Old Dogs, New Tricks

In 1995 I was attending a Chiropractic continuing education workshop in Dallas Texas.  In addition to Chiropractic and Medical information there were also break-out sessions on different topics.  One of these classes was from Don Campbell, who had written a book about healing himself through singing or toning. The book is called “Sound Healing”.  There were 30 people in the room when he introduced himself and asked if there was anyone there who knew they could not sing.  I raised my hand.

He called on me and I said, “I was asked to leave Glee Club in the 9th grade.  I worked in the music business for ten years also and know I cannot sing.”

He said, “Great, are you willing to work with me?”

I replied, “Sure”

“Okay”, he went on, “What’s your name?”


“Jim”, he says, “Come up here with me and stand right here.  I will make some tones with my voice and I want you to simply repeat the sounds that I make.”

“All right”, I say.  He then does a simple scale with his voice.   I attempt to make the same sounds and it is obvious to everyone, including me, that I am way off key.

He says “Great”.

Then he gets real close to me, makes a fist with his hand and puts one side of his fist against my jawbone.  He then gets closer and puts his jawbone on the other side of his fist.  So there we are, connected to each other through his fist between our jaw bones.

He says, “Now, I will make some sounds again and you repeat whatever you hear.”

This time, I am able to repeat him, tone for tone in perfect key for an entire scale.  It is like we are singing a sonata or something.  Really beautiful.  Everyone, including me, knew we were together in pitch.

He then says “Jim, you never learned to listen through your bones.  You listen only through your ears, the sound gets muffled by the air and that is what you repeat.  When you are able to feel it through your bones you repeat it perfectly.”

One of the benefits of many sessions of Hellerwork Structural Integration is that I have become comfortable and willing to live in and listen with my bones. This is in contrast to “being beside myself” or being “out of it” or being “high” or all the other ways we have of not fully being present and inhabiting our physical being.

From that moment on I could sing.

In my 50’s, I went on to sing harmony with the Optimist Club opening song each month.

I since learned that Beethoven would take a steel rod between his teeth and place the other end on the soundboard of the piano to feel/hear what he was writing as he went deaf. He was listening through his bones.


Old dogs can learn new tricks. And I can entertain myself in the car singing along with the radio……….



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