En~chanting Beyond


Bedside Singing for
Birthing Mothers

Bedside Singing for
Loved Ones

and Poetry for the Dying
and those who loved them

Arrangements, fees/etc.

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Other Resources
on Bedside Singing, Music Therapy, End of Life & Pan-death information (Death Midwifery, Funeral Celebrants, etc.),
in Canada, United States and England

Sister Sites

E~merging Beyond
Mediation Services

Journeying Beyond
Death Midwifery and 'end of life' consulation services




to the



Vocal music
used to support

the journey
through the
of birthing

and dying
Victoria, B.C.
On this page Vocal music to ease major life passages
  Overview of Bedside Singing



September 23 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM PDT

sponsored by the
Death Doula Network of BC





En~chanting Beyond offers Bedside Singing (see description below) services to support those who are going through either of the two primary life-passages giving birth (for mothers during labour and delivery) or dying (at home, in a hospital, hospice or other care facility).These services are free except where travel expenses are required, or the request is for on-going regular Bedside Singing.


En~chanting Beyond also offers Bedside Singing workshops to groups as participants prepare to use Bedside Singing as one means of supporting their own loved ones, or co-members of a community, in their dying process.   Please contact us if your group/community is interested in organizing a workshop.

Bedside Singing Workshop through DDNBC on September 23rd for free -- registration


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Vocal music to ease major life passagesIt has often been said that "music is the universal language".If the new concept of "vibrating superstrings" is the right metaphor for a Grand Unification theory (i.e. foundation to all existence) in physics, music may be the natural language (at least, metaphorically) of the Universe!Ever since the dawn of our species, we have used music to support the passages in and out of life beyond the world of the Womb, and then beyond the world of manifest life towards the Tomb.Perhaps this is part of our instinctive heritage, for some of the larger mammals also use vocalized sound (though we might not consider it music) to stand witness to their dying or dead whales and elephants, in particular.

In fact, in ancient times, the village midwives cared for both mothers giving birth and those who were dying the two primary passages of life.Many aboriginal cultures still use special chants and drumming to aid the birthing and dying processes.Although Western culture has mostly lost this tradition, its remnants are in the chants and hymns that are sung to support the soul's journey beyond this world at funeral/memorial services.Still for those who particularly enjoy singing, or know that their loved one particularly enjoys listening to it it is often intuitive to sing to a dear one who is dying, even if it isn't part of one's cultural practices.

Lullabies are able to calm babies and young children when nothing else can: it is surprising how many of them are actually songs about death, suggesting that our ancestors recognized the profound similarity between birth and death!Mothers often sing to their unborn children they have always done so instinctively but there has been recent confirmation that children in the womb can hear the world beyond them.These little ones are then comforted by the same songs, once born into the world.

Recently, pregnant mothers have started using Toning as one of their labour and delivery techniques.It acts as a form of meditation, helping them to release tension and deepen their breathing.Teachers of this practice claim that the "open throat" of the vibration helps to open the birth canal.It is likely that this is not an entirely new practice, but rather the reclaiming of older ones in a more modern situation.

Music has the ability to connect with an individual long before, or after, verbal communication is possible.In both the dying and birthing processes, music can speak to an individual's emotional/spiritual needs offering a sense of a loving presence, cradling their being, etc.; and in this sense, helps to enchant/transition them beyond the pain and fear they might be experiencing.In the language of modern Spiritual Care, it is a way of "journeying with the patient" without distracting them from that journey; while, at the same time, being able to support or redirect it in a positive way.

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Overview of Bedside Singing This is a particular kind of vocal music, which is usually unaccompanied (a cappella) and done by one or two singers at a patient's bedside (or other comfortable place).It is not intended as entertainment although it may provide some distraction from pain or fear: on the other hand, familiar songs from one's past may help to focus attention on poignant life memories.More often, Bedside Singing is used to ease physical pain/restlessness/tension and support whatever emotional or spiritual issues the individual is journeying through including apprehension about the dying process and/or concern for those left behind.Although recorded music can help in a similar way, it can't provide the same kind of caring presence as Bedside Singing; nor make the momentary adjustments that a singer can in response to a loved one's reaction.

The repertoire of Bedside Singing includes songs and chants that reinforce a sense of peace and readiness to journey beyond whether moving into the role of parent (for birthing mothers) or coming to terms with their death (for dying patients) and the life issues that either evoke.The imagery of the chants used draws upon simple metaphors which are spiritual but generally not religion-specific, unless hymns or other favourite songs are requested.Short chants are most often used, as they can be sung or hummed repeatedly as a form of meditation (lullaby-like) helping the person to rest into the cradle of the imagery, and/or continue whatever inner journey they need to take.

Especially with dying patients, the Bedside Singer reads subtle signs in body or facial language in order to assess whether the chosen melody or imagery is appropriate, if/when they is not able to communicate verbally.The singer will also discuss the patient's particular journey with the family members (when available) or institutional staff (if the patient is in a hospital or care home) in order to determine what song/chant imagery would be most supportive, or should be avoided.Sometimes especially if the patient is sleeping or in a coma the songs/chants chosen may focus more on offering support to the family and friends, in their own journeys as they come to terms with the imminent death or birth.

The Bedside Singer may work with the patient in hospices, hospitals, long-term care homes or at home; and in partnership with a birth midwife/doula or practitioner of death midwifwery, nurses or counselors, chaplains or alternative health-care practioners.

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A HUGE thanks to Pashta for responding to my immediate request for her to sing my step-father on his transition from this lifetime to whatever's next on the evening of May 6th.   Pashta held my dad's hand for about 3 hours, singing gently and beautifully and sincerely, songs of travelling and voyaging and journeying fearlessly.    It was extremely comforting and beautiful and I want to thank Pashta profoundly for it.    The experience is something I'll treasure always when I reflect, with love, on my father's gentle and peaceful passing. (Janine Bandcroft)

Please visit the pages on Bedside Singing for Birthing Mothers or Dying Loved Ones
for more specifics on the use of Bedside Singing, in Victoria, B.C., Canada,
for both the birthing and dying life-passages.   


Our thanks to Skeena hosting services as well as
GRsites for on-line graphics services and backgrounds
"txt2" for other backgrounds/textures
Musicgraphics Galore for additional backgrounds and graphics

En~chanting Beyond, and its sister-sites E~merging Beyond and Journeying Beyond, are sponsored by VIBES
(Vancouver Island Beyond-the-Everday Services)


Blessed Be