MUSIC MEDICINE: THE THEORY
I have created intentional offerings that put my passions and beliefs into action. Here are some of the basic beliefs that guide my work:
• Music is a powerful healing medium
• Music can be used as a functional tool for health and wellness
• Music has mystical origins
• Anyone can play music: “If you can talk you can sing, if you can walk you can dance.” ~African Proverb
• The trained musician is the modern sound alchemist
• Music is a channel between the Earth and the human soul, bringing healing to both
• The modern world often operates outside of values that embrace the well-being of all
• Modern innovations with music can create effective change when aligned with these deeper values
SOUND, MUSIC, AND SONG - A PROGRESSION
I follow a general progression that I believe maps an organic evolution from sound to song. At each stage, there is great value. As sound moves to music and music moves to song, we usher in more organization and pronounced meaning. Below is my generalized definition of each stage:
sound = raw aural phenomenon, vibration we can perceive with our hearing
music = organized sound, instrumental or vocal, following principles of melody, rhythm, and harmony
song = music organized into sections with repeating parts, usually with a prominent repeated melody, emphasis on vocals, and lyrical content
THE POWER OF SONG
I believe song is one of the most potent healing forces on this planet; its creation, performance, dissemination and reception. At the early stages of the songwriting process, we use elements of intuition, improvisation, and creativity. At the later stages, we utilize the wisdom of the craft to make conscious choices about the words and structure of the song. When the song is complete (lyrics and arrangement) we make further choices as we take it from an internal dialogue outward through shared expression (group singing), performance, or recording and dissemination. All along the way, healing, transformation, and empowerment take place as the song affects us and those we share it with.
MUSIC MEDICINE: THE PRACTICE
It is my belief that meaningful song arises from meditative states and raw expressions of sound, such as free vocalizing with a drum, especially when preceded by set intention and prayer. Melodies and grooves (the music) come as a form of energy medicine, formulas for songs that proceed to serve as messengers of healing and strength.
This is the general progression I follow in my work:
Sensitivity (Prayer / Intention / Receptivity) ->
Sound (toning / vocalizing / instruments) ->
Music (Medicine Melody) ->
Song (harmony / Arrangement / Production) ->
Performance and/or Recording -> Dissemination
What makes my framework unique is the mystical and grounding way I set up the process of healing with sound, music, and song: a stance of humility and prayerful intention, invitation of support from nature and spirit (forces that are always gifting us with inspiration and direction if we are open to it), and tuning into the authentic state of our heart before engaging in musical expression so that the music that arises may serve a very direct and meaningful purpose. I believe creativity in itself is powerful, but creativity put toward clear purpose can be even more powerful as it invites specific application of the music toward something that will help make our lives be better. This approach anchors the practice of creating, recording, and performing music in integrity with our values that embrace our well-being and the good of the whole. It makes music more functional and medicinal.
HOW TO USE THIS WEBSITE
My theory and practice of music medicine directly inform the types of offerings you will find on this website. These offerings vary from the stages of sound to song, from receptive experiences to participatory experiences, from your degree of creative participation to mine, and from individuals to large organizations. My intention is for you to be able to choose the offering that best fits your situation and preferences and from which you can glean the most meaning, healing, and empowerment. My prayer is that these offerings may effect healing and change, shifting our cultural values from deep within each person and uniting hearts for the common cause of sustainability and thriving on our precious planet.
May I be it be so!
MUSIC MEDICINE: THE OFFERINGS
Degree of Participation: Receptive - Guided- Co-creator - Creative consultant - Consumer
Stages of Musical Evolution: Sound - Music - Song
Size of Group: Individual - Pair - Small Group / Family - Large Group / Community - Organization
Progression of Healing: Healing (mending) - Creative (regenerative) - Purposeful (offering medicine / sharing healing)
SHIREEN'S MUSIC MEDICINE MANIFESTO
If you care to read more about my understanding of the bigger cultural / historical implications of music as medicine, please read below...
FUNCTIONAL MUSIC MEDICINE
In ancient cultures, music was a sacred and functional tool for maintaining wellness and serving the highest good of the people and the Earth. Cultural notions that developed in the Western world, including those of separation and hierarchy, left us estranged from this relationship with music. But this relationship was our birthright and is imperative to reclaim. Engaging music on a regular personal and communal basis has historically been deeply cleansing and nourishing, a powerful catalyst for change, and a way to directly experience our interconnectedness.
MODERN WORLD EXPRESSIONS OF OLD WAYS
The original functions of music have not been lost through such rapid cultural and technological transformation, however. Many modern ways we engage music parallel ancient ways. We gather at concerts to experience a sense of joy and communion with something greater than us. We plug iPod headphones into our ears to experience comfort, soothing, energizing or whatever else our being needs to carry out our lives. We rock out on guitars and drum sets as a means of self-expression, release, and bonding with others. The modern incarnations of music's functions serve us just the same as they did in more traditional and communal settings.
BRINGING DEEPER VALUES BACK INTO MUSIC
However, much of our modern world runs on values gone awry that do not serve the highest good of our people and planet. I recognize the great potential to empower sound, music, and song in new and profound ways by reconnecting them with values that serve humanity and the sustainability of life on Earth. With greater awareness, heart, and prayer, we will see that making music, especially with others, can be one of the most revolutionary acts we ever engage in. And we can also begin to see how the channels that already exist in our modern world can be refocused on this greater purpose.
WHY SHOULD THIS MATTER TO YOU?
What I know deep in my heart and soul is that music is a phenomenon that has the power to transform our world. Our history shows that it already has and does. Think about how integral music was to surmount slavery and discrimination in the U.S. for African Americans. Think about the way music keeps us going in our day-to-day.
There is so much unnecessary suffering in our culture. There is so much wisdom from our elders. There are so many negative beliefs and illusory obstacles between us and true thriving. With more conscious action, we can utilize music to exponentially increase our power to enhance our own health, happiness, fulfillment, and to support those in our communities to do the same.
MAY THERE BE MUSIC MEDICINE FOR EVERYONE
THUS, Shireen Amini Music Medicine has been born to carry out a mission to make sound, music, and song (such underutilized healing resources) available to us in a way that it once was, but now with a modern twist and with refined purpose: To empower us to better our lives and live out our truth with reverence of the ancient ways, reverence of the Earth, of life and the joy of being! Please join me.