Arts and Culture
11:24 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Thinking Out Loud: How music can heal

Listen here to the full Thinking Out Loud episode that aired January 14, 2014.

RavenWolf C. Felton Jennings II playing outside Columbia's Lakota Coffee Co.
Credit Pug Dog Records/Charle Powell

Negative experiences that humans live through can be evident or may be deeply buried. Music as an assistive therapy can guide healing from past traumas, help people be more productive or just relax. On this week's episode of Thinking Out Loud KBIA producer Trevor Harris visited with a pair of local musicians working in vastly different venues to heal others.

Hear from saxophonist RavenWolf C. Felton Jennings and music therapist Kristin Veteto about how they use music to heal. Also, Johnna Carrender speaks about how Veteto's music therapy sessions are helping her six-year-oldĀ  step-grandson heal from brain injury.

From this episode, Raven Wolf C. Felton Jennings II noted the goals of his "spiritual jazz" sidewalk concerts:

Music is a healing force in and of itself... I don't heal people. People heal themselves. What music does for that person is that it sparks or rekindles that healing ability that their body does naturally. I set the vibration for love, joy, peace and healing. Those vibrations move through the music.

Music therapist Kristin Veteto on what music therapy is:

Music therapy is the art of using music to target non-musical goals. I would do similar things to what a speech therapist would do, but I would use music. The way music is processed in the brain, music can access speech and speech areas in the brain a little bit better than just speech therapy on its own. We work on physical and sensory-motor that can includes speech and language. Sometimes we use verbalizations, augmented devices and cognition. There can be spiritual goals in music therapy, but our overall goal with the therapy is not to teach them music. Our goal is a non-musical one.

Caregiver Johnna Carender on how her disabled step-grandson benefits from Veteto's music therapy:

Taylor and I bonded while he was still in the ICU [after brain injuries consistent with shaken-baby syndrome]. I felt that music seemed to comfort him. It certainly comforted me. Immediately after his injury I started playing music for him... Finding a music therapist was a godsend. we are using Taylor's love of music to motivate him to use music as incentive to help him accomplish non-musical goals. In the past Taylor did not use his right arm and hand. We worked on that with Ms. Kristin. We use drumsticks and mallets to help him maintain a grasp. Through guitar playing he has started to stretch his hands out. Now, he's more attentive when we read books to him. He's also better at looking and finding objects after music therapy. He's really improved on that.

Listen to Thinking Out Loud live each Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. on 91.3fm KBIA.