Healing Sound Retreat: Rhythm and Sacred Gongs for Spiritual Practice
Christine Stevens and Richard Rudis
August 25–27, 2017
Celebrate the Music of Your Soul
Explore music and rhythm as a gateway for therapeutic process and honest communication. In its 7th year, this annual program approaches music as medicine, weaving together a powerful experience in cross-cultural rhythms, chants, and sacred silence. Using the voice and the drum, we will discover ancient and modern practices for spirituality, healing, and joy! This is a celebration of the music of your soul.
This retreat includes a special Music for Peace Ceremony at the Great Stupa at 5pm on Saturday, followed by dinner.
No prior musical experience necessary. Drums provided—or bring your own.
Christine Stevens MA, MSW, MT-BC
Christine Stevens, MA, MSW, MT-BC is author of Music Medicine, The Healing Drum Kit and The Art and Heart of Drum Circles. The founder of UpBeat Drum Circles, she has appeared on NBC, PBS, KTLA, and the DVD Discover the Gift. A world percussion artist for Remo, the world’s largest drum company, she has trained drum circle facilitators from more than 25 countries. Christine has worked with survivors of Hurricane Katrina, students at Ground Zero and led the first drum circle training in the war-zone of Iraq. www.ubdrumcircles.com
The Science of Creativity – Mind & Body
“Life can become boring when the spark of creative fire is not lit in the soul of our spirit.”- Music Medicine, the science and spirit of healing yourself with sound.
In a study using functional magnetic resonance imagining (fMRI) to look at brain activity, surgeon and jazz pianist CJ Limb compared improvised piano playing to a rendition of a rehearsed piece of music.
The results showed that when musicians used their own creativity, a very specific small area of the brain’s frontal cortex — the medial pre-frontal cortex — became activated.
This part of the brain functions in self-reflection, introspection, personal sharing, and self-expression; it is often thought to be the seat of consciousness. The medial prefrontal cortex area is also activated when we talk about ourselves, telling our personal story.
Simultaneously, a deactivation occurred. The two larger areas of the frontal cortex — the lateral prefrontal cortex and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex — were deactivated. These areas deal with self-monitoring, judgment, and self-criticism.
It’s a paradox; the larger parts of the brain inhibit our self-expression, while the smaller part reveals the greater self. No wonder it’s a challenge to express ourselves creatively in music.
Are you ready to begin to be a creator; not just a consumer? Try the guided practices below and awaken your Creative Spirit through rhythm.
Exercise 1: Dance to the Beat of Your Own Drum
Drumming is an immediate portal into musical expression. Everyone can be successful immediately. Whether you are more comfortable drumming or dancing, both are great tools for awakening your musical creativity.
1. Follow the link below to a collection of free play along tracks.
2. Select Rhythm (Chapter 3).
3. Select last two tracks from Chapter 3 (Rhythm): Reviving Rhythms and Beauty Groove play-along tracks.
4. Get out a drum, rattle, or homemade percussion sound and play-a-long, improvising the beat that only you can play.
5. Each track is more than seven minutes, giving you time to get out of your head and into your drum. Remember, there is no right or wrong here; simply the joyful feeling of self-expression.
~~Click here to listen to the free play along tracks!~~
Exercise 2: Tone your note
Toning comes from “tone,” a single note that is an inner sounding. Give yourself permission to sing your note, whatever it may be, and let it resonate your whole being. Trust yourself. Don’t think about it. Just take a deep belly breath and exhale a note. Now, sing the same note only louder! Repeat. When you complete the toning of your note, allow yourself time to sit with the vibration. Feel the resonance of creativity, of musical freedom reverberating through your body, mind, and spirit.
Creativity & Collaboration
This video demonstrates creativity. Done in collaboration with a friend, this shows a nice balance of masculine and feminine. This is improvisational and multi-cultural. Our prayer is for the beauty of dialogue of cultures, in this case of middle east and Native American. Music is the dancing ground in the center that unites people.
Related posts on the SMC Blog:
- Interview with Christine Stevens (video/audio): Healing Sound: A Conversation with Christine Stevens
- A guided exercise from Christine Stevens: Finding Your Rhythm