Why is it that the perfect song comes on the radio or the iPod shuffle just when you need it most? Or just when you miss someone, a song plays at the grocery store that makes you think of that person? Or a song comes on the radio reminding you of someone, and at that very moment, that person calls you?

We all have these stories of song medicine―a stunning moment of pure song synchronicity when the perfect song comes on the radio just wen you need it most.

When I was thirty-five, my mother lost her two-year battle with stage IV ovarian cancer. After her passing, I went into a kind of hibernation.  In my bereavement process, I used many of the tools of music medicine that I now teach others.  A month later, I was driving home from work when the song “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor came on the radio just when I was thinking of her. My mom and I had sung this song to each other in her Cape Cod living room a few months before she died. The synchronicity was uncanny. I felt as if she was sending me a message.  It was as if some random radio station was designed for just this healing moment in my life.

When there are no words, music expresses our deepest love, pain, joy, rage or longing.  Songs give us goosebumps, tears and even time-traveling flashes of memories. But how can we actually dive more deeply into the song medicine that is available to our hearts?

Think of a time when song synchronicity graced the symphony of your life. Try these techniques to invoke some song medicine in your life:

  1. Random Acts of Song―Set your iPod to shuffle and allow something to pop up.  It could be just the song you need to hear today. Set up a playlist of favorite inspirational songs, things that move and awaken your heart.  Within this playlist, set to it to shuffle and roll the dice; see what you get in this music roulette.  Listen to the meaning of the song.
  2. Let the song choose you―pay attention to those song worms that rise up in your mind at random times of day; this could be when you first wake up in the morning or throughout the day.  The next time you find yourself singing a tune for no reason at all, pay attention. Wonder about the song, its meaning and its relevance in your life. It may have a deep message for you.
  3. Lyrics for Life―Go to the web and find the song lyrics for a favorite song. Post them on your refrigerator or on the whiteboard in your office or family room.  Highlight one phrase that most touches your heart most.  What moves your heart about your chosen line? What message does it is bring to your life?

Christine Stevens, MSW, MT-BC is an author, music therapist, and founder of UpBeat Drum Circles.  Her new book, Music Medicine (Sounds True, August, 2012) includes more than 40 guided practices and 50 audio tracks of healing music.

Edited by Jeff Newman