Browse Research Articles - Music
Metamusic®, especially the Metamusic Artist Series, occupies a uniquely versatile position in the hierarchy of Hemi-Sync® learning tools. It can assist listeners to relax, meditate, sleep, or access their creative and learning potential. F. Holmes Atwater reports on an encounter with the power of Metamusic® which was monitored by TMI's state-of-the-art brainmapping equipment.
EEG monitoring with the Neurosearch-24 combined with subjective individual reporting and direct observation in the laboratory at The Monroe Institute has demonstrated the effectiveness of the Metamusic Artist Series tapes. The Neurosearch-24 is an EEG monitoring and color topographic brainmapping system which provides multivariate real-time data acquisition and analysis. Laura Wulfhorst, an Inner Circle member, volunteered as a subject and supported our ongoing research efforts by being monitored with the Neurosearch-24 while listening to Sleeping through the Rain, one of several titles available in the Artist series.
The Metamusic Artist tapes are all thirty-minute compositions embedded with Hemi-Sync tones to provide the listener with musically guided experiences. Each is a unique adventure for one who truly "hears the music." Some themes are story lines, while others evoke emotions and feelings usually obscured by preoccupation with mundane, temporal states of consciousness.
Sleeping through the Rain segues between two states of consciousness. The delta/theta state of impressions, images, and feelings crossfades repeatedly into the delta state of sleep and back again. The transition between wakefulness and sleep occurs several times, concluding with delta sleep. Mark Certo, TMI audio engineer, describes the process: "Sleeping through the Rain varies from delta/theta to delta, exposing you initially to prolonged periods of delta/theta Hemi-Sync frequencies followed by shorter periods of delta Hemi-Sync frequencies. As the music continues, the length of the delta exposure extends in concert with the sleepy melody. As the sound of the rain eventually passes, sleep beckons the listener."
When Laura Wulfhorst arrived for her appointment, she commented that she was really "wired." All of her travel plans had been altered at the last minute, she had missed plane connections, and her luggage was lost. She didn't feel "anxious" or "worried" but she was certainly "hyper-activated." Once in the laboratory isolation booth, brain-wave patterns mirrored her wide awake state of consciousness. Alpha and beta brain waves prevailed in both the left and right hemispheres, exemplifying alertness.
As Sleeping through the Rain entered the delta/theta sequence, Laura's brain waves showed evidence of entrainment to the delta/theta state of impressions, images, and feelings. This delta/theta activity quickly eclipsed the previous alpha and beta activity. Some interhemispheric synchrony was also evident.
This Frequency Following Response (FFR) to the Hemi-Sync stimulus was later corroborated by Laura's subjective report. When the sound patterns segued into the sleep portion for the first time, Laura's brain waves did not initially reflect the delta environment. On the second crossfade into that milieu, she acquiesced to the Metamusic influence. Even though Laura did not remember falling asleep during those periods, the data indicated a predominance of high amplitude delta. Her respirations and light snoring also evidenced periods of restful sleep. The interhemispheric synchrony of delta waves during these portions of Sleeping through the Rain overshadowed the slightly asynchronous higher frequency activity. Dream content during these segments could not be confirmed since she could not remember falling asleep.
While being assisted from the experimental booth, Laura remarked that at times the music seemed to take hold of her and let her go, only to recapture her and release her once again. During an interview several days later, she described her feelings after Sleeping through the Rain as "put together" and "balanced." She had attained "a calmness" and felt "clear of mind." Overall, Laura characterized the experience as "pleasurable." She continued, "When not listening to the notes in the music my thoughts were in free association." Later she added, "I could hear myself snoring from time to time but never felt as if I was unconscious. I especially enjoyed the perception of the raindrops in the music." In conclusion Laura simply said, "I bought the tape. I had to have it!"
Metamusic® creates a unique ambience for each listener. Vividness of imagination and cooperation with the theme intensify the experience. The same Metamusic selection can be enjoyed repeatedly, encountering different perceptual states each time according to one's focus. We offer our sincere appreciation to Laura Wulfhorst for her participation in this laboratory investigation.
Hemi-Sync® is a registered trademark of Interstate Industries, Inc.
© 1995 by The Monroe Institute
Music was included in the child's program as a way of creating an auditory environment to make learning easier. Music with a regular rhythm and a tempo of 60 beats-per-minute was selected to provide a quieting background and a regular rhythm and rate which was similar to the tempo of the heartbeat, sucking and walking rhythms. This structure of music has also been shown to increase the learning of verbal skills and enhance their retention. It is also probable that the regular rhythm and specific tempo of this music contributes to a greater symmetry of function of the two hemispheres of the brain. Largo and adagio movements from baroque composers such as Vivaldi, Bach, Albinoni and Correlli were selected for the therapy program. Modern compositions by Halpern ("Comfort Zone") and Hoffman ("Mind-Body Tempo") which contain the same structural elements were also used.
The response to this "superlearning music" was very positive. Most children became calmer and less distractible during the therapy sessions. Several showed a more normal response to touch and an increased ability to organize sensory information. The improved reactions were noted during the therapy period. There appeared to be minimal carryover of the improved sensory organization.
Because of the positive response to this type of treatment, a comparison of the child's response to music alone and music containing Hemi-Sync signals was begun. In the initial phases of the program, the Metamusic series had not yet been produced. Robert Monroe bedded a special tape of Halpern's "Comfort Zone" with Hemi-Sync signals. This enabled a comparison of the child's response to therapy under three conditions: a) no music, b) "Comfort Zone" and c) "Comfort Zone + Hemi-Sync. When the child showed a neutral or positive response to the Hemi-Sync version of "Comfort Zone", other music containing the Hemi-Sync signals was introduced into the program. This included "Metamusic Blue", "Metamusic Green", "Soft and Still" and a wide variety of quiet background music combined with the Hemi-Sync synthesizer.
The child's non-verbal responses to therapy were carefully documented. Each change of expression, body movement, shift of attention, etc. was interpreted as a means of communicating like or dislike, comfort or discomfort with what was occurring at that moment. These non-verbal reactions became the clearest clues indicating whether a musical or Hemi-Sync background was acceptable to the child's system. Non-verbal responses were positive in 18 of the 20 children. Two children showed negative responses. One older boy became more distractible and hyperirritable; a five-month-old girl screamed with the Hemi-Sync music. Both children tended to become irritable with high-frequency sounds and responded negatively to any music containing higher pitches. It is possible that the high frequency tones which are often used in creating the Hemi-Sync signal may have been the interfering factors for these children.
The frequency with which Hemi-Sync was used and the total length of time in a program with a Hemi-Sync environment varied. The 18 children who continued to receive therapy combined with Hemi-Sync music were exposed to the signals primarily during their therapy periods. These varied from one to eight 45-minute therapy sessions per month. Hemi-Sync tapes were provided to the families of 11 children for use during one play-learning session at home and while falling asleep at night. The total length of time spent using Hemi-Sync tapes varied from one month to three years. The majority of the children were involved with the tapes for approximately 4-6 months.
The purpose of the observations was to obtain a clinical impression of the role which Hemi-Sync in a musical format could play in the feeding and pre-speech rehabilitation of the child. The study was explorational in nature and formal data collection was not included. Clinical records were maintained which described the activities worked on, the child's response and the type of auditory background which was used.
Fifteen of the 18 children who continued to receive the music containing Hemi-Sync showed positive changes in behaviors. During treatment sessions which did not utilize a musical or Hemi-Sync background, these changes were not evident. In several instances behavioral changes were noted with the "superlearning music" background; however the degree of change and permanence of change was more pronounced when Hemi-Sync was combined with the music. Three of the 18 children showed minimal or inconsistent changes in their behaviors with Hemi-Sync.
Five behavioral areas showed the greatest change as a result of treatment provided with a Hemi-Sync background.
DISORGANIZED SENSORY INPUT may be described as difficulty processing and integrating multiple sensory information. The child is unable to filter, discriminate and organize sensory input. The world becomes an overstimulating, chaotic environment. Reactions such as tactile hypersensitivity, irritability, disorganized movement patterns and distractibility are common. In response the child shows a variety of characteristics which may be interpreted as an attempt to cope or survive. These include withdrawal with poor eye contact, and rhythmical stereotypes such as rocking, flapping and spinning. Because of a lack of interactive response to the environment, these children are often diagnosed as severely retarded or autistic.
Five of the seven children whose behavior was characterized by disorganized sensory input showed major improvement as a result of the Hemi-Sync environment. Changes included: a) a reduction in tactile hypersensitivity and overall sensory defensive-ness, b) an improved focus of attention for learning sensory discrimination, c) a reduction or elimination of coping strategies (withdrawal, poor eye contact, rocking, general autistic behaviors), d)improved sensori-motor organization resulting in improved movement patterns e) greater spontaneous exploration of the environment. Two children with uncontrolled seizures showed a marked reduction in seizures as their ability to organize sensory input increased. The two children who had negative reactions to Hemi-Sync showed severe problems with sensory organization. It is hypothesized that the signal added to their overall sensory processing problems.
DISTRACTIBILITY can be defined as a less-severe manifestation of sensory disorganization. Children with this behavioral characteristic typically had difficulty sustaining a focus of attention to a task. Shifts of attention occured with tactile, auditory and visual distractors. Several children were described as being hyperactive. A mild degree of tactile defensiveness was also seen. This correlation between tactile defensiveness and a hyperactive attention has been previously described in the literature. As a result of the poor focus of attention these children showed difficulty learning or retaining information and poor sustaining of coordinated muscle contraction. Increases in abnormal muscle tone and abnormal movement patterns were associated with attentional shifts in two children with severe athetoid cerebral palsy.
Four of the seven children whose learning was affected by poor focus of attention showed clinically measurable gains when treatment was provided with a Hemi-Sync background. Attention was more focused and the child was able to attend to activities involving listening and processing information. Two children with expressive language delays spoke their first words within a month of introducing the Hemi-Sync music. Three children made major gains in oral feeding and motor skills as a result of a more sustained focus of attention.
Three of the seven children in this group showed minimal gains in improving their attentional focus and reducing hyperactivity. Each of these children had a history of severe respiratory disorder. This varied from structural lung disorders related to prematurity to severe respiratory incoordination with irregular breathing and breath-holding. One child was on a portable oxygen unit. As a group, these children were unresponsive to Hemi-Sync. On days when the breathing was easier, two children were able to respond with greater attention and less hyperactivity. One child who eventually showed major gains in focusing attention was initially highly inconsistent in his initial response to Hemi-Sync. Because there was no negative reaction and the music assisted the therapist in meeting his needs in a more creative fashion, Hemi-Sync music was continued as a background to therapy. Over a three month period (24 sessions) a change was observed in his breathing patterns. As the breathing became more regular and breath-holding incidents reduced, his attentional response to Hemi-Sync improved and he showed a consistently positive response to his therapy sessions. This was particularly significant since the no measurable gains had been seen in therapy for 9 months. It is possible that the other children with respiratory problems would also have profited from a longer trial with Hemi-Sync.
MOTOR INCOORDINATION DIFFICULTIES are characteristic of children with cerebral palsy. The connection between the mind and body has received relatively little attention in these children. The involuntary body movements associated with athetoid and ataxic cerebral palsy frequently make it difficult for the child to focus attention for learning. In a similar fashion, difficulty sustaining a focus of attention can increase the involuntary shifts in muscle tone and abnormal movement patterns. Difficulties can include respiratory incoordination, involuntary movement and increases in muscle tone during thinking, and loss of postural stability when distracted.
Three children initially showed major difficulties in the relationship between attention and movement. Gains during the period of Hemi-Sync usage included a) regularization of breathing patterns with more sustained vocalization, b) more sustained trunk control and postural stability, c) more normal movement patterns during sleep at night with greater ease of handling for dressing in the morning, d) reduction of incoordination of feeding movements, and e) easier learning of new motor patterns during therapy.
FEAR OF CHANGE IN VULNERABLE AREAS is common in disabled children who have had a stormy medical history. Long periods of hospitalization can create a deep-seated mistrust of adults and new experiences. Severe respiratory problems can create an underlying fear of any experiences which stress breathing. Children with severe feeding problems often experience repeated failures and perceived threats to survial as they deal with problems of choking, aspiration and tube feedings. As the child deals with negative or stressful experiences and repeated failures, he begins to erect behavioral barriers which protect against further failure or perceived danger. These barriers can make it difficult for the tube-fed child to develop the oral motor skills which could eventually lead to oral feeding.
The addition of Hemi-Sync and music to the oral-motor treatment program was highly beneficial for eight children who were fed by gastrostomy tube. There was less overprotection of the mouth and respiratory system and a greater willingness to use the mouth for exploration and discovery. It became easier for the child to develop a trust in the guidance of the therapist. It was also easier for the therapist to develop a trust in the child's inner wisdom and develop a program which introduced new experiences without pushing.
BENEFITS TO OTHERS SHARING THE HEM-SYNC ENVIRONMENT WITH THE CHILD are seen as part of the overall change. When Hemi-Sync music becomes part of the therapy or home environment, it creates a shared envelope of sound which surrounds the child, therapist and family members. Changes during therapy sessions are related to the direct effect of the signals on the child's central nervous system and the indirect effect of the signals on the information processing abilities of the therapist and parents. Because the Hemi-Sync signals contribute to a greater balance of activity of right and left hemispheres and cortical and subcortical areas of the brain, the adult working with the child is able to draw from a full repertoire of information processing abilities. There appears to be a greater awareness of non-verbal or subtle communicative signals and a greater trust of intuitive knowledge which may guide the therapy session.
Parents have reported changes in their own reactions to activities with the child when the tapes were used at home. One mother volunteered that she felt very relaxed when feeding her son and less angry and impatient with his feeding problems. Another mother was initially quiet and withdrawn during therapy sessions held at her home. She was often out of the room during therapy. She was interested in using Hemi-Sync tapes at home because she knew that her son was happier with the music. Within a month of regular Hemi-Sync use at home, she was more outgoing, wanted to be present during therapy sessions and offered more spontaneous comments about his progress and needs. Changes have also been observed in brothers and sisters. This was particularly evident when tapes were played for 45 minutes as children who shared a room were going to sleep. One sibling showed a reduction in bed-wetting and another showed major improvements in her school work.
The results of this informal study show that Hemi-Sync in a musical format can be an effective adjunct to a pre-speech and feeding rehabilitation program. It serves to enhance the effectiveness of a program which is appropriate to the child's needs. The fifteen children (75% of the group) who made gains in the program had not made similar gains when the program was implemented without the Hemi-Sync background. Significant changes occurred in thirteen of these children within the first two Hemi-Sync sessions.
It is important to establish a point of reference or baseline for the child's behavior and skills without the use of the Hemi-Sync music background. Any changes which occur as Hemi-Sync is added to the program can be interpreted more meaningfully. The effectiveness of Hemi-Sync appeared to be cumulative. Children responded more consistently to sessions with Hemi-Sync as their experience with the signals increased. As the child experienced a more balanced and organized way of dealing with the sensory input for learning, it became easier to re-create this new organization when the Hemi-Sync signals were not present. It is significant that major permanent changes were seen in children who experienced Hemi-Sync less than three hours per month. Hemi-Sync contributes to long-term changes in the child's abilities and ways of organizing information.
Dr. Suzanne Morris is a speech-language pathologist who currently has a private practice in Faber, Virginia and trains therapists in teaching oral acquisition skills. For the past three years (1982-1985) the role of music and Hemi-Sync has been explored in the rehabilitation of 20 developmentally disabled children. The children ranged in age from 5 months to 8 years with an average age of 2 years. Within the broad category of developmental disability the children had received specific diagnoses of cerebral palsy (16), mental retardation (10), autism (5), and uncontrolled seizure disorder (4). The children were referred for therapy because of severe feeding and pre-speech problems. Eighteen of the children were non-verbal and non-ambulatory because of the motor incoordination of cerebral palsy or an overall delay in development.
Hemi-Sync® is a registered trademark of Interstate Industries, Inc.
© 1985 by The Monroe Institute
The Monroe Institute's® pioneering work in the studies of consciousness, expanded states of awareness, and the development of technologies using music, suggestion, and binaural beats is a modern example of similar pursuits by the alchemists of old. In fact, the intersections between science, spirituality, consciousness studies, and use of subtle energies share a common history rooted in the ancient tradition of alchemy. The times in our history when the ancient art of alchemy was the science of the day were times when synergy abounded, creativity flourished, innovation blossomed, life was full of wonder, and science was sacred.
In reading this you might be thinking, "Wait a minute, I thought alchemy was an archaic tradition of attempting to turn base metals into gold. What does that have to do with consciousness?" This common stereotype has greatly obscured what the true tradition of alchemy is about. The old "lead into gold" fables were more of a metaphorical language that revealed how we can transform ourselves inside and out as well as purify and perfect raw materials from nature.
What really is alchemy then? Alchemy is the epitome of an art and science that has discovered and preserved the secrets of how to expand awareness and harness subtle energies, both macroscopically and microscopically. Ultimately, the primary objective of alchemy is to raise the subtle vibratory frequency of ourselves and the material world by clearing negative patterns, purifying body, mind, and soul, and thereby achieving our full potential. Alchemy holds the keys to both practical methods and deeper understanding for harnessing consciousness to influence the material world, a possibility that is being rediscovered in today's popular culture. It seeks to expand awareness and direct subtle energies to transform nature into a perfected state.
These goals of perfecting nature and the self are achieved in alchemy through a very specific, scientific, and intentional process of seven stages of transformation and purification. At the most simple level, these seven stages involve
1. breaking down the old, imperfect forms to release the essence trapped within;
2. separating out the various essential components that were released to gain clarity;
3. purifying the separate parts to eliminate any impurities;
4. recombining the various purified essences into a more harmonious and balanced whole;
5. raising the energetic vibration of the recombined substance;
6. continuing to refine and purify the specimen through more cycles of separation and recombination; and
7. ultimately transforming or transmuting the original psyche or material into a state of beauty, integrity, and incorruptibility.
Through these seven stages, we take a transformative journey to reclaim and awaken the "gold" within ourselves. Upon completion of an alchemical cycle, a whole new level of consciousness is awakened within, allowing us to experience a greater sense of wholeness and self-actualization.
Music's Role in Alchemy
One of the essential tools used by alchemists to create the inner transformations they sought was music and vibrational energy. Music has long been recognized by many traditions as a powerful tool for expanding awareness and shifting vibration. As Joachim-Ernst Berendt said in The World is Sound: Nada Brahma: Music and the Landscape of Consciousness, "Our ears are the gateway to transcendence," and music is the bridge. Musical tones can affect virtually every function in our body. The types of music we listen to can help us improve our health, explore inner realms, and enhance our creative and mental performance.
There is documented evidence that alchemists from around the world frequently used specific types of sound, frequency, and musical instruments in their work. Alchemical artwork often depicts musical instruments somewhere within the setting of an alchemist's laboratory. The alchemists recognized the effectiveness of music for helping them harness their consciousness and entrain their mind and body into coherent, expanded states of awareness. Once in a coherent and elevated state, they were able to achieve quantum leaps in the transformational process.
Alchemists have long held sacred the patterns of creation written upon the face of nature. These patterns--often termed "sacred geometries"--contain certain mystical proportions that are harmonious and conducive to life. One such proportion, known as the golden mean (1.618...), can be found again and again throughout the cosmos, in nature, and also in the human body. Because of its prominence in nature, the alchemists held all manifestations of the golden mean in high regard. The alchemists and philosophers of the ancient Pythagorean Society used a musical scale that was determined by "golden intervals," rather than the modern musical scale we are most familiar with today.
Each of the alchemical stages of transformation is associated with one of the tones on the Pythagorean scale. In addition, each of the seven planets known by the ancients to comprise our solar system was thought to correspond to one of these alchemical notes. In their dance around the sun, the planets were thought to create a celestial symphony called the music of the spheres. It was believed that each of these alchemical notes had transformative properties when acting upon the denser manifestations of physical matter and the human body.
So important is music to the tradition of alchemy that the creation of the first musical lyre was attributed to Thoth-Hermes, the scribe of the gods and father of alchemy, science, astronomy, language, and all subjects of higher learning. This lyre was tuned to the golden mean, or Pythagorean scale. Today, the only instruments that can produce these tones accurately are electronic music programs or instruments such as chimes and of course the lyre, which is specifically designed to be tuned to that scale.
Through experience and observation of natural rhythms, alchemists learned to use the phenomenon of entrainment in their own practice and experiments. First they used it to entrain themselves into the desired state of consciousness, then they used it to create a harmonic field within their environment in order to influence their experiments in a positive way. Whether their experiment was performed upon the self, an individual seeking healing, or an herb or mineral that they were using to create a remedy, entrainment to a higher vibrational state was an essential step in alchemy.
The Alchemical Use of METAMUSIC
If alchemists had understood the phenomenon of brain waves and hemispheric synchronization as today's scientists do, and had they possessed tools similar to METAMUSIC to achieve the states of consciousness they sought, they would have certainly found their "gold" much faster. Alchemy is already an accelerated path to transformation, and music is essential in achieving that, but METAMUSIC allows us to take this even farther and faster.
METAMUSIC is used to create inner transformations within our consciousness, our brains, and our bodies--the very same goals that alchemists had. This "designer music"--combined with its embedded layers of binaural-beat patterns that directly entrain the brain into desired states--is a vital tool for creating the kinds of alchemical transformation needed on the planet today.
In a sense, the Hemi-Sync® and METAMUSIC technologies already stimulate a kind of alchemical process for the brain. They accomplish several stages of the transformative process in entraining the listener into a whole-brain expanded state of awareness. For example, these technologies guide the listener through a process of first detaching from the outer mundane world, turning inward to the subconscious realm, separating the left and right hemispheric activities in the brain using binaural signals, and then eliciting synchronization or harmonization between these two sides. This sequence coincides with the first four stages of alchemical transformation. Once the whole-brain state is achieved, the brain is then entrained into an expanded state of consciousness and allowed to rest in this for a while, often revealing a vision or allowing the listener to tap into fresh ideas and inner guidance corresponding to the fifth stage of alchemy. And through immersion programs, such as the GATEWAY VOYAGE®, this process is repeated again and again: each time going to a new level of expansion and vibration, ultimately leading the listener to connect with a deeper sense of self. This completes the sixth and seventh stages of the alchemical process. The result can be likened to a rewiring of the brain in which new neural connections are formed and the brain functions are transformed into a permanently enhanced state.
Through understanding the scientific sequence of alchemical transformation, we can further select specific METAMUSIC compositions to accompany each stage of alchemy in appropriate sequence for enhanced and expedited transformation. I have done this in my workshops with great success. Selections I have used for this purpose include Breakthrough, Into the Deep, Cycles, Lightfall, Remembrance, Touching Grace, Between the Worlds, Ascension, Inner Journey, and Higher. The broad selection of METAMUSIC available today allows for a number of options that achieve goals corresponding to each stage of alchemy.
This premise could be taken even further by developing an alchemical METAMUSIC series specifically targeted toward eliciting each of the seven stages. For example, by using musical compositions based on the appropriate fundamental note and energy that correspond to each stage, as well as Fibonacci series or golden mean binaural-beat patterns embedded below the music, the user would be entrained to a particular alchemical stage. Doing so would assist individuals to move through these stages with greater ease when they arise naturally, which occurs frequently. What a great melding of both ancient and modern technologies that would be!
My presentation at this year's professional seminar—Consciousness: The Endless Frontier—sought to restore awareness of the power of alchemy. An exploration of each of the seven alchemical stages, accompanied by the soundscape of specially selected METAMUSIC tracks that match the goals of each stage, was included. Why they were selected for each stage and how they can be used in life, work, and professional practice to elicit the seven stages of alchemical transformation at the appropriate times was explained.
You can download the entire audio presentation. Note: the introduction is low volume, as the speaker was not using a microphone. Once the actual presentation begins it's loud and clear.
To view the accompanying slide show go here: The Seven Stages of Alchemy with METAMUSIC. Let the entire slide show load and run. Maximize the screen and return to the beginning of the video by using the "back" button on the far right at the bottom of the movie window. Use the "forward" button to click through the slides as the audio plays. (See the illustration below.)
Combining a doctorate in physics and an interdisciplinary research background encompassing quantum theory, nanotechnology, origin of life studies, and crystal chemistry, Theresa Bullard embraces and epitomizes the new paradigm of synthesizing knowledge from a variety of fields to create a new synergy. Following a lifelong path of exploring ancient metaphysical teachings, consciousness expansion, subtle energies, alchemy, and holistic medicine, she brings fresh ideas to the new study of science and spirituality. She possesses the much-sought-after ability to communicate these concepts in an inspiring and profoundly practical way that every generation from every background can understand and incorporate for real results.
A writer, speaker, and life-coach, Dr. Bullard has been leading programs in self-empowerment, professional performance, and personal transformation since 2002. She has assisted hundreds of people from all backgrounds in transforming their lives by realizing their unlimited potential. For more information, visit www.eye-ris.org.
Hemi-Sync® is a registered trademark of Interstate Industries, Inc.
© 2010 by The Monroe Institute
From ancient times to the present, philosophers and scientists have written and spoken of music as a healing agent and recognized its profound effect on human behavior and learning. The ancient Greeks believed that music was divinely created. Both Plato and Aristotle placed music at the core of their educational curricula, acknowledging its power to stimulate human thought and understanding.
I would like to share with you many of my insights drawn from ten years of working with METAMUSIC®. The Professional Seminar has truly been my intellectual "home" since 1990 when I attended for the first time. My students had experienced such extraordinary results with the HUMAN PLUS® series that I wanted to see exactly how these tapes differed from the multitudes of others. Usually, when I attend conferences I am one of the experts on sound, music, and the brain. It was a pleasant surprise to add to my knowledge of the effects of sound on the brain at the Professional Seminar.
The insights gained during that week in 1990 gave a quantum boost to my own research. I was deeply impressed by presentations that used computerized brain mapping to demonstrate synchronization of cortical brain waves in response to binaural-beat stimulation. Since that time I have never looked at the subject from quite as naive a perspective as I brought to that first seminar.
I was so impressed that when I went home, my students, my family, and I did Monroe tapes nonstop for a year. I returned the following year with undiminished enthusiasm for the technology but also with more than general interest. In the interim, eight of my current and former students had unfortunately contracted AIDS. My mission was to find how the Hemi-Sync® technology could help doctors and therapists to help AIDS patients. At the 1991 seminar, Jim Greene gave a fabulous presentation on his work with AIDS. [1. J. R. Greene, "Positive Immunity Pilot Program: Hemi-Sync and AIDS," Hemi-Sync Journal 9 no. 4 (1991). ] Many of us collaborated with Jim to identify a combo of tapes that would assist the healing process. Our effort culminated in the POSITIVE IMMUNITY PROGRAM, which has helped many people with AIDS and other immune-compromising diseases.[2. B. Bullard and K. Carroll, "Walking the AIDS Circle: Healing Through Hemi-Sync," Hemi-Sync Journal 13 no.1 (1994).]
In my third through seventh years of attending the Professional Seminar I discovered the true magic of METAMUSIC® with Hemi-Sync®. I still get chills when I remember a remarkable presentation by Suzanne Evans Morris, PhD, an internationally known speech-language pathologist who treats children with a wide range of developmental disabilities. She used METAMUSIC® with alpha-theta frequencies with children suffering from autism or severe brain damage. I was awed by her video of an autistic child who could not tolerate touch. Within minutes of listening to METAMUSIC®, the child moved toward its source and allowed herself to be gently massaged by Dr. Morris while the music played. Relaxation music without Hemi-Sync had no effect. For me, this dramatic image exemplified METAMUSIC®'s "magical" effects. Coincidentally, that was the year that METAMUSIC® Inner Journey, Sleeping Through the Rain, and Cloudscapes were introduced. I remember being mesmerized by the beauty of the three compositions and purchasing them for pure love of the music.
On returning home, I received another lesson in the true miracles that lie hidden in the combination of music and Hemi-Sync. One of my students, Aaron, was dying of AIDS-related complications. I took Inner Journey, Sleeping Through the Rain, and Cloudscapes to the hospital and left them with his mother, instructing her to put on the music whenever Aaron needed sleep or relief from pain.
Days later, on my second visit, I was greeted by a nurse who asked where to purchase the "miracle music" for the hospice wing. The nurse said that as long as the music was on, Aaron needed no morphine. I went into Aaron's room and got additional confirmation that METAMUSIC® is more than music. As we were talking, the music suddenly ended. Within five minutes, I "saw" a ripple of pain approximately two to three inches long move from the top of Aaron's head down to his toes. He screamed, "Is the music off?" I turned the tape over, and in eight to ten minutes the ribbon of pain eased and Aaron said, "I told them not to turn the music off. I have no pain as long as the music is on." Aaron's favorite METAMUSIC® for sleep was Sleeping Through the Rain. He turned to Inner Journey to feel closer oneness with God as he made his transition.
In the next year, whenever my colleague, Kat Carroll, and I were invited into a hospital to help people in pain, we took the same three METAMUSIC® tapes and the magic continued. The story of a five-year-old girl who had nearly drowned five weeks before our visit is a good example of "seeing is believing." As Kat and I discussed with the mother how we might assist, the nurse came in and aspirated the little girl's throat. Despite the fact that she was in a "waking coma," her eyes looked terrified. I asked the parents if we could play Cloudscapes to help her relax. After inserting the tape into a Walkman®, Kat and I continued to talk with the mother. Within ten minutes of starting Cloudscapes, the father yelled, "Oh my God, look!" We all turned to stare at the child in his lap. All of her muscles had been rigid and contracted. But now they had relaxed back to normal positions for the first time since the near drowning. The doctors and nurses came in to witness this "minor miracle" and were amazed when shortly after Cloudscapes ended the girl's muscles tightened up again. Cloudscapes was left with the parents and used during their daughter's physical therapy for a year.
These and many other events have persuaded me that music combined with Hemi-Sync is truly "Meta-music"--more than music. Much of my time in ensuing years has been devoted to exploring possible explanations of the powerful effects of METAMUSIC®.
To grasp the healing impact of music in general, we have only to look at the marvelous compilations gathered by Don Campbell--in particular, Music and Miracles, Music: Physician for Times to Come, and The Mozart Effect. The wealth of research referenced in these books covers the spectrum of music's influence on almost every aspect of the listener's body and mind. Don Campbell reports that "symptoms of arthritis and severe back pain diminish in response to drumming and toning" and that Alzheimer's patients recover memory and focus and autistic and dyslexic children make remarkable progress with the help of music. Campbell has seen a nearly paralyzed arm move on command through the power of tone and the voice. He affirms: "I know of teenagers with burns who are soothed by Michael Jackson's music. I have sung Amazing Grace in overtones to a comatose loved one and received a response. I have seen the crippled walk at evangelistic services that used prayer and song. Music and miracles--Yes!"[3. D. G. Campbell, Music and Miracles (Wheaton, Ill.: Quest Books, 1992).]
Music can be a powerful aid to healing. Nada Brahma: The World Is Sound and The Third Ear, by Joachim Ernst Berendt, PhD, increased my understanding. For anyone truly interested in using music for consciousness expansion or healing, these are the books to read! Berendt, a famous jazz theorist from Germany, had an epiphany and researched all the religions to find out how sound affected the brain and consciousness. Afterward he wrote Nada Brahma to spotlight the world musicians who were bringing through the "new music of transformation." His book became a cult classic within six months, has been translated into five languages, and is in its twentieth printing. Musicians and readers were so inspired by "The Temple in the Ear" chapter in Nada Brahma that Berendt expanded on the importance of the auditory nerve to healing in The Third Ear.
Those two books convinced me of the overwhelming importance of the auditory nerve to health. Berendt comments, "In reality, we and the Universe are vibration and the sound that comes into our brain stimulates not only the brain but also the entire immune system." The auditory nerve has three times more connections to the brain than vision does, as well as connections to the thymus gland and the immune system. It also has direct connections to every organ in the body, and the sound transmitted through the auditory nerve, particularly if it is synchronous, can heal the body.
To Bradford Weeks, MD, "The ear is the Rome of the body. As a student of gross anatomy I was struck by the fact that a large number of cranial nerves lead to the ear. . . . As if this wide scope of neurological involvement is not enough, the ear also has a fascinating tie into the tenth cranial nerve or the vagus nerve--the path of the wandering soul. The ear is the central switchboard for our sense of time and space and for going beyond to infinity." [5. D. G. Campbell, Music: Physician for Times to Come (Wheaton, Ill.: Quest Books, 1991).] As Canadian composer Murray Schafer has suggested, "With our eyes we are always at the edge of the world looking in but with our ears the world comes to us and we are always at the center of it."[6. Ibid., 74.]
Is it coincidental that the ear is formed exactly like an embryo, which is why it can be viewed as a microcosm for the entire body? Shiatsu teacher Watura Ohashi states, "It is logical that the ear should resemble an embryo because the embryo wants to hear." Alfred A. Tomatis, the great French ear specialist, says that the embryo starts to develop rudimentary ears within a few days of implantation when it is just 0.9 millimeters long. The cochlea is fully developed and has reached its ultimate size four and a half months into gestation. We continue to grow until seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen years of age, but the cochlea completes its growth before birth. Stimuli that enter through the auditory nerve are extraordinarily powerful, not only for our mentation but for our health. [7. J. E. Berendt, The Third Ear (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1998).] The investigations of Joachim Ernst Berendt and other researchers imply that the true purpose of our ears might be as "the organ of transcendence" and "the gateway to the soul."
In his excellent article, "The Body as Music," Larry Dossey, MD, eloquently addresses an even deeper level of music when he asks: "Why are we moved by music? One reason may be that the body itself is intrinsically musical, right down to the DNA that makes up our genes." [8. D. G. Campbell, Music and Miracles (Wheaton, Ill.: Quest Books, 1992).]
The idea that DNA and music might be connected originates with the work of Dr. Susumu Ohno, a geneticist at the Beckman Institute of the City of Hope Hospital in Duarte, California. Dr. Ohno has notated over fifteen songs based on the DNA of a variety of living organisms. He finds that "the more evolved an organism, the more complicated the music. The DNA of a single-cell protozoan for example, translates into a simple four-note repetition. But music transcribed from human DNA--such as the body's receptor site for insulin--is much more complex. Listeners knowledgeable about classical music hear similarities between these DNA-based compositions and the music of Bach, Brahms, Chopin, and other great composers. DNA melodies are majestic and inspiring. Many persons hearing them for the first time are moved to tears: they cannot believe that their bodies, which they believed to be mere collections of chemicals, contain such uplifting, inspiring harmonies--that they are musical." [9. Ibid., 55-56.]
Not only can one make music starting with DNA, "it is possible to do the reverse: one can start with great pieces of music, assign nucleotides to the notes, and end up with a particular type of DNA. When Dr. Ohno transcribed a Chopin piece into a chemical notation, sections of the resulting formula were the DNA of a human cancer gene. It seems that even cancers have their own music!" [10. Ibid.] Now if music affects us down to the DNA, I personally believe that each of our organs is singing its own song. We are healthy when our organs are singing in harmony, and we get sick when they are singing out of tune. From my own experiences it is clear to me that listening to METAMUSIC® helps the body "stay in tune."
Clearly, the impact of auditory nerve connections to the brain and the body and the implications of DNA music give us greater understanding of music's power. When Hemi-Sync is added to relaxing music, however, I believe that the synergy greatly augments that power. The synchronized flow of brain-wave frequencies across the corpus callosum and throughout the entire brain in response to neuronal stimulation by music and Hemi-Sync has a greater chance of stimulating the trophotropic state, the body's innate healing state.
My search for tapes to facilitate the trophotropic state was what actually led me to TMI in 1988 for the GATEWAY VOYAGE®. The trophotropic state is the opposite of the ergotropic state, which triggers the "fight or flight" response. Presently, we are too often in the ergotropic drive due to longer workdays and overstimulation. This lack of balance can lead to exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and illness. We need to correct this imbalance by creating more moments of trophotropic response. Researchers describe the function of the trophotropic system as the maintenance of "optimum internal balance of bodily functions for continued good health" as well as control of the somatic functions responsible for long-term well being.[11. "Healing, Peak Experiences, and the Ergotropic & Trophotropic Systems," The Laceweb-Healing Ourselves and the World, (accessed October 1, 2003).] It affects growth, longevity, and all vegetative functions. A key ingredient for triggering the trophotropic state is to lie down in a synchronized brain-wave state of alpha/theta for at least five to twenty minutes. This is exactly what occurs for most of us when we use METAMUSIC®. It can also occur with other Hemi-Sync tapes, but it is easier for many to stay synchronized when there is no verbal guidance. Music is the one single input that naturally promotes synchronization of the right and left hemispheres.
The results I've observed from using Hemi-Sync for healing support have kept me investigating the technology for fifteen years. HUMAN PLUS®, POSITIVE IMMUNITY and the SURGICAL SUPPORT SERIES are mainstays in my healing work, but I have been equally impressed with METAMUSIC®'s ability to bridge cultures, generations, and settings. People with AIDS and cancer crave METAMUSIC®, especially at nighttime, because sleep disruption is such a problem during serious illness. And METAMUSIC® is easy to use in hospital settings and with children.
METAMUSIC® is also a resource for people with insomnia and sleep disruptions. More than thirty million Americans suffer from insomnia and sleep disorders. "The state of the nation is drowsy," [12. Harriet Griffey, Sleep Well Tonight (New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1998).] sleep watchers say. One of the biggest losses to modern business is the sleep-deprived night-shift worker. I've heard it amounts to $17 billion per year. Roughly 40 percent of teenagers report sleep deficiencies. This is a definite problem for our schools, since poor sleepers report being less alert and significantly more depressed, tired, moody, and irritable. METAMUSIC® helps people to drift off to sleep more readily and get adequate rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is essential for good health. J. Allan Hobson, MD, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, calls deep REM sleep "super sleep,"[13. Allan J. Hobson, "Sleep and the Immune System," The Chemistry of Conscious States: How the Brain Changes Its Mind (New York: Little Brown & Co., 1994).] and it is during REM sleep that the immune-activating trophotropic response occurs.
Gari Carter's presentation at the 1991 Professional Seminar was stunning. [14. G. Carter, "Use of the Emergency Series during Multiple Surgeries," Hemi-Sync Journal 9 no. 3 (1991).] By using the EMERGENCY SERIES tapes (now the SURGICAL SUPPORT SERIES), Gari was able to cope with a series of surgeries for facial reconstruction with minimal or no anesthetic! Hemi-Sync supports detachment from pain signals and sensations. To assuage pain, I suggest METAMUSIC® selections such as Inner Journey, Sleeping Through the Rain, Transformation, The Journey Home, and Midsummer Night. Inner Journey, Winds Over the World, and The Journey Home should be avoided with children because they seem to go into deep altered states, which can be frightening. Sleeping Through the Rain, Midsummer Night, Cloudscapes, and Portraits are always safe. Steven Halpern, PhD, who composed the music for METAMUSIC® Deep Journeys, feels that each of us needs a minimum of thirty minutes a day in the alpha/theta brain-wave state [15. Steven Halpern, Brochure for tapes (1999).] (theta is 4-8 Hz and alpha is 8-13 Hz), and I concur that such a practice helps us to de-stress and stay healthier. The alpha/theta state is easily accessed with METAMUSIC®.
Now, I would like to shift to a slightly different style of METAMUSIC®. Remembrance, Einstein's Dream, Indigo for Quantum Focus, Seasons at Roberts Mountain, and Baroque Garden were designed to stimulate a coherent brain state that would enhance learning and peak performance. These selections were created to address attention deficit disorder (ADD) and other learning challenges, as well as for those who want to study smarter, not harder. This newer format of METAMUSIC® evolved from a pilot study conducted by Robert Sornson, PhD, [16. R. O. Sornson, "Using Binaural Beats to Enhance Attention," Hemi-Sync Journal 18 no. 4 (1999).] that showed an insufficiency of coordinated hemispheric brain-wave patterns in ADD sufferers, especially beta brain waves in the left hemisphere. Dr. Sornson, a director of special education services in Northville, Michigan, pointed out that research showed that those with ADD had difficulty maintaining the high levels of brain arousal associated with sustained alertness and focused attention. He discussed using Hemi-Sync with beta-harmonic sound patterns specifically designed to increase mental focus. For a more complete discussion of beta-deficiency I refer you to Dr. Daniel G. Amen's books, Windows into the A.D.D. Mind (1997) and Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (2000).
From listening to Bob Sornson, I conceived the idea of creating some superlearning music in combination with beta patterns. I hoped this would benefit my two teenagers who had both been diagnosed with ADD. During the following two years, Sornson and I collaborated with TMI on incorporating his theories. Remembrance-the first "designer METAMUSIC®," with music composed by J.S. Epperson-was launched in 1994. Regular use of Remembrance and four other Hemi-Sync tapes enabled my teenage son to outgrow his ADD and to avoid taking Ritalin®. He now maintains a B-plus average and is a senior in college.
Articles by Debra Davis, MA, [17. D. D. Davis, "Bridging the Communication Gap: Hemi-Sync in Nursing Homes," Hemi-Sync Journal] and Peter Spiro 18 no. 2 (1999). [18. P. Spiro, "Hemi-Sync and the Self-Reflective Lover," Hemi-Sync Journal 19 no. 4 (2001).] attest to the success of Remembrance. That success led to the creation of a second composition by Epperson in 1996, a modification of Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major, titled Einstein's Dream. Two additional selections with beta-harmonics were introduced in 2002--Indigo for Quantum Focus by J. S. Epperson and Seasons at Roberts Mountain by Scott Bucklin. Seasons recreates the Four Seasons by Vivaldi to take advantage of Baroque music's positive effect on superlearning states.
Because these four METAMUSIC® selections are embedded with a faster beta-harmonic, they are ideal for use during the day to increase mental energy, alertness, retention, and positive mood. The synergy of the superlearning, faster tempo musical format with the faster beta frequency patterns helps one to study longer and retain more. This style of METAMUSIC® is best used as a sonic background. These compositions facilitate the anchoring of information to a wider neuronal pathway in the cortex. Here are a few examples:
"I was diagnosed with ADD years ago. When I first heard of the benefits that came from listening to METAMUSIC®, I must say I was skeptical. But as I began listening to Remembrance I immediately noticed the difference. My breathing slowed to a steady rhythm. I relaxed naturally while staying completely alert. I was shocked to realize that I'd been studying for an hour without stopping. Listening to Remembrance enables me to pay complete attention to my studies now." -R. M., age nineteen.
Another person commented: "With only one day to study for the state insurance licensing exam, I thought it was hopeless. I'd never be able to remember a manual of 190 pages. Anyway, I decided to give it a shot. I began studying at 9:00 A.M. and by 1:00 P.M. was losing my ability to concentrate. I put Einstein's Dream into my continuous tape player and finished the book at 3:05 next morning. I passed with 86 percent, thanks to Einstein's Dream, which enabled me to maintain concentration for eighteen hours." (This is not recommended as a regular practice.)
A sixty-year-old man was studying to become a minister at the Dallas Theology Seminary. He was stymied by the challenge of learning both Greek and Hebrew. His mind just could not wrap itself around those languages, and he was about to have to give up his dream. A friend gave him Remembrance to see if it would help in the clutch. Within the next two months he mastered both languages with the aid of Remembrance. He passed with an A and is now pastor at Baylor Hospital.
For working with clients with ADD, dyslexia, or other learning challenges, I have found other Hemi-Sync CDs to be invaluable in combination with METAMUSIC®. These include HUMAN PLUS® Attention, Think Fast, Brain: Repairs & Maintenance, Buy the Numbers (for math) and MIND FOOD® Retain-Recall-Release. The Progressive Accelerated Learning student and executive albums are also helpful with students.
Music is truly a bridge to good health, and METAMUSIC® is a marriage between the innate power of music and the wonder of Hemi-Sync. Deepak Chopra, MD, states that "musicians have a responsibility to their society to fashion sounds that uplift its members and create heaven on earth. . . . Music spiritualizes its listeners and colors them with the Divine."[19. D. Chopra, "Music and Vibrational Healing," Yoga Journal, March/April 1993, 109.] It is our duty to humanity, according to Chopra, "to be as healthy as possible. Linked as we are as ripples on the vast cosmic ocean, the state of our individual health--whether physical, mental, or spiritual--affects everyone else. Each of us is, in effect, a 'wave' of sound that hums a tune through our lives." [20. Ibid.]
1. J. R. Greene, "Positive Immunity Pilot Program: Hemi-Sync and AIDS," Hemi-Sync Journal 9 no. 4 (1991).
2. B. Bullard and K. Carroll, "Walking the AIDS Circle: Healing Through Hemi-Sync," Hemi-Sync Journal 13 no.1 (1994).
3. D. G. Campbell, Music and Miracles (Wheaton, Ill.: Quest Books, 1992).
4. Ibid., 120.
5. D. G. Campbell, Music: Physician for Times to Come (Wheaton, Ill.: Quest Books, 1991).
6. Ibid., 74.
7. J. E. Berendt, The Third Ear (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1998).
8. D. G. Campbell, Music and Miracles (Wheaton, Ill.: Quest Books, 1992).
9. Ibid., 55-56. 9
11. "Healing, Peak Experiences, and the Ergotropic & Trophotropic Systems," The Laceweb-Healing Ourselves and the World, www.laceweb.org.au/hmb.htm#heal (accessed October 1, 2003).
12. Harriet Griffey, Sleep Well Tonight (New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1998).
13. Allan J. Hobson, "Sleep and the Immune System," The Chemistry of Conscious States: How the Brain Changes Its Mind (New York: Little Brown & Co., 1994).
14. G. Carter, "Use of the Emergency Series during Multiple Surgeries," Hemi-Sync Journal 9 no. 3 (1991).
15. Steven Halpern, Brochure for tapes (1999).
16. R. O. Sornson, "Using Binaural Beats to Enhance Attention," Hemi-Sync Journal 18 no. 4 (1999).
17. D. D. Davis, "Bridging the Communication Gap: Hemi-Sync in Nursing Homes," Hemi-Sync Journal 18 no. 2 (1999). 18. P. Spiro, "Hemi-Sync and the Self-Reflective Lover," Hemi-Sync Journal 19 no. 4 (2001).
19. D. Chopra, "Music and Vibrational Healing," Yoga Journal, March/April 1993, 109.
Barbara Bullard has been professor of speech at Orange Coast College for thirty-eight years. She has been nominated three times for Teacher of the Year at the college and received the NISOD Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Texas in 1994, 1999, and 2000. In 2000 and 2001 Barbara was a master presenter at the NISOD Conference, speaking on "Music and METAMUSIC in the Classroom." She was selected for Who's Who Among America's Teachers in 2002 and has been a Professional Member of The Monroe Institute since 1989. This article is based on her presentation at the 2002 Professional Seminar. You may e-mail Barbara at Brainsync@aol.com
Hemi-Sync® is a registered trademark of Interstate Industries, Inc.
© 2003 by The Monroe Institute
The road to a new METAMUSIC® product, Remembrance, began over eighteen years ago when I discovered the "suggestopaedia" techniques of Dr. George Lozanov (Superlearning, Ostrander and Schroeder, 1979). As a professor of Interpersonal Communications, any methods to help my students learn faster or better interest me. That's why, for over a decade, I've recommended background music as a key element to catalyze "superlearning." Chapters 3 through 7 of Communicating from the Inside Out, coauthored with Kat Carroll, MA, discuss using whole-brain learning techniques--affirmations, visualization, music, and breathing--for anchoring information to the widest possible combination of neural networks and thus increasing retention.
Reading about the Hemi-Sync technology of The Monroe Institute in spring, 1988, I was intrigued from the outset. My students ordered a variety of the Mind Food and H-Plus learning tapes. The rapid results were amazing. Attendance at a Gateway Voyage that summer led to a quantum leap in my personal growth and teaching style. Joining the Professional Division and attending the 1989 Professional Seminar familiarized me with the Hemi-Sync and the new METAMUSIC® products. METAMUSIC® and H-Plus became integral parts of my superlearning workshops. My students gave me feedback on Hemi-Sync's benefits and limitations. These are thoroughly addressed in Using the Whole Brain, edited by Ronald Russell. So I'll focus on why a new METAMUSIC® was desirable and its evolution.
Music easily anchors new information by widespread stimulation of neuronal pathways. It is the only outside stimulus which automatically synchronizes the two brain hemispheres. While the linear-sequential aspects, such as lyrics, beat, rhythm, and notation are being processed by the left hemisphere, the right hemisphere processes the holistic aspects, such as harmony, intonation, creativity, and the overall flow. However, music reaches far beyond the cerebral hemispheres. Brain imaging research has turned the spotlight on the "convergent zones" in the prefrontal lobes. Here the interconnectivity of the two hemispheres occurs and arouses the "executive" brain of coordinated thinking patterns. Simultaneously with side-to-side and front-to-back stimulation, a top-down process runs to the limbic brain, where our emotions are triggered. This emotional energy affects the immune system chemistry. The influence of music on brain and body is so pervasive that musicologist Dr. David Tame states: "To the question, 'Does music affect man's physical body?' modern research replies in the clear affirmative. There is scarcely a single function of the physical body that cannot be affected by musical tones" (The Secret Power of Music, 1984, p. 136). In his insightful book, Stalking the Wild Pendulum, Itzhak Bentov comments: "The universe is a vibrating, dancing organism. . . . In a word, both the universe as a whole and we in particular are not matter but music." Music's synergistic interaction with so many areas of the brain makes certain types of background music conducive to enhanced learning.
Dr. Oliver Sacks observes the pervasive influence of music in the article "Healing Vibrations" from The Yoga Journal, January/February 1994. "The ability of most Parkinson's patients to respond to music remains remarkably unimpaired. They may be unable to walk, but able to dance; unable to speak, but able to sing. Even just imagining music will do the trick. Rosalie apparently knows all of Chopin by heart. Sacks need only mention Opus 49 and her body, posture, and expression are transformed. The Parkinsonism seems to vanish, and even her EEG reverts to normal 'as the F-Minor Fantasie plays itself in her mind. . . .' Somehow, says Sacks, listening to music activates an 'internal natural music' that keeps all aspects of brain function working together" (p. 61).
Recent research from the University of California at Irvine adds further confirmation. Thirty-six college students listened to a Mozart sonata, a musical relaxation tape, and silence for fifteen- minute periods before taking three different IQ tests. The Mozart music variable produced an average IQ score of 119, compared to 111 for the relaxation tape and 110 for silence. Newsweek reporter Joshua Cooper Ramo questioned: "What is the magic of Mozart's flute? One theory is that the intricate musical structures resonate in the brain's dense web, lubricating the flow of neurons. Another is that the neural structure includes regular firing patterns that build along the surface of the brain like bridges. Mozart's musical structure evokes a sympathetic resonance from the brain the way one vibrating piano string can set another humming" (Newsweek, October 1993).
Many of us learned our ABCs and other concepts in elementary school by singing them and still remember those tunes. If you're driving along in a car and the first three beats of an "oldies" song plays on the radio, you remember the lyrics almost immediately. You may even recall your boy or girlfriend of that time and how you felt about them. It is an axiom: what goes in with music comes out with music. Research is making it ever clearer that music is a vital key to maintaining physical health and enhancing mental functioning. But it must be the right kind of music to facilitate learning and retention. Our new METAMUSIC® was designed with the intention of incorporating the newest findings from the fields of neuroscience and cognitive science.
Let's focus on that specific design and intent. Remembrance Metamusic has been especially crafted as a musical environment for quantum learning, peak performance, and the creative flow experience. A beta frequency is embedded to keep one alert and stimulated. Therefore, as a rule, the tape is not suitable for relaxation or meditation. To aid retention, the appropriate beta brain-wave frequencies were carefully chosen. The frequency on Side A, Concentration, is the same as that of Mind Food Concentration. The musical format replaces the "white noise" which may trigger an electromagnetic "buzz" that irritates and distracts most young listeners.
Side B, Attention, uses a faster beta frequency to assist a more rapid exchange of information between the hemispheres. Over the past several years, Professional Member Robert Sornson, EdS, and The Monroe Institute have investigated this frequency with individuals diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Recent findings point toward lack of a coordinated hemispheric brain-wave pattern in ADD. Bob is executive director of special education for Northville Public Schools and writes: "Generally, individuals with a diagnosed attention deficit demonstrate lower levels of glucose metabolism in the brain. It can be shown that these individuals generally use less oxygen across the cerebral cortex of the brain and produce brain-wave patterns that are somewhat slower than those of their peers in the general population. These facts add up to indicate that people with an attention deficit have difficulty maintaining high levels of brain arousal associated with sustained alertness and focused attention. Using an audio technology called Hemi-Sync, we have been exploring ways to enhance attention using sound patterns that are specifically designed to increase the level of alertness." Our joint preliminary investigations indicate that, although certain younger people prefer one side or the other of Remembrance, most adults cannot detect a difference. They can play it on auto-reverse as background as long as they need an alert focus.
The increased beta brain-wave entrainment underlying Remembrance Metamusic may also help with learning disabilities such as dyslexia and slow reading development. Both have, as an underlying cause, a disparity in timing between the two hemispheres. <em>The Brain-Mind Bulletin</em> of April 1990 noted: "While reading, most good readers have left-hemisphere readings in the beta range (around 13 hertz) and mid-range amplitude. Dyslexics, on the other hand, tend to have left hemisphere measurements in the alpha (roughly 10 hertz) and higher-than-average amplitudes, although some have unusually low amplitude. . . . The cerebellum of dyslexics has not yet 'learned' the coordination and timing involved in internal balance of the body." The Brain-Mind Bulletin for March 1991 highlighted research indicating that "the ability to switch rapidly between hemispheres may be hallmarks of higher intelligence. . . . Gifted children . . . have a profound 'switching' ability between hemispheres." Remembrance promotes this desirable rapid processing partnership for those with challenges and for the gifted among us.
The current generation of schoolchildren tends to be more impulsive, mentally restless, distractible and spontaneous. Rapid switches in stimuli from electronic media lead them to expect constant stimulation. The brain's software has been rewired by mass media bombardment. The average American child watches approximately 6,000 hours of television by age five and continues to spend more time watching TV than in school (Jane A. Healy in VIRGO, "Endangered Minds," 1990). Remembrance is suited to help this generation of students learn to focus, concentrate, anchor, and retain the essential information for reading, writing, and mathematics.
When addressing a learning problem, begin by studying with Remembrance on stereo headphones. If this is too distracting for some individuals, play it in the background. It will have a stereo effect in either case. Remembrance's tempo and rhythm match the faster heart rates of young listeners. Slower-paced music tends to slow the heart rate and bores them. Fortunately, the faster pace seems to coincide with an optimal heart rate for adults in the superlearning state. Five to ten times greater retention and recall is possible in line with superlearning parameters (Ostrander and Schroeder, Superlearning, 1979). Bell chime rhythms, crickets, and several other refrains are interspersed to assist in wider anchoring of information. The enchanting musical theme was composed with much love and talent by J. S. Epperson, a University of Southern California music major, with my guidance. A second superlearning METAMUSIC® centered around the Mozart selection cited in the UCI study is in progress.
The technology underlying Remembrance is founded on the genius of Robert Monroe and his thirty-year refinement of Hemi-Sync®. Both TMI audio engineer Mark Certo and Robert Sornson made crucial contributions to its design. We hope you'll enjoy this cooperative effort and keep us informed of the results as you use Remembrance.
Speech-language pathologist Suzanne Evans Morris, Ph.D., specializes in multi-sensory techniques to enrich the learning environment and the therapeutic setting. Her presentation at the 1989 Professional Seminar on using METAMUSIC® with autistic and learning-disabled children stimulated my own departure from "standard" superlearning modalities. Remembrance is dedicated to Suzanne's parents, David Le Count Evans and Mary Catherine Evans, who both died in the month before the 1993 professional meeting. Its title was given during a very profound laboratory PREP session.
Barbara Bullard has been a Professional Member of The Monroe Institute since 1989. She was selected for the 1986-87 edition of Who's Who of Scholars in American Community Colleges. In 1994 Barbara was nominated for Teacher of the Year at Orange Coast College where she has been a professor of speech for twenty-nine years and received the NISOD Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Texas. Professor Bullard is known for her innovative approach to teaching, communications, relationships, leadership, and healing. Her deep involvement with the Hemi-Sync sound technology and three decades of research, testing, and teaching about the impact of speech, sound, and music on the brain were the impetus for a three-year effort to create a superlearning METAMUSIC®.
Hemi-Sync® is a registered trademark of Interstate Industries, Inc.
© 1995 by The Monroe Institute
The theme of the 1997 Professional Seminar, Embracing Resonance, set the stage for considering the nature of our vibrating universe. Dr. Edgar Mitchell presented a model in which everything in the universe is energy manifesting itself through unique vibrational patterns. Vibration does indeed lie at the very core of our existence. Its principles are now being deciphered by modern physics, yet they were understood and utilized by the ancients.
The simplest definition of resonance is the universal striving of objects to vibrate at the same rate. One of the best examples is a tuning fork which--once struck and put near a similar tuning fork--will cause the second fork to vibrate at the same rate. Resonance is also the principle involved in the amplification and elongation of the sound/vibrations experienced when a guitar string is plucked and the wood of the hollow vibrates in tune with that string. We instinctively grasp the idea of resonance and demonstrate our understanding by using terms such as in sync or out of sync and getting good or bad vibes about a person or situation. The phenomenon of resonance, while seemingly easy to understand, still holds many mysteries within its entraining capabilities.
Robert Monroe, as musician, sound engineer, researcher, and originator of the Hemi-Sync® binaural beat technology, clearly understood the concepts of resonance and entrainment. The physics of resonant entrainment in relation to Hemi-Sync is further explained in The Hemi-Sync Process by F. Holmes Atwater. Robert Monroe also knew, intuitively and through research, the importance of sound, tone and tuning in the human body. For this reason he included Resonant Tuning as a preparatory process in most of the Hemi-Sync exercises. Although users of Hemi-Sync are familiar with this technique, they may not fully appreciate its importance. This process of tuning or toning , as it is sometimes called, is the focus of this paper.
Toning is the sounding of the human voice using sustained vowel sounds. Since ancient times toning and music have been used by all cultures and recognized as having a balancing, healing effect upon the human body. Music and chant have long been recognized as having the power to entrain the brain to frequencies that facilitate altered states of consciousness and give access to the well-being that can accompany such meditative states. Monks who ceased singing Gregorian chant in their monastery were observed to become ill and weakened until they resumed the practice. Recognition of this benefit may explain the recent phenomenon of Gregorian chant popularity. Respected psychic Edgar Cayce once predicted that sound would be the medicine of the future.
Don Campbell is a modern musician and music researcher who advocates the use of toning as a healing process. He has written and lectured extensively on the use of the voice as a healing tool. Campbell suggests the regular practice of sounding out all the vowels in a sustained, chant-like manner. It is through this practice that we become attuned to the particular sound frequencies that our body/mind system may need for balance at any given time. Unfortunately, we are so accustomed to professionally recorded music and song that we hesitate to use our less than perfect voices to sing out in this manner. Why else does it seem so comfortable to give voice to this inclination in the safety and privacy of the shower? One way to reclaim this healing process is to come out of the shower and make toning, singing and music a major part of daily routine.
The particular kind of music or vibrations that are beneficial at any given time may vary considerably among individuals. Debate continues over whether Mozart makes you smarter or if sixty beats per minute is optimal for learning. And much confusion has been generated by the labeling of music as new age or relaxing. Steve Halpern, a noted artist and researcher of the healing effects of music, speaks to that confusion when he says that Many people get turned off to the possibility of using music as an aid to relaxation if they have an unrewarding experience using the music that these so-called authorities suggest.
The Relaxation Company publishes a music series called The Acoustic Research Series performed by a variety of artists who have spent significant time researching the use of music in health and healing. The style, tempo and rhythms of these selections vary considerably and testify to the fact that what may be harmonious for one person may be discordant for another. This raises a question: do we need to like and enjoy the music or sounds for them to help us? I have made it a practice to use Eastern Indian music in conjunction with color imagery intended for energy center balancing whenever illness threatens. This music isn't enjoyable for me but the results are undeniable.
It has long been recognized that music and sound not only entrain our brainwaves but can alter our moods and emotions. The experiences, memories, and even the unconscious associations we make to certain sounds and music can affect the way we respond to it. One thing is certain: music and sound can and will have profound effects upon our body/mind system. Knowing how to use them most effectively is a valuable skill.
Some interesting research has been conducted on cardiac energy exchange in conjunction with the Institute of HeartMath. The electromagnetic field of the heart has been studied in healers. Findings indicate that as the field becomes more coherent the greater its capacity becomes to entrain ambient noise and thus to produce effects in biological tissue. It was noted that coherence increased with emotions of loving and caring and decreased with anger and frustration. This suggests that vibrational entrainment can take place even within the inaudible range of electromagnetic frequencies and that cardiac energy can be transmitted and received.
The research of Anna Wise also supports the likelihood of subtle energy entrainment. In mapping the brain states of individuals engaged in various activities she has demonstrated that a mother and a nursing child almost match in their brain wave patterns while a man and woman arguing display very dissimilar patterns. Wise also believes that the use of binaural beats and the entrainment of the brain to controlled frequencies can increase our creative potential and produce what she refers to as the awakened mind condition in which all levels of consciousness are accessible for creative thinking or problem solving.
As an educator, I am amazed at how little we use music in the classroom and how little we teach our children about the effects of music in their lives. If people are to embrace resonance for their well-being and development, opportunities to learn the techniques of toning and entrainment are essential at an early age. The use of these two words in conjunction is very interesting. If we are to "embrace resonance," we need to understand that it is resonance that embraces us in the sounds we hear and make. It is never too late to begin toning, tuning our bodies and minds to those sounds and frequencies that increase our well-being. Neither is it ever too late to find the music that helps us to heal, to relax, to be courageous or to love more intentionally.
Why not make METAMUSIC® an accompaniment for chores, relaxation or sleep? In addition to the Resonant Tuning in Hemi-Sync exercises, try to do independent toning during the day. One way to do this is to hum and sing with music that you prefer. For me, cello music is particularly easy to tone with because of the deep, elongated vibrations. The music of Pat Clemence (particularly Promises) lends itself to humming and toning. And there are many others to discover and enjoy. In the words of that great philosopher, Big Bird, "Music is as natural as the sun or rain. I would hate to imagine our world without it, for my heart is a song."
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Clemence, P. The Promise.
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McClellan, R. (1991). The Healing Forces of Music: History, Theory & Practice. Rockport, MA: Element, Inc.
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Robert T. Hayduk is a curriculum consultant for Warren Consolidated Schools in Warren, Michigan and has been a sustaining member of TMI since 1987 and a professional member since 1994. The concepts in this paper were the basis of an experiential session presented as an Open Forum at the 1997 Professional Seminar.
Hemi-Sync® is a registered trademark of Interstate Industries, Inc.
© 1997 by The Monroe Institute