I have listened to, composed and performed music my entire adult life. In past 18 months, however, music has become even more important to me. I lost two people to whom I was close, people who meant a lot to me. Music has helped me channel my feelings of loss into something positive and productive.

In the field of Music Therapy, credentialed professional therapists use music to help patients alleviate pain, manage stress, promote healing or motivate participation in physical therapy. In addition to these clinical applications, though, music is being used every day to help people like you and me to cope with loss and grief due to illness and death.

Here are seven ways I have directly experienced the positive power of music:

1. Relief from anxiety and pain. Music is is a powerful way to distract the mind and reduce physical pain. My mother had a stroke which rendered her mute and from which she never recovered. I saw how music helped to calm her during her MRI. I also found that having classical music or jazz on in the background in her hospital room was calming and made it much homier for both patients and visitors.

2. Listening to music in order to explore and release emotions. Intense emotions associated with grief and loss can be very difficult to access. Listening to music with lyrics that hold special meaning in a time of change, such as when undergoing surgery or dealing with the loss of a loved one, can provide cathartic release. As I held my dying mother's hand in Hospice, I sang songs to her from my childhood that held meaning for our family. Even though her stroke had rendered her mute, I believe she heard me. It was helpful to me, as well, to literally "give voice" to my feelings of love and grief in the moment.

3. Creating music in order to explore and release powerful emotions. , a teenage with terminal cancer, showed us on this website how creating music like his viral single, "Clouds", can leave a powerful legacy. After a friend of mine died last year, music seemed to flow from me, one song after another, allowing me to access emotions I could not express any other way. I was fortunate to then be able to record as well as ultimately to perform one of these songs live for my friend's mother. This was a profound experience for both of us.

4. Using music to increase memory and social interaction in the elderly. Social worker Dan Cohen teamed up with renowned neuroscientist Oliver Sacks to investigate the way music functions inside the brain, and the documentary film made about his efforts,Alive Inside, showcases this amazing phenomenon. The Music and Memory Project is a non-profit that puts used iPods in the hands of seniors with Alzheimer's to help them recover some of their ability to interact with the outside world.

5. Musical collaboration. The process of writing a song or piece of music is an emotional act that requires vulnerability and openness. Creating music brings people together who might otherwise not have known each other, and it can create deep and lasting relationship. Platforms such as Indaba and Soundcloud facilitate online collaboration between professional and amateur musicians who may not even reside in the same country. My own experience is that having a musical community of collaborators decreases isolation in times of loss.

6. Bringing the concert experience to young patients. The Melodic Caring Project is a non-profit based here in my hometown of Seattle that broadcasts live music concerts to children and teens who are hospital patients. What's special about these shows is that even though most of these concerts have live audiences with the artists in the performance space as well, the show really is focused toward the hospitalized kids. The artists give shout outs to the patients during the show, and the videographer films the audience as well as the musicians, which brings both audiences together in a shared experience.

7. Commemoration and fund raising. Writing and performing a special musical piece to commemorate or to help raise money for an individual or family affected by loss is a way to channel creativity into concrete and useful action. I know many musicians who have contributed music, whether to a memorial service or to help raise awareness and funds for a cause.

These are just a few ways in which music can have a often positive, productive and transformative effect in times of change and loss. Have you had any positive experiences with music in difficult and emotional situations?

Solveig Whittle is the lead vocalist and lyricist of the duo Solveig & Stevie, whose other member is studio musician and producer, Stevie Adamek.  Solveig and Stevie bring an easy pop/folk feel to an eclectic sound that conjures the power pop of the 80s with its female lead vocals, pleasing harmonies and melodic bass lines.  The duo teamed up and started writing together in 2010, and recently released their latest EP Zombie Lover on September 1st.
Download the Zombie Lover EP for free here.

Sunday Thought For The Day

by Lance Ekum on September 22, 2013 · 1 comment


"Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light" ~ Yogi Bhajan

Good Morning Me I Love You

by Guest Author on September 10, 2013 · 4 comments


The sound of the chirping crickets digitally programmed into my iPhone wakes me daily at 5:45am. It's a tough time of day to like anything or to chirp a chipper reply to my alarm but lately I've been working on a new muscle. I'm calling it the GOOD morning muscle.

The job of my GOOD morning muscle is to immediately with a gentle kiss HUSH the cranky chatter that can so easily pop into my head. It says, 'Good morning Jody, I love you. Thank you bed. Hello day.' I'm noticing as I give this muscle practice daily it is becoming stronger and is even now the one to wake me and send me on my way.

What a difference it makes to the way my morning can unfold. A grouchy old lion roaring with discomfort and dis-ease can get a day started but doesn't quite give it the right recipe of hope, possibility and opportunities for success. The pile of emails and social media notifications perky and waiting to be seen becomes a task of annoyance and all the jobs to accomplish are each read with a crotchety tone grating on my nerves as first decided with the lion's waking growl.

My GOOD morning muscle though quickly hushes the lion and says 'Wait please, we've got this.' And I test the joints of my aging body with a deep breath of morning air, and shuffle to the bathroom mirror where today's first yet simple action awaits.

With a soft gaze, both by choice and because last night's sleep is still hazing my vision, keeping the lights dimmed low, I will look at my bed ridden reflection beyond the new lines that are etching their way into my face, my hair that is tousled in the not so sexy way, the bags under my eyes (usually a sign of my liver doing it's best to process the choices I made the day before), and I will smile.

The woman who is looking back at me smiles in return and I say to her, 'Good morning jody, I love you.'

When I started this morning practice, a voice would pop into my head and laugh at me with a tight guffaw. 'You're talking to yourself in the mirror. Who do you think you are to love yourself? How egotistical of you.'

and the negotiating would begin,

'It's not ego, it's self. This isn't saying 'I'm better than everybody else, I'm so awesome, look at me, I'm the best.' This is saying I love you Jody. Because I deserve to be loved. I am allowed to love myself because it will make me a better mother, wife, daughter, friend, person, and a better me. I will have more to give to those in my life and beyond my life if I have more love to give to myself. My well will be rich with love so that I may smile more and give more and be more, not only for myself but for others. You can't give what you haven't got.'

'Ya, ya,' the voice would reply, 'you're still talking silliness to yourself in the mirror… but whatever, what harm can it do?'

And so it would go and it continued on this way for quite some time.

Eventually the negotiating was quieted, stilled even, and I could say 'I love you jody' with no problem. Sure I'm a confident woman and even when I'm not, I still step up to the plate to face my fears and be the best I can. Imagine my surprise when already I was feeling quite calm and cool about the morning conversations with my reflection, when all of a sudden I heard it.

I heard myself say I love you to me. I didn't just hear the words, I heard the words. Truly heard them. I felt as though somebody I trusted had stopped what they were doing to say those 3 simple words.

I. Love. You.

I didn't realize there was something beyond saying it, but of course there was. I had yet to listen, I had yet to HEAR it.

It hurt a bit. There was some shock and again, some hurt. It seems there are some cracks and fissures in my heart that have piled up over time which sit comfortably in the dark quite content with no need for attention. But this shone some light into the area. A gentle blast of light into a trusted place of painful comfort. Of course it hurt a bit.

For the next run of days intrigued by the discomfort I continued on.

I've spent so many years having justified, processed and come to terms with so many of the hurts of my living that I didn't realize that there was a possibility of healing beyond 'coming to terms'. An acceptance and mending leading to new trust and faith in others and myself. Knowing that if others let me down, I am still there to catch my own heart and that I will be okay. That I AM okay.

And then finally one morning upon hearing those simple words, I smiled. Truly smiled. I felt a little giddy even. 'I love you Jody.'

'I love you too.' I replied.

So many aspects of my life are changing just from this little repeated daily action. When I walk into a room of strangers, or onto a playground of fellow parents, I'm okay. Anxiety attacks from just a few years ago don't even whisper a threat. When I email my music to somebody in a position of power in the music industry or play my piano and rehearse while my husband sits nearby and plays video games, the voice that would say 'You're not good enough, don't be daft', or 'Don't interrupt the silence with your sound you'll just annoy people', well that voice barely creeps up these days and when it does my GOOD morning muscle is there to quickly turn into a GOOD day muscle or a GOOD moment muscle and say 'I love you Jody, you can do this. You can do anything your heart desires. You've got this. I love you.'

5:45am is still early for this lioness but these days my GOOD morning muscle is the one to wake me with a kiss and a smile. 'Good morning jody, I love you, thank you bed, thank you sleep, let's go take a look at who we wish to be today and give her some love. It's going to be a GOOD day.'

Please give yourself a 30 day challenge of looking in the mirror first thing every morning and saying I Love You to yourself. Notice the changes in your everyday life and how each day gets going.

Keep in mind that any light in dark spaces will be uncomfortable at first but you are so worth it. You are loving and you are loveable.


Jody Quine is a recording artist with a new EP called Seven recently released on all digital providers including her new single called, 'Come Back Home'. 

View Jody Quine online.

Connect with her on Facebook.