Christine answers questions about Musical Pathways

What is Musical Pathways?
Musical Pathways is a non profit organization dedicated to the healing power of music. It's goal is to provide a space where music can be used to heal and grow. It is for anyone, trained or untrained in music

How did you come to create Musical Pathways?
Being a professional musician led me to spend hours practicing the same notes and looking for ways to improve my technique and ability in order to play at my best. The mechanical, repetitive, work was certainly necessary but I found that it was only part of what I needed in order to create a true, magical,
moment of music. Something else was required to move my audience, and it was not in how many notes I played, but rather in how I played them. It became clear that, if I wanted to continue improving, I needed to keep practicing my musical instrument but I also needed to practice my own self as the primary instrument Guided by my realization I sought teachers and guides and started to find leads into my own maze. A turning point was when I was introduced to Volker Deutsch, a music therapist who had been trained by Karlfried Graf Dürkheim in Germany and was a guest teacher at the Jung Institute of Zurich, Switzerland. His deeply human and spiritual approach to music therapy felt so right, so "in tune" with my intuitive conviction, that I lost sleep for a few nights and seized the next opportunity to train in his Institute. Once I completed the training I wanted to pass on the wonderful things I learned and created Musical Pathways to do so.

You mention the spiritual aspect of this approach, can you tell us more about it?
The spiritual element of music, and of the healing process, is essential to Musical Pathways. I see this spiritual element as the force that moves us beyond our limitations towards bliss. It is the force behind those unique and unforgettable moments we all experience at some point in our lives, often triggered by love, art, or as an unexpected blessing. I can't think of a better goal in life than exercising access to that enlightening and exhilarating force and music is a powerful tool toward that goal.

How would you describe the healing opportunity Musical Pathways offers?
In a way we all are orchestra players, all striving to tune and play together to the best of our ability. The players in this orchestra are of course the people around us but they represent also the different parts within us. Discomfort, dis-ease, happens when those inner parts are not on the same pitch, or are simply not playing the same piece. The "music" that comes out then is discordant and makes us want to run out of ourselves screaming. The opportunity that Musical Pathways offers is to develop our ability to listen and tune those different parts within us so that they can play together in harmony and give us a chance to perform life at our best.

Can you describe how the sessions go?
We always start with silence and active listening to the sounds around us. In doing so, we step into a world of "feeling" rather than thinking. We then move into the improvised music. Let's say that you are feeling blank, or tired and empty. You might think that you don't have any musical skills anyway and "what in the world am I doing here?!" What is interesting at this point is to imagine the sound that this emotion has, instead of staying silent and frustrated. If you are exhausted and empty, your sound of the moment might be simple sighs, or maybe you want to gently rub the skin of a drum, or caress the strings of a guitar. As you hear the sound of your feeling it becomes more present and alive. In a way, you have "highlighted" who you are at that very moment, which gives you a much greater control over your emotion. The only "wrong" sound you can ever make in this work is one that doesn't reflect what you are at the moment. For example, if I feel inadequate and I try hard to look like I know what I am doing, the musical energy will not happen in me, and probably not in the group. On the contrary, if I find a sound that reflects my shyness (or discouragement, feeling of inadequacy), as tiny, as simple as this sound might be, I will invite the music and engage everybody else in the room. It NEVER fails! That is why this approach doesn't have anything to do with how trained in music the participants are. What makes the music happen here is your daring to be who you are in the moment, absolutely effortlessly. It is not the type of emotion that triggers the music but your capacity to express that emotion, no matter what it is. With such honesty we meet each other at a very deep level, which is another wonderful aspect of this work.

I can say that those sessions have brought moments of music that were as unforgettable as the best concerts I ever attended. Even though the players were not necessarily trained in music they made bliss by being simply who they were at that moment. Now, as much as I can talk about it, it will never be the same as experiencing it. So, come and experience your inner musician!