The tragic events of the past months have triggered an amazing number of flashbacks for me. I hadn't thought about my high school years in ages, nor my two years as a music specialist teaching 4th to 6th graders in the Palo Alto, CA school district in quite a while. The situations in schools now, including the teacher strikes in West Virginia and Oklahoma, make that unavoidable. I'm wondering how many of you are having a similar experience, due to the 'harmonics of history' and a return of social movement energy of our youth.
On March 24, March for Our Lives, the largest gathering ever (at least 800,000) came together in Washington DC, as a direct outcome of the Parkland school shooting, with sibling marches and speeches taking place in cities throughout the US and around the world. As a musician, sound healer and concerned citizen, I believe this movement, led by high school students, similar in some ways to the college student-led anti-war movement of the 1960s, will also catalyze meaningful cultural change.
There are, indeed, two books that describe a four generation repeating cycle of social movements.
Historians Strauss and Howe wrote Generations and The Fourth Turning, which provide a fascinating context for the events we are witnessing.
In these Trumpian times, it's so easy to be pessimistic. On the other hand, I see this awakening as an opportunity to put our positive spiritual consciousness into practical service. As a sound healer, it seems to me to be an obvious opportunity to bring more peace and harmony to the body politic and to the planet.
How does it feel to you? I wish there was more that Boomers like me could do to support the movement. Do you have any suggestions?
As I've written in prior newsletters, my personal journey of getting "woke" includes participating in marches, teach-ins and sit-ins in the 60s. In fact, I gave my first public speech in support of more flexible curriculum options at a rally I organized as part of my Sociology of Education class. My mentor in that regard was upper classman Ron Silver, who went on to become the well-known actor.
How Music Helped Save my Life
Shortly after a police billy club clobbered the head of the physics professor standing next to me, the organizers of an anti-war teach-in needed someone to organize a band to play in between the speakers. I volunteered, and that jam band-New Chicago Lunche-became the nucleus of what grew into the premier jazz-rock 8 piece band with horns in upstate New York in 1968. The group featured Joe Ford on sax (who went on to play in jazz legend McCoy Tyner's band), and Jon Weiss on keyboards, both monster musicians from whom I learned so much.
All those memory banks were being reactivated as I watched the musicians on stage in Washington, DC providing short breaks from the many inspiring speakers.
Being in that band helped me tune into my Muse, which eventually helped me open up to hearing and recording the meditative music I've been focused on ever since.
International Women's Day
The recent International Women's Day reminded me of my deep appreciation for two of the most important women in my early music career and spiritual development. Already a legend in the underground folk scene, Madeline Davis became the charismatic vocalist and songwriter in our New
Chicago Lunche band. When she joined, she was in grad school to become a librarian. Little did anyone suspect that she would become chief librarian in Buffalo, as well as a pioneering gay rights activist.
In 1973, I met Della Heide, the co-leader of the meditation group begun by Dr. J.J. Hurtak, whom I connected with as a result of my brainwave biofeedback graduate research project on sound healing. She was a spiritual teacher whose work involved connecting individuals with their spirit guides and their soul-mission.
Messages from the Other Side
Madeline also played a pivotal role in my spiritual awakening. In August 1969 she drove us to Lilydale, the summer community of psychic mediums outside of Buffalo. It was there that I experienced my first psychic reading.
I remember being told that I would be going on a big trip soon, and that I would be writing a new form of music. I had no plans to travel, let alone the money to buy a ticket anywhere. I was totally into the jazz-rock scene, and was looking forward to entering grad school on a scholarship in the department of Library Sciences that Madeline had pulled some strings to make a reality.
Needless to say, I dismissed the reading as not being accurate. But sure enough, a few months later, an airplane ticket virtually landed in my hand. The next day, I was on a flight to San Francisco. My life changed totally within a few days of landing in California.
At the time I wondered, "How could that psychic have known that?" Over the years, I have learned the answer. Nowadays, there's much more understanding of this phenomenon, with well-known psychics like James Van Praagh, Jon Edwards, and TV shows like Long Island Medium and Hollywood Medium, but back then, it created a paradigm shift in my life and awareness.
I have been honored to call Madeline my friend for 50 years. You can hear some of her sly and slightly wicked songwriting artistry on several of our bands hit songs, especially "Nickel for your Love", "Sidetrack" and "A Quiet Hand to Hold". Due to some of the double entendre lyrics in the early days of the drug war, it was challenging to get radio play. But these songs did help our band get a major label recording contract. Alas, like many other bands, we were ripped off in the studio and the album was never released. We were heralded to be the next Chicago or Blood, Sweat and Tears.
You can hear the only surviving recordings of her songs from our New Chicago Lunche band on my YouTube channel. I'll feature additional videos of our instrumental hits in a future newsletter.
After my reading with her, I no longer had any doubt that the intuitions I had been feeling for years were, in fact, not just wishful thinking but an accurate perception of who I was, and what I came to do in this lifetime.
The Brain, Memory and Music
Memory has been in the news and on PBS programs more than ever lately, due to millions of aging Baby Boomers who are concerned with losing their memories due to Alzheimer's, as well as new strategies and holistic approaches to preserving our brains and our memories. For most of my life, I was more interested in looking forward than looking to the past.
Like most Baby Boomers, I want to stay mentally sharp as long as I can. I witnessed my mother's slow descent into Alzheimer's over eight years, which started immediately following anesthesia and surgery after she fell and broke her wrist on New Year's Day 2000. I have no desire to follow her example.
It turns out that certain kinds of music that promote hemispheric balance in our brains holds a lot of potential to keep our minds sharp. I first discovered this almost 41 years to the day that I'm writing this newsletter. I was one of only three Americans speaking at the historic first Festival of Mind, Body and Spirit in London in April 1977. After my presentation, I met Dr. Maxwell Cade, who had developed the Mind Mirror, the most sophisticated brainwave biofeedback measuring device of its time.
He and his associate, Dr. Geoffrey Blundell, invited me to their state of the art lab to test both my recorded music (CHAKRA SUITE) as well as the brain states I enter when I'm in the act of composing. After they hooked me up to the gel-covered sensors, they looked at each other in amazement and said, "There must be something wrong with the connections. Let us start over."
So they cleaned off the scalp and head sensors, and hooked me up again. Same result. I asked what was the matter?
Geoff replied, "Your music evokes the most balanced and healing 5th state profile. We've only seen that with two other individuals: Rose Gladden, England's leading psychic healer, and a trained meditator Tibetan monk."
They then tested me when I got into my 'composing zone'. Same result.
That was the day I learned how effectively my music could balance a listener's brainwaves. From that they told me, that brain balancing effect would be encoded into all of my recordings, using the music as a carrier wave of consciousness.
I began incorporating that information in my subsequent interviews and articles, only to find out that most media folks, and their audience, were not familiar with the concept of brainwaves. The information didn't resonate with them, so I didn't promote that benefit for years.
Now, however, millions understand that the electrical impulses in our brains operate in several frequency ranges, i.e. alpha (8-12 Hz, cycles per second), beta (13-30 Hz), delta (1-3), theta (4-7 Hz), and gamma (33-99? Hz) (Note: there's a lot of disagreement about the gamma range currently).
In 2008, I began a new series of recordings and research studies involving music, meditation and states of consciousness. The albums that evolved out of that research were often accompanied by numerous magical moments in the recording studio. The albums feature the brainwave entrainment technology that anchors you into the desired state. They include DEEP ALPHA, DEEP THETA, DEEP ALPHA 2.0, and DEEP THETA 2.0.
My post 2011 subliminal releases also benefit from this added dimension. Those titles include OPTIMAL HEALTH AT THE SPEED OF SOUND, SELF-HEALING 2.0, PAIN RELIEF AT THE SPEED OF SOUND, and RELAX INTO SLEEP.
In 2012, DEEP ALPHA was nominated for a Grammy® award. Did Grammy voters feel the difference that the brainwave entrainment made? Coincidence? Who knows.
I do know that my contacts at the Grammys and Billboard magazine told me that I had misspelled the word 'entertainment' on the album cover! I delighted in explaining to them what the concept of brainwave 'entrainment' really meant. How I wish I could have said what I wanted to say in my acceptance speech, had I won!
All Brain Balancing Music is Not Created Equal
As is so often the case, a new breakthrough is often followed by imitators and others who don't really know what they are doing. I won't name names right now, but suffice it to say I have been more than surprised, and disappointed, by some of the material that is being promoted as brain balancing music.
At the very least, it certainly doesn't balance my brain. That's why it's ultra-important for you to pay attention to trust how you feel when you listen to these other soundtracks. You can't judge a book by looking at its cover, nor a recording by reading the liner notes. There is really no truth in advertising policy in effect. Caveat emptor!
New Album: CRYSTAL BOWL HEALING 2.0
In 1973, also through my research associates, I met the foremost crystal teacher in America, Nick Nocerino. I studied with him over the years, and participated in some legendary crystal skull research in 1979. So my connection with crystals has a long history.
In 1987 I was introduced to the first public demonstration of the newly rediscovered technology that produced pure quartz crystal singing bowls. I had just completed a soundtrack to a crystal meditation video, and quickly added new tracks featuring crystal bowls to my own companion album, CRYSTAL SUITE, the first album to share the power of crystal bowl healing with the world.
In 2002, I recorded a new album that combined my keyboards with crystal bowls. Much to my amazement, as I listened to the recording at home, the bowls would 'speak' to me and inspire me to hear additional layers of orchestration. In 2011, I released an updated version in time for the 2012 galactic alignment and related meditations.
Over the next seven years, I began to hear new music to provide an even more uplifting meditative and musical experience. I began a new project that included gem and precious metal infused crystal bowls, in association with their creators at Crystal Tones™ singing bowls.
My latest album, CRYSTAL BOWL HEALING 2.0 is the result of our marriage of art, inspiration and technology. It is my most exquisite album in the crystal series. As you listen, you can feel the crystal resonance effect. It will be available through the major vendors including Amazon and iTunes in May, but I wanted you to get a preview. Click HERE to view the video for the track "Crystal Angels".
I do not recommend listening while driving, however! Listening with headphones is highly recommended. And if you have your own bowl, play along with me.
There are many full moon meditation groups that use my albums as a vibrational enhancement, so whether you are in a group or meditate at home, I think you'll find this album to be a potent addition to your meditation and sound healing library.
Until next time,