist within one album. This newsletter includes an historical context that more recent listeners may not be aware of, that can deepen your appreciation of the album and the entire genre. You might be surprised that to learn that back in the day, there was an unspoken prohibition about using the words 'healing' and 'music' in the same sentence, even though that tradition goes back thousands of years before David soothed King Saul in the Bible.

The mid-70s were the time that the harmful effects of stress were being researched and proven for the first time. It was an easy pivot to frame my recordings as resources for relaxation rather than 'healing'. Listeners could read between the lines, the music would speak for itself.

This was also the era when scientists and medical researchers like Dr. Herbert Benson proved that our bodies were self-healing organisms, if we gave them the proper support. That understanding was a key principle in helping me explain to the media, complementary medical professionals and individuals. That's why I said that "healing music supported the body's innate intelligence and healing energies."

Now, 40 years later, bestselling books by Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Bruce Lipton confirm that principle.

Before the concept of intention had achieved critical mass, I coined the phrase "music is a carrier wave of consciousness." Coming from my academic background, I loved to speak those words in interviews or keynote presentations. Alas, it took me a few years to realize how many people didn't understand what those words meant. Intention gets the point across so much more effectively!

Same with the concept of mindfulness. Being "in the moment with music" can effortlessly and effectively shift your brainwaves into the alpha and theta range within moments. As a trained jazz improviser, being in the moment was a fundamental requirement, just as learning the scales and chord changes. I was already familiar with that state, which made it easy for me to shift into a more peaceful experience of mindfulness...in the spaces between the notes!

When I released my first album, stores didn't know where to place it on their shelves. The albums showcased on the MUSIC FOR SOUND HEALING 2.0 retrospective motivated stores to create shelf space for a new genre. I reminded store managers they already carried books by Edgar Cayce, Manly P. Hall and others that talked about the ancient, and future, use of music for healing. We are now living in the future they predicted, and the time has come for healing music to be used with intention.

In 1995, I was honored by the leading music industry publication, Keyboard magazine, in a twelve month series including McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock and Brian Eno. Their profile named me "the original, and definitive, New Age keyboardist....one of the twelve most influential artists of the past 20 years who changed the way we listen to and market music."

As the New Age and healing music genre evolved, reaching the 20 year milestone in my career deserved to be acknowledged, much as the 40th anniversary albums chronicling some of the great rock bands of the '70s like the Eagles. I produced an anthology covering 1975-1995 with selections from my most effective healing albums. Reaching the 40th anniversary doubles that perspective.

With new instruments and recording technology, not to mention 20 additional years of fine-tuning my sonic spiritual antennae, many of these new tracks are more textually complex, nuanced and multi-dimensional.

The first track, "In the Realms of Healing," features the celestial tones of the updated Rhodes Mark 7 electric piano. When I bought this instrument in 2011, it rekindled my love for its tone and the meditative space I enter when I play it. Indeed, it inspired a new generation of compositions, including DEEP THETA and the Grammy nominated DEEP ALPHA. Listen as the Rhodes floats upon the lush, atmospheric string ensemble.

MUSIC FOR SOUND HEALING 2.0 also includes exquisite, best-ever collaborations with some musicians I had waited for over a decade to record with. When you listen to, and feel, the richness of the low notes of David Darling's cello (check out the low note at the beginning of "Heartnotes", track 3), I think you'll agree the wait was well worth it. I had been a fan since I first heard him play as a member of the Paul Winter Consort in 1975.

Another extraordinary track features virtuoso bassist Michael Manring. His masterful use of echo, reverb and other electronic effects enables him to extract lyrical melodies and harmonic overtones that add a new dimension to my Rhodes and ambient keyboards.

Another gem from the second 20 year cycle are my collaborations with Argentinean sound healer Jorge Alfano. His soulful shakuhachi (bamboo flute) is featured on DEEP THETA 2.0 and DEEP ALPHA 2.0. There's so much beauty to share with you, and so much more to discover.

Of course, I also had to include the first track of my first album, "First Chakra: Keynote C". The entire first side of CHAKRA SUITE resonates, activates and balances our seven chakras with the ascending musical keynotes that correlate to each chakra. (Note; if you listen to only one track, you miss out on the full benefits of this iconic healing composition. But even a little healing is better than none at all, right?

The first time I channeled the entire sequence of keynotes was during a private group meditation led by Dr. J. J. Hurtak (author of The Keys of Enoch) I was introduced to Dr. Hurtak during my Kirlian photography and brainwave biofeedback research, and was a charter member of his first Northern California study group.

Each track on MUSIC FOR SOUND HEALING 2.0 radiates healing energies. There's a story behind every track on this anthology. Each encodes magical moments that occurred in the recording studio, with inspiration from what I've always referred to as my "band of angels and other spiritual masters."

Learn more 'behind the music' at StevenHalpern.com/SoundHealing2

 How Do I Choose What New Programs to Produce? 

Sometimes, your letters requesting that I address certain issues stimulates a new recording. Many other times, it's my own need, whether to reduce pain or stress, or to help me deal with a chronic sleep deficiency. Of course, many other albums now exist because the music came through me as a gift when I was already in the recording studio. It's always an extra special day when that happens.

My most recent recordings combine healing music, brainwave entrainment and subliminal affirmations. PAIN CONTROL AT THE SPEED OF SOUND and OPTIMAL HEALTH AT THE SPEED OF SOUND were motivated by the pain I was in after my car was rammed by a truck going 25 miles an hour. My car was fully stopped as I peacefully waited at a red light. The series of affirmations include the kind of instructions recommended in Super Genes by Dr.Deepak Chopra and Dr. Rudy Tanzi, and build on the epigenetics research pioneered by Dr. Bruce Lipton (The Biology of Belief)

Brain-Balancing Music for Childhood and Adult ADHD

Last year, I attended a national conference on ADHD, and discovered how many of the characteristics of addiction overlap with aging and some expressions along the spectrum of ADHD/ADD, especially adult ADHD. Inspired by several books which included principles that I modified into positive affirmations, I produced a subliminal audio program that includes music that has proven helpful to individuals with ADHD going back over 30 years! Wouldn't it be great if symptoms could be reduced without using the strong pharmaceutical drugs that many individuals are prescribed? I see a very strong potential to add this complementary resource to the list of options and resources. 

The Healing Power of Sleep 

Like millions of other Americans, I'll confess that I am now part of the millions who are prone to a chronic sleep deficiency. People have used my music-only albums to help them drift off to sleep for over 40 years, as I have. But with higher stress levels, I needed something stronger. Maybe you do, too. After several years of research and beta testing, I've released RELAX INTO SLEEP and SLEEP SOUNDLY VOL. 2 

How effective are they? Well, I dozed off twice during the final mixdown process in the studio, in the middle of the afternoon! That had never happened so dramatically before. Several hours later, at the end of the session, I still felt the effects. That's why soundtracks like this should only be used in the bedroom as you prepare for sleep. I often let the music play on auto-repeat, at a very low volume, especially when I'm traveling and staying in a hotel room

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has named chronic sleep deficiency as a national health epidemic affecting 70 million Americans. I was inspired to combine the new music that began channeling through on the 2009 anniversary of my first recording date in the studio. Adding subliminal affirmations and delta range (1-3 cycles per second Hz) entrainment tones focused the effects even more than I could have hoped for.

When I listen in the safety of my bedroom, these albums continue to provide with an effective way to fall asleep, with no unwanted side effects, as I experience with OTC pills. If you're having challenges falling asleep, this could be the non-pharmaceutical solution you've been seeking.

As a consumer, I've bought and tried many of the other recordings marketed as a sleep aid. Most don't work at all for me. Some actually were so irritating and annoying they made it impossible to fall asleep. I read Arianna Huffington's informative bestseller, The Sleep Revolution, but found her suggested resources ineffective as well. I am not aware of any recordings that are as effective as my two latest ones. If you find they work for you, perhaps drop Ms. Huffington a note on Facebook or Twitter to suggest she include them in her updated list of resources, and let me know as well.

As the health benefits of getting sufficient sleep become better known, isn't it amazing that the most ancient of the healing arts is also the most up-to-the-minute resources available to us?

Finally, back by popular request, my company is offering the 2 for 1 special as we enter the holiday gift giving season. Just go to stevenhalpern.com and you'll see the offer on the home page. No promo code needed.

The gift of relaxation, healing, well-being and a sound night's sleep is a gift that you and/or someone you love will appreciate and benefit from all year long.

Wishing you well,

Steven Halpern