Music can be heard and understood by all.
Because it transcends language, it is a perfect vehicle to speak to many people in our vastly diverse global culture. It crosses all lines of division, and can affect everyone it touches. Perhaps most importantly, the varied frequencies of music are soothing to all living beings.
This is nothing new to the world. Music has been used for centuries as a form of therapy. Examples stretch back from Biblical stories of David playing sweet music to cheer the heart of King Saul; to the Greeks playing the lyre to aid digestion; to the drumming of Native Americans to heal disease. Today research is showing support for what the ancients knew instinctively:
Because it is a universal language, music has the power to communicate in ways that are understood on the deepest levels. A few notes can create an atmosphere that is instantly recognizable. You might recall the theme music for Jaws or any other scary movie you might have seen. Now imagine it without the music. Think you’d still be frightened? Maybe, but likely not as much as with those sinister minor notes creeping forward to lure you into …
In this same way, a note can ripple through us with such familiarity that it will take us back to a place in time where we first laid an experience onto that note. Think of the song playing on the radio when you had your first kiss, or the tune you listened to over and over again when you broke up with your first love. We are drawn back to those memories with such vividness because of the music.
For Joe, music is how he communicates best. When he sits down in the midst of a circle of crystal bowls, he is able to tell everyone a story of peace and safety. His notes assure us that we are cared for, that we are loved, and that we are part of something incredible. With music, we are restored to our own sense of lightness, and there is no greater thing to sing about than that!
Joe hails from the eastern United States, but he counts his past experiences, from using his Doctorate in Psychology as a Marriage and Family Therapist to owning a boutique hotel in Central America, as preparation for where he is today. Though his professional path has taken many surprising turns, the constant force in his life has been music. He started playing the drums at age 7, but he is quick to note that his first drum was a rubber circle on a block of wood called a practice pad. Being so young, Joe’s parents told him they would buy him a drum set only if he proved that he would practice and stick with it. He did, and after what seemed like an eternity, he got his first drum kit. Joe began learning songs off the radio and then discovered the joy of playing with others. This led him to find opportunities to drum in different bands from the time he was in high school right up to the present day.
Many of the big events in Joe’s life have come as unexpected opportunities. He did not plan to build a hotel in El Salvador; nor had he planned to take a yoga teacher training program, but he is always willing to recognize an opportunity for positive change, even if it seems off the map at first. The first time Joe played a crystal bowl was no different. A trusted friend and yoga teacher asked him to accompany her on a crystal bowl as she taught. The class was moved in a way that Joe did not expect; the serenity of the yoga practice and studio space with the undercurrent of vibration from the crystal bowl moved them to a state of utmost peace and relaxation. Seeing this, Joe was inspired and immediately started practicing with a set of seven bowls, so that he could continue to share this experience with others.
Joe has seen firsthand the way in which music can affect people, taking them to different states of mind and leading them to a deeply soothing experience, and this drives Joe to continue offering his sound meditations around San Diego. Joe believes that we all need to take a time-out from the chaos of our world, and his concerts provide a safe, positive and relaxing environment where you can set down your burdens and tune in to the universal language of music.
Joe loves to offer his talents at private events and studios around the area. Contact him at CrystalBowlJoe@gmail.com or (858) 480-9844 to book him for your next event.
CRYSTAL BOWL MEDITATION
Meditation is an elusive term for many of us. It brings up images of robed sages sitting for impossible periods of time contemplating the mysteries of life, but in its simplest form, meditation is simply training the mind on one subject and holding it there for an extended period of time.
A Sound Meditation is no different than any other kind of meditation; the participant trains the mind on one point, but in this case, that point is sound. Because sound is vibration, it is an excellent subject for meditation. We not only hear the music, but we feel the resonant frequencies in our bodies as well. Two of our five senses are strongly engaged, and that makes it easier to maintain focus and concentration on the music of the bowls.
When the sounds and vibrations begin to enter your field of consciousness, it induces a relaxed and introspective state. By allowing the frequencies to flow through you, you will begin to notice a quieting of internal chatter, thought will drop away, and you will have the opportunity to wipe the slate of your mind clean. This mental relaxation often gives way to a profound release of tension in the body. Each person’s journey will be unique, but all will gain a greater sense of contentment and peace through the simple act of listening.
Q. What is a sound meditation?
Just like any other kind of meditation, this is an experience of directed focus. Instead of centering the mind on the breath or on an image or thought, we use the sound of the bowls as a single point of concentration.
Q. What does a typical session look like?
We’ll start the session with a few words to help drop into a meditative state. You can lie on your mat or sit up against a wall. The most important thing is to be in a comfortable position where you can bring your focus to the sound of the bowls.
Q. What type of bowls does Joe use?
Joe uses a set of chakra tuned quartz crystal bowls and uses alchemy bowls, as well as other miscellaneous instruments.
Q. What should I bring/wear?
Dress comfortably with layers for temperature control. You are encouraged to bring any props that will help you feel comfortable, such as eye masks, meditation pillows, and blankets – whatever helps you relax.
Q. Can children come?
Children are welcome. We understand that being quiet and still for a long period of time can be difficult, so we’d ask that you just be considerate of others.
Q. What’s the difference between going to a live event at a studio versus playing a recorded video off of YouTube?
As with any kind of music, live performance is always going to be more powerful because there is no barrier between the instrument and the listener. The vibrations created by playing the bowls travel directly to the listener. When we listen to a recorded version, we still get the same vibration, but it has been condensed and processed through the recording and replaying. There is still great potency in listening to a recorded concert, but the impact will be more significant when the music is in its purest form.
Q. What can I expect from my experience?
Joe tries to communicate a universal message of safety and relaxation through his playing, but your experience will be will be unique to you. Everybody goes on their own little journey of introspection. Some concert goers have said that they felt deeply held tension dissolve from their bodies. Others have described feelings of happiness and increased connection emerging during and after the event. Even listeners suffering from forms of dementia or Alzheimer’s have attained an hour of comfort during his performance.
Q. What if I fall asleep?
The music Joe plays is meant to bring people to states of deep meditation and calm. If you happen to fall asleep, Joe won’t take it personally. He knows that the music can relax people to the point where they will drift off to dream land. Just don’t be surprised if the Snore Patrol taps you on the shoulder!
Q. I’d love to have Joe play at an event/studio, how can that happen?
Joe loves going to different studios and private events. If you’d like to have Joe play at your studio or event, please contact him at CrystalBowlJoe@gmail.com or (858) 480-9844.
Curious about the experience of meditating with the music of crystal bowls? You can try it with one of these short recordings created by Joe to help you access this deeply relaxing practice on your home turf. Clear your schedule for a few minutes, settle into a comfortable position, and enjoy a journey inward to peace.
Take a crystal bowl break and let the music bring you home to your best self.