Oyayi: Healing through music

Ime Morales
Music therapist Stephan Kuehne how music can help us live healthier lives

SILENCE IS CRUCIAL TO LISTENING. Stephan Kuehne plays the lyre, his favorite musical instrument. All photos by Ime Morales

MANILA, Philippines – When a doctor’s patient refuses to open up to him, he calls Stephan Kuehne.

Kuehne works his magic through music. He talks to the patient or, rather, lets his lyre talk to the patient. Then the patient, almost magically, opens his heart to cooperate with his physicians.

“Music has the capacity to open up the heart,” says Kuehne, a music therapist and educator from Germany. He works with individuals and groups to “awaken soul capacities for transformation through music.” Guided by the tenets of Rudolf Steiner, philosopher and founder of anthroposophy, Kuehne has touched thousands with his musical insights.

Watch Stephan Kuehne plays the lyre at the “Music for Kid” training in Kevalee International School, Bangkok:

He was in the country for a 3-day workshop called “Oyayi”, organized by Conscious Heart Creations. Apart from Kuehne, who handled the morning experiential sessions, local experts in the field of music facilitated the afternoon dialogue-workshop activities. On the first day, leading music therapist Marisa Marin talked about music therapy for children, Joey Ayala and Leo Castro of Sanghabi on Day 2 discussed indigenous music and healing, and long-time theater artists-singers-voice teachers Lionel and Cynthia Guico talked on voice therapy for adults on the last day.

On children

I was able to spend the first morning with the 34 “Oyayi” participants and Kuehne himself. It was mostly a series of activities and exercises, infused with his ideas on music, health, children and healing. Here are some of his insights.

Kuenhe says if you spoil your children, they will suffer in the future. It is important to find a middle way when dealing with kids. Also make time for play because playing means a lot to them.

“To understand children more,” Kuehne explains, “we have to discover both the male and female inside, because we have both.” Life, he says, will be easier that way.

Kuehne encourages us to “listen to the accident, because that is where the music comes from.” He even urges everyone to “try to make accidents.”

“Let it dance, learn, and grow,” Kuehne says, “Don’t be too preventive, don’t make yourself too small, don’t fear what might happen—let go.” This is specifically true for children, too: “Don’t prevent your children from having accidents.” It is where they will learn from, blossom, and be empowered.

On silence

Silence is crucial when listening, because one can listen well only in silence.

“So start listening, don’t hurry, just listen,” he says.

It is important to find time each day, probably in the morning when things are still and quiet, to sit down in silence. It was Claude Debussy who said that “Music is the space in between the notes.” It would not hurt to look at music from this perspective.

Speed and silence

Kuehne laments that most people today fail to look at nature because everyone is looking instead at their gadgets. There is music in nature as there is rhythm in nature. Again, he calls on people to slow down. “Slow is good for your life forces,” he explains.

The big cities in the world are too noisy, everything is moving too fast and people are assaulted daily with noise pollution, stress and chaos. The body tries to cope with these and ends up with heart problems (from things happening too fast), high blood pressure (from the noise), insomnia (too noisy liver), and more.

Silence and slowing down are two of Kuehne’s most important recommendations for people living in the modern world.

“Just follow the music, it’s already therapy.” –

Ime MoralesIme Morales is a freelance writer and the founder of the Freelance Writers’ Guild of the Philippines (FWGP) and Isang Bata, an independent organization that helps underprivileged Filipino children. Currently, she contributes articles to Rappler, GMA News Online, Moms Today, Health Today, Seafarer Asia Magazine, and CodeRED Magazine.

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