You don’t have to be a musician to reap the benefits of music. Simply listening to your favorite tunes can do wonders, like improving your mood, reducing stress and acting as a form of healing — for both people and pets.
“Therapeutic music, rhythm and sound healing has been shown to help regulate blood pressure and respiration rates and reduce pain, stress and anxiety in people and animals,” says Andrea Mikolajczak-Novicki, a therapeutic musician who heads up Songs That Soothe™, a local business that provides music services to promote physical, emotional, mental and spiritual balance.
Mikolajczak-Novicki routinely performs for the cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy at the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. “Patients have said that they felt like they were ‘walking on a cloud’ and that they were able to relax and feel less pain during treatments,” she says of the reactions to her arrangements, which use percussion instruments such as wind chimes and steel-tongue drums.
She has also given sound healing sessions to rescued farm animals at the Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita, as well as private sessions and therapeutic group drumming sessions for Burbank and Toluca Lake families and their pets. Her popular sound baths for dogs have helped people and their pets socialize, relax and bond. “Animals are all curious about the Songs That Soothe™ instruments and music. Some dogs prefer the chimes and kalimba while other dogs prefer a gentle hypnotic rhythm on the djembe drum,” Mikolajczak-Novicki says. “Everyone responds differently to different sounds. My goal is to create an experience of joy, inspiration, peace of mind and relaxation through music.”
To meet some of the other organizations instrumental in inspiring harmony throughout our community, see our stories about the Burbank Community Band, the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and School of Rock.