Lydia Snyder is an instructor of world music at Kent State University in Ohio, where she completed her master’s degree in Ethnomusicology in 2019.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in music as well as studio art and theatre arts from Hiram College. Her research interests include arts and intimacy, music cognition and sound healing, trance and altered states of consciousness, ecomusicology, and traditional music of Japan. Lydia is an active member of the shakuhachi community in the United States, Europe, and Japan participating in the ESS summer schools, the American Shakuhachi Summer Camp of the Rockies, the World Shakuhachi Festival in London, the Seiha hōgaku-kai summer school in Tokyo, and the International Shakuhachi festivals in Prague.
TITLE OF PRESENTATION: Trance-Forming Music: Healing Through Communal Drumming
Music has a profound ability to alter our state of consciousness, to heal our bodies, and to calm our emotions. Numerous traditions use music as a form of healing and connecting to another plane of existence or to our own subconscious. Feliciatas D. Goodman was a German-American anthropologist and linguist who studied trance among various cultures. After witnessing a Native American corn dance in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she experienced a vision in which the Pueblo Indians asked her to follow them. From that point on, she dedicated her life to understanding this experience. She studied altered states of consciousness at The Ohio State University and continued to live among Pueblo Indians. In her research she found that various body postures would facilitate a trace experience when combined with a specific percussive pattern. She used this knowledge to found the Cuyamungue Institute, where she taught classes on the history of ecstatic trance and shamanic rituals. One of her students, Dr. Nicholas E. Brink continues her practice of communal drumming to create a trance experience for those involved. Nicholas Brink is a psychiatrist currently living in Coburn, Pennsylvania and holds these group trance sessions in the nearby State College, Pennsylvania. This paper details my experience as a participant in these ecstatic trance sessions, and how the rhythm and various body postures affected my experience and other participants’ experience- some of whom witnessed visions of past lives.