Music for the Spirit

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"Starry Starry"

Celestial Music from the Heart - Karen Ashbrook

A Fantasia of American, Celtic, Asian and classical lullabies on solo hammered dulcimer


“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.”

Kahlil Gibran

Healing Certified Music Practitioners® (CMP) are trained to play therapeutic music at the bedside of those who are ill and/or dying. The music comes in many styles, usually secular unless the patient requests sacred (Christian and Jewish traditions).

Karen has earned her CMP through the Music for Healing and Transitions Program. She brings over 35 years of experience playing the dulcimer all around the world, in many styles of music.

If you are interested in therapeutic music services, contact Karen at 301-592-0101 or


Studies have shown that live music, played in an appropriate way, can:

  • Aid sleep
  • Bring comfort
  • Promote joy & healing
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Decrease tension
  • Affect respiration
  • Sharpen mental focus
  • Foster a sense of well being
  • Reduce anxiety and pain
  • Reduce need for anesthesia and pain relievers

“The sweet harmony of music not only affords us pleasures, but renders us important services. It greatly cheers the drooping spirit, clears the face from clouds, smoothes the wrinkled brow, checks moroseness, promotes hilarity; of all the most pleasant things in the world, nothing more delights and enlivens the human heart.”

Giraldus Cambrensis, 12th century translation T. Wright

Experiences in the Field

I have seen over and over the power music has to transform a cold, clinical environment into a haven of peacefulness. A couple of examples:

  • A resident had been crying with her eyes tightly closed for several minutes. I asked if there was a piece of music she would like to hear. Through her sobs she told me she used to play piano. So I played Bach's Minuet in G. Within a few seconds of starting to play, she stopped crying completely, opened her eyes, her anxiety banished!

  • In the final visit of my internship a woman with aphasia who had previously been unable to speak to clearly to me said, “thank you very much” at the end. It was a wonderful way to conclude my intern hours!

"We are truly grateful that you were there to share music with her in her final days."

a daughter referring to her mother