Tag Archives: Calming Music

Case Study: 11 Year Old Male with Autism, Verbal Apraxia, and Sensory Processing Disorder

James was diagnosed with ASD (specifically, PDD NOS) with complicating diagnoses of verbal apraxia and sensory processing disorder. His most significant issues were:

  • Anxiety. Generalized anxiety as well as fear of changes in routine and unfamiliar places.
  • Sleep Problems.
  • Self-stimmulatory behaviors such as vocal noise-making, pinching, hand-flapping.
  • Poor social engagement.
  • Apraxia and lack of verbal communication.

James began listening to his custom REI recording in the evening while he engaged in quiet play. He was initially resistant to listening (sometimes he would say “no music!”) when the music was turned on. This resistance lasted less than two weeks while, during this time, he made significants gains.

During the first two weeks,  James began sleeping through the night, something that he had not been able to do for the previous few years. His anxiety also reduced profoundly, most notably he stopped compulsively asking about the the day’s schedule and worrying about his next activities.

During the third week, his mom related, “For the first time James started asking the ABA therapists to keep playing when the session was done. He also, on his own volition, chose to start playing with his trains and Rescue Heroes. Usually he only wants to draw all day.”

After four weeks on the REI Custom Program, his mom and therapists noted that James’s vocabulary was increasing, as was the length of his sentences.

After 6 weeks James was reported to show the first signs of pretend play. His mother wrote, ”The other day he said ‘elephant’ and used his arm as a trunk and stomped around the room! Also did a similar thing with ‘giant.’ Very exciting!”

At eight weeks, James’s mom reported more behavioral gains. He was doing less drawing and the drawings that he did create were of broader subjects. She noted that he was able, with prompts, to sit through his brother’s baseball game, a first. While the family was out sightseeing they got caught in the pouring rain. “James did not like it, but was okay”. To his family’s surprise he did not have the customary meltdown.

After 16 weeks of listening to his REI recordings, his mother requested a revision to his program that focused more on his issues with inflexibility and difficulty with transition. He started listening to the revised CD in mid October.

After 20 weeks, it was noted that James was continuing to make behavioral gains. His brother was having a bar mitzvah and the whole family was worried about how James would tolerate the very stimulating day. He handled the day surprisingly well, his mother reported, sitting through the entire religious ceremony and staying calm among all the guests. Most surprisingly, James allowed himself to be photographed. Until that day James would get very agitated when a camera was pointed at him and always refused to stand for a photograph. On this day, not only would he allow many photos to be taken, but even smiled on command!

Over the next month, his mother reported that James was using more spontaneous language and appeared “more connected” with his feelings. For instance, she related that when his teacher asked him what was wrong, James replied,  “I feel angy”. When asked why he was upset when he had to go to a mainstream class that he did not like (because the sound of the classroom music hurt his ears,) he replied “because there was music.”  On another occasion, he told his mother that he felt “nervous” when his school bus took another route home one day.

Fifteen months after completing the REI Custom Program, in an interview with his mother, James was reported to be doing well, with continued growth in his ability to verbally communicate his needs and to socialize more appropriately. He has maintained all of the gains he made while on the REI Custom program, including decreased anxiety, especially about his schedule, increased spontaneous play, and use of verbal communication to express his feelings.

Learn more about the REI Custom Program here

Complex Drumming for Pain Relief? I describe how calming the nervous system reduces pain

Using complex drumming to calm the brain for pain reduction requires more stimulation than simply calming the brain in general. In this video, I show you how this counter-intuitive approach works.

Learn about the REI Custom Program at: https://www.stronginstitute.com/rei-custom-program/

Learn how to play the drum for healing at: http://www.drumhealing.com

Explore more calming music on Brain Shift Radio. Sign up for free at: https://brainshiftradio.com

Exploring How Slight Variations in Drumming Tempos Produce Very Different Calming Experiences

In this video, I talk about the approach I take to create neurological calm in the REI Custom Program versus the approach I use in Brain Shift Radio. I demonstrate how slight variations in tempo can produce significant differences in how a listener experiences calm. I play at 7.4 beats-per-second for a deep, centered calm and 8.6 beats-per second for a focused calm.

Learn how to play the drum for healing at: http://www.drumhealing.com

Find calm with Brain Shift Radio. Sign up for free at: https://brainshiftradio.com

I Play Rhythms to Help You Transition to Sleep

In this video, I talk about the the perfect tempo and style of music that will drive your brain into a pre-sleep state. I then perform musically-variable rhythms at 7.4 BPS for about ten minutes to help you transition to sleep.

Learn how to play the drum for healing at: http://www.drumhealing.com

Fall asleep with Brain Shift Radio. Sign up for free at: https://brainshiftradio.com

If you are having trouble staying asleep or are not feeling rested in the morning, please check out our REI Custom Sleep Program. This program is currently 50% off. Get the six-week program, including unlimited revisions, for just $147. Check out the program here and save 50%.

How I use Fast, Complex Drumming to Reduce Sound Sensitivity

This video shows how I use fast, complex drumming rhythms to reduce sound sensitivities.

Sound sensitivity falls into two categories:

1. General overwhelm. Too much auditory input and competing sounds, such as those at a restaurant or school cafeteria, often result in shutting down or lashing out due to the inability to filter for important sounds.

2. Aversion to specific sounds. Certain sounds, such as that of a vacuum cleaner or blender, often elicit negative responses due to their specific frequency, intensity or volume.

Both require a progressive set of rhythms, tones, and levels of intensity and volume to help the nervous system learn to process and tolerate them.

You can read more about the studies I talk about in this video here:

Child with super-human hearing and aversion to vacuum cleaner sound: https://www.stronginstitute.com/article-resources/dd-book-excerpts/sound-sensitive.html

School Study: https://www.stronginstitute.com/article-resources/dd-book-excerpts/otter-lake-study.html

Autism Daily Newscast Reviews My Different Drummer Book

Autism Daily Newscast reviewMy book about the development and practice of REI, Different Drummer: One Man’s Music and Its Impact on ADD, Anxiety, and Autism, was recently reviewed by Autism Daily Newscast.

Here is an excerpt:

For anyone with an interest in the therapeutic aspect of music this is a gem of a book.  For parents wanting to explore different approaches to help their children it will make interesting reading.   As a lay person who just enjoys playing the odd CD I found myself a little overloaded with music and technology theory and was more interested in reading about how following a lifelong passion such as drumming can lead to the most unexpected places and discoveries.

Read the entire review here

You can learn more about the book here

Free REI / Brain Shift Radio Holiday Audio Downloads

Every year I offer some free audio downloads of my music. These downloads are from Brain Shift Radio based on mixes created by the BSR member community. Click the image to download.

I hope you enjoy them.


Big Round Calm Audio DownloadBig Round Calm. This track couples a big, round ambient track with a 7.8 beat-per-second Gonga to calm your nervous system.

Warm Calm > Focus Audio Download

Warm Calmed Focus. This track uses a warm ambient pad mixed with an Udu drum accelerating from 8 to 10 beats-per-second to calm your brain then dial in focus.

Deep Sleep Audio DownloadDeep Sleep. This mix pairs our deepest, richest ambient track with a Gonga, played at 7.6 beats-per-second, to transition you to sleep quickly.

Instructions for downloading to mobile devices:

Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod)

Download Documents by Readdle from the Apple App store (it’s free).

Once you download the app, please follow these steps:

  1. Open the Documents app
  2. Choose Settings (the little gear icon in the upper left of the app).
  3. Choose Browser from the options.
  4. Under User Agent choose Google Chrome.
  5. Close the settings window (tap Close in the upper left of the window).
  6. Choose Browser from the main menu on the left
  7. Click the download file images above (one at a time). A Save File window will appear.
  8. Tap Done when the Save File window opens. You can monitor the download by tapping on the Documents button to the right of the web address window (this is the down-pointing arrow).
  9. When file is downloaded it will appear in the Documents folder located in Documents option from the main menu. This menu is accessed by tapping the icon with the three horizontal lines in the upper left of the app window.
  10. If you want to put your track on iCloud simply drag the file into the iCloud Menu option. It is now on your iCloud account. Please note: if you want the file to go to iCloud by default choose this option from the Setting menu when you are changing the User Agent in the Browser options menu described in Step 3 above).choose View File. Again, a new browser tab will open and the track will play.

Android devices (phones and tablets)

Go to Google play and download ES File Explorerhttps://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.estrongs.android.pop

To download the audio files:

  1. Click the download file images above (one at a time).
  2. Tap Download. The track may begin playing. If it is Tap Pause to Stop playback.
  3. Let it download.
  4. Once it is downloaded, open the ES File Exporter app.
  5. Choose Search from the menu and type in Download.
  6. Click the Download folder to expand and you’ll see the track.
  7. Click the track and then select the ES media player to play the track. I suggest checking the box that says “Set as default” so you won’t get this screen again.
  8. Open the ES File Exporter app and click the track name each time you want to listen.