How "Suite" It Is:

An Interview with
Steven Halpern

by Randy Peyser

This year, Steven Halpern, a pioneer in the field of New Age music and the originator of the field of sound healing, celebrates the 25th Anniversary of his first best-selling album, Spectrum Suite. Recently New Age Voice Magazine voted Spectrum Suite the most influential New Age album of all time. To date, Steven has sold over four million albums and produced over 50 recordings which are used to facilitate relaxation in homes, hospitals, offices, and therapeutic settings throughout the world.

Randy Peyser: Before Spectrum Suite, no one had ever composed and recorded music specifically for meditation, relaxation or massage. Was it your intention to create music specifically for this purpose?

Steven Halpern: Spectrum Suite came as a result of a meditation and initiation I underwent in a power spot on the Santa Cruz mountains in '69. The album was a fine tuning of that general approach to music which began during that peak experience and vision. The meditation itself involved the seven rays, the seven chakras, and the seven tones of the major scale. I had the idea to play music in the keys which related to each of the color rays. My intention was to then stimulate each energy center with sound, and by so doing, bring the listener's body, mind, and spirit into a higher level of functioning.

RP: When you first started out, were people receptive to your music?

SH: Definitely. They said, "I've been looking for music like this." I was the first musician to exhibit at Whole Life Expos with great success. However, when I took the music to health food stores and New Age bookstores, there definitely was a challenge involved in helping them understand that these same people who were interested in health foods and metaphysical books, would be interested in music like this. Ultimately, that "alternative" market has become a huge market for this kind of music, and it is true that I was the first one knocking on their doors.

RP: What is your specific focus?

SH: My focus is to support healing on an individual basis and to contribute to and anchor peace on this planet by helping to create peace within the listener. In particular, my focus has been to evoke the relaxation response in order to activate all aspects of our general wellness. One of the most healing things we can do for ourselves is to decrease our stress.

RP: How does your music help us do this?

SH: The music itself will, without any effort on our part, automatically assist the body to shift gears into the relaxation modality. This means your breathing and heart beat slow down, and your brain waves shift into an alpha brain wave frequency of around 8 cycles per second - which is also the basic frequency of the earth itself. The frequencies all come together when you get into this natural state. That's why in so many spiritual traditions one is taught to "be still and know." When you relax deeply, you are able to tune into your true self.

RP: Do you have scientific evidence to support your findings?

SH: Yes. I was the first person to investigate the effects of music using biofeedback, including the GSR (Galvanic Skin Response), and EEG, (brain wave biofeedback). I've also used live blood cell analysis (darkfield microscopy). Researchers have repeatedly found immediate, demonstrable benefits from listening to Spectrum Suite and my other albums.

RP: Can any music be used as sound healing?

SH: No. That's not my experience. There are a lot of record companies who are just sticking a label on music which is inappropriate for this genre and saying, "Anything by Mozart is healing or relaxing." It also matters which selection of Mozart is used as well as who performs it.

By sound healing, I am not saying a particular piece of music will heal a particular disease, but that the appropriate use of sound and music can assist the body to heal itself. We can work with the application of specific frequencies to assist different parts of the body to become more aligned with their natural pattern of perfection.

The music we listen to can affect our breathing and how we feel physically. This can happen with classical music as well. Even on a CD, the uptightness of a performer is transferred to the audience. The phrase I use for this is that music is a "carrier wave for consciousness." That's why when I'm in my studio, I record in a meditative state.

RP: Your music appears to breathe...

SH: Yes, it does. That's part of the secret to composing this kind of music. I do yogic breathing when I'm recording to help keep me anchored in the vibration of peace. The music breathes and it allows you to breathe with it. If you listen to Spectrum Suite with either head phones on or cuddled with your lover, just breathing with the music will create a heart opening energy field. It's such a wonderful way to connect with someone you feel close with.

You can visit Steven's web site at www.stevenhalpern.com


 

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