My Journey with Music as Medicine by Claire Crehan – Part 3

Sharing this music with the world

I love this journey.  I love to share it with others.  I love witnessing the transformations which occur within myself and with the people in my groups.  For a few years, I worked in the inner city with my colleague Siobhan Larkin.  We were asked to create a music education program that also focused on personal development.  The children we were working with had difficult lives.  Their families were often broken, with parents in prison or caught up with crime and addiction.  These instabilities manifested in differing behavioural problems in the children.  We created a program combining our training with the Naked Voice and our own musical training within university.  The results were amazing.  We also opened the sessions with the AUM and the singing bowl, and then the children were encouraged to sing their names.  As time went on, the children began to sing more freely.  We would do the Shintaido movement practices alongside the more traditional music instruction of pitch, rhythm, phrasing, and song structure.  We would close our sessions singing the Heart Sutra, and then we would say ‘my name is ______ and I feel ______’.  The children were incredible – they began to speak honestly about their fears and anxieties, and we would watch as other children coached them through their problems, offering wisdom from their hearts.

One day we were singing the AUM and one of the children said ‘my whole body is vibrating’, which led on to all the children saying where they felt the resonance of the AUM within their body.  They had great comments like ‘my brain is on holidays’ or ‘I’ve never been quiet like that before’.  I learnt that children are so open and that they have a wisdom that is often forgotten in adults.  They are connected to their feelings in such a close way and I loved that we could share these simple practices to help them in their lives.  We heard that the children would sing the Heart Sutra on excursions, or during the after school club whilst doing their homework.  These mantras have a power that is ancient and potent, and the children connected with that without any fuss.  They sang the Heart Sutra because it gave them something wonderful.

I love this music and all of the magic that it brings in.  I love that all of my musical training compliments these sound practices, and that the depth of my musical knowledge, although not at all necessary, gives me a confidence and a passion for the work that I do, and that all of my musical experiences within performance and education are strands I weave into his blanket of musical life.  I love that when I am calm and centred and feeling freedom within my being that my voice soars high and low, and that I don’t seem to breathe for minutes at a time, how being present opens up the voice and there are no technical barriers.  I love how these sacred and ancient sounds can shift my perspective and allow more freedom to come into my whole being.  This living business can be challenging.  I remember so clearly the experience of searching for meaning within my life and how unsettled I was all the time because I felt like there was something more, something I wasn’t seeing or experiencing.  And this path I am on feels so different.  I feel clearer and lighter and happier.  The music has helped open my heart and for that I am forever grateful.

Working with sound has really been a wonderful journey.  It has opened up a world of meditation that is accessible in my life.  The knowing that the chants are working even if I can’t concentrate makes my life easier!  It’s accessible for everyone.  It works, because it works!

If you are interested in discovering more about music as medicine, you can join me on my Music Medicine course, or drop into my monthly chanting sessions.

Post Author
Claire Crehan

Claire Crehan

Claire is co-founder of SpeakUp SingOut. She's a community music teacher, piano teacher, composer, performer and musical director. She also arranges all the music for our choirs, creating bespoke arrangements for each group she works work.
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