How music brings people back to life

My colleague Aita Passmore alerted me to this beautiful video, which shows a nearly completely unresponsive old man in a nursing home coming back to himself when he hears music that he loved as a younger man. Watch through for his crooning rendition of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

Ilana Rubenfeld, the founder of our Method, started out as a Julliard-trained symphonic conductor – one of the only women in the field at the time. It was music – and the rigors of conducting – that brought her to Alexander Technique, then to therapy, and then to the entire world that led her to develop this modality. In her sessions, she still uses her music background to listen to the body’s messages; it is not for nothing that her book is called The Listening Hand, and that we Synergists work to develop listening hands ourselves. Music is the natural language of humans, and there seems to be nothing that goes so directly to our spirits and identities as music that we love.

Not every Synergist relates completely to this idea of the body’s music, or the idea of “listening” hands; some experience the work as more related to sight, or touch, or even smell. But it’s amazing to see from time to time the way music can so powerfully resonate – there’s a sound-related word for you! – with a human being we’d thought was lost to us.


Published by Kamela Dolinova

Expressive arts adventuress: writing, performing, healing, loving.

10 thoughts on “How music brings people back to life

  1. Love this line: “Music is the natural language of humans, and there seems to be nothing that goes so directly to our spirits and identities as music that we love.”!!

    Thanks for sharing, and for doing this incredibly powerful work.

  2. I reblogged this on my site; well sort of. There was a study last year which indicated that music acted like a drug to people who were receptive but I think most people including myself that were like that instinctively knew that was the case beforehand.

    1. Thanks for doing so, and for checking out my blog – I’ll be sure to take a look at yours!

      I’m encouraged to find how many things that the more artistic, empathic human types figure out on their own eventually are found to be true by the more scientific and empirical human types. 🙂

      1. For years Chinese and traditional medicine was seen as quackery and yet now the pharmaceutical companies are falling over themselves to research and patent these plant properties.

        1. Quite true. It’s such a delicate balance; Western medicine has brought us so much good and extended life in incredible ways. Yet the capitalistic model it depends on in so many places can cause such greed, and often isolating the “active” ingredient in a plant remedy can render it more harmful (see cocaine from coca leaves).

          I also think that there’s a lot of what I think of as the dangerous kind of skepticism around: skepticism that isn’t just doubting and critically thinking, but assumes that things don’t work just because they haven’t been tested and endlessly vetted by scientists and doctors. It’s cynicism and pessimism disguised as skepticism. This bespeaks a lack of openness to me, and I think it keeps things that could be healing for people out of their grasp.

          1. There is also the cynical aproach of not healing but managing in order to create a revenue stream. Free holidays and seminars in exotic locations for Doctors paid for by the drug companies. Medical boards that don’t seem to penalize errant doctors for mind boggling incompetance etc etc I think the Hippocratic Oath needs a rewrite.

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