Apr Apr 11, 2022

The beat of the healthy resting heart

By |April 11, 2022|Healthy Resting Heartbeat|0 Comments

healthy resting heartbeat entrains to music through headphones

Patient enjoying serene music that entrains with healthy resting heartbeat

For patients having surgery, it is of the utmost important that their vital signs are stable.  The surgeon and anesthesiologist want to be sure that the patient’s heartbeat and breathing are slow and steady.  If nothing is done to assure this, there is a good chance that more anxiety medication will be needed to relax the patient.

However music could be used to accomplish the very same thing, with little or no medication.

Why don’t more surgeons and anesthesiologists do this?  Mainly because they don’t even know that it’s an option!  Surgical Serenity Solutions has been around since 2009 and our company has been growing steadily, but we’re still a very small fish in the pond of hospitals.

Most people go into surgery with lots of fear and trepidation.  Until recently, surgical patients mostly did not read up about the procedure in advance and just wanted to turn it all over to the doctors and get it over with.  Now, patients are much more eager and able to go online to reputable medical sites and get some accurate and helpful information about how to prepare for surgery.

Part of this new plethora of information is the fact that music for the patient during surgery can actually decrease the amount of medication that the patient would need to reduce anxiety and pain perception. And it’s not just surgery!

What usually happens with a patient about to go into surgery or a hospital-based test

The patient in the picture above is just recovering from a colonoscopy where she was sedated with propofol.  Normally, patients are given Valium or other benzodiazepines before they are taken back for the procedure but thanks to the soothing music on the pre-loaded headphones, she skipped the Valium entirely and was wide-awake and ready to go to breakfast about 30 minutes after this picture was taken!

As a clinical musicologist I knew that music for medical procedures needed to be a slow, steady tempo that would entrain or synchronize the tempo of the music to the tempo of the healthy, resting heartbeat.  Luckily, there is lots of music that has this slow, steady tempo.  But sequencing this music carefully so that it easily flows from one piece into the next is very important and requires musical knowledge and training.

Asian senior or elderly old lady woman patient use earphone while lie down and happy on bed in nursing hospital ward : healthy strong medical concept

Our five playlists in five different genres are loaded onto headphones that can accommodate a micro-SD card and delivered to hospitals in boxes of 12, 20, or 50.  Patients have a choice of which headphone playlist they can choose.  The genres are Classical, Jazz, New Age, Lullabies, or Memory Care.  To order these headphones for your hospitals, surgery center, or dental office, go to www.SurgicalSerenitySolutions.com/20-pre-loaded-headphones-for-hospitals/ 

Included with the headphones is a package of 50 pair of disposable earpiece covers.  We can get them to you oftentimes in less than a week and will replace any headphone that does not perform.  Currently, this has never happened!

The link between patient satisfaction and hospital reimbursement

Increasing patient satisfaction and decreasing the amount of anxiety and pain perception a patients experiences is such an important job! Most for-profit hospitals are reimbursed by Medicare according to patient satisfaction ratings.  For each regularly performed procedure, a set amount is reimbursed. But there is a star system and the stars are given according to patient satisfaction.

Don’t leave it up to chance.  In this time of opioid addiction and chemical dependency, let music help your patient heal and recover naturally.

Just go NOW to www.SurgicalSerenitySolutions.com/20-pre-loaded-headphones-for-hospitals/ 

Apr Apr 1, 2022

Healing Music awaits many Ukrainians at the Polish border

By |April 1, 2022|Music for Ukrainian Refugees|0 Comments


The sight of Ukrainian refugees arriving at the border in Poland is heart-breaking, and yet I am so grateful for all of the Polish men and women who have welcomed them with open arms and open homes. I saw a  photo of a mother and toddler daughter, waiting long hours in a train station in Warsaw after arriving from Ukraine. Of course they’re being given food, shelter, and clothing, but what a beautiful gift live music is for them! Every day, thousands more people flee Ukraine and no one knows when this will end.

When I began seeing the news reports of Ukrainians fleeing and being met at the border by musicians playing familiar music for them, sometimes Ukrainian folksongs.  Here are some wonderful examples of that, just in case you haven’t seen any of them!

The first link connects to a man who is playing piano at the border and is playing Beatles tunes for the arriving refugees.

The second link is of a man who is not only playing familiar songs for arriving refugees but is also allowing them to play, if they know how.

 Compassion is a wonderful thing and music is one of many, many ways to express compassionate and true caring. Pray for peace.

Mar Mar 18, 2022

Music, Surgery, and Wanda Landowska: how ganglion cysts changed the path of her career

By |March 18, 2022|Famous musician's surgeries|0 Comments


Have you heard about Wanda Landowska? I wanted to honor Wanda Landowska on International Women’s Day, but that day got away from me.  Then I remembered that it’s Women’s History Month all of March!!  So let me tell you a little bit about Wanda Landowska…

She is the woman who singlehandedly revived the harpsichord as a performing instrument in the early 20th century.  The harpsichord had died out as a performing intrument in the 1700’s when the piano was invented. The piano was so much easier to maintain and it was easier to create emotion on the piano, which romantic repertoire required.  Not only that, but in the late 1700’s the harpsichord had become associated with the aristocracy. During the French Revolution people burned harpsichords for firewood and as a sign of their rebellion.

Wanda Landowska was Polish and while growing up in Poland, had never seen a harpsichord.  When she went off to college in Berlin in the late 1890’s, she saw her first harpsichord and knew that the harpsichord was the instrument that Bach had created his music for!

If you’ve been a subscriber for awhile, you’re probably aware that my main focus these days is music with surgery. But 30 years ago my primary focus was on Wanda Landowska and the Revival of the harpsichord.

How that transition came about has been told and recorded by me many times, so I’ll just jump to the chase.

When Wanda Landowska was a young adult, she was primarily a pianist and practiced long hours every day on typical Romantic era repertoire, such as Chopin, Schumann, and Brahms.  If you’re a pianist or a performing musician you know that this music is often filled with fortissimo chords and octaves and if you don’t have relatively large hands,  As a result, she began developing ganglion cysts in her wrists.

The cysts not only caused her great pain, but made it almost impossible to play the Romantic piano repertoire that she wanted to play.  After developing these cysts, she had to give her dream and actually changed her major to theory and composition.  Then she went to the famous Musical Instrument Museum.  That’s where she saw the beautiful harpsichords with their innerlids painted with beautiful designs and sometimes scenes from nature.  She knew at that moment that she would have a harpsichord and would re-introduce it to the world.  And that’s what she did.

When I first came across this information, it led me to a body of information about the musical problems of performing musicians.  Which led me to thinking about musical solutions to medical issues…like surgery.

What a journey these past 32 years have been!  If you’re not familiar with Wanda Landowska and would like to hear her play the harpsichord that she revived, go here:


In this wonderful video clip, Wanda herself tells the story of first seeing a harpsichord and knowing that she must play it.  You will also hear and see her playing it.

Of course she never mentions having the problem with ganglion cysts in her wrists, but I came across this information when I was researching her in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, for my dissertation on her.

I hope you’ll enjoy this!


P.S. Because of Wanda Landowsk, I also play the harpsichord!




Feb Feb 25, 2022

Our new interview series starts today: Innovators in Music Medicine–Brian Harris, MT-BC and MedRhythms

By |February 25, 2022|Music and Parkinson's Disease|0 Comments


Today is the premiere of our “Innovators in Music Medicine Series” and our first interview  is with powerhouse music therapist Brian Harris, MT-BC and licensed neurologic music therapist.  Brian has co-founded and runs the company MedRhythms, a world-class digital therapeutics company that works with patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Thanks to his innovative technology using music and sensors on the patient’s shoe, Parkinson’s patients are able to greatly improve their gait and walk in a safe and healthy manner.

Brian and his company have received at least 4 patents on this innovative technology.  I think you’re going to love this interview!  Join us at 3:15 for the premiere!

Nov Nov 5, 2021

New research shows that music reduces anxiety and pain perception during heart surgery

By |November 5, 2021|Benefits of music during surgery, Music and Cardiac Surgery|0 Comments


Music and Cardiac Surgery is a match made in Heaven!  One of the primary ways that music reduces anxiety is by synchronizing and stabilizing the heartbeat with the process of rhythmic entrainment.  Heartbeat and breathing are the two main rhythmic activities going on in a healthy body.  When a person is feeling either anxiety or pain their heartrate speeds up greatly and often becomes erratic as well.

Here’s the introduction from the study that just came out in the Netherlands yesterday in the journal “Open Heart” ( Kakar E, Billar RJ, van Rosmalen J, et al. Music intervention to relieve anxiety and pain in adults undergoing cardiac surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Open Heart 2021;7:e001474.doi:10.1136/openhrt-2020-001474)


Patients undergoing cardiac surgery often have perioperative anxiety and severe postoperative pain, despite the administration of benzodiazepines and opioids. Postoperative admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) exposes them to stressors known to increase anxiety and pain, such as noise, sleeplessness, mechanical ventilation and immobility. These stressors may lead to longer hospitalisation and higher use of benzodiazepines and opioids, with their inherent risk of side effects and adverse events. Research efforts have been directed towards approaches to relieve anxiety and pain. Apart from pharmacological therapies, nonpharmacological therapies have provided promising results.

A music intervention is relatively inexpensive and an easily applicable nonpharmaceutical intervention which has no known side effects. Previous studies in mixed surgical populations have found statistically significant beneficial effects of perioperative  recorded music on patients’ anxiety, pain and neurohormonal stress response, with less consumption of intraoperative sedatives and postoperative opioids. https://openheart.bmj.com/content/openhrt/8/1/e001474.full.pdf

This is particularly interesting to Surgical Serenity Solutions because our first patient was a 75-year old female undergoing bypass surgery and valve replacement.  It was a very positive experience for her compared to other surgeries this patient had undergone, such as hip replacements, back surgery, appendectomies and many others. This patient reported that as she was going under anesthesia the music felt very comforting to her and as she woke up, hours later, hearing the same music let her know that she was awakening from surgery and was OK.

The patient reported that in the recovery area that music was even more important because the post-op patients were just separated by curtains and she could faintly hear other patients moaning and calling for the nurse.  With her headphones on, she didn’t have to worry about that and she focused on the beautiful music and seeing her family again.  Later she said “I’ll never have surgery without these headphones again!!”

Surgical Serenity Solutions is the only company that that provides pre-loaded headphones exclusively for the patient.  Many hospitals play music chosen by the doctore overhead.  That music may be good for the doctor but is often very upbeat and not at all suitable for the patient.  Our music has the tempo of the healthy resting heartbeat and has been used in surgeries of all kind.  They are also very effective with dental procedures and anything procedure that causes anxiety and fears about pain.

Hospitals can purchase a starter pack of 12 headphones at www.surgicalserenitysolutions.com/12pack

Patients can purchase their own individual pre-loaded headphones at www.surgicalserenitysolutions.com/products

The music on the heaphones plays continuously for 8 hours and headphones can be reused!

Sep Sep 20, 2021

Do you know anyone who has been in ICU because of Covid?

By |September 20, 2021|Covid-19 and Music Medicine, Music in the ICU|0 Comments


Young male patient listening music in bed in a hospital.

Today’s best hospitals are providing music for their  ICU patients.  Because of this terrible pandemic that won’t go away, our ICUs are again overflowing.  A dear friend who had been fully vaccinated passed away last week and we are all reeling.

What is an easy yet powerful intervention that hospitals can give their patients?  Music, of course!  Soothing, slow, and purely instrumental music has the power to transport the mind and body to another time and space.  Everyone knows intuitively that music does this for them, and yet when panic around possible Covid exposure or diagnosis sets in, most people don’t immediately think about music as an intervention.

Research in Music Therapy and Music Medicine is copious and there is absolutely no questions that music decreases anxiety and decreases pain perception. Here is one recent study confirming this yet again. https://news.vumc.org/2019/09/25/researchers-explore-musics-effect-on-icu-patients-staff/

Our 5 therapeutic playlists are easy to download and listen to samples.  Then, you choose which hour-long list you’d like to use and stream it to your earbuds or Bluetooth headphones as soon as you get to the hospital.  Most hospitals are more than happy for you to calm yourself in this non-chemical way which calms you down and allows them to go about their tasks without worrying about you!

Even better, hospitals are now ordering pre-loaded headphones to offer patients as soon as they are brought back for the pre-operative preliminaries.  This is good patient care and since hospitals are reimbursed for each procedure according to how good their patient satisfaction evaluations are, they really WANT you to happy with the experience!

When you or a loved one is in the ICU on a ventilator, you feel so helpless.  Well, offering soothing, proven effective music on carefully disinfected and covered headphones is a great intervention to offer! Go NOW to www.surgicalserenitysolutions.com/patient-products to purchase the pre-loaded headphones, or www.surgicalserenitysolutions.com/calm to download one of five therapeutic playlists!  You’ll be SO glad you did!!

Jul Jul 22, 2021

Is Music the most underutilized intervention in a hospital?

By |July 22, 2021|Music and Covid19, Music for the Patient, Music in the hospital, Music in the ICU|0 Comments


listening to the calming, rhythmic entrainment music prior to surgeryI read everything that I can get my hands on about the healing power of music, don’t you?  All of my music therapist friends write fascinating case studies and publish their research, but you probably know I am not a music therapist.  I call myself a clinical musicologist because I have a PhD in musicology and have worked at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and while there I earned a Master of Science in Social Work.  In 1966 I was a freshman at Florida State University  and they had a great music therapy department.  But I wanted to be a concert pianist at that time, so I went to FSU to study with famed concert pianist Edward Kilenyi and to practice the piano for 4-5 hours a day, which I loved!

It was over 25 years later that I realized that my passion for music and performing now included teaching people what I had learned about the healing power of music. A chance meeting with Dr. Arthur Harvey clinched this idea that teaching people about how music affects the mind, body and spirit was my mission and my passion going forward.

Which brings me to the point of why music is likely one of the most underutilized interventions in a hospital!

Recently, one of my physician friends posted on LinkedIn that he has believed for a long time that music is the most underutilized intervention in a medical/hospital setting! Why might that be?

I believe that although most people really love music, they also take it for granted because it is so readily available and most of the time, it’s free!  That should be a plus, right?  But it turns out that it actually makes people devalue it.  The key to making music a powerful intervention in a medical setting is to make it very intentional and not just incidental. 

I totally agree with my colleague that music is underutizlied, but how do we change that ?  First, we must understand how music affects the mind and body so that we can choose intelligently which music to use.

Of course live music is always best, but in a crowded operating room, prep room, or recovery room, this is just not practical.  And it may be that the implementation of a music intervention is not well-understood.

As a clinical musicologist I believe that in order for music to have the absolute best effect at calming the patient and stabilizing blood pressure, heart rate and breathing, each patient needs to have their own listening device, whether headphones or earbuds.  And I believe that it’s best if these devices are cordless so that they don’t tangle with any of the other devices that are being used in the patient’s room or in the operating room.

We have been providing pre-loaded headphones for patients having surgery since 2009.  Of course these calming headphones with scientifically chosen music to engage rhythmic entrainment are also extremely beneficial for any hospital patient who is scared, stressed out or experiencing pain.

And now things have gotten even easier!!  You can download one of our 5 mobile apps and stream your favorite genre of music to your own Bluetooth headphones or AirPods!  And hospitals can now license are our playlists for patients to start streaming when they arrive on the morning of surgery or procedure! To learn more about our streaming music, click HERE.  If you’re a hospital, click HERE.

To summarize, music does NOT have to be the most underutilized intervention in a hospital!  Times are changing! Let’s step into the 21st century and use all of our wonderful technological advances to help patients heal and recover without harsh and addicting medications.  the time is NOW!

Jun Jun 1, 2021

Hospitals Using Pre-loaded Headphones for Patients Having Surgery

By |June 1, 2021|Benefits of music during surgery, Music with Surgery in Hospitals|0 Comments

Over-ear headphones

These headphones can be paired with our streaming surgery playlists or be pre-loaded with one of our 5 playlists.

As the research keeps rolling in on the power of music for the patient having surgery, hospitals are beginning to invest in our pre-loaded headphones for their patients.  Probably 25-30 hospitals nationwide have invested and we are pretty sure that the number will double by the end of the year and then triple by end of 2022!

For the first decade of our product’s existence, we were primarily marketing to the patients.  Many patients from all over the world ordered the headphones for their upcoming surgery and I even wrote an article for them entitled “How to Talk to Your Dr. about using Music during Surgery.”

After about 2014 we realized that hospitals and Ambulatory Surgery Centers were really our target market, so we began to focus on educating them about  the benefits that research was showing. Our first big sale came in summer of 2014 when we sold 100 headphones to a Veteran’s Hospital in Kentucky.  Then, one by one, hospitals began popping up in other states that wanted to try our pre-loaded headphones with their surgery patients. The results were always outstanding and now we also have the 5 mobile app playlists that can be used with bluetooth headphones or earbuds.

Our goal eventually is to license this music to hospitals and surgery centers around the world and let hospitals buy the bluetooth or pre-loaded headphones of their choice.  We are working on creating more playlists in more genres but for now, we have our five basic genres:  Classical, Jazz, New Age, Lullabies, and Memory Care.  To download any of these, go to www.SurgicalSerenitySolutions.com/calm.  

We also have a book about Music with Surgery for patients and physicians alike.  This book informs about how music works on the mind-body to reduce anxiety and pain perception and can be purchase at www.SurgicalSerenitySolutions.com/book.

I absolutely believe that music through headphones for the patient will one day be standard procedure in every hospital on the planet.  Why not get YOUR hospital on board now? Hospitals can go to www.SurgicalSerenitySolutions.com/12pack .

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments!



Mar Mar 10, 2021

The Neuro-chemistry of Music: there’s more research!

By |March 10, 2021|Brain and Music, neurochemistry|0 Comments


music and endorphins, dopamine

The neuro-chemistry of music is endlessly fascinating to me!  People have loved music for thousands and thousands of years.  We know intuitively that music can cause us to feel a huge range of emotions…ecstacy and thrills, to devastion and pain.  What would romance be without its songs and what would worship and spiritual life be without its songs?  Imagine an army marching into war without pipes and drums, trumpets and clarinets!

For hundreds of years, no one knew exactly HOW or WHY music elicited all of these emotions…just that it does and we are so happy about that!  At the end of the 20th century, finally scientists began to have the tools to look at the brain in a whole new way.  This is when brain research began to really accelerate.  Neuro-chemistry books, articles and research are easy to find.  All you have to do is search for Brain Chemicals and music, to find dozens and dozens of studies on the brain and music.

As a blogger and a music researcher myself, I keep close tabs on what brings people to my blogs and my sites.  I am interested to know what other people want to know and understand about the healing power of music.  Earlier today, I was looking at some of this analytic  information and I saw that someone had come to my brain and music blog by searching for “is there scientific evidence on music raising endorphins?”  When I began searching, I came across so many fascinating  studies. One of the best ones is described at http://www.bbc.com/news/health-12135590, “Music Turns on Feel-good chemicals in the Brain.”  This appeared on the BBC website.’

Another great one is https://www.wired.com/2011/01/the-neuroscience-of-music/, “The Neuroscience of Music.”  If you’ve always wanted to understand more about how music works in our brains and in our bodies.  start with these two articles, and then get into the 200-300+ blog posts here in my blog.  There’s nothing more fascinating to those of us who love music as the lifeblood of our lives.  If you’re looking for a career that will benefit nearly anyone in the world, think about going into music therapy, or into science and then neuroscience!  I’m available to consult if you’re interested!  DrAlice@HealingMusicEnterprises.com.

To get the Serenity Music, chosen for its ability to engage rhythmic entrainment,go to www.surgicalserenitysolutions.com/calm.

To get my book on Amazon “Having Surgery?  Using Music to Decrease Anxiety and Pain Perception” click here



Dec Dec 3, 2020

Do YOU have a fear of Anesthesia or Surgery?

By |December 3, 2020|Anxiety and Pain Perception, Fear and Anxiety about Surgery, Fear of anesthesia|0 Comments


Do YOU have a fear of anesthesia or surgery?  So many people have an intense fear of anesthesia and surgery that they postpone needed surgery, that could greatly improve their quality of life, because they are afraid that they will be in a worse condition, or not wake up at all!  Why do people experience fear this intense?  There can be lots of reasons, as I’ll explain in  this post…

Perhaps you come from a family of people who do not like going to the doctor because “the doctor always finds something wrong.”  Perhaps you know someone who has had a bad experience with surgery or anesthesia.  Perhaps YOU have had a bad experience with surgery or anesthesia.

The fact is, mistakes do happen, but in today’s medical world, surgery and anesthesia have never been more safe.  Fear and anxiety are rampant!   Everyone who is about to have surgery, has an extensive history taken by the doctors and nurses, about how you and other family members have responded to anesthesia in the past.  Thanks to the internet, there is LOTS of excellent, reputable information on the internet.

Still, fear and anxiety are not always rational.  If you have had an unexpected reaction in the past, or a close friend or family member has, you are probably going to be really scared and concerned.  I don’t want to diminish that or say that it’s silly or unwarranted.

Research has shown that when slow, steady, soothing music is played for a patient that has a racing pulse and rapid, shallow breathing, the music can actually slow the patient’s heart and breathing down, and keep them steady!  When this happens, the “relaxation response” kicks in. This is called “rhythmic entrainment.”  The more relaxed your body and muscles are, the easier it is for the doctors and nurses to do what they need to do to help you.

If your muscles are tense and stiff, it’s going to take more medication to relax you, and more medication to wake up from and recover from.  Yes, you also have to recover from the medication!!

So how does music help?


Go to Top