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Natural Awakenings South Central Pennsylvania

Far-Reaching Healing Effects of Music and Sound

Jul 29, 2019 02:22PM ● By Gisele M. Siebold

The power of music and sound goes beyond something pleasant for us to simply hear or enjoy. Natural Awakenings of South Central Pennsylvania asked four local authorities to describe experiences that resonate with the healing power of music, sound and drumming: Jack Bray, drummer and co-founder of Joyful ViBRAYtions; Susan Kiskis, author, yoga teacher and kirtan wallah; Lana Ryder, sound and energy practitioner and owner of Soundwise Health; and Leigh Wisotzkey, drumming instructor and owner of Studio Solomon.

“When completing my transformational drum leadership training, the other trainees and I were tasked to provide a drum circle experience that was open to the community,” says Bray. “That community turned out to include approximately two dozen adult males and mixed gender teens from a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility who arrived with a resistant energy that did not endure more than 10 minutes. Once they began engaging in the play of drumming and making music together, their energy soared to new heights as they began smiling and finding their groove. The evening ended on a high note of requests for more.”

“Over the years, I’ve personally seen many experiences with healing effects from sound and music. Here are just a few,” shares Ryder. “My father heard me singing to him bedside while he was unconscious. He later told me angels sang his favorite song. The singing gave him peace. I shared with a client how to use voice and music to expedite her elderly mother’s recovery from hip surgery. She told me two weeks later that doctors were surprised how well her mother did, and she did not require as much pain medication. I dissolved a large ganglion cyst on my ankle using tuning forks and vocal toning. When I went to see the surgeon, he documented that it was gone.”

“As a student, performer and teacher of West African drumming, I know the musical, vibrational and social benefits of drumming to be very therapeutic and healing,” explains Wisotzkey. “My father was hospitalized and passed away just before Father’s Day this year. Maintaining my regular drumming routine––teaching, rehearsing, performing and studying––helped me to hold myself together under the emotions, stress and grief over several weeks. I performed with a group on Father’s Day, just days after he passed, and was able to use a solo opportunity to express my feelings and honor my father in a very unique and cathartic way.”

“During a recent trip to Europe where I met my teacher from India, Swami Gurusharananada, for a retreat, we were practicing swakriya yoga, a practice reliant on the elements and how they affect our health, practice and lives,” relates Kiskis. “The evening before ether element, I went to sleep chanting a mantra to Narayanana 108 times, the full round of a mala. In the middle of the night, a buzzing sound (from a bee) surrounded me all night. The next morning, I sat outside with a cup of tea and a bee landed on me and began to walk all over me. I proceeded to the front of the building to have another bee fly over to me and walk over my hand. In our morning class, during pranayama, another bee came over to me, landed on me, and walked all over me for the entire practice.

“As our class with Swamiji began, I realized I wanted to ask if the ‘bee’s breath’ pranayama, where you buzz, ‘Om’ in your closed mouth was a practice of ether. Ether element is connected to sound, and with the power of mantra, is quickly healing. During our lessons, he reviewed the various stages of sound and how to work with them for healing. It happened to be that in his lessons, we learned the buzzing in the mouth of a mantra is the second stage of sound. The universe will fold time and space to bring us healing. All we need to do is listen, and then use these teachings. Even the bees will conspire to help us,” believes Kiskis.


Jack Bray,

Susan Kiskis,

Lana Ryder,

Leigh Wisotzkey,

October 2019