With music as a constant companion, Alana Woods has pursued her life’s work in the arts and healing. She is the author of three nonfiction books: The Healing Touch of Music: An Exploration (2003), Music for Life: Using Music Prescriptively (2011), and her memoir, The Song I Hear, My Life with Music, published by Irie Books in 2016. You’ll find Alana on her website SoundVistas.com and on Facebook.
Tell us about The Song I Hear.
This book highlights the new field of Music Medicine, or Prescriptive Sound, which has been the major theme of my life. It details my own journey to create this work, and how I was prepared from early childhood to create a profession as an adult in this new field. It was the major theme of my life.
When readers turn the last page, what do you hope they’ll take away from it?
The beauty and adventure of a life imbued with music, and how I share it in the world as a sacred healing art form. Also inspiration and education on how they can use these ideas in their own lives.
What challenges did this work pose for you?
I did not have someone to follow who went before me to show me the way to create the work. I needed to learn about the various aspects of sound healing, how to put together presentations and create multimedia products explaining the power of music. Then through my own life experience, I learned. It is still a pioneer field in the world. And I consider myself a pioneer.
What was the most rewarding aspect of writing it?
The feeling that my journey is now documented as a legacy for my family, children and grandchildren, and the world, musicians and people in the healing arts. A sacred work.
How did your memoir come together?
There were special journeys I documented early on (to India, Greece and Ireland) as they were very powerful experiences. So that when I decided to write the book, I had detailed information that was true memory. The idea to write this book came to me often through the years. I often heard people say “your life is so interesting, you should write a book.” I had already written two other books on music, but this one needed to be my own personal journey. And the right timing needed to happen. It only took one year to bring it all together with the excellent help of the Hausmans who were editors and publishers and who became personal friends. Knowing when the book was done was an intuitive feeling…a “knowing.” I included my multimedia products, harp recordings, and writings in the back of the book.
What is the best compliment you’ve received as an author?
“It’s a wonderful book. I wish everyone could and would write a book like this telling of their own inner and outer journey. I felt I was spending a lifetime with a wise, deep woman as she discovered and revealed her own emerging awareness, and her deepening love for the beauty of the life principle. This book is a miraculous testament and gift to her life, herself, and to all who have the good fortune to read it.” ~ An Amazon Reader
When did you know you would share a path with music in your journey through life?
When I was very young, I think around four years old, I had a knowing that I would be both an artist and musician. There was no doubt in my mind. My art was mystical, my music was sustaining, a lifelong companion. I was told to use my music for others in this life, and at the same time it was, for me, a true gift that nourished me, guided me, and loved me. I was trained professionally in both art and music. My first instrument was piano on which I learned the structures of music very well. Later it was harps that were glorious. I recorded, taught, performed, and accompanied myself telling stories of transformation on the harp.
Do you have a favorite quote from The Song I Hear?
“The sounds of a million years flowed through my mind as I stood on the banks of the Ganges.”
KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. She has a new speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.