Riva Capellari

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Located in Brookside in the heart of Kansas City

Seasonal Shifts

Summer is waning, and I feel the pull of autumn. September always signals to me the beginning of the fall season regardless of the steaming temperatures we oftentimes ex- perience this month here in the mid-west. And growing up in Michigan, it was also the start of the school year, after our last hurrah – Labor Day. Coming off my month long reprieve, I sense the start of a new seasonal cycle.

Over the past several years, I have been musing over and studying the ability of music to heal. It has become the forefront  of my interest. More and more research is being done on the effect music has on the brain and consequently, our bodies. Although the concept of sound healing is not new, in fact, many books have been written on this subject, the actual neuroscience behind it has been less documented.

Not long ago, a colleague and I began developing a workshop for individuals who have been vocally silenced, shamed out of singing or curious about what their voices may offer. In our workshop, we try to provide a space for people to “sound” their thoughts and feelings in a way that may be very new to them. And although at first, some feel inhibited at this different approach to using their voice, eventually they begin to enjoy the freedom of not having to produce a “beautiful singing sound”.

Using games and improvisational tools, we encourage them to let their voices and bodies express what is inside, however that may translate for them personally. We encourage group vocalization, creating a cacophony of sound that vibrates throughout the room and our bodies.

It is said that vocalizations such as these can reach part of our unconscious that speech cannot, releasing internal feelings that have remained closed down. Martha Nussbaum, philosopher and professor at the University of Chicago has said that singing accesses “a part of her personality that is “less defended, more receptive” “.

My own personal experience with students and indeed, with myself, is that the sensation our own voice creates when we make sound, can be very euphoric. The pleasure hormones, endorphins are released when we sing as is oxytocin, a pain reducer. It is no wonder that music has been known to lessen both anxiety and pain.

Retrieving your “voice”, making it whole and yours again can lead to self-healing psychologically, physiologically, emotionally and spiritually.



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