Music and healing teaches you how to use music to heal mental and physical issues

Music And Healing is an entertaining program that teaches you how to use music for relief from PTS (post-traumatic stress) as well as other mental, emotional and physical issues.

Music and healing Bill Protzmann piano performance
Courage to Call provides around-the-clock supportive guidance, info and referral services to veterans, active duty military, reservists, National Guardsman and their familiesDial 2-1-1 or Search Online for a ServiceCourage to CallChat Online with a Peer Support Specialist Courage to Call
Follow me on Spotify
Sign up for Music And Healing mailing list


Music and healing performance two by Bill Protzmann

For additional Music Care and Bill Protzmann photo galleries click here.

Music And Healing was developed by Pianist Bill Protzmann, Pianist

Music And Healing

Bill Protzmann, Pianist
1501 India Street, Suite 103 PMB 38
San Diego, CA 92101 - USA
Represented by TetraDym Inc.
Phone: 800.785.8596 - Fax: 800.997.2268
Watch a short overview of the Connected! programs and how and why they work

Bill explains why why Connected! is such a powerful program for finding relief from symptoms of war-related post-traumatic stress

Col David Sutherland on the best way to help returning Veterans (reposted from YouTube)

Why Music Matters

Around the world, emotional and mental disorders are on the rise. If you want to know why, read or watch the news, then pick your poison. This is in spite of the best efforts of religion, psychology, alternative therapies of all kinds -- including music therapy -- and medicine. We like to think we know how to deal with depression, attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolarity disorder (this one used to be called manic-depression), borderline personality disorder, toxic behavior, phobias, psychoses and deviant behavior of any conceivable kind, and we do have ways of treating all of these with some success, but here's the deal: there are simply not enough healers for all the patients. We're losing the war on sanity, and it's making us nuts.

Look closely around you: do you know someone who seems just a little bit off? Chances are, they are. In fact, most "normal" folks probably have something hidden under the surface, primed like a trigger wire to blow up in your face if and when the magic words or actions push their button -- or buttons -- as the case may be. It’s part of what makes us fascinating and individual, right?

I was a novice button-pusher for a while, but once I learned not to trip my ex-wife's triggers, things improved...marginally. (Unfortunately for the marriage, I also learned why she got triggered, and that she wasn't going to change, dammit, not now, not ever.)

This raises the primary reason Why Music Matters: most folks with issues can't or won't get help for them, and choose to endure under self-imposed and life-threatening stress, hidden from the rest of us, even those they love most. Life would be so much better for the rest of us if they did get help, wouldn't it? The truth is, like my ex, those same folks have learned to get along in life in spite of what the rest of us might call a "disorder" and act as if they were perfectly normal, in many cases, by simply keeping it hidden from the rest of us. Some folks have arranged their lives such that they really don't have to have much or any human interaction at all. That choice seems like it's great for the rest of us -- one less fruitcake to dispose of properly when the holidays are over -- but it's not so great for the one hiding from society (think homeless Vietnam veteran who can't even get the words "will work for food" on a piece of cardboard, and wouldn't know what to do with such an item anyhow -- don't laugh: that's reality for too many soldiers who served with honor, both in the United States and other countries). In many tragic cases, bearing the weight of a psychological burden is too much to live with, and suicide becomes the only reasonable option. This became clear to me when my best and life-long friend tried to end his life twice: once by jumping in front of a car while jogging at night (which didn't work -- he was in awesome physical shape), and then by setting himself on fire (which worked, but only later on after the paramedics got him to the burn unit and the doctors couldn't stabilize him). The real tragedy was that none of us knew my friend had any problems of that magnitude

(By the way, this is not about how this or that social center/government program/church has failed to help people in need. That's already the subject of too much paper and ink. There is help out there, ready and willing...if it could only get connected with the folks who need it most, which is another reason Why Music Matters. My friend was a top-earning employee, reasonably religious/spiritual, well-loved in his community, and an excellent father -- he had no apparent reason to seek help...and plenty of folks and resources around him who would have done something -- anything -- had we only known.)

So, we all know someone who needs some kind of help, right? That may include you, and if definitely includes Yours Truly. For my part, I've tried religion (several of them actually), talk therapy, acupuncture, and legal mind-altering drugs (anti-depressants); ultimately the only workable alternative was divorce. I'm not joking: nothing you can do for yourself can fix someone else's issues, so often leaving them behind becomes the only reasonable -- and sanity-preserving -- thing to do. Do I need to mention the homeless Vietnam vets again? Profoundly left behind. At the same time, as hard-headed as I am, I actually started to learn something from my ex...but that's not the subject here, and it's already the subject of too much paper and ink, redundancy intended. My point is that the folks we know, and in many cases care about very deeply, more often than not do not respond well to our best efforts to "help." In the case of my friend, we didn't even know there was a life-threatening problem. So what can we do? Honestly: not much. Someone who hasn't experienced any other way to be/behave/live/love has no reason to want to change just because we say it would be better (what do we know about their life anyhow?). It's like trying to order sushi at a hot dog stand. So do we give up? No, there is an option: we change the language.

Music Matters because it helps to remind us that there is a universal language that can give folks who don't even know they are suffering a glimpse of a different way to experience being/behaving/living/loving. Unlocking that experience is the primary goal of my work; if, at the end, I have convinced you that you can, on your own, open a magical portal to a better experience of being/behaving/living/loving, then I have done my job, and you will yourself experience Why Music Matters.

Recent research on music and healing
by Bill Protzmann


Thanks to an excellent research team over in Bangalore, I have the latest and greatest in medical research and news on music and healing to share with you. It's supremely exciting to be the leading-edge proponent of YOUR ability to use music to healing effect, and I hope that these citations inspire your confidence to give it a try. I've included the URLs so you can read the complete abstracts.

Effect of Music on Power, Pain, Depression and Disability

This is one of my favorites, and even though it's from work done at the Cleveland Clinic in 2006, it reached the conclusion that nurses "can teach patients how to use music to enhance the effects of analgesics, decrease pain, depression and disability, and promote feelings of power." A "listening" group and a "non-listening" control group were evaluated on several accepted pain-measurement scales, and it was found that  the music group[s] had more power and less pain, depression and disability than the control group. The model predicting both a direct and indirect effect for music was supported."

Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby 

The study was conducted on the effects of music on babies. The results found that listening for just 30 minutes a day helped premature babies use less energy, which may help them grow faster. "Within 10 minutes of listening to Mozart music, healthy infants born prematurely had a 10 percent to 13 percent reduction of their resting energy expenditure," the study authors wrote. "We speculate that this effect of music on resting energy expenditure might explain, in part, the improved weight gain that results from this Mozart effect."


The next two articles reference studies done by Dr Claudius Conrad, a Surgery Resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a trained classical pianist, who examined the effect of music on surgeons in the operating room.


Opera in the Operating Room

"What he's looking at is the subliminal effect that could produce a positive effect on performance.... If I'm in some difficult operation, maybe there is some positive effect on my physiology - not even on my conscious mood - that would translate into a better surgical performance,'' said Dr Andrew Warshaw, Surgeon in Chief at Massachusetts General.


To systematically test the effects of music in the operating room, Conrad created tasks for surgeons to complete on a computer simulator of laparoscopic procedures -- surgeries that involve operating through a small incision. He tested the speed and accuracy of eight expert surgeons under different conditions: Surgeons performed the tasks in silence; while listening to Mozart; and accompanied by the chaotic, stressful noise produced by hearing a different stream of music in each ear - one, German folk music; the other, death metal.


Regular readers of this newsletter will be able to guess correctly how this impacted the surgeons' performance. Or you can just read the next abstract....


Musical Surgeon Examines the OR Soundtrack

"Conrad found that the folk and death metal mix increased the time it took expert surgeons to do the procedures, but did not affect their accuracy compared with silence. It also negatively affected their ability to learn a task: their accuracy did not improve when doing the task a second time while listening to the same music. While listening to Mozart, surgeons' speed varied, but their accuracy improved compared with silence.


"When Conrad tried the same test on 40 participants who had received no surgical training, he found that the Mozart music also had a beneficial effect when they repeated the procedure."




Music and the Brain
by Lois Kahn-Feuer, PhD

For many children and adults in most cultures, learning language and learning music is an easy, ongoing part of life. Music and language become a means of learning and participating in the cultural, emotional and social stages of life.

However, for some with an inherited gene and others with brain injuries, learning music is more difficult. Those with this difficulty, known as amusia, have an ongoing struggle in recognizing and processing pitch, producing musical sounds, learning musical memory and in recognizing differences between rhythm and melody. Learning important cultural tunes is not possible nor is singing along at events.

Those with amusia report hearing music as unpleasant, as noise or as annoying. This failure to appreciate and understand music, amusia, is also known as musical deafness. These symptoms include the inability to recognize familiar melodies or lyrics, impairments include difficult singing or writing music or playing an instrument or whistling or humming.

Two types of amusia are noted. Acquired amusia occurs as the result of a brain injury, and is the more common type of amusia. Congenital amusia,which is inherited, occurs at birth in four percent of the population and is a deficit in fine pitch discrimination. Congenital amusia can be referred to as tone deafness.

Studies show that the brain has separate lobes -- sections of the brain -- and neural networks to process speech and to process music. Each lobe has specific functions and neural networks process the incoming and outgoing information to and from the brain. The temporal lobe functions include acquiring memory, perception, object recognition, and understanding music.

Current information indicates that musical deafness or amusia is a disruption in the temporal lobe and in both hemispheres or sides of the brain. Memory also plays an important role in music and the brain. Memory is required to integrate and process music. Those with amusia while experiencing failures in appreciating music do not have related disruptions in the ability to speak.

Famous amusia sufferers include Theodore Roosevelt, Che Guevara, Milton Friedman, Sigmund Freud, and others.

There is no known treatment for amusia. However, there is evidence that those with brain injuries can gain from listening to music. Among the benefits are memory improvement and new learning.

mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"'>That is the premise for the CD "Rhythm For The Brain." See Rhythm for the Brain for more information.


Music and Healing
by Bill Protzmann

The Conversation: Does Music Heal? How?

Some of you have beliefs that include healing through prayer alone -- no doctors, therapists or shamans. You seem uninterested in the idea that music -- on its own -- can heal or change physical, emotional or mental conditions. I can see why you might feel compelled by your beliefs to exclude music as a healing tool, and so it is with much compassion that I'd like to offer you the following conversation.

On the other hand, if your belief set is already open and you just want to feel better, bust up the doldrums -- or create some -- read on.

How Does Music Work?

It's not really music, or sound, that heals, but music is the trigger. What does the work is your own body responding to chemicals released when you hear certain types of sounds. For example, if you listen to high-pitched bouncy music or even bird song, your IQ will increase slightly for a brief period of time. This can be measured. Researchers have confirmed other kinds of responses you will have, ranging from learning faster to deadening pain, based on the types of music or sound you hear.

You might become agitated listening to certain types of music or to a jackhammer. Perfect! Your response indicates that your ears, chemistry and brain all agree. Other music might soothe you. Again, that's exactly right. Other kinds of music might make you want to dance. Researchers were surprised that folks who otherwise could not walk walked immediately while listening to music with a strong beat -- something about music short-circuits the connection between thinking and walking with a really great effect.

What Evidence is There?

John Cambell's book, "The Mozart Effect," was assembled from his observations about how listening to Mozart made folks smarter, but there was a more profound reason for Campbell's interest in the power of music: by listening to music, Campbell was able to dissolve an inoperable blood clot in his brain. This was medically confirmed.

There have been many scientific studies in the last few years on the effects of music. Researchers find that listeners need half as much pain medication, or can increase levels of chemicals known to speed healing or lower their blood pressure, sleep better, and build -- or rebuild -- memory.

In my own experience with warriors and post-traumatic stress caused by war, I've been told many times that music was the "only way" to keep going, in one case, by a Viet Nam vet who couldn't find relief from drinking or drugs and used music for more than 30 years before finally getting traditional therapy.

Does It Matter What Music I Listen To?

I think it does. Rather than give you my favorite playlists, I encourage you to find music you like and listen to it. You might find you like different music at different times of the day, or for different activities, or for different moods. Good! Use that knowledge to make yourself soundtracks -- playlists -- for all the various times, activities or moods that happen frequently in your life.

I think it's important for you to become aware of the music and sound that's already around you. Once you identify what you're already hearing, try to connect the sounds with the times of day, activities or moods during your typical day. See if you always hear the same music or sounds and decide whether you like them or not; if not, get some headphones for your music player and listen to something else instead. You have a choice about what you're hearing: use it.

You'll know intuitively what kind of music you like, and through experience you'll also know what you like to listen to under various conditions. Trust your ears on this one! Speed up the search for "your" music at where you can test-drive music by category until you find your perfect fit.

So, Is There Specific Music for Specific Conditions?

Sure! If you want calm, put on soothing music. Aerobics class? Better use some dance music. Try watching a movie without the sound track to give yourself a quick idea of music's supporting role. If you have some spare cash, buy a few of those CD sets that assemble mood-specific music from various artists and listen to what someone else thought was "right for the moment." You'll find that, as you listen with awareness, you will quickly be able to connect your mood with music that fits or even complements how you feel. Liking what you hear seems to have the maximum impact for change.

Next time you're feeling agitated and want a change, switch on the soothing music and just observe what happens. Or, if don't want change, turn up your favorite agitating music. My point here is to get you to play around with music and pay attention to how you feel -- it's safe and effective and you're going to learn something about yourself and may even change yourself in ways that surprise you.

But It All Seems Obvious!

Yes, I think we already know this on some very basic level, just like the way being part of a drum circle -- a mimic for our mother's heartbeat -- can make us feel safe and comforted. We're all aware of sound and music on some level; my hope is that you will take this awareness out of your background and give yourself a foreground soundtrack that supercharges your life.


Music and Healing
by Bill Protzmann

Music: Therapy, Practice and Experience

In very broad terms, music, as a tool, falls into three categories: therapy, practice and experience. I'll explain each one for you, at least from my own understanding. See what you think.

Music Therapy

Recently I met a holistic health practitioner (certified and licensed) who shared with me that she has yet to encounter a music therapist who seemed to really be "lit up" from within. I have to concur. I know you're out there, you amazingly wonderful enlightened and dynamic music therapists, and I'd love to hear from you!

Music therapy is a rewarding but difficult profession: rewarding because one can really make a difference for patients and difficult because, as a therapist, much depends on one's ability to accurately diagnose and treat the symptoms a patient presents. There are rules -- lots of rules -- designed to make certain that the public -- me, the patient -- is cared for properly. It has to be this way for certifications and licenses to be issued. That's the trade-off we permit ourselves so that the agencies that regulate such things can give us assurance that we're not looking to some wingnut whacko snake-oil dealer for treatment. Sometimes those rules can bury the enthusiasm one might have originally brought to an enterprise, especially a healing enterprise; in rare cases, the healer's skill still shines.

Like all health practitioners, music therapists depend on their education and skill for success. A couple of skills that make for a really excellent health care practitioner are intuition and creativity, that is, the ability to find an inspired connection to the patient for a healing purpose, and the inventive ability to tailor a treatment plan that draws the patient into a sort of magical willingness to work with the healer toward better health. I tend to think of musicians as fairly creative people, don't you? The truth is, sadly, it ain't necessarily so.

Healers -- and anyone you really must hang out with for some reason or another -- need to radiate energetic qualities that you (the patient) want to be around! Think of the health care professionals you I right? Think of your close friends, or the people you really enjoy encountering in business, at the store, or wherever your daily walk takes you: do you spend a lot of time with folks who inspire you? If you do, huzzah! If you don't...please change that!

So I really resonated when the holistic health practitioner began to talk about therapists who seem inspired -- lit up -- from within. And when I think of the music therapists I've met, they really aren't. I wish they were. They do such incredible work! Isn't that something to be lit up about?

If you seek out music therapy, take your time -- just as you would to choose a physician or surgeon -- to carefully select a therapist who seems to really "get" you, can "see into you," and radiates the compassion you deserve. They must be out there. You deserve it.

With the "right" music therapist, your issues will be understood. You will feel the care and compassion I mentioned. You will work together using either musical instruments, drums, your voices, or a combination of all of these to achieve progress toward healing. Your therapist will be your guide -- a sort of musical shaman -- and give you musical exercises you can practice on your own as well as intensive, hands-on or voice-on one-on-one sessions, specific to your healing goals.

Music Practice

This broad term covers all the music you make on your own. If you're in music therapy, this is what happens when you are not in session with your music therapist. It covers anyone taking music lessons, too, when they are practicing and not in a one-on-one with their teacher. Practice of music can mean just that: really working it out until you have developed a new skill.

Practice of music can also mean making music for fun, what some are beginning to call "recreational music making." This could be a novice drum circle, a jam session with skilled players, or a "music minus one" experience of creating sounds -- vocally or using an instrument -- for the very first time to a musical backup track.

Music practice implies that you are the musician, that you are creating the sounds. When you create sound -- music -- you engage the most powerful use of music possible. Music and sounds you make actually vibrate through you, and the physiological response of your brain and body to music and sound is immediate. You can use this physiological response in so many ways: to help you heal, to recover from grief, to relax, to get pumped up, to let off rage, to fall asleep, to learn things and to remember them later. The beauty of it is that, while you can't help your brain and body response to sound, you can become aware of the effect of the music you practice on your brain and body and then choose music that supports you in whatever your particular objective of the moment happens to be.

Music Experience

When I think about the experience of music, even as a musician and performer who really has to practice a lot, I tend to think of myself as a member of the audience in a concert setting, or just sitting still with headphones on. The experience of hearing and appreciating music without becoming involved in making is by no means passive. It has the same kind of effect that practicing music has on your brain and body, just generally not as intense.

I know plenty of people who really wouldn't ever join a drum circle or spontaneous sing-along, but who are perfectly content to listen to music and can become quite moved when doing so. Nothing wrong with that! We Westerners are generally listeners; we gladly give kudos to the few among us who are actually brave enough to make music in public in exchange for experiencing that gift.

As you know, I offer a workshop on the topic of using music for maximum effect. I've recently expanded "Connected: the Workshop" into a full-day "Connected: the Seminar." If you're interested in experiencing the power of music first-hand, please contact me. You don't have to "be a musician" or even be musical in any way to enjoy this workshop -- a good many accomplished musicians I know haven't experienced the power of music in the way I teach it -- and I promise you it won't hurt a bit.