[JPL] Jazz artist applies music to heal the body and mind

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Mon Sep 22 12:24:34 EDT 2008


Jazz artist applies music to heal the body and mind
By Angela Haupt, USA TODAY

Jazzman Stanley Jordan's intuition that music could be a healing force
traces back to his teen years. He says he was sick with the flu and spent an
entire day surrounded by song ‹ and recovered nearly instantly.
Now, Jordan, 49, is taking his music talents beyond entertainment and into
the realm of healing, inspiration and self-esteem.

"In five to 10 years, music therapy is going to be a household term," he
said during a recent telephone interview from the Sheraton Moriah Tel Aviv
Hotel, where he was staying during an Israeli concert tour. "I say that
because it's so holistic and versatile. It addresses every part of the body
in some way or another."

In April, Jordan released State of Nature, a 14-track album that illustrates
the relationship between humans and nature.

He said he had spent time vacationing and connecting with the Earth, which
led him to two questions: How can we knowingly destroy the environment and
not change our behavior? And what changes can we make to become more in
harmony with the environment?

"I used music to answer those questions and express the insight I found,"
Jordan said. "It's an applied philosophy. And I hope that when people listen
to these songs, they'll decide to become more active."

Music is a four-dimensional healing force, he said: It works physically,
mentally, emotionally and spiritually. He points to Relaxing Music for
Difficult Situations,I, which he released in 2003.

"I wrote this because I had a dentist appointment, and I wanted something
relaxing," he said. "But it turned out to be very melancholy music. I
realized that meant I was disappointed in myself, because I hadn't been
taking good enough care of my health."

Jordan, a three-time Grammy Award nominee, burst onto the jazz scene in 1985
with Magic Touch, which sold more than 400,000 copies worldwide. He has
since released more than 10 albums.

Music therapy describes the clinical use of musical interventions, said
Barbara Else of the American Music Therapy Association. Popular methods
include playing an instrument, singing, songwriting and lyric discussion.
Among those who can benefit: people with mental, developmental and learning
disabilities, long-term illnesses, substance abuse problems or brain
injuries, and mothers who are in labor.

Jordan is completing a graduate program in music therapy at Arizona State
University. There, he is exploring how music can enhance a person's
self-esteem and social relationships.

"He's brilliant," said Barbara Crowe, director of ASU's music therapy
program. "He is a fabulous, ferocious reader, and he has kept his interest
in music therapy and healing. He went on his own quest, really got into the
literature and educated himself."

As part of his music therapy initiative, Jordan regularly performs at
hospitals and hospices.

"I look at it as sharing gifts," he said. "A woman will start telling us
when she heard that song before, or she'll start rocking back and forth,
remembering the way she danced. You see people come to life in ways they
haven't in a long time."

In April, Jordan teamed with LIFEbeat's Hearts & Voices program, which
provides music to people at AIDS facilities in New York City.

Jordan serenaded the crowd with a bevy of songs, then passed out percussion
instruments and asked the group to improvise rhythms.

"Stanley is amazing," said Hearts & Voices coordinator Erika Banks. "His
career, what he created on the guitar and piano, the way his life has moved
forward. I don't think anyone who would see him performing and using his
music would disagree."

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