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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My interview with Steven Halpern: the origins of his relaxation music and what it offers the actor

Steven Halpern started recording music for relaxation and meditation in 1975. He has released over 80 albums. Much of his music is available on CD and at iTunes. His music is relevant for any actor who experiences anxiety or fear in their auditioning or in their work.  Some of his recordings are, "Effortless Relaxation," "Deep Theta," "Sleep Soundly," and "Music for Sound Healing." 
There is so much of what Steven talks about that speaks to the needs of actors who want to attend to their instruments. He was a pioneer in the "New Age" movement and his words reflect the beneficial energy that is available to any who wish to find it. Steven is also like a walking encyclopedia of books designed to bring healing and growth into your life. Talking to him was a window into a whole world, a whole professional creative approach that's worthy of the actor's attention. 


Corey: You were an undergrad at University of Buffalo in its heyday, 1965-69. You studied and performed with world class poets, as well as jazz greats Ron Carter and Archie Shepp. The music you played back then on trumpet was in the high energy, spiritually centered style pioneered by John Coltrane. How did you evolve from that kind of music to the meditative music you are best known for?

Steven: Corey, I like to trace my evolution going back to my days in Buffalo because the professors and the mentors that I had a chance to hang out with and study with harkened their tradition back to Ancient Greece, where the artists and the musicians would tune in to their Muse; and that getting in touch with one’s Muse, finding one’s voice, one’s tone as a musician, finding one’s voice and rhythm as a poet, were how I was really brought into the work of an artist. 

And that’s been in the background of all my work over the years. Well, almost on this date in 1965, my first month at the University of Buffalo, I was enjoying a jam session with some of the faculty members, playing John Coltrane-type music with a Sax player who sounded like John Coltrane, and as was my habit, I was walking around with my trumpet in my trumpet case. 

I was invited, called out of the audience to sit in, and I started playing some of the fancy licks and riffs that I knew and then all of a sudden, the trumpet started playing itself. In other words, there was no longer me having to think about playing or setting my omberture, it was an entirely spontaneous, effortless experience. 

Well, that experience opened me up to a whole other realm of studies and activities through college. And when I got out to California, right before I was scheduled to hop a return flight back to graduate school in Buffalo, I had an experience sitting and meditating in a grove of Redwoods outside of Santa Cruz, California, in which I started hearing different music, beautiful slow meditative music that sounds like what I recorded on my first album "Chakra Suite." But at this point I’m in the middle of the woods, I had just been invited to audition for a job; I walked down the road toward where I believed the audition was to be held for a job on the staff of a sister organization, akin to Esalen institute (which was the leading and the pioneering human potential center in Big Sur.) 

Through a series of coincidences I showed up when the person who was applying for a staff position didn’t show up, I was mistaken for the job applicant, and when they said, “Are you here for the job?”  I said, “Well, if you’re offering, I’ll take it.”  And this is still…I’m in the moment, totally realizing that this is like being in a movie or a play but it’s happening in real life. 

I go to where I thought the meeting was, there’s nobody in the room, no one on the building, but there’s a piano. I sit down at the piano, go into an instant meditation state, and start playing the music that sounds like what I heard in the woods. 

About 10 minutes later, I hear some rustling in the room. There’s ten people sitting in yoga positions, lying down, and meditating, and one of them says, “Who is this guy?” And someone else says, “Oh that’s the guy I said was applying for the job.” And someone else says, “Hire him!” And quickly my life changed, and I’m offered a position on staff at this…pretty much a weekend retreat center, where my main job was cleaning and also that I had to cook Friday night dinner. 

So, coming from New York, I kind of felt I was channeling Ron Silver (actor, former mentor at U. of Buffalo) when they said, “Can you cook for thirty people?” I had never cooked for more than three, but I knew a couple of techniques and I said, “Sure!” and I passed the audition the next day and I was hired.

 That’s when I started really understanding that I was playing music and I was not even aware of what I was doing; in other words, the music was playing through me but that again goes back to what the poets and the jazz musicians talked about, where the words would write themselves, and playwrights would talk about the characters would speak through them when they’re writing their plays, writing their movies. 

Well, in music it’s a similar situation, in the field of Metaphysics, this is often called ‘automatic writing,’ for me it was automatic playing. But whatever the word is, it’s where the conscious mind gets out of the way and you’re just dealing with direct energy, and it’s probably a whole other blog post to discuss where it’s coming from.

But the reality is I was trained as a very left-brain, analytical musician. If you played a phrase, I could tell you what notes you were playing and how that related to the chords and the progressions. Suddenly, none of that mattered. I was tapping into the quantum field in the space between the notes. It’s what Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer were talking about as “the field of infinite potential, infinite possibility.”  I was no longer directing the show. I was in the flow, and in that state. That’s how that transition really started happening. 

Within a month, one of the faculty, who was teaching a weekend at Bridge Mountain Foundation and at Esalen with Dr. Stanley Krippner. The week before was Dr. John Lilly who worked with Dolphins. And the staff told these guys, “You have to listen to this guy’s music.” 

And they said, ‘yes it sounds wonderful, I see people meditating, but that’s subjective data. If you want to be taken seriously, Mr. Halpern, you have to do some scientific research to get objective data.’ And for me, I had just canceled my graduate fellowship and I had been telling people, ‘You’ll never catch me back in Grad school again!’


Suddenly, I had an invitation to attend Grad school at the Humanistic Psychology Institute up in Sonoma State, California, that had one of the leading biofeedback centers in the country at that point. That’s when I started being able to do research in brainwave response to certain kinds of music. 

And then in my research project, going beyond brain wave biofeedback, beyond GSR and physiological biofeedback, into working with the Aura, the electro-magnetic energy field that surrounds us. 

One of my other faculty sponsors happened to be the guy that was in Russia at the first international congress on Kirlian photography. And when I met him he says, ‘Forget about brainwave research, we got something that’s better than that. 

And I was connected with one of only two people in the country that even had the schematic to make that piece of equipment. So I was at the leading edge of research on Kirlian photography. No one had even thought about researching the effects of music on consciousness, on healing energies. That was the upside.  

The downside was because it was so far ahead of its time, most of the media would not cover it. The whole concept of energy fields, which is now well known, it’s the basis of acupuncture, and so many know about the reality of electromagnetic energy fields-beyond just the physical skin-in our bodies. 

That’s one of the reasons why even though I got national exposure to a certain degree, major media either did not believe in this or was funded by pharmaceutical advertisements, did not want this information out there.

 And since I wasn’t promoting Mozart or some of the classical composers that were, in some cases like Mozart state sponsored in Austria, I was promoting a new form of healing music, already starting to be called, ‘New Age music,’ and there were so many political and religious overtones to it, and there was the whole cultural apathy and antagonism to anything that was labeled, “New Age.”

This meant that I was limited at how far I could bring the message of: A) the power of music to make very powerful contributions to an individual’s life, and B) because I was the main proponent in the beginning, the main composer, I ran into, ‘Well, you’re just promoting your own work.’ Well, that was true, but in so doing, I was educating people about the entire field of ‘Sound Healing.’ 

Corey: It sounds like you were so far ahead of your time, it may not have moved as quickly as you wanted but it was moving, just slowly. 

Steven: Exactly. 


Corey: How do you prepare for your work?

SH: Well, One of the things that I learned from hanging out with the poets and jazz musicians back in my formative years in Buffalo, was that, kind of the aphorism: “Physician, Heal Thyself.” And my take on that was, ‘Musician, Compose Thyself.’ 

So one of the ways we learned to get in touch with ourselves and just to come into center and into balance was through meditation. Meditation was always involved in orchestrating the breath, shifting into a deeper breath pattern, shifting into more sustained and prolonged breathing, deeper and more regular. 

But then I would also connect with some affirmations. When I go into the studio, I set the intention for bringing through music that will be of service to the highest good of the listener, that would be a positive contribution to their life, that would help them enter into states of relaxation, that would support their own innate intelligence for self healing and that would get them into the positive altered states of meditation and spirituality.

Going back in the ‘70s, ‘meditation’ and ‘spirituality’ for the general public were still kind of dangerous terms. If you used those terms, pretty much you’d be blacklisted and that would be the end of the interview, the end of the article, etc. 

So I shifted to speak more about the relaxation effects of the music rather than the consciousness effects of the music, but they were all related. As I prepare, in fact the first year that I was recording, I would book an extra hour at the beginning of my session, where I’d light a candle and I would meditate in the studio in that incredible anechoic chamber, it was the most silence you could hear outside of being inside the Great Pyramid [where he recorded in 1981]. And for me that would just get me into the zone.


Corey: Would you talk about the recording and how they can be of service to actors?

Steven: There’s the obvious effect that music that gets you into a balanced brain state activates areas of your mind and brain that you can then call upon more easily and access those deeper states. 

When you’re studying a script it’s very helpful to have whole brain rather than half-brain while learning the words, but also in terms of getting in touch with the creativity that connects you to the essence of the character that you are portraying. 

When you get into a state of, let’s say deep alpha, where the brain is resonating at 8 cycles per second, literally that will help your brain entrain to the dominant energy field, the dominant energy field of the planet. So you’re tapping into a much larger power source. So if you look for, as I always look for, as an ex- New Yorker, Type A individual, when I want my relaxation I don’t want to wait 20 minutes, I want it now! 

And my music provides instantaneous gratification that gets you into the Relaxation Response, a mode that shifts your brain waves into a higher coherence aspect, where you bring more of your self to what you’re studying, or wanting to emote, and then for tapping into deeper levels of creativity. 

My last several albums, in fact, that were called “Deep Alpha,” and “Deep Theta,” and Theta takes you deeper into the slower brainwaves that are heralded as the brainwaves where your brain cycles between 4 and 7 cycles per second, and in those states, you can tap deeper levels of your own being. 

I know many actors have to do multiple takes and you want to have more creativity available to you. If you have become more familiar with being in a deep Theta brainwave state, you can access that state, shift into it more easily. When you listen to an album like “Deep Theta,” there’s no question that the music will take you there, because built into the music are what we call "brainwave entrainment tones" that literally guide your brain into matching those frequencies. 

In fact, I was listening to the basic soundtrack when I recorded “Deep Theta,” and that was the recording session where I had some of the most amazing and creative breakthroughs of my career.  So I am the first person in my audience and I swear by this, it has informed all my recordings since. 

My recordings were designed and composed with specific outcomes in mind, but then at a certain point, when I’m in the studio, I’m not thinking about that. I’m just there at the piano and I wait for inspiration to come through and that’s really what we’re talking about. How do we get our human instrument, the instrument that any actor is working with, in tune to be played, so you have all your tools in command and this is a very empowering situation. 

Corey: For me, personally, I can say that one of the ways that your music has been of service, and I think I mentioned this to you, is that actors have to constantly go through this process of auditioning, which may include potential rejection, and it’s a consistent and continual process that goes on and anxiety can start to become an issue. I’ve used your music for years, it has helped to soothe and calm the anxiety and return me back to my essence, to my creativity and that’s something that’s been consistent help for me for many years. 

Steven: Exactly. And that’s really what we’re talking about. And there’s a concept of remembered wellness.  One of the great pioneers in the field was Dr. Herbert Benson, he wrote the book, “The Relaxation Response.” But when you are able to access those states with the music, then even if you don’t have the music handy, you can go back in your mind and tap into that place, because your whole being, your mind, body, spirit, remembers those states. 

Dr. Deepak Chopra and others say that this is more of our natural state and when you assist the body in manifesting its own innate intelligence, you’re doing what your body/ mind was designed and genetically programmed to do.

 You’ll also notice in my music, certainly most of my relaxation and meditation albums, there’s no central beat or pulse. You can’t hum the melody, you can’t figure out where the chords are going, that’s all by design. 

Most music has hidden stressors that unconsciously force the listener to anticipate where the melody is going, to anticipate where the chords are going, the rhythm of a song will literally entrain your heartbeat to the rhythm of the music and most music is not designed to support your relaxation state. 

It’s exactly the opposite. And that’s also why the breathing that happens when people listen to my music, your breathing rate typically slows down and deepens because that’s naturally how your body wants to breathe.

 Most music, whether you’re aware of it or not, and most of us aren’t, unconsciously causes you to breathe faster and more shallowly, because that’s the nature of most of the music that’s recorded. Think about it, even Mozart was composing in the caffeine capital of Europe in 1770s; people were not interested in relaxation back then. 

I’m not saying we should only listen to relaxing music and meditation music, but it’s there as a tool to be used when you want to do that.  Why not choose music that is proven effective rather than something you’ll just hear on Pandora or iTunes that says it’s relaxing, because some of the music isn’t, it's just being marketed that way. It’s really about making wiser choices

Corey: And it’s such a simple thing to become aware of your breath and to focus on breathing more deeply, but I‘ve found that as an acting coach and teacher that it’s not so easy to get people to do it. I can tell them, suggest it to them that it will help them and yet they still don’t want to do relaxation and allow themselves to listen to music that will help them and guide them into that space.

Steven: Corey, there are several reasons why that is. One is that our culture is devoid of understanding the importance of relaxation and reducing stress. So many scientific and medical studies now say that perhaps 80% of our diseases are related to having too much stress and unmanaged stress in our lives, I was one of those guys, especially not being able to focus on the spiritual and consciousness raising aspect of the music. 

When I found out how helpful my music was to people like me, I had an extra motivation to continue composing because I like variety, it was a gig that would help me as well as the people that would buy the music afterwards. So it was a win-win situation. 


Corey: Would you talk about “mindful listening?”

Steven: Well, let me give you an example. Let’s go back to what we were talking about, hidden stressors and how music can stress you without you even being aware of it.  I’m going to sing a melodic phrase that everyone is familiar with, take 10 seconds, close your eyes and feel what happens in your mind and in the middle of your chest when I sing this: (sings) Doe, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti…
……..(silence). I bet you’re holding your breath right now…

I christened that the Scalus Interruptus phenomenon. I didn’t realize that that was one of the most profound discoveries I’ve made in my career until I found some other people saying 'this is most amazing discovery' after I talked about it.

 I was just paying attention to my body and going, ‘You know, I’m getting stressed listening to this baroque music and listening to Bach is making me more nervous and ‘we’ agreed ‘Bach is the highest expression of Western intellectual art form.  Well, it's not always so. 

Another reason I’ve learned that so many people don’t value relaxation is that they’ve been told, depending on their religious background, that ‘relaxation’ is the work of the devil, that unless you relax solely through Jesus Christ, then all other relaxation music is from the devil. I was shocked when I learned this.

I’d been on an airplane when I started talking to the guy next to me and he says, “Oh, my minister says New Age music is the work of the devil, it’s all demonic.” I was speechless. Certainly not my experience! But that’s why people don’t understand the power. 

One of the things that I’m shifting into during this election cycle and afterwards is really trying to come out more powerfully and talk about the reality that is this music.

And I learned early on to value my own well being. I’m cautious about what’s called "relaxation" that's available for free on Pandora. What's the alternative? I think of something good that I could purchase for $10 that lasts me the rest of my life, that turns out to be a penny a use or something, it’s the best return on investment you could make…to invest in your own wellbeing. 

What I really value about the music that I’ve been able to compose and record and share with the world is that it works for such a wide range of people, male, female, different cultures, Africa, Asia, I was astounded when I met some people from Japan who said that the most relaxing music they listened to was mine.  I said, ‘but you have the whole Shakuhachi tradition,’ some of the music that I studied early in my career, but that’s not the music they have access to. The music from the 10th Century A.D., you can’t get a recording of that, but you can get a recording of “Chakra Suite” or “Deep Alpha” or “Mindful Piano.” 

So getting back to your question, to listen mindfully is the exact opposite of following the melody to its anticipated resolution or where it’s going. To listen mindfully is to be totally in the moment, to be present with each note, because that’s how I am when I’m composing. 

The other recent album that I released is called, “Mindful Piano.” When I recorded, we had a new computer reverb setup that the studio had just installed and I was suddenly able to play inside an amazing cathedral, and I’d listen to the sound in my headphones, I had to change the way I hit the piano keyboard, it allowed me to really slow down, and every note, when I’d play a phrase, I never knew what the next phrase would be. 

I would play the notes, I would take a deep breath, and I would just listen and sometimes the overtones would blend as I held down the sustain pedal and to listen mindfully I would recommend your audience listen to a track from “Mindful Piano” or “Deep Alpha” and listen to the space between the notes, listen not just to the main notes, but to the subtle overtones and harmonics that happen particularly with the grand piano, where there’s a blending. 

People remember the last chord of  “A Day in the Life,” from the Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper” album. That was very inspirational in my life, but I do my version without having to take different visionary vegetables and it’s done live, I’m not working as the genius George Martin did with 8 different pianos to blend together, but it’s how I strike the keys and how I work with it and how literally the energy of the piano and my own physical energy begin to blend in an organic way, and to listen mindfully.

I invite people to not multi-task, but to be present with the music, you might be sitting in a meditation position, you might have your hands-your palms open on your knees sitting in a chair, I often listen lying down, I might point my feet at the speakers and I like to say you get a different kind of ‘sole music,’ the whole body responds to the sound, but the point is to be present in the moment, not trying to hurry the music, not trying to direct where the music is going.

Most music is very manipulative, which is great for most music, and I played that kind of music and occasionally I still do. But that’s not what the highest use of my music is about, it’s about empowering the individual, to help them connect with their own essence, their own spirituality, their own innate intelligence. 

And as experts like Deepak Chopra have been saying for 20 years or so, and I was saying for 20 years before that, you tap into a level in which you already are there. I had music faculty in grad school say, “Your music doesn’t go anywhere.” And I would say, “That’s because it’s already there.” 

And it takes you there because to be present with some music and some of this goes beyond the scope of our discussion, but there’s an energy field that’s created when anyone records, when I record, and when you tap into that you are blending with that energy field and that makes it easier for you to get into that state yourself.

There’s a concept in books like “The Field” or even the Law of Attraction that relate to the latest Quantum Physics that proves that this concept is true, but it’s subtle. So if you are coming from ego or if you listen to music with a big beat, it’s like looking for the stars in the middle of the day. The sun wipes out all the stars that are still there in the sky. 

So in the same way, if the music is so busy, so complex, then your spirit, that part of you that’s eternal, doesn’t know where to go. You need to slow down. And that’s why the Alpha and the Theta brainwaves are where you slow down the brainwaves, you slow down the breathing rate; it slows down the heart rate. A lot of the research that the HeartMath Institute have been doing and publicizing the last twenty years also relates to the same concept. 

We live in such a sped up society that what we are really doing is going back to our ancient roots as living organisms. Whereas in the old days, before the rise of the Industrial Revolution, now all the electronics and the electromagnetic fields have been knocking us out of our traditional state of balance. 

We need to reestablish that so that it’s absolutely perfect to use technology and sound technology, recorded technology to help us regain our natural state of being.


Corey: Would you tell me about the “Musician’s Prayer”?

Steven: One of the first ways that I started learning that there was more to music than just trying to be sexy onstage or attracting girls or even playing sophisticated mental and intellectual games which was where the jazz world was shifting through in the 60s, as John Coltrane and others brought in the idea of modal music, where you didn’t have chords changing 4 times a measure, but you had music that stayed on one chord and one basic tonal center, like Indian music. 

Well, the deeper aspects of music, I would say one of my earliest introductions was through the writings of Edgar Cayce. And when they found out about me, I was invited early on in 1977 to present at the headquarters of the Edgar Cayce foundation in Virginia Beach. Wandering through their library, I was already told that I was considered to be one of the manifestations of Cayce’s predictions of the use of healing music in the years to come, since he was doing his readings in the mid 20th century. 

I was wandering through their library of Cayce readings, I opened up one book and I found something called the “Musician’s Prayer” in a little tiny book written by Shirley Rabb Winston that had excerpts of Cayce’s readings related to music. And it basically said, ‘Lord, through my music let me serve the highest and best in the listener, let me bring forth that which is most useful and helpful to the spiritual growth of the individual who is listening.’ And I remember that the page. And it blew my mind. 

So I went to the head of the Cayce people and I said, “Wow. Tell me about the ‘Musician’s Prayer.’” And they said, “We never heard of it.”  And we went to the book and nobody could find it. And yet, years later, when I was back there I found it again. So it does exist, I wasn’t making it all up. But it was one of those situations that I went through every page. First I went to where I thought it was and then I finally found it. So that’s the Musician’s Prayer.

What that does it that it takes—when I was perfoming onstage, not just as a jazz musician, but to earn a living I played in bands, I played in R and B bands, I was the white guitar player in a black R and B band, I started playing those songs in High School, I played in clubs, almost broke out at a certain point but the point was I learned how to move onstage, I learned how to be an entertainer as well, and I learned how to impress people with my solos…that’s about ego. Both as a trumpet player and a guitar player, let me show you how good I am, ‘I practiced for 4 years to play these phrases and dammit you’re gonna be impressed!’ And a lot of people were impressed. 

But when this new music started coming, it was not about impressing anyone, it was not about me showing how much virtuosity I had, in fact, virtuosity got in the way of the effects that I was trying to orchestrate, which was to put them in a deep meditative state. To enable and empower and facilitate their own self-healing, to take them into higher states of consciousness, where their spiritual growth was enhanced. It’s just a natural state.

 When you get into that zone, and interestingly, you know that a lot of athletes talk about being ‘in the zone.’ There was a book written by one of the founders of Esalen, Michael Murphy, “In The Zone: Transcendent Experience in Sports,” related to the fact of how many athletes talk about--it’s dated by the fact that O.J. Simpson was playing football then and he would be running and feel without even looking behind him to avoid a tackle, and they said, ‘how did you know to do that?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know, man, I just felt it.’ 

And in music that is what we sometimes tap into as well. If you’re playing with a band, it’s one of those magical bonding moments and I know many actors have had that experience. 

The last time I saw (actor) Ron Silver was in his performance of Bill Graham in Hollywood, around the year 2000, I got a contact high when he faked having an acid trip-when the Grateful Dead dosed him unknowingly. Afterward I drove past where I was supposed to stay in Pacific Palisades, I was all the way up by Malibu and I was completely straight. 

He was in ‘the zone,’  he was one of my mentors, I got to hang out a little bit with him and some of his associates in 1965 and 66, and he modeled that kind of behavior. He was into self-hypnosis. He was the first person who told me, “You need to learn about self hypnosis so you’ll be able to do some of these things.” When you see someone else do it, you go, “Wow, that’s amazing!” 

And so that helped stimulate me to start learning to control other aspects of myself and to learn to get into the zone. We didn’t call it getting into the zone, but so many times so many actors have done this. I’m preaching to the choir, I’m sure you’ve done it too. But the question again is: how do you get into the zone? And once you’ve been in the zone, it makes it easier to get there again. 

And that’s what I experienced that first jam session in Buffalo, and experienced over the years many times playing with great musicians that would happen. When you hit a group energy field, brainwaves synchronize and that makes it happen easier because where two or more of us are gathered you create a stronger antenna for that energy coming through. 

And it’s the same thing in the studio even if it’s just me, I know that I’m tapping into an energy field so I know I may be the person playing the piano, but I’m not the only energy field, shall we say, involved in co-composing and co-creating the music. That also takes ego out of it. 

I could tell you this, when I’m in concert or even in the studio if I play something I’ve never played before, that might be technically above my pay scale, if I think, “Wow! I’ve never done that before! That was amazing!” That breaks the spell, and then I’ll hit a note that is obviously a mistake. So that again takes it out of ego, it’s a reminder. ‘No, it’s not about you.’ It’s about the art, it’s about the energy, it’s about the healing that comes through, the feeling that comes through. 


Corey: Here we are at the last question: What do you see looking back at your journey and what do you see ahead?

Steven: Well, as I look back I see a consistency of vision, I see some things that I wish I had handled a little differently on some levels, but on the other hand I realize that if I had tried pushing the envelope much earlier, I had already had representatives from Big Pharma tell me not to use the analogy of listening to one of my albums instead of buying a bottle of aspirin if they want to get rid of a headache. 

I was perceived early on as being one of the ring leaders of this new form of music and that my life could be made much more miserable. So I decided not to say some of the things that I had said early on. And yet this weekend I found some of the materials I wrote 40 years ago-with phrases like, ‘from Bach to Rock, most music has this very structured inevitability.’ And I thought, “That’s still what I’m saying now.” It was true then, it’s true now. 

But what I’ve been able to do since 2011, which is when this new series of recordings started, I was aware in the studio that a shift had happened in my own being. It also happened because the new electric piano that I had ordered 2 years earlier, the Rhodes electric piano had arrived. My earlier albums were produced by Fender Instruments, that’s why it’s known as a Fender Rhodes.

And that Fender Rhodes electric piano really helped launch the whole New Age and healing genre, because it was such a unique sound. It was less percussive than a grand piano, and the sound itself would change people’s brainwaves, it’s like a series of tuning forks played with a keyboard. 

Many people now know about the crystal bowls, those also, well they just produce one tone, it’s a very pure tone and bodies and brains love to focus on it, because you can’t think, you can just be with a sound like that. And the Rhodes piano helps to be, it helps ME to be, and if I’m in that state, it makes it easier for my listeners to be in that state because I- and any musician, when we play our music, it’s understood that music is a carrier wave of consciousness. 

So if you’re in tune with your own essence, and with positivity, that is radiated, if you’re in tune with the energies of love and light, that is radiated out through the music. If you are uptight about playing a mistake or you are coming from ego, ‘you better damn well be impressed by what I’m playing, folks,’ that energy will come out and people like Dr. John Diamond showed through muscle testing that that will weaken the energy of the listener. 

A lot of actors that I’ve spoken to, people like Judith Light know all about this. And I would bet that there’s a lot of actors that know about this that don’t speak about it publicly for either fear of ridicule or they don’t want to give away some of their trade secrets to other people. But you’re a coach, so you’re giving away the secrets!

Looking ahead, I see where I can come out of the closet and speak. I’m working on my memoir, and in that process will share some more of the stories of things they really took me into higher levels of creativity and spirituality, and how music has been my guide through this lifetime, and in so doing, really understanding that part of my mission was to reawaken an awareness of the power of music, not just as something we give lip service to.

Even at the Grammy’s everyone was saying ‘Music is a healing force.’ Then what’s the first act that they had on? “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC.  I would suggest that there’s a disconnect with that. What do we call that? Cognitive dissonance. And yet people like myself who don’t sell millions and millions of albums a year,  there is more of a need for music like mine now than ever before. 

And my mission is to help get that out. To partner with other organizations who are working for inner peace and world peace and humanity’s betterment. I have put a call out through Linked In and everywhere else; there are ways to get in touch with me that we can partner. Where two or more of us are gathered, we can become a much more powerful vehicle for conscious change.

 There’s an organization called Subtle Activism that I just found out about, started by David Nichol. ( 

This is what we’re talking about, this is no longer just ‘New Age Woo Woo,’ this is Quantum Physics in action. And for the sake of our planet and ourselves, as well as to be a better actor, we need to start incorporating the state of the art, because I can tell you people like Deepak Chopra and his associates all do. 

There are so many people that do that can’t speak openly about it. In the same way that we saw what happened to the Dixie Chicks, if you speak openly about your politics and are not a right wing guy like a Ted Nugent, right? That’s okay to say you’re gonna shoot people, but if you come out on the other side, with all the trolls and everything else, there are a lot of people who self censor and there have been times that I’ve self censored. 

What did I really want to say after the debate last week? But I know that if I put this out, I don’t know if I’m ready to get that level of negativity sent at me right now. So we do the work, and Peter, Paul and Mary had a song, “…we lay the truth between the lines. If we really say it, the radio won’t play it. So we just lay it between the lines”. That’s where the future is and I intend to be a more forceful spokesperson for all of this and particularly for those of us who are now in our 60s, for making more time for our conscious wellbeing, and to take more control over our health and to use sound and music as a vital and viable technology and assistance and resource in doing that. Not just using it as background music, but being mindful of it, really using it to its fullest. 

Steven Halpern on what to listen to if you are interested:

"The key albums and tracks:  for instance access to mindfulness,  stress reduction, centering:

DEEP THETA  track 1,2, 13

DEEP ALPHA   tracks 1,2, 13

MINDFUL PIANO  tracks 1,2,3

CHAKRA SUITE   track 1

Because all of these compositions balance the brain, thus promoting whole brain learning.That was one of the key ingredients of my music that I learned about from leading brainwave biofeedback scientists in 1977. Virtually unique among the music they tested, including most famous classical pieces.That’s when I knew there was more going on than I was aware of….and that it was not a ‘figment of my own
Imagination or ego.”

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