For more than a decade, we’ve had the privilege of working with ethnomusicologist, researcher, and sound meditation practitioner Alexandre Tannous and his students to help them find the perfect gongs. His experience and knowledge in the field of Sound Meditation is aspirational for us! He’s the founder of ResonantMind Collective, a group dedicated to their interest in sound, music, consciousness, meditation, and art. Together, they work to gain new knowledge on the nature of sound and our place within this physical, consensus reality that we call life.
Tannous is also a recipient of the Mellon Fellowship and he has a double major in Music Theory and Composition, as well as a Master of Arts and a Master of Philosophy in Ethnomusicology from Columbia University. His orchestral compositions have been performed at Carnegie Hall and around the world. He’s composed film scores. As a performer, Alexandre has delved into classical, rock, jazz, and non-Western music across a range of instruments.
He’s conducted research and fieldwork around the world for over 2 decades, studying and investigating musical identity as it relates to community and the urban setting across cultures and modalities. His research focuses on both the therapeutic benefits and mystical properties of sound from three main points of view – Western Science, Eastern Philosophy, and Shamanic social beliefs.
His knowledge exists within the overlapping territories of art, science, philosophy, and spirituality. It bridges the gaps between these seemingly disconnected worlds and allows musicians to explore spirituality, and for spiritualists to better understand music, all within a multitude of religious, cultural, and scientific contexts.
Thanks to his many years of intensive work, his research, and his deep, varied experience, we – as sound therapists, musicians, and everyone in between – have access to a wealth of knowledge and information that he has condensed and distilled to be as accessible and beneficial for an agnostic percussionist composer as it is for a polytheistic sound shaman with no formal musical training.
For us at Gongs Unlimited, who are mostly preoccupied with the logistics of keeping business moving, and unable to dig into intensive, controlled research and scientific study, his work is an infinitely valuable resource. We’ve directed thousands of new sound therapy practitioners to his work to help introduce them to the overlapping worlds of music and spirituality. In a space that is frequently full of dogma, both spiritual and scientific, it is a true gift to have an intelligent, focused, and dedicated teacher like Alexandre walking the delicate tightrope between the hard limitations of physical science and the sometimes overly fast-and-loose smorgasbord of new age beliefs.
Through years of research and distillation, he’s developed an approach that he calls “Sound Meditation,” which integrates scientific, philosophical, and spiritual insights and awareness into a single protocol. It allows the practitioner to pursue a deeper understanding of the self while disconnecting from negative habits and patterns and discovering insights to reach their full potential. He prefers the term “Sound Meditation” over “Sound Healing” as he believes it avoids ambiguity and lack of clarity surrounding the definition of “Healing” and all that could be incorrectly implied or interpreted by overusing it.
His approach trades guruism and teacher-master worship for a more collective and holistic approach that centers the individual’s learning of and engagement with Sound Meditation techniques. He emphasizes collaboration and the innate ability and capacity within every person. By reframing his role as a teacher and guide rather than a healer, he subverts the inherent power dynamic that can be present in a “Healer - Client” relationship and invites the new practitioner to be an active participant in the process of achieving balance and wholeness.
We recommend you check out his website, search for his videos, interviews, and podcast appearances. If you've been interested in meditating with sound and your'e just getting started, or if you've been doing this for a few years and you're seeking to expand your perspective, or if you're a composer seeking new avenues of creativity, Alexandre is an amazing resource and much of his information is available to get you started. Check out some links below.
And thanks for everything you do, Alexandre!
Trading Our Chains for Enchantment (an essay) by Alexandre Tannous
Why Sound Meditation (an essay) by Alexandre Tannous
Check out his website: https://soundmeditation.com/
And his collective: https://resonantmindcollective.com/