Musical Health

Cultivate everyday listening skills to live more fully and to capture joy. 

Resources For Healthy Musicians
Somatic Movement expert Laura M. Gates

Musical Breathwork For Healthy Lifestyles 

J.S. Bach and more

Listening in Music and Health
Dr. Keith Churchwell, President of Yale New Haven Hospital

Amidst the cacophony of ever increasing noise and speed in our unbalanced modern world, we are bombarded with chronic overload. In the last few decades, we have also gained incredible new insights into emotional intelligence, neurology, breathwork, connective tissue, and other communications systems that can address this new level of chronic pain/stress. The work in front of us now is how to apply that into effective lifestyle improvements. Leading with listening, through the beauty of music, helps us make sense of our whole human experience in a gentle indirect way.

Listening well is essential to our whole body health:
1)mental agility – cognition
2)emotional access to life’s experiences
3)integrated breathwork – an entry point to reconnect ourselves
4)clear and free verbal, physical, and emotional expression

Musical Health is about developing everyday listening skills to live more fully and to capture joy.

This is not Music Therapy, which is music used as medicine to treat trauma and other ailments.
This information is not meant to take the place of professional medical advice. If you need medical attention, please seek professional help immediately.

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Resources for Healthy Musicians
Workshops & Coachings

Breathwork for More Expressive Performing
uses musical elements such as the pulse, the melodic contours, the lengths of phrases, and harmonic colors to articulate the breath and to encourage a diversity of breath patterns.
Emotions have movement, so the music needs to breathe with motion to express the emotions.

With ourselves: We improve the specificity/timing of our technique.
With our music partners and the audience by cueing with non-verbal gestures. 

How to Listen Better through Chamber Music
(from amateur readings to orchestras)

The art of negotiating the musical, emotional, social components of rehearsals is a skill set. Finding the balance of who needs to speak up more, and other less, with the when and how and why, all depends on the listening skills of each member. Hands-on coaching that focuses on communication and group awareness, as opposed to targeting one person's imposed vision, is a highly transformative experience that improves both function and awareness.

Mental Practicing through Visualization / Audiation
Music is an incredibly creative tool to practice the mental acts of visualization and audiation. By "audiation" (using a term by E. Gordon), I mean the mental practicing that my uncle/mentor Fei-Ping Hsu and I use and teach - an internal realization of music with understanding that integrates temporal, spatial, amplitude intentions of what we are preparing to do and the momentary recall of what we just did. This improves perception and motor skill learning, as well as expands our flexibility to reframe emotional perceptions and release repressed thoughts, sometimes extending into our personal lives. 

Musical Breathwork™ (for a Healthy Lifestyle)

uses music to encourage pleasure in doing breathwork, in order to sense the flow of time. 

We can use physical sensation to make sense of the ideas and emotions. Breathing is the only action we do that is both voluntary and involuntary.  It's interactive and it both activates our creativity and calms our minds to be able to take action.  Our minds have the agility and the ability to communicate in real time with our bodies, and our bodies participate...that is the miracle!

Listening in Music and Health

Want to notice the beauty of the music, elevate your collaborative listening skills, and get in touch with your creative mode?

Music can give us pleasure as we contemplate self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-inquiry.

Music can give us better connections
With ourselves: We learn to listen to our bodies and protect them.
With our community: We learn to listen to the energies around us so that we can respond more kindly.

"When 13 older adults took piano lessons, their attention, memory and problem-solving abilities improved, along with their moods and quality of life. You don’t have to become a pro, just take a few lessons." - Excerpt from John Hopkins Medicine: Keep Your Brain Young with Music


Musical self-expression is the result of integrating ideas and concepts we gather about ourselves, our relationships, and our purpose in the world. When we practice music listening skills, we are working on the same self-awareness skills that will open up our imagination and creativity to find a personal pathway forward, I hope in a way that makes a positive impact in the community.

Rest and Pacing

Just like in music, it is in the silences that we can process and digest and savor and delight and contemplate. Setting up a rhythm of rest is essential to our health. Career advancement methods often stress the importance of dreaming big, and yet in actual practice, our ability to listen to what our bodies need and pace well is the endurance factor that will lead to long-term success. Oftentimes, breakthroughs occur just at the moment when one is ready to give up, releases the internal pressure to meet one's own impossible expectations, and start living out life as is. It is a daily struggle for me to find a wider window of deadlines and to take the time to allow intuition into play, but one that I see to be a necessary skill if we want to encourage creativity.

Balancing Social Media's Effects with Deep Music Listening

In this day and age, social media is required for creatives to connect with our audiences, but we all need some protection against the worry and constant comparisons brought on by social media's "vanity optics" (termed by author Paul Jarvis). We need new ways to manage the chronic stress and diluted focus that are the costs of constant visibility. One solution is to commit to a daily time ratio of social media minutes to deep musical listening.

Learn More

Watch My YouTube
Subscribe to my channel for weekly premieres including interviews on healthy mindsets, habits, and ideas related to music.

Musical Breathwork playlist

Yale-China Midday Musical Moments Project Connecting Music, Education, and Health

Read Books for a Creative Mindset

Permission to Feel - Marc Brackett
The Gift of Imperfection - Brené Brown  (available on Audible)
The Creative Habit - Twyla Tharp
The WholeHearted Musician - Dana Fonteneau
Brilliance Beyond Borders - Chinwe Esimai (I'm Ms. Chapter 2.)