article about Janalea's Healing Concert
By LISA GUTIERREZ
The Kansas City Star
A concert with a PowerPoint presentation?
A concert where everyone goes home with a free CD?
What is Overland Park music therapist Janalea Hoffman up to?
People will find out tonight at her “healing concert.”
Music, with all its therapeutic properties, has been Hoffmanʼs
life mission for more than 30 years in the music therapy business.One of
her projects, called Sounds of Comfort, takes her into hospital rooms at
Shawnee Mission Medical Center, where she and other musicians play at
Over the last three years Hoffman has presented more than 30 of her
“healing concerts” at medical centers, churches and various public
venues, for cancer patients, medical personnel and the general public.
concert, a fundraiser for Sounds of Comfort, coincides partly by design
with the beginning of the stressful holiday season.
“I just think people need to take care of themselves during the
holidays, and this is one way to do it, to start to de-stress and learn
some information about how to deal with your stress,” she says. We
talked about the concert with Hoffman in her southern Johnson County
studio, Rhythmic Medicine.
Q. First of all, what is a healing concert?
A. Well, it is very unique. Usually when you go to a
kind of a passive listening experience. Youʼre
sitting there, and youʼre
thinking of what youʼre
going to do later or whatever else is on your mind. A healing concert is
part concert, part music therapy experience, part educational. I have a
PowerPoint that I give about how music affects the brain. Thereʼs
music that affects us physically, emotionally and spiritually, and I
talk about each section beforehand so people know what to listen for.
Sorry, you stopped me when you said PowerPoint. I donʼt
people expect to see a PowerPoint presentation at
OK, well, that is very minimal. Itʼs
not like Iʼm
going to lecture a lot. There will bejust
a little bit of information so you know how to listen more actively to
have it be more healing. All of us are on a healing journey of some
all needed emotional healing, physical healing at some level. I talk
about how music fits into that.Thatʼs
what people want to know: How can music help me?
Q. How did you come up with this concert format?
I have developed, over the years, techniques that I teach to a lot of
health care professionals. But then I started doing the bedside music in
hospital rooms, and that was really powerful. And yet, Iʼm
very labor-intensive, too. So I thought … wouldnʼt
it be great to have this concert for a bigger group ofpeople so that a
lot of people could benefit at one time?
Q. So what kind of music will we hear?
Some of itʼs
classical and some of itʼs
all live. We have a concert harpist who brings her giant concert harp. A
lot of our concerts we do in small settings, and to have this giant harp
up there — you really feel the vibrations. And then we have a violinist
from Poland who is fantastic. He has played in Carnegie Hall and is
getting his Ph.D at KU. … We also have a singer. … And I do a little bit
of native flute.
sure that there are people who will read this story and think, “A
healingconcert sounds kind of woo-woo to me.” How would you
encourage themto try it?
We have a CD called “Musical
music at a certain rhythm to slow your heart rate and (lower) blood
pressure. The tickets for the concert are $20, but weʼre
offering to give people the CD free if they come. We really have a
mission to get this out about music therapy and how music can
be helpful. And sometimes, you have to do
something to grab peopleʼs
This is the secret of Rhythmic Medicine
Personal Note from Janalea about
Musical SolutionsWhen I started my Private Practice in
Music Therapy, very few people knew about Music Therapy. "I was into
country before country was cool!" are the lyrics to a famous song. I
have been introduced in prior workshops with this line, "Janalea was
into Music Therapy, before Music Therapy was cool!"
When I studied Music Therapy,
most jobs were in highly specialized institutions with special
populations. I heard the following stereotype many times, "Oh, I know
about Music Therapy. It is for children and the elderly!" This is so
MUSIC THERAPY IS FOR EVERYONE! My mission has been to
create a Music Therapy private practice that focuses on using music as a
wellness tool for all ages, especially adults who may not know that
music can be an integral part of their wellness program. My passion has
been to develop techniques that help with our health challenges. For
example, Musical Biofeedback, is a concept that I developed which
teaches individuals how to match their body rhythms, such as heart rate
and breathing rate to slow musical rhythms. This greatly increases body
awareness which is ALWAYS important for health.
If we ignore our body's
signals, we cannot catch things early. In Oriental medicine, it is
important to pay close attention to what our body is telling us so we
can eliminate potential body challenges before they become serious.
Using music to help us be more aware of our bodies is one fun and
effective way to do this. Also, by matching our body rhythms to musical
rhythms, we are entering into a focused state of mind which is also
helpful to our health.
As you go through our website, there are
programs and products to help you find MUSICAL SOLUTIONS.
Wishing you all musical things--harmony, great melodies, joy
Your internal body rhythms- heart beat,
blood pressure, and breathing
always try to harmonize with external rhythms.
Your heart near another's will find a mutual pace.
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