Articles tagged with: Music Therapy

15 November 2016

Experiencing Gratitude - Walking, Kalimba, and Christmas Carols

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

This is the main technique I use to keep on the happy side of life

Experiencing Gratitude - Walking, Kalimba, and Christmas Carols

While I have not been diagnosed with clinical depression, I am prone to struggle with depression.   Or rather, I would struggle with depression, except that I have a powerful tool at my disposal that proves effective against depression.

Some days I wake up and tell myself I don't need my early morning walk, and on those days, I tend to take a nosedive around 9 or 10 AM.  By then, I realize that this is my wake-up call.  If I don't go out, walk, and play kalimba - for myself and for the world - then I will soon be sliding down that black hole.

As I was walking today at 9:30 - quite late for me, but in time to save the day - I was struck by a chord of gratitude for, through, and because of, my kalimba music.

04 November 2016

Panic Attacks and Kalimba Medicine

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

I was with someone while they had a panic attack - fortunately I had my kalimba

Panic Attacks and Kalimba Medicine

I was visiting with a friend the other day when, out of the blue, she started to have a panic attack.

I had something like a panic attack once - it was not a very enjoyable experience.  It seemed like the pressure of the entire world was pressing down on my heart and chest.

I have never been with someone else who was experiencing a panic attack, and I don't know much about them. While I immediately recognized that something was wrong, I didn't really have a clue.  Her breath became shallow and rapid, and a very concerned look came over her face.

Then came the words: "I'm having a panic attack."

07 October 2016

La Medicina Meets La Karimba

Written by Klara Wojtkowska, Posted in News and Announcements

Playing Karimba for Ayahuasca Ceremonies – PART 1

La Medicina Meets La Karimba

Learning to play the karimba and facilitating Ceremonies for the local Ayahuasca Church accompanied each other into my life. The karimba brightened my days during a particularly explicit flare-up of an old state of auto-immunity (see the blog post "Thumbing the Karimba at Chronic Pain"). The beads rattled like yapping puppy teeth, wanting to cuddle, and I was delighted. We made noise together. It was a good, wholesome, and healthy noise.

In contrast, the Ayahuasca Ceremonies held by the Church lasted all night, ended at dawn, and were conducted in silence. Under the influence of medicine that expands your senses like so many ear, eye, and nose trumpets, the crickets became cicadas calling to each other across valleys, and coyote howls became gaggles of young giants throwing boulders over cliffs in jest.

15 September 2016

Thumbing the Karimba at States of Inflammation

Written by Klara Wojtkowska, Posted in News and Announcements

What's a young professional musician to do when her body fails her?

An introduction from Mark:

High level musicians dedicate their body, their time, their soul, and years to their art. They are driven by the dreams of the greatness they have touched in their musical experiences, and they invest their very lives to this god of music. But what happens when their body fails them? When pain and debility make their work and ambitions look like one of God's great jokes?

Many musical instruments are quite physically demanding: guitar, upright bass, piano, and especially, the violin. But playing the kalimba, in contrast, can be quite gentle on the body, requiring mainly an easy motion of the thumbs.

I invite you to read Klara Wojtkowska's stirring and poetic piece about her journey through the pain of a debilitating autoimmune disease and on to the world of delight and comfort created by the sound and playing of karimba and mbira. It's a beautiful, inspiring trip!

Here is Klara's essay. I hope it moves you as much as it did me.

                                                                                - Mark

11 April 2016

How One Music Therapist Uses the Pentatonic Kalimba

Written by Mark Holdaway, Posted in News and Announcements

MT Lee Anna Rasar Specializes in the 6-Note Pentatonic

How One Music Therapist Uses the Pentatonic Kalimba

One of the best kalimbas to use in music therapy is also our least expensive kalimba - the 6-Note Catania Pentatonic kalimba. While there are a lot of spirituals and children's songs that can be played on the 6-Note Pentatonic, probably its best uses are improvisational in nature. You just pick it up, twiddle your thumbs, and music comes out!

Lee Anna Rasar is a professor in the Music Therapy department at University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. She has used the 6-Note pentatonic kalimba and other kalimbas extensively in music therapy. The following is from a letter that Lee Anna wrote to Kalimba Magic about a variety of her successes:

I have found the pentatonic kalimbas to be very useful in music therapy because they allow immediate access to people who do not read music and who may have difficulty understanding and reading adaptive notation systems or following cues. They are also useful with groups of adults and children to allow immediate performances together without first needing practice time.