Q&A with Rona Geffen, interdisciplinary musician and sound healer

Spiritual Media Blog is delighted to present an interview Faye Lewis and Rona Geffen, an interdisciplinary musician and sound healer based in Berlin, Germany. For information about booking virtual sound healing or consultations with Rona, contact booking@ronageffen.com.

As an artist and a sound healer, you often work across genres. You have a background making funky, club-ready electronic music, but you also make beautiful meditative music to enlighten the mind. How did you get into the more spiritual side of music, and why? 

I got into more spiritual music through my research for a project in spatial sound I did on 4DSOUND at the Spatial Sound Institute. I had an idea for a project, but I didn’t know much about the components, one of which was sound healing. So I started studying sound healing, and then started practising it more and more: more methods, and more instruments. I see sound healing and electronic music as very connected and informing each other.  If music is a picture, sound is the colours we use. Each instrument and each sound, has a space and specific effect. When we do sound healing, it’s about the quality of sound and how vibrations affect each other. We see the body, the physical body and the emotional body as vibrations, and then we are just entraining them with different vibrations and rhythms. 

How would you describe what sound healing offers people? What does it do to the body that is unique to sound healing?  

It offers balance. And it offers a possibility for self-healing.

Emotions are vibration, and disease, or dis-ease, they’re all types of vibration. When we introduce our vibrational system with any other frequency (aka vibration) that is coherent and is in harmony and is rich and full of overtones, vibrations will entrain to each other, also rhythmically. 

When we go, for example, to the beach and hear the waves and they’re going in a very slow pace, immediately, it entrains our heart rate and our brainwaves to go to on a slower pace, which is why we actually relax. This is what happens with sound healing, we’re actually presenting a vibration that is entraining the system. The body wants to be healed, physically and emotionally, no system wants to be unbalanced. Systems always want to be balanced and in homeostasis. With sound healing we’re presenting the opportunity, how it sounds; how it is to “be” a coherent and balanced vibration. And our system as human beings is entraining into this, and balancing itself into this. 

Of course, you aren’t just a sound healer. How do you incorporate music, and your musicianship, into sound healing?

As a sound healer, I’m working with rhythm and combinations of sound, and as a musician, it’s easier to find what will also be fitting musically to or within a sound. Musically in the sense that is maybe comforting, but also musical in the sense of maybe creating tension and releasing it, which is something we use in sound healing. 

I think that being a musician and music producer also helps when working with recorded sounds. For example, I have some sessions on YouTube that are recorded, and we used high-end recording equipment, because it’s important to deliver the sound in a certain quality. As practitioners, we work with the best instruments: tuning forks, singing bowls, crystal bowls, gongs etc’. The quality of the instrument is important, because then you have more overtones, and the vibration is richer. If you deliver this to people all over the world with very poor sound quality, like recording it through your computer instead of a good microphone, you’re actually not giving everything: you’re giving a very small fraction of the sound you’re usually working with. 

There is research showing that high resolution audio affects the body better than low resolution audio. High resolution means broader frequency range. So, if you cut the frequency range or compress it with poor recording devices, it affects the body less. These are things that as sound healers, we can incorporate, we have to work with technology.

A lot of people at home may be concerned about their physical and mental health these days. As a sound healer, is there anything that you recommend in the way of at-home meditation or frequencies which can be channeled to soothe a troubled body or mind? 

First of all, listen to music, at least a few minutes a day. Preferably on a good system, but even if not, with headphones or with the computer, just listen to music and experience rhythm and vibration and sounds that make you happy. Present. Or bring you comfort, maybe. It doesn’t have to be happy music, but something you can relate to. 

There’s a very good breathing exercise I like doing. It’s an entrainment exercise, similar to what we talked about with the sea. When we breathe, basically, we incorporate light energy and sound energy together, and we’re working with the vagus nerve, so we really activate and effect the whole body. This is a very simple exercise: you just inhale, let’s say, on the count of four, so you count to four in your heart slowly; you hold the air in your lungs on the count of two, and then you exhale on the count of eight. So you inhale on x, hold the air in your body on the count of, two or three, and then exhale on two times x (2X), and then remain with no air on the count of two or three again. this is really good, again, because you’re bringing this slow rhythm inwards  to entrain the heart and brain to calm down. Even if you do this three or five minutes a day; I do this three minutes a day, for those three minutes everything is relaxed. Then it’s easier for the body to remember this feeling both emotionally and physically and be in that condition and not in a stressed condition, which is characterised in faster heart rate and brain waves. This is a very, very simple exercise I always recommend.

Singing, humming, doing work with your own voice, is so good. Again, it’s activating the entire system, the lungs, which we know now are very important to keep active, especially in these times. Just vibrating the entire system, so anything you can do with your voice, really any exercises with breathing, a few minutes a day will take you a long way.

There are a lot of YouTube videos or sound healing pieces online you can tune into. There are also the videos I released that I talked about under The Sound Is The Scenery on my YouTube channel. It’s important people listen to what they connect with. Listen to yourself and do what’s good for you. If something doesn’t work for you, let it go and find something that works for you.

Of course, if anybody is interested in private sound meditation or remote healing sessions with me, I do remote sessions and consultations, and you can reach me at booking@ronageffen.com

What is it about sound and music that can be so therapeutic to us?

If you take a big metronome and you put it next to smaller metronomes, or a bunch of smaller metronomes together, they will entrain to each other. We really entrain to whatever is close to us. 

And then there’s also a geometric component into it. There’s a lot of research, showing that harmony and coherency are always presented in nature in perfect geometric shapes, like the work Dr. Masaru Emoto did with water crystals. And disharmony, chaos or sadness or bad feelings, what we relate to as bad feelings or even bad thoughts, are presented in chaotic formation. When we listen to music, or sounds that are harmonious and rich, they are actually delivering these perfect geometries and we entrain to them. When we record a sound, we can capture the intention of the person; the vibrational entity of the person who made the sound, or their condition, and then as a listener we just — we feel, we relate to that. I think very good singers or players actually really deliver themselves through that. And we just entrain, or we connect to them, in that moment. 

What does your sound healing practise actually look like? 

The private sessions are completely different between people, it really depends on what comes up from the person. I can use a tuning fork and it will resonate differently with each person. When I do vibrational acupuncture or working around the body in general, the whole session will change completely based on the resonance with the person. So sessions are not the same, it’s really adjusted to each person and what they need.

When I’m playing concerts, sound healing concerts or electronic concerts, it’s the same. All my concerts involve live playing, intuition and improvisation even if there is a structure. The live playing part is really according to what comes up from the people. Both the choice of frequency that will be played, or the rhythm that is played, it’s never the same. It’s always about what comes out, what comes up, from the situation. 

How do you feel after doing these sessions?

I feel really good. When you get “in the zone” and you know everything is aligned, you feel really good. It’s meditation. But of course, it takes a lot of preparation. You have to prepare yourself before you come to a session or a concert, you prepare the room. There’s a lot of preparation to clean energy and bring about what you want it to be. People are trusting you in that moment with their energy and well being. It’s very important to prepare everything to respect and accommodate that trust. 

Is there anything else you want to mention about sound healing (broadly)?

I think everybody should try it. A lot of people are skeptics, but everybody should at least try it. At the very least, I’m sure they’ll have a very interesting experience. About themselves, and how they feel sound in their body, not just with their ears. I see in my practice results that are just phenomenal. So, I really recommend people to at least be open-minded. To check it out, but also to trust their instincts. Connect to who they connect to. It’s important, because sometimes — we trust people we shouldn’t. We should always trust ourselves and our instincts. 

One of your most central explorations into the relationship between sound and the spirit is “The Sound Is The Scenery”. Can you describe this project? 

In a nutshell I can say The Sound Is The Scenery is a project incorporating sound healing from various modalities, planetary frequencies and spatial sound. This spatial audio-visual composition is part of my research for the last 5 years exploring how we can incorporate sound healing, ancient knowledge and practises and technology, and then take it to the next step.  

It was created with support of the brilliant Claire Glanois, Dr. in Mathematics. The visual part, by wonderful Alessandra Leone, can be performed either as a light installation or light and projection.

You have performed The Sound Is The Scenery in many different contexts. As you’ve performed this project or continued to explore it over the course of many years, what have you learned from this project as it evolves? 

It’s really beautiful to see how you can take people through this process, or through this journey into themselves, and into sound. It’s very interesting to see what it does to people: everything relaxes at some point. Even when I’ve performed The Sound Is The Scenery in festivals — people are passing by, and they will just come, you know? “Cause the frequencies are so appealing”. 

Can you talk a little bit about your latest release, We Are One?

I’m part of a network of international artists called “Beyond Music”, which is about connecting musicians from all over the world. We Are One was created in collaboration with Elly Kellner, who’s a singer/songwriter from the Netherlands, and Heidi al-Sabban, who’s a singer from Egypt. It’s played on the singing bowls, and Heidi played oud, and Elly the guitar. It’s really just about a woman choir, love and unification.

It was beautiful to work with these two talented artists. I love their voices and what they brought in: I recorded the song and then I just sent it to them and each one brought herself into it. And it grew together to something bigger. There were no instructions, it’s really just coming from the heart of each one. I love the harmonies that are created. Elly and Heidi are very talented, and also very kind people. It’s always a blessing to have this collaborative experiences. 

Did you record at any point all together? Or was it always remote?

It was all done remotely. So Heidi was in Egypt, I was in Berlin, Elly was in Amsterdam, and we just sent tracks to one another. We knew that we wanted it to be about the choir: it’s more embracing and warmer, and then each one just brings her one instrument that she plays on: Heidi with the oud, Elly with the guitar, and me with the singing bowls. But it’s mostly about the vocals. 

Is there anything about the message of the song that you think is important to think about right now, or that you think is important to encourage people to think about when they’re listening to the song? 

This song is all about that we are one, and that we should take care of each other and love each other. Know how big we are as individuals, but also when we’re unified. I think that now, in these times, we get to see more how personal responsibility, communal responsibility, is important, and personal connection is so important. If we’re in quarantine, it’s hard, you know, because we used to see people and talk to people. So it’s important to take care and be considerate of other people and how they might be affected by our actions, appreciate how important we are to one another. In all aspects. So how fast we can harm each other, and then how easy it is to protect each other. And support each other and take each other as individuals and as a unified group forward and up, this is what We Are One is about. 

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Rona Geffen is an interdisciplinary musician and sound healer based in Berlin, Germany. For information about booking virtual sound healing or consultations with Rona, contact booking@ronageffen.com.

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