From a very young age, music played a vital role in my life. As my life continued, so did my music journey. I received classical training in the piano from the age of 6 and later the flute when I was about 12. It became my life, and I went on to study music full-time (BMUS music performance) at the University of Pretoria.
Throughout the years of studying music, including a university degree alongside professional and performing diplomas, performing music at exams and concerts, playing with professional orchestras, and teaching music (I have been a music teacher since 2002 – part-time and full-time), I always felt that there was more to music than just performing the notes perfectly and interpreting the music as the composer intended. I suffered a lot from stage anxiety which was also some indication to me that this is not how music should make me feel personally. There is more to it than just playing notes! But I know some people are born to do it and are excellent musicians on stage! (and have nerves of steel…) This feeling was amplified, especially when I used to play in orchestras and how conductors wanted you to play a passage their way. This is when my journey into sound began.
I started my research a few years ago and began my collection of healing instruments. Attaining these instruments and playing them were doable, and I loved it. However, as I played these instruments, the questions started to arise, and I found myself asking: What about me, the person who is playing these instruments? How can I work on myself (spiritually) as a person wanting to become a “sound healer”? How do I connect with my soul? By the way, I don’t like to call myself a “sound healer” as we all have the capacity to heal ourselves. I am just the facilitator and channel. I just love this quote by Lama Anagarika: “It is not sufficient merely to spiritualise our life, but what we need is to materialize our spirit.”
Anyone can play an instrument. For instance, singing bowls can be tapped to make a sound. But how pure are your intentions, and how aware are you of the vibrations YOU (not only the instruments) emit when playing such powerful instruments?
I pursued my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Course, where I was introduced to yoga for kids, which I then further explored through a Children’s yoga certification and a “Yoga therapy for special need children certification.” I developed a passion for introducing children to mindfulness and subtly using sound to calm them.
All of this information and knowledge equipped me with the tools I needed to start, but as I write this article, I know that I am a perpetual student and will continue learning.
What I know is this: Sound is very powerful and operates in the world of frequencies and vibrations. The sound we expose ourselves to affects our physical bodies. Did you know that each cell in our body sings? When a cell becomes ill, it loses its song, and the sound of the cell becomes distorted. When the right frequency and vibrations are applied to the cell, it picks up the healthy vibrations and starts to sing again in harmony with its neighboring cells. This is how sound can contribute to physical healing. It doesn’t replace professional medical procedures, but it can certainly help prevent illnesses if sound therapy is introduced early and regularly.
Thoughts are vibrations. These vibrations are transmitted down our spine (or our astral spine, the shushumna) into our nervous system (central and peripheral) or the nadis. They are then manifested in our physical body. Our mental and emotional bodies influence our thoughts. When we want to “heal” our non-physical bodies, Western techniques are often ill-equipped to address the spiritual aspect. This is where sound comes in. Sound carries the vibration that our outer bodies (our etheric, emotional/mental, or astral bodies) resonate with and respond to. This is where we can influence the vibrations before they manifest in the physical body.
When I consult with clients about their treatments, I try to understand their intentions for the sessions and what is needed. I then assess the procedure for the treatments, such as deciding which instruments to use or introducing an energy massage to relax the client and open them energetically. I’ve found that breathwork (pranayama) is effective for calming anxious or tense clients. Choosing the right instruments depends on the situation. I personally prefer the singing bowls (handmade bowls that are made of 5 or 7 metals) because their overtones and undertones bring many different frequencies into the space. I know that when I place them on the client’s body or play them close to the client (especially during group sound meditations), the frequencies will flow where they are needed. Tuning forks are more specific and are useful when working with acupoints and meridians. Tingsha cymbals are great for opening and closing a session or clearing an aura, and chimes are helpful for clearing space or auras. I often play flutes during group sound meditations to fill the room with music.
As you’ve noticed, sound therapy is a vast field, but it has become my life’s work. How wonderful it is that my soul introduced me to music and sound at such a young age. Even though I did not consciously practice sound therapy, I did so unconsciously. Now I practice it consciously and act as a channel for healing or whatever needs to manifest for others through the instruments I play.