If you’ve attended our trainings either online or in person, you’ve no doubt experienced the music program of the Wisdom of Healing School and Healing Wisdom. The goal of the music program is to support the meditation, giving you a container to begin your entry into the big field, soften your return to waking consciousness, and draw us together in compassion and gratitude.
Music is a constant in the great traditions of the world. It is used to induce trance, evoke ecstatic praise, align congregations, codify prayer, and practice devotion. Just as the divine is universal and independent of dogma, so is our approach to music. Our musicians hail from many different musical and spiritual traditions, but we share our gift in support of our collective journey to spirit. The structure of our practice comes from Hilda Charlton, Ron’s Root teacher, who opened and closed her public classes at the Cathedral St. John the Divine, with music.
We use Music at the Wisdom of Healing School and Healing Wisdom to enhance the quality of our meditation, prayer, devotion and healing. There are a few reasons for this, some incidental to our lineage, and some quite deep, reaching down to the heart of our human relationship to the divine.
But before we do all that, did you know Ron Young himself was a professional musician who put out two albums? While he was studying with his teacher Hilda Charlton, he composed many poems and songs in praise of the divine and would perform them on guitar. Ultimately, he made the decision to commit to healing work rather than the music industry, however music has a special place in Ron’s heart.
Music’s inclusion into the practice, like so many of Ron Young’s teachings and techniques, comes from Hilda as well. She was herself a dancer and originally went to India with a troupe themed around the divine mother. After studying with great masters in India, she returned to the U.S. and began to give teachings at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Her sessions were always opened and closed by musicians of various faiths, instruments and musical techniques.
As such the structure of our music program is a continuation of her lineage. Richard Shulman, the pianist who opens our online meditations, first met Ron through Hilda’s classes in 1983. Shulman, who was trained in both classical and jazz music, went on to collaborate with Ron on several projects and began his own healing practice in which he would record musical “soul portraits”
Many of the musicians in fact have been aided deeply by the work. Laure Balon, was originally a dancer and, after an injury, began working with Ron Young who observed that she had great possibility as a singer. Since then she has had a long career as a musical theater performer, dance and vocal coach, spanning 3 continents. Or take the story of Michael Falco, who often closes the online meditations. Mike had stopped performing for over 20 years, enjoying a fantastic career in photography. However, in the 4 months after his first long retreat studying with Ron, Michael composed close to 60 songs, recording full arrangements on several instruments. Now in addition to his photography business, he performs all over the north east. Or even Samantha Podrebarac, who began tabla after beginning to study with Ron Young at Columbia University. While her profession is client focused, sacred music has become crucial for her own spiritual practice.
Other musicians were professionals before meeting Ron Young and the impact of the work in their lives compels them to offer their gifts. Marc Poellhuber was trained in classical guitar and is an active composer for film, stage, and radio, while his partner and collaborator, Helga Schleeh has performed flute and organized concerts for Peace all over the US and Canada, including the UN. Charlotte Malin is a professor of Viola at Amherst College and regularly facilitates sound healing experiences. David Groeneweg is a singer songwriter who has toured the Netherlands, England, Italy, Belgium, and the USA. Giovanni Voneki is a renowned musician and TV personality in Taiwan and Europe. And I, your humble author Marcus G. Miller, am a saxophonist, composer and musical director who has, among other things, performed at Carnegie Hall, The Obama White House, and TED Summit, and currently serves as musical director of Grace Farms, a community and arts organization based in the USA.
I think I speak for all of us when I say that Ron’s work in healing and aiding our communion with the divine has added a depth to our musical practice, artistic perspective, and sense of career opportunity. It is for this reason that we offer our gifts freely to support you all in your movements. We know how powerful this work is. We know what connecting to that which is greater can do. We understand its potential to enrich a successful life or bring possibility and grace when the way forward seems closed. And so we thank you for sitting with us and doing us the honor of helping you along your way.
Written by Marcus G. Miller, Music Director