Yorkshire ES students participating in sound bath

Iris McCray, an artist of sound from Workhouse Arts Center, visited fifth grade students at Yorkshire Elementary School to demonstrate the unique and healing sounds various indigenous instruments can make. Standing in the center of an activity room and surrounded by dozens of instruments, McCray encouraged the students to get comfortable.

With blue mats placed in a circle around the artist and the lights dimmed, the children relaxed as sounds were generated from a large gong. McCray progressively moved through the instruments in her collection, playing Tibetan singing bowls, drums, bells, harps, tuning forks, and crystal singing bowls. During the sound immersion many students transitioned from the upright to the horizontal position on the mats. Many with their eyes closed.

“It was really amazing to see students slowly relax. Even students who started off talking were calm and relaxed by the end. Students discussed their favorite instruments and were excited to learn more,” said Eryn Haysley, fifth grade teacher.

Haysley coordinated the event as a way to reinforce what the students have been learning about sound standards, while providing classes with a learning environment fostering inclusivity, connectedness, and social and emotional wellness. The educator strategically timed the event to help students relax before Standards of Learning (SOL) testing.

According to experts at Workhouse Arts Center, the benefits of a Sound Bath can include calming the nervous, inducing better sleep, improving the ability to focus and an overall greater sense of wellbeing.

Student Axel Mugisha added, “It was so relaxing, I almost fell asleep.”