Practitioner Journey: Natalie BrownAug 21, 2019
Natalie Brown - from Iowa, USA - trained with the Sound Healing Academy, inspiring a huge career change.
Two years later, Natalie is not only running her own successful sound healing practice, she’s also teaching for the Sound Healing Academy.
Yasmin Rosales finds out how Natalie’s life has transformed since qualifying as a sound healing practitioner.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I’m from Iowa, in the United States. I started playing the violin when I was four years old, and I’ve been involved with music for as long as I can remember. Music has always been a language of its own for me, as I started at such a young age. It’s a language I spoke very naturally. I ended up going to college for violin.
Initially, I was a really competitive violinist. It gave me a sense of confidence and it was the way I expressed myself the best because I was a very shy person. It was a great tool for me and healing in itself. In college, I started to break free of classical music. I was playing in bands, exploring folk music, rock and blues. I started being more creative in my music playing.
More recently, besides performing (which I still do), I was a music teacher for 14 years. But finding sound healing and helping others in really significant ways has been a revelation for me. It was two years ago now that I left to do sound healing full time.
"Finding sound healing and helping others in really significant ways has been a revelation for me."
How did you first discover sound healing?
Seven years ago! I first heard of sound healing when I was in Scotland. I was at the Scots fiddle festival in Edinburgh, and there was a gong bath next door. I was curious to see what it was all about, so I skipped a session from the fiddle festival and did that instead. I was like wow, sound healing! Just the term itself really got me thinking. I wanted to look into what it meant. Immediately after that, I wanted to dive in and learn more about the field.
What made you take the leap - and change career - to become a qualified sound healing practitioner?
I really loved my job. Teaching teenager’s music was extremely rewarding, but the public-school system was changing. In the end, only about ten per cent of my job was teaching. I was really burnt out. It wasn’t good for me and it probably wasn’t good for the kids any more, so I knew I needed to make a shift.
I went straight in and did the Level 1 and then the Level 2 Diploma back-to-back with the Sound Healing Academy (SHA), while working full time in the school. I was really invested in doing it and it was such an inspiring course. I think it was the case studies that really shifted my perspective. I loved all the online stuff, there are so many resources.
It’s really a wealth of information. But doing the case studies and progressively experiencing someone’s transformation, I was like wow, this is really something. I thought it was miraculous stuff so, for me, the timing was right.
"I was really invested in doing it and it was such an inspiring course. I think it was the case studies that really shifted my perspective."
What inspired you to train as a practitioner with the Sound Healing Academy?
I knew I could fit it into my schedule. I really appreciated the online part. I loved the workshops too, but doing it online and on your own schedule was really helpful for me.
The videos are in small chunks of information, and you can go through that at your own pace. I actually barreled through it all because I loved it so much. I was also attracted to the SHA community. At the time there were live webinars coming out, and it felt like a really nice community to be a part of.
What did you enjoy most about the course?
I really enjoyed doing the case studies in the Level 2 Diploma. I had to do four sessions with ten people. It was quite a workload, but I was really glad for it. The case studies are when you really put all that you’ve learned into action.
That’s when I learned the most. The feedback I received after a session also helped me learn. Hearing how their feedback related to my own experience and what I’d tried to do was really revealing.
Natalie working with her Tibetan bowls
I remember one particular case study when I was working with a woman who had a lot of social anxiety and tension in her stomach. I was working on releasing that tension with Tibetan bowls to bring harmony into the area.
After the session, she said she felt like marbles were hitting against each other in her stomach. It was the energy moving its way out, fighting against each other and then releasing. Then she felt the energy come in and just soothe her.
She didn’t have any more issues after that. Hearing her express what I had been trying to do, what I had been learning to do, that was the first real ah-ha moment for me.
How has your experience with the Sound Healing Academy impacted you? Has it changed your life in any way, professionally or personally?
Yes, for sure! This is what I do full time now. Every aspect of my life has completed shifted.
I can honestly say that through SHA I found my purpose. As a lifelong musician, I loved music and performing, but often the satisfaction I got from it was for myself. Sound healing has turned that outwards.
It’s enabled me to use this gift, this love and this passion for music and sound to help other people. My whole life has built up to this. It’s exciting, the opportunities at this point are pretty limitless.
"I can honestly say that through SHA I found my purpose."
When I was very young, I was very in tune with energies and my feelings. When I got more into an academic world teaching in high school, I think I became a little constricted. I was on the go all the time and my stress level was very high. I was always exhausted.
I do still get stressed, but it’s really changed my outlook, my sense of purpose, and given me more time for self-care and meditation. I went all the way to India to study Nada Yoga. I do all these adventurous things now that I don’t think I was really allowing myself to do before.
More importantly, I’m more creative now. I’ve always written music but I didn’t take the time to do it. Now I’m composing more, and that’s really important for me.
Can you tell me a bit about how your sound journey has developed since you qualified?
When I first started doing this full time, I offered free introduction to sound healing talks all over the area to get word of mouth about what I’m doing. It’s a 45-minute talk about what sound healing is followed by a sound bath. That’s where I met a lot of people who have eventually become my students.
These days, I’m mostly doing a lot of one-on-one sessions, and I do a lot of sound baths and performances. I also run a sound healing podcast. Within a month or two of deciding to do this full time, I approached a retirement nursing home to work in a group setting with dementia residents. They agreed right away. At first, it was just once a month, but they asked me to come as often as possible and now I go every week.
As soon as I finished my Level 2 Diploma, I knew I wanted to look into being a tutor or a teacher for SHA. As a teacher of 14 years, I really love that connection with people, so I just wanted to give it a try. I love teaching and creating interactive classes for people. For me, it was a continuation of the teaching aspect of my life.
It was another stream of this field I could tap into. Tony (SHA’s Principal Teacher) and I talked about it, and I just dove straight in. I love it and its really taking off now. I’ve probably done about ten Level 1 workshops.
In July, I did SHA's first 10 day Level 2 workshop in the US. It’s been great to connect with people who you have a shared passion with.
In July, Natalie taught SHAs first-ever Level 2 workshop for Groups in the US
Transitioning from practising on case studies to paying clients can feel quite daunting. What has been your biggest hurdle since launching your sound healing business? And, do you have any advice for those currently training with the Sound Healing Academy?
Yeah, it was scary, but I had to let go of that. I just trusted the process. I’d always worked for someone, so it was very different having my own schedule to manage and it all being my responsibility. I was used to the routine as a teacher and I was in the cycle of an academic year, so I had to shift how I operate.
Worrying about what other people thought was the biggest hurdle for me. I’m well known in the community as a high school teacher and performer, so I was worried about what people might think of me.
Although I haven’t actually had any issues with that. At first, when I was doing the free talks, there weren’t many people there and it was a bit worrying, but over time it just built up and any worry I had dissipated.
I always tell my students to make it their own. Try to think about how you can network. For me, it’s all been word of mouth, and initially, I was doing some things for free and now I don’t have to. After that, you can have a think about how you can offer your services.
I found that if I volunteered somewhere, three other places would actually want to pay me. If you volunteer your energy, you will receive. Also, look at what you can offer. Is it working with children, dementia or perhaps a woman’s shelter? Think about how you can offer sound healing in different venues that are close to your heart. It really is limitless!
"If you volunteer your energy, you will receive."
What's in store for you in the coming year?
Most of my workshops have been in Iowa or Illinois, but I’ve had some requests to go to states that are further away. So, I think I might be expanding my teaching radius, which will be really fun. I love collaborating with other sound healers and I often do workshops with other people. I’m actually planning a retreat together with some other sound healers this winter.
I’ve also been working on some sound healing meditations. Hopefully, over the next 6 months to a year, I’ll be able to release another album and get that out to people. And, of course, I’ve got workshops for the sound healing academy that I’m teaching.
What's the best place for people to connect and check out what you do?
You could transform your life and build your own sound healing practice too! Click here to join our Level 2 Diploma online course.
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