Healing With Music & Sound Alchemist Paul Rudy.

Alchemy: (noun) 

1: a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life

2: a power or process of transforming something common into something special

3: an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting

I have long believed in the healing properties of music, but only recently have I begun to investigate the actual role of sound in healing.

Music, undeniably,  has the ability to change moods and minds, tapping into a power that simultaneously harnesses and releases energy that enables the creator, the listener, even the dancer, to tap directly into Source, often through trance.

This route to Source is based on sound waves, traveling with varied frequencies and vibrations, to, through, and within us.

Of course, the use of sound in medicine is nothing new. Sound waves are commonly used in modern healthcare, serving as the root of many types of ultrasonic technology.

Two common uses include: sonography, known commonly as ultrasound, which uses oscillating, high frequency sound pressure waves to generate images of internal anatomy; and lithotripsy, which directs concentrated ultrasonic waves onto an object, such as a gallstone, in order to break it up into smaller pieces, thereby eliminating the cause of impaired organ functioning.

While these techniques are useful and effective, I have a hunch that there remains a great deal of untapped healing potential using sound which is yet to be realized.

For instance, there is evidence for more research into the role of sound waves in the effective treatment of cancer, both through ultrasonic technology, and through even simpler means.

Imagine, if you will, a healthcare system in which patients are exposed to symphonies as a first line of treatment, instead of toxic chemicals. Imagine, if you will, Mozart as a means to comfort and care, instead of pill popping and premiums and in network provider plans.

Too simple, you say? Perhaps. You may be right.

But imagine, if you will, that sound does have the power to heal.

The implications of the photo below, showing Hela cancer cells being broken up as a result of the musical scale being played on a xylophone, caught my attention a while back. It was hard to imagine that something so simple could have such a profound impact at the cellular level.

Simple and so utterly staggering at the same time. And so, my investigation began.

I wanted to know more about the simple, yet complex potential of sound to heal. An endless questioner, I connected this new knowledge with questions that had been swimming around in my head for ages, and started to wonder anew.

What can sound really do, when arranged into music, to heal our bodies and our world? What of the chanting that has been used for millennium within traditional shamanic and healing ceremonies?

What of singing bowls and tuning forks and piano concertos and classical lullabies and drum circles and kirtan? What of the monks and their mantras? What of the Universal Om?

What of the proposition that music, comprised of sound waves, can be used used to affect intention and harness vibrating energy, in order to transmute our experiences of health and wellness across space and time?

Being inquisitive to the core, I turned to someone I knew would be happy to answer my questions about these heady possibilities.

I am always honored to speak with the wise, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to discuss the potential of sound and its ability to promote healing with Dr. Paul Rudy, a self-professed sound alchemist.

As a nurse and healer myself, I am pleased to share the good doctor’s responses, so that we may all delve into the rebelliously simple possibility that we can indeed imagine a world in which healing and wellness can result from sound.

“There is power in each sound, and by learning to listen with body, mind and spirit, we can learn to tap into our innate healing wisdom. When we are in a balance of receiving {listening} and transmitting {speaking/singing/playing}, we can purify our vibration to filter what comes in to us, and what we project into the world, creating deeper harmony within, and without.” ~ Paul Rudy

I first met Paul Rudy at a full moon circle he hosted at his home. Since that day, he has served as a mentor and catalyst, often appearing in the atmosphere at just the right moments, reminding me, always, to “Go where the energy flows.”

Internationally recognized for his work, Paul has a prolific resumé, including: the Prize ex aequo in the Citta di Udine (Italy) for In lake’ch; Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships; a Kauffman Award for Artistic Excellence; a Wurlitzer Foundation Residency; and numerous other honors recognizing his performances, compositions and musical talents.

His work, which could easily be classified as New Age by most standards, brought to mind John Cage the first time I heard it, as it reaches into the fringes of what sound can do, opening up endless possibilities for the listener who is open to receiving and transmuting what the sound has to offer.

Paul is also a modern renaissance man, if I’ve ever met one. This esteemed composer, professor, lecturer and performer is also a naturalist, spiritualist and seeker, in addition to being a highly attuned medium for sound.

A peaceful warrior at heart, he is intent on restoring a sense of balance to our shared reality, and is willing to use his varied creative projects to be a part of the change he envisions.

It is always a pleasure to sit down with Paul and pick his brain, and he has been kind enough to share his thoughts about his life, his compositions, and the role of sound healing in restoring our world with Rebelle Society.

RS: When did you begin composing?

Paul: I was a really late bloomer. I wrote my first piece at age 26. I was trained as a jazz trumpeter, and wanted to compose in college, but never got around to it. I took an introductory course at Wichita State University, so I could play in their big band while I was teaching a few classes at Bethel College, where I got my undergraduate degree in music. I wasn’t a student at WSU, so in order to play, I had to take a class.

So, I painstakingly sequestered myself in a practice room every day for a few hours until I had a piece for trumpet and piano. It was enough to get me in to graduate school with an assistantship at CU Boulder.

RS: I notice there is a solid correlation between classical literary pieces and many of your compositions. Has this always been the case?

Paul: No. In fact, I was very uncomfortable with words for a long time. But then I discovered that poetry completely thumbs its nose at all the stuff my high school English teacher taught me to despise about the English language: rules, boxes, conventions… she was not a nice person, and I didn’t do very well, but never knew why. She wouldn’t give my homework back so my Mother, a grade school teacher, could go over it with me.

So, I literally hated all things language for a while.

By college, my English teacher was the third one to tell me I was the worst speller he had ever seen. He was very compassionate about it though, and said, “Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about it except keep looking things up.” That was a real mindfuck for me, since I was never sure how to look a word up if I didn’t already know how to spell it…

Anyway, after I got my doctorate, I realized that I now had a credential that qualified me to start making up words, and so I started playing with language myself. Turning things around, mixing things up. I was practicing being a bad boy with words, and it totally stimulated my imagination.

When I started the 2012 Stories series in 2007 at the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, I had the manuscript of Nathan Bartel, whom I’d know since he was, like two. I would read it, and not really understand it, but certain lines would just detonate an entire new universe in my imagination. Some of the lines I could actually hear.

So, I started composing what my imagination was translating these phrases into, and boom, before I knew it, in a very short period of time I had a CD-length composition. When I finished composing it, which took only nine days, I stepped back, and listened to it. I realized that if I died right then and there, I would have a smile on my face, because I had finally realized some of the music I had been searching for all my life.

Little did I know that it would lead to 8 more CDs, and fully develop into my Divine Life’s work.

But I give Nathan, and his amazing, brilliant, super-packed words the credit for unleashing something really new into me. Phrases like:

The Pangaea, Carnivorous plants, Orange dust: ancient chemical knowledge, Pandemic, A slightly shimmering heap, A quailing prairie, Veiled dead zones, Larger than home, …a terminus of blue.

RS: Can you tell me a little about how you were turned on to the potential of sound to heal?

Paul: I’m not sure actually… it may have something to do with the power of that first CD, In lake’ch, which I don’t really feel like I composed, but rather, channeled instead. It happened so quickly that I didn’t feel like I was in control at all. And then the next one, called Kuxan Suum, was actually about healing and reconciliation.

What I noticed, was that during the process of composing it, and after, many things were beginning to heal in my life, like relationships.

I was also experiencing a great opening in life, that I can only say was emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual. So, my life became about that music. In In lake’ch, or I am another yourself, I was shown the unity principle. Kuxan Suum, or Road to the sky, showed me the potential of self-healing. The third, Zuvuya, Circle of life, helped me tap into the great oscillation that is energy, and all life. And it just continued to unfold.

In November of 2008, I went to Santa Fe for a Sound Healing Conference, and that is where I really experienced some powerful stuff. Some things were intellectual and highly scientific, and others just intuitive, but equally powerful.

As a result, I composed Zuvuya in Morelia, Mexico at the Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonore (CMMAS) in 2009 while on a Guggenheim Fellowship. They supported my stay there, and I agreed to do a series of radio programs on sound and healing. I tried to cover as broad of a spectrum of modalities as I could, and just give people an idea of the breadth of what was already being done in this field.

I had done fringe radio programs before, including The Virtual Concert Hall on Resonance FM in London, and some productions on Aspen Public Radio, but this was really fun, and turned my attention to what I was beginning to realize was the true power of sound.

RS: Can you relate any observed or measurable effects you have experienced that directly relate to the role of sound in healing?

Paul: Yes. This is what really convinced me of sound’s power. Unfortunately, they are the inverse. They are destructive, but they taught me that the power of sound is not a metaphor; that it is as real and as physically manifest-able as anything.

I was in Maui visiting a friend, and her dog attacked a litter of wild boars. One of the babies was squealing something awful. At that time, I always had my sound recorder with me. So, I recorded this baby pig. I was angry at the dog, my heart was bleeding for this poor little pig, I was experiencing anxiety… I remember the complex chemistry of that experience, and what it feels like in my body to this day.

So, I took this sound, and composed it into a set of music that I performed twice. The first time it was performed, I found out a week later that a young student had to leave the performance and then vomited in the bathroom. She felt like someone was being murdered during my performance. The second time, I was imitating the squealing pig by rubbing a rubber mallet across the head of a drum.

When I got the ceramic drum home, and was pulling it out of its protective case, I found that it was completely shattered.

Needless to say, I have never used that sound again, nor will I. What I learned was manifold. First, that sound carries the energy of that which is being recorded, and second, that it also carries My energy at the time of recording. So, all my anguish, angst, anxiety, sadness, and anger at the dog, went into that recording.

The other big lesson that I gleaned from this experience is evidence that if a being of a higher dimension, that does not have form, wants to communicate with us physical beings in the third dimension, electrons, electricity, etc. is the easiest and most natural way to do it. So, I use my computer for divination all the time. Google is a great Spirit messenger. Since that time, I have done a lot of work on my own self.

Through toning, I have given myself chiropractic adjustments, reduced inflammation in my SI joint, opened up stiffness and healed myself of many other discomforts and afflictions.

“The universe is made through vibrations and sound is one of the lowest frequency manifestations of vibration. The third dimension is based on oscillation between polarities. We are not all one in the third dimension. We can see ourselves as parts of one, but we ARE separate, indeed. The third dimension is based on that separateness, on that oscillation of energies between two opposite poles.

Emotions, the fourth dimension, are the way through which we can ascend to the fifth dimension. The fifth dimension is that of collective consciousness. Some of us are learning to do just that, ascend through emotions into the fifth dimension, but I am not merged with you, or anyone else physically, although I’ve experienced that too. Anyway… did I just take a detour through the cosmos? Par for the course.” ~ Paul Rudy 

RS: By what process do you determine and create the healing tones within your compositions?

Paul: I have always mistrusted science and academics, and yet have a definite need to exercise my intellect. So, I go through periods of reading, taking workshops, feeding my brain, but when it comes down to it, I trust only my intuition and personal experience. I do not believe in germs. I have not seen them, nor have I even read the research on them. I have experienced what others have told me they do, but I have not experienced them purely on my own.

So, they do not exist in my reality.

You might say, yes, but what then about gravity? But I have indeed experienced gravity. When I was hit in the head with a hammer on a roof, I fell off — that was not my imagination. Still, I do not believe in it. It is part of my reality only because I have not learned how to let go of it yet. No one really understands it, so there is a possibility that it is only our imaginations, our collective creation that it results from.

So, I am in the business of learning to let go of probabilities, and explore possibilities.

I was once gifted a golden stole after a performance of mine, at the Council Grove Conference, by a Maori Elder. He spoke of his mission traveling the world seeking pure vibration. I have wondered ever since, what is pure vibration. I cannot say what it is, but I know it when I hear it — even more so, when I feel it. It has to do with resonance. When something resonates, its energy opens up freely and it reciprocates.

Try singing into a drum head, and move around until the head begins to vibrate. Vibrate in sympathy with it for a while… there is something pure about this, and we can do this with our own voices, our own bodies. I have begun this. I can now hear/feel/perceive many of the harmonics in my own voice without drawing them out. They are just there, resonating in my head and in my body.

So, my process is guided by intuition, with intellect as a faithful servant… the exact opposite of the majority of those of the intellectualism mentality.

Mr. Spock was wrong about logic. It is a useful tool, but it falls short of the most important things our instrument {our body} gives us: gut feelings.

Consciousness operates at about 25 bits per second, while our body takes in over 12,000,000 bits per second. So, our intuition has full access to that data, while our thinking brain discards most of it. Tor Norretranders has a great book called The User Illusion that talks about this in a very broad way. It’s a great compendium of the research into reality conduced in the twentieth century.

RS: What role do you envision music playing in this time of change, healing and upheaval in our current world and global situation?

Paul: Music is key. It can deliver what nothing else can: energy through sound that bypasses the brain and goes directly into the body. And yet, one of the strengths of my music is that it allows the listener to wander at will through intellect, intuition, personal experience and memory. I have been told by many that it helps connect the left and right hemispheres of the brain without any awareness that it is happening. That, in and of itself, is healing.

Humanity is in the process of re-undividing our two hemisphered brain, and music is key in that process.



PaulRudyPaul Rudy has been called ‘The High Priest of Sound’ and ‘Sage’. He has composed for orchestra, film, electronics and guided improvisation, in addition to a practice of performing, sound meditation/healing, and workshops. His work plays in the sounds of Mother Earth: balancing conservatory training with shamanic practices and subtle energies, which guide his performance and composition. He is a Rome Prize (2010), Guggenheim (2008), Fulbright (1997) and Wurlitzer Foundation (2007 and 2009) Fellow, and his music has won two Global Music Awards (2012, for Innovation in Sound and Mixing/Editing), the Sounds Electric ’07 (Dublin), EMS Prize (Sweden), and Citta di Udine (Prize ex aequo, Italy) competitions, to name a few. He is a Curators’ Professor and Coordinator of Composition at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Conservatory, where he received the Kauffman Award for Artistry (2008). In 1994, he completed the Colorado Grand Slam after climbing all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000 ft peaks. Six CDs in his series ‘Aquarian Stories’ are available at CDBaby. Infinity (duo with Heidi Svoboda) has been transforming lives since 2010. To book performances, workshops, group and private meditations, journeys or healing sessions, contact [email protected]. Please visit for more information. Purchase CDs at CDBaby, contact Paul via Facebook or Twitter, or listen on SoundCloud.


SR Atchley

SR Atchley

A writer, artist & dreamer, Shanna has been potentiating talent since childhood. She is moved by nature, the arts, and academia, along with the vast mysteries of our inner and outer worlds. Shanna has a BSN, and has spent the majority of her career caring for others. It is possible to share your dreams & talents with Shanna by emailing her, or connecting via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If all else fails, she’ll likely find you in a dream, in which case, please feel free to introduce yourself.
SR Atchley
SR Atchley