I recently had the pleasure of sharing about music as medicine, my mission with medicine music, and my upcoming album with the lovely Andrea Fischer, AKA “Fluter Scooter” in her magazine “The Flute View”, an online magazine for flutists. Because it is by subscription only I’ve copied and pasted the interview here so all could read it. 🙂
Here is the link to the online article: http://thefluteview.com/2018/03/music-as-medicine/
I had the opportunity to interview and chat with the fabulous Giselle Real a few (4!) years ago, and I’ve loved watching her transformation as both a musician and healer. I caught up with her again, as she is releasing her debut album of original medicine songs. –Fluterscooter
In the past couple years, after seeing the power that my original flute music has to heal, my thoughts and practices of music have shifted from the classical paradigm to something entirely different. Explain how this shift has happened for you.
I actually had always felt that music was healing some how and in high school when preparing for college I had seriously considered studying music therapy. I ended up going for performance and set that idea aside. It wasn’t until I started attending ceremonies that came from ancient, indigenous traditions that I first hand started to experience the depth of music and sound healing. I started to experience firsthand how the music being sung or played guided so much of my healing process during the ceremonies and moved a lot of stagnant energy within me finally bringing me to a state of love and well-being.
It wasn’t long before I found that I too had the ability to help guide other people’s healing journeys through sound and music. Once I started doing that work there was no turning back. I realized the power and opportunity of the platform that so many of us musicians/artists have to send a positive and impactful message while we have the ears and eyes of our audience and I don’t want to waste that opportunity. I’m committed now more than ever to spread the message of well-being, and earth consciousness, and love through my music wherever I am performing, and of course in my recordings.
Explain your work as a healer and with medicine. How did you get involved with healing?
Thank you for asking this question because it has really made me think about what it means to be a “healer’. I am quite careful about calling myself a “healer”. I believe that we are really all our own healers and we have people that can show up in our lives as a channel to remind us of our own ability to heal ourselves.
When I was first introduced to plant medicine I never could have imagined the radical impact it would have in my life in a way that empowered me more than ever, and reconnected me to my true self, and to my beautiful home that is this planet Earth, and my mission here in life. I know many readers don’t know what “plant medicine” is so I’ll briefly explain that when you hear people refer to “plant medicine” they’re usually talking about plants that have strong healing properties on not only a deep physical level, but also emotional, mental and spiritual level. We are told that our many of our ancestors have been working with these plants for healing and tool to reach enlightenment for hundreds, even thousands of years in what are known as traditional, indigenous ceremonies usually working with other elements such as fire, water, wind, and earth. The ceremonies are most often held in a community setting to help us all connect to each other more and see that we are all one and are reflections of each other, heal our traumas, and differences so we can be united and work together to create our best life and care for our planet for the future generations.
These plants helped me realize that my mission is to help inspire healing, love and well-being so we can be better humans, take better care of each other, our water, and our dear planet, and music is my best tool to do that. After some years of sitting in these ceremonies and doing my own personal healing work, I started to feel called to be of service and learn more about these ways, the traditions, the power of the chants, or “icaros”, and the instruments used. I began learning about the ritual and becoming a witness to all the transformation and healing, and then began helping to be a guide for others in their processes of healing. A lot of my service came in the form of music, but was definitely not limited to that and often entailed other types of service that supported people’s healing.
With the flute I began to witness the power this beautiful instrument has to take people into a transcendental state of meditation where they could release a lot of their fears, and pains and achieve a more peaceful and relaxed state that would more readily place them into a state of love and joy.
How do you see music as medicine?
Most people are already aware that music can be soothing or having a stimulating influence. When it comes to the healing properties it has a lot to do with vibration. We all know that sound is vibration, and so is music. It’s something that we all experience, especially as musicians. I believe a prime reason for why musicians choose to be musicians is because of the intense love vibration that was felt probably the first time they connected to music. This vibration is uplifting, healing, and inspires creative energy.
I’ve seen that music as medicine has demonstrated great effectiveness as a form of treatment for reducing depression, anxiety
This can be achieved with all kinds of instrumental music that is being played consciously with this intention of healing, but also with music that shares prosocial lyrics inspiring positive thinking, joy, empathy, self-expression, and helping behavior. All this in turn helping us be our best selves, and boosting our immune system. What an amazing medicine!
Now, more than ever, people need healing. How do you see your role, and other musicians/flutists’ roles in this?
I am in complete agreement with you that now more than ever people need deep healing. We are living in a world where people are walking around with broken hearts and lots of anger prompting a great deal of self-sabotage. We can see it most immediately not only in the state of their health (emotional, physical, and mental), but also in how many turn to violence on others and themselves to try to alleviate their pain. It’s incredibly sad.
As flutists and musicians, I believe we have a responsibility to use our gift and the platform to elevate human consciousness, and bring us back to the state of love. We need more love. People in these states of pain, suffering, fear, and anger need more love. We can be a channel for that. We can be a channel for that in how we deliver our music be it instrumental or music with lyrics.
And the flute…I think the flute is specifically great for healing because of the breath involved. How is the flute unique in this regard? Do you play other flutes?
The flute is amazing for healing without a doubt. It helps us flutists first hand by connecting us to our breath. Knowing how to connect with our breath helps us produce more oxygen, which helps our brains function better and keep anxiety/stress levels low, which helps us be in a better position to care for others.
As for the people that listen to flute music, and this can be any kind of flute, I believe the flute has the ability to transport you to a spiritual place of serenity. The flute in essence is one of the most primitive and ancient instruments having the ability to connect us to the vibrations of the earth, while taking us on journeys that are transcendental and out of body, and then grounding us back again.
I do play some Native American flutes. I love the ones with the drones. They’re so beautiful and fun to play and have a profound meditative impact.
You have a new album coming out. Explain what it’s about, and how it came into fruition. Links?
Yes! I’m beyond excited about the release of my debut album “Tribu”. It’s an album of original music known as “medicine music” fused with tribal rhythms, electronic textures, flute, other live instruments, and vocals where I’m using chants in varying languages that evoke healing. The music is intended to make people dance as it is electronic and groovy.
I’ve been creating this album with a very special producer/musician and DJ named Walker Barnard who is very much aligned in the mission of creating conscious medicine music for the electronic dance scene. We want to bring in high vibes, share earth consciousness, and inspire well-being. We have found through both of our deep experience in the night life music scene that people often are trying to escape their pain and problems and so they try to do that in these spaces under the influence of drugs and alcohol. What they seek truly is to feel connection. They want to feel love. We want to help them feel that and realize that it’s been inside of them all along and they don’t need to damage their bodies by using these harmful substances.
In our live performances at various festivals I have already begun to see how people are impacted by this music and the chants. It’s interesting that even when they don’t know what I’m saying because sometimes I’m singing in languages that they don’t understand and playing the flute where there are no lyrics to guide their emotions, the transmission comes through anyway, and they come to me and literally say “I don’t know what you were singing, but I felt so much peace and love in my heart and I thank you”. This is the reason why Walker and I decided to embark on this journey to create this album.
I also recently released a 4-track EP called “Tribal Waters”.
It is an EP dedicated to water and right now the proceeds earned from this EP are being donated to a project developing this Summer in Kenya, Africa bringing access to clean water to exceptionally poor communities through the installation of rain water tanks, filters, and toilets.
You can support this project purchasing the “Tribal Waters” EP by going to this link at Bandcamp:
Your live performances look really amazing, all over the world! And you’re singing! How do you put together the performances, choose the instrumentation, songs, etc…?
Thank you! I really enjoy performing and putting together the shows and truly creating an authentic ritualistic experience not only for the audience, but also and equally for my fellow musicians/artists and myself. It is true that I am singing, and to be honest I’m still getting used to doing that on that performance platform. I actually started my musical journey as a singer first since I was at least 4-5 years of age. I sang as a soloist in school concerts and in choirs and even participated in state-wide competitions and placed well up until the age of about 15 when I began getting too nervous with it and lost the joy. I put my singing aside and focused solely on the flute.
It wasn’t until I started sitting in ceremonies of plant medicine that I started receiving an awakening of my voice, and I really only began sharing it in ceremonial spaces as an offering. It was there that I deeply began to feel the power of the voice as not only healing for myself in my own self-expression, but also how it was healing for others and helping in guiding their healing experiences within the ceremonies.
Naturally this began to expand outside the ceremonial spaces, into recording studios, and then onto the stage. I was quite resistant initially to sing on stage as I no longer really saw myself as a real vocalist, and still don’t pretend to be, but the people are asking this of me…and so I’m following the call of my people and getting to a place where it feels home to sing all the time and offer my voice as a direct tool for conscious and loving communication.
I choose instrumentation that I feel fuses well with electronic textures having an earthy-tribal groove. I like my music to inspire dancing and feeling into the natural rhythm of the earth, or flowing like the ocean, so percussion and flute is always a strong base for me to tap into that, and I also like to use the guitar as it’s the best in supporting my vocals, and finally the bass which really drives the groove of the music. I also really enjoy exploring with more indigenous instruments from all over the world. It’s equally crucial that all the musicians I’m working with are conscious and aligned with the mission.
What inspires you to create?
I’m inspired by nature for sure. I’m inspired by water, the ocean, the sun, the moon, all the beauty of the earth and what we can see from earth. Maybe it sounds cheesy (lol), but it’s true. I’m inspired by the elements and when I connect deeply with these elements I just get this profound sense of belonging and knowing that we are here to be guardians of the earth and to be love and I feel inspired to share that and remind my fellow humans of our human-ness so we can be the best version of ourselves and do our part to take care of each other and our Mother Earth, and the best way I know how to do that is through music and production.
I know you also do yoga. What other practices do you do to stay centered and present? And self-care…that’s important too. Any advice?
Self-care is extremely important to me and it should be to everyone. I can say so much about this, but I’ll try to keep it short and concise, key word being “try” lol.
Most of my self-care practice I do in the morning first thing. I find that if I begin my day by honoring myself and taking care of my mind and body I am more grounded, centered, relaxed, and energized to tackle whatever I have going on in the day. If I don’t get it done in the morning the chances of me being able to do any of it later are very slim.
Yes. I LOVE YOGA, and practice daily. Of course, like any other human being I have moments that I fall off my disciplined ritual, but for the most part I do practice yoga everyday even if it’s only a short practice of 15-25 minutes. I travel a great deal and I love that I can practice yoga wherever I am.
Besides beginning my day with yoga, I actually ALWAYS begin my day first by drinking a tall glass of water (or 2 glasses) and take that moment to meditate and give gratitude to the water I’m drinking.
I’ve been learning a lot about the importance of water in our lives.
There’s been a significant amount of research done bringing consciousness to the fact that water contains memory and how we treat water affects our overall health as we are made up mostly of water. So knowing this, I give thanks for having clean water to drink everyday, and I drink a good glass to purify my body before I drink/eat anything else. On the practical sense it’s also just super healthy to begin your day like this too. Sometimes I like to add lemon to it or a little bit or raw, organic apple cider vinegar to keep my PH levels balanced.
I try to also meditate daily as well. Sometimes it is as short as 7 minutes and other times can be as long as 45 minutes. The key for me is to be consistent.
4.) Saying No.
So important to learn where your boundaries are and feel good about saying NO. This was a big one for me in learning how to have better self-care. Not saying yes to everything and spreading myself thin. I’ve learned how empowering it can be to say NO.
5.) Sleep and diet.
Big part of how well I feel and function has to do with the quality of sleep I’m getting and how well I’m eating. So important to get enough sleep (however many hours that may be for each individual) so that I can stay healthy. With all my travels I have to compensate with other things at times because I can’t always get as much sleep as I want/need. I also find that when I’m eating to much junk food it puts my body under more stress trying to break it down so I try to keep a very healthy lifestyle and diet with little to no alcohol and as many greens as possible. And keep the pizza and french fries to a minimum. 😉