Arley Hughes

Singer / Songwriter / Blues Artist

The Medicine in Music

I have been a teacher for 12 years, a lover of music for 36, and an energy practitioner for the past 6. Recently, I have been noticing some amazing changes that are appearing here in the studio in the last year. Not only are people coming to the space to improve on their voices, they are coming to heal those creative places in them selves that have been forgotten about and or lost.

Being a teacher I realize it is not just about making extrodinary singers....its about giving people the permission to actually make music........in whatever form that takes.  I am amazed, and in awe at how different it looks for each individual.  I have actually experienced a great number of people who walk in the studio and start to cry.  These lovely, brave, courageous souls are crying for many different reasons.  Some cry because of nerves, some cry because they have always longed to sing but never thought they could, some can't put words to why they are crying, and some cry because past experiences left them silenced and hurting.  I have come to the conclusion that with these tears comes a great opening, and a healing, that happens for each individual.  What is coming into my awareness is that Music is Medicine and I am simply a guide that holds space, and points people in the right direction to start climbing the musical ladder.....If they wish to climb......

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The Medicine in Music comes form a great number of things, and probably things I can't even explain, or understand as some of it is really none of my business.  I am here to facilitate and to hold space for the growth, nurturing and openings to happen.  I don't have all of the answers to all of the questions, and as such, I stand humbly with every student. Allowing the student time, space, and support to start the journey.  The Medicine is available to everyone who welcomes it in, and allows their heart to open.  

Sometimes the Medicine comes from a song choice, or singing that one note that you never thought you could reach. Finding the extra colors in your voice, finding width depth and range,  or simply just being heard by non judgmental ears.

There are so many reasons why people turn to music in all of its forms. It has the ability to take us back in time, to help us remember, to sooth us or to help us escape.  It moves us to tears, or touches our hearts and makes us smile. It tells the stories we cant seem to find the words for, let others know what we feel in our hearts, and when we participate in it it makes us whole.  The Medicine comes in the songs that you play over and over again because they touch that part of you that nothing else can touch.  

I forever find myself downloading artists that I know are popular but don't listen to often...... I stumble upon some of the greatest songs this way. I load it onto my i pod and walk or run in the neighborhood........There are times when I am so touched by the lyrics I will start to cry........sometimes it may just be a couple of unsuspecting tears..........but sometimes it is a full out ugly cry, tears streaming, snot and the rest because a song I have never heard came on and gave me the biggest dose of medicine I needed in that moment.  I am not yet sure if any of my neighbors have seen me in this state......if so.....I am alright.....just allowing my heart to open and getting some work done. 

In the past six months the studio has also been home to some miraculous, mending musical groups. These groups are so beautifully different yet connect into the same healing quality.

Kirtan which is a group that gets together the third Friday of every month to sing and sway to mantra and sanskrit chants. The music is very easy to learn and sing, and I have to say, I am completely enchanted with it.  Its amazing to see a group of people get together (some strangers and some friends) to simply sing!!!  at first tentatively and in the end with wild abandon.  I observe sweetly from my piano bench perch, and peak through my own half closed eyelids to see a room of people in the heat of singing, with their own eyes closed. Singing from this place inside them that is so natural and beautiful and known. This place that brings us back to our roots and back to our power, and that sweet surrender of creating sound from our own bodies.  This place of being so individual but singing as one in the collective. This place of magic, reviving and healing. The place that allows the body to rock gently from side to side creating movement and curative energy.  Being part of a vocal community that creates space to regenerate, to sing, to cry, to belt out, or to just be.  By the end of the night everyone is smiling and glowing with an amazing energy that is palpable, hugging their neighbor and creating new friends and a new community. This group has got both male and female energy and I love that beautiful combination of both yin and yang.  It really is a gorgeous mix of voices of all shapes, sizes, volumes and colours.

SIREN is another musical group that supports the woman voice.  We meet the last friday of every month to sing and let it all hang out!  The music is selected by the group, for the group, and spans many generations of music old and new.  I was aching for this group to start when the first thought of it popped into my awareness.  I felt there was a need to create a singing group that was non committal, a place that you didn't have to read notes or understand how to read a musical score. this group is also filled with both friends and strangers and by the end of the night everyone is part of a huge musical family.  Again there is much healing going on in this group as well.  There are gorgeous wild harmonies happening and amazingly huge sounds that seem to come up form the core of the earth.  These Women never cease to amaze me with their ability to sing from their hearts and put it all out on the table.  I stand in awe at the front of the room practically  floating off of the ground with joy as I witness the beauty that is encompassed by these wild roaring women. Talk about standing in your power.......these SIRENS sing from a place that created the world itself..........The great Musical Mother that holds us tightly in her arms, so tightly in fact, that the only thing we can do is sing.

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This past weekend marked the second time I was on stage performing a whole three sets of solo music.  I was terrified, shaky and unsure but I did it anyway as I know that anytime you step out of your comfort zone you gain wisdom and experience, that had you not jumped in, there would be no growth.....no forward movement.....

Before the gig I pace around the house nervous, and practically sick to my stomach because I put so much pressure on my self to be that perfect performer.  I get cranky, and I am very hard to be around.....as my husband would attest........errrr sorry hunny...........I crave a quiet order and feel all of my sences heighten to extremes.  However as soon as I step on stage and I taste my first song in my mouth, clutch my guitar and strum my first chord.........I feel everything fall away...........and I become that person that is whole, well, and wise.........I stretch myself into that alter ego.......I become that voice I know so well..........and I am in that instant healed from all that plagues me in this very very human form...........  

The show was amazing for me as I made a lot of mistakes....stopped many songs mid way.......told some stories......was probably slightly awkward.......and sometimes forgot where I was.......but within that three hours of music making there was magic, light, and sounds I was so amazingly proud of.  Even in those very human moments of mistakes the crowd understood and loved it even more.  

I was lucky enough to have one of my students come up and sing a song....and the crowd was enchanted with her.  She is a total natural and her voice speaks volumes beyond her years. She is a perfect example as to why I do what I do......to be that guide......to share and point out passionately the right direction......And this young person finds her way to the ladder and climbs beautifully.....

I was also joined by some of the ladies that are in SIREN.  The ladies sang a few songs on stage with me and also joined in in their seats. They passed out some words to the crowd for a couple of the songs.....and I caught myself practically floating off of my chair......in awe of the ability that a few voices singing were able to encourage others to join in.  As the ladies were singing out in the audience........I again peaked out from my half closed eyes and saw other people........with sweet timid songs spilling out of their mouths.......looking from the corner of their eyes to see who might be watching.......this was something I was hoping for but not expecting.  Strangers smiling faces singing with us ladies on a lazy saturday afternoon at a local bar.  Now that was true bliss for me, as I do know that even in the singing of one note there is remedy.  The Medicine that happened in that room that sunny saturday afternoon in October was stunning.  Well to me anyway......

Some may have not even noticed what happened if anything at all........But I felt the stirring........the beginning.........of something that is so lovely that I actually don't have the words to describe it.  It was so sweetly compelling I had to struggle to concentrate on what I was doing there.....as mid song I would loose my place for the simple joy I felt to look out and see that one note escaping a strangers lips.  That one note that perhaps was not heard by anyone, but noticed by me. That one note that held the medicine for that particular moment, the medicine in the music. 

How to Care for Yourself as a CREATOR!

As any artist knows, it is sometimes hard to balance the life, work, art, and the regular ins and outs of the every day.  As artists we have the ability to put a great deal of pressure on ourselves to juggle everything life has to throw at us. Family, career, kids, spouses, home life, the list goes on. While also trying to produce is some kick ass creative work that takes a whole bunch of energy as well.....PHEW....is anyone else tired by reading that???  

 

For the last seven months I have been the proud owner of a repetitive motion injury that is effecting my shoulder.  This injury started as something very small, and now has turned into something that is effecting my every day.  As a music teacher, musician, and spiritual facilitator I am constantly relying on my body to hold itself in all sorts of contorted positions.  Leaning over to help a student reach a note on the guitar....sitting for long periods of time with a guitar in my lap and my arms in unnatural positions....singing for hours on end.....So lately I have figured out that I am in a constant state of holding tension in my body. I also realized that my body is essential to my job......If I am not at 100% it can effect the people around me and the quality of work I put out.....It is obvious when my body is asking for a little extra attention...

Not only are we dealing with the tension our bodies hold as we work and live, we are creating and expending energy........ This can be draining mentally, emotionally and energetically.  Learning to listen to when our bodies need some extra attention is the first step.  Learning to follow through with the idea that we are worthy of receiving some extra attention is the second step.  Giving ourselves permission without feeling guilty is the third!!!!

So here are a few things that I have learned over the last two years that has helped me to become a better creator of music, art, and energy work and to become a better facilitator for those around me!  I know most of these are common knowledge.... but it is nice to remind ourselves that we are important parts of the cog that help the world become a better place. 

1.  LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!!!

Even if it is just a little pinch or a sore muscle here or there.  This could be the beginning of something bigger that will take months to heal, (for example, my shoulder).  Taking care of yourself is paramount in creating, so remember to rev up the heating pad, take a bath, or take a nap. Even better talk to your friendly neighborhood massage therapist, chiropractor, energetic facilitator or physiotherapist and go for a visit or two.  It can be a little costly, however at the end of the day your body is your job..... so invest in it!!!!  Regular maintenance is important to feel good and keep those creative muscles flexing!  Note to self!!!  Also, really pay attention to what your body is saying to you.  Save some time in your day and check in with yourself. Ask yourself some questions. (Thank You Alison for this reminder) 

  • how am I feeling in this moment?
  • when is the last time I took a full breath?
  • am I feeling any tension or stiffness?
  • can I sense why I am getting tense?
  • when is the last time I had a glass of water? 
  • when is the last time I ate something healthy?
  • when is the last time I spent some time stretching or moving my body?

2.  REST IF YOU NEED IT

This is a very hard one to accomplish for some.....those who have children and a hectic family life.  But if your body is calling out for it, listen to your body!  Ask a friend or family member to take the kids for the afternoon and use that time to truly rest! I MEAN, FOR REAL REST!!....not finish the dishes, do the laundry and finish writing that song.  Send the children off to a friends house shut the lights off, turn off the phone(s), crawl into bed, and get a beautiful 2 hours of un interrupted sleep!!! Gorgeous!!! With or without children a majority of us are sleep deprived!!  It's common sense....Sleep More!!  Sometimes you just need to take the day off to recoup some much needed energy. Don't feel bad about needing a day to your self every once in a while.....we need these to function....so take a day off to lie in bed...catch up on sleep....daydream....breathe.....meditate.....WHATEVER!!! If you don't do it for yourself, nobody else will do it for you!

3.  TAKE SOME @#$%^&&@# VITAMINS....

Yes!! Take some vitamins, they will do your body good.....if you a re not eating a proper diet.....take them in pill form........or at the very least if you live in the northern part of the hemisphere, up those vitamin D levels!!  This is important as our food sources often times come from out of country (especially during the winter months) so by the time they get to us they are depleted in those essential nutrients that help us function.  Take them regularly or at least try! It will do your body good!

4. TAKE SOME ALONE TIME

If you can on occasion, try to schedule some alone time!! As a creator we face a lot of challenges as we are out putting so much energy making our art.....whatever that may be.....Also working with many different people on a daily basis can create a depletion in energy storage......

Sometimes being alone is just what we need to be able to integrate all of the knowledge and energy that is flowing on a regular basis.  There are times when we just need a day off.... gosh darn it!  So take it if you feel that your energetic well is running dry. You will thank yourself and the people around you will benefit as well.

5. EXERCISE!!!

I recently started to exercise on a regular basis and I have found it to be amazingly grounding and beneficial on so many levels.  It is my time to plug in the tunes, and tune out the ol monkey brain.  I remember to breathe and to listen to my heart and my body.  Get the blood and endorphins rushing to all of my important parts, ..... SWEAT!!!!  SWEATING IS GOOOD!!! 

Remember to change it up and keep it interesting! You will be more motivated to do something you love as opposed to dragging your butt to the gym every day to do the same old routine!  In the winter moths I head to the gym, and in the summer moths I head outside to dig in the garden or take a run.  Cleaning the house can be counted as exercise too!!  Do what fits your needs for that particular day. 

The hardest part is taking the first step to create a routine that fits into your lifestyle. Even if it is just a short jaunt around the block to get the fresh air pumping through your lungs....do it.....eventually if you keep it up it will become part of your regular day.  It will give you the space to create some extra room in your brain so that you can fill it up with that new project, painting, or song. 

6. DRINK SOME EXTRA WATER!!!

Note to self....again.....going to get some right now....

 

 

I am still learning how to be more mindful with my body and mind as I navigate through this life.  Do I have all of the answers???...NOPE....however it is a nice reminder to myself and to all of you other creators out there to check in and remember that we are all worth a little bit of extra attention from time to time.  Also I am pretty sure I am justifying the reason why everyone needs a mental health day!!  Remember to take care of yourself and each other!!

 

 

 

 

 

Women's Song Circle

Women's Song Circle

 

 

As I sit here and listen to some of my favorite music thinking of this beautiful gathering that is going to commence in a few weeks, I am utterly glowing with anticipation.  I will be holding space for a gathering of woman's voices to come together for two hours on April 24th at 8:00 pm in my studio space on 3050 Hunter Rd  to experience a community singing circle in which all women who want to sing out are welcome.  

The past few months have been interesting for me as I have been introduced to many women who are all taking lessons from me who have expressed an interest in making music together.  This is so exciting as a teacher and coach because it will grant permission to those who want to sing, are too shy and or intimidated to share their solo voice.  We will allow those voices to be held by the group and given the freedom to experiment with their true voice!  The support of being in a group is an amazing experience as we find out that our voices actually fit into this place with the support of others.  

So I welcome all who would like to share, and sing in unison or harmony, and join with us in song to lift ourselves into the creative realm together. Leave your ideas of perfection at the door and come into the idea that all voices have a place in this space to evolve and grow.

As I talk to women in the community and they find out that I am a vocal teacher their eyes get wide with the excitement of the thought of sharing that unique sound.  I ask many of them what their vocal story is. Many people have a vocal story and it is intriguing to me that more often than not they are ones of deep seated emotion and programming as someone in their past had silenced them or told them they were not good enough.  So many have kept their voices hidden or never sang for anyone but themselves.

Now is the time!! So I invite all of you who want to sing again with wild abandon!!  Come and join the Circle!  Let it be messy, off key, quiet and contemplative, big and outrageous!!!  All I ask is that you come with an open heart and sing from that space!!

How Does the Singing Circle Work

I will be picking three or four songs to start us off.  As we go I will be picking songs from all genres, Rock, Jazz, Blues, Pop, Folk, Bluegrass, Indie...etc.  I will be supporting the group with acoustic guitar and or piano.  We will start off the song circle with a good vocal warm up that will consist of either some strong oming, scales, and or a Kirtan song  and then we will jump right into the song choices.  I will be uploading versions of the songs onto my YouTube page which is Arley Hughes so that everyone will get a chance to hear the versions that we will be singing.  

Please prepare a folder or a small binder for yourself with the lyrics that will be used for singing, then go onto any lyric website copy and print out the lyrics needed for that week.  This folder will be yours for the duration of the Song Circles, so decorate it and or put some juicy love into it!!!! SO FUN!  Please Bring a yoga mat and or a cushion to sit on as there will be limited chairs to use, as some of the work we will be seated or standing do what feels good to you.  Bring a water bottle and your favorite blanket or shawl.  Song Circle is by donation.  If there is a high demand for the Song Circle I would like to be able to offer it on an ongoing basis, perhaps the last Friday of every month.  Performance opportunities will also be offered for those interested as we move through the practice!  If you are interested in signing up please visit my website and find the Work With Me Tab go into woman's song circle and sign up!  Information about location of the studio will be sent to you within the week!  

Looking Forward to Hearing Our Wild Voices Merge!!!!

I have two Vocal Warm Ups on YouTube as well check them out if you would like an easy way to get those chords moving!

YouTube: Arley Hughes

First Songs!!!

Hey Jude  by The Beatles

Didn't Leave Nobody But The Baby Emmy Lou Harris

The Way I Am Ingrid Michaelson

You Never Need Nobody The Lone Bellow

 

 

 

 

Love, I find, is like singing
— Zora Neale Hurston




I Have a Website!

Playing music, and supporting others in their musical journey, is my souls purpose.

Playing music, and supporting others in their musical journey, is my souls purpose.

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." - Neale Donald Walsh

I would like to be the first to introduce you to my website that I am over the moon for and absolutely in love with.  Not only am I finally stepping into my own as a music teacher here in Thunder Bay Ontario, I am stepping into the rhelm of being a holistic spiritually based music teacher/coach.  A very interesting combination indeed.  One that took many many years to fully accept, and now with the help and encouragement from many lovely strong women that have recently come into my life I feel I am ready to fully step in.

These women are "Yes" Women and have inspired me to create my niche that is unique to me.  These lovely women build you up with trusting support, and never knock you down.  They are an intrigal piece to the puzzle I was creating.  Angela G, Stacey H, Meg S, Alison G Thank You Ladies from the bottom of my heart for your creative spirits, and the light you shine so brightly!  Also thank you for the needed boost in confidence and confirming for me what I knew deep in my heart for so long. Your efforts, beauty, and grace do not go unnoticed.  Thank you for your ability to hold space for me when I needed it, for creating and editing with non judgmental eyes and ears, and for seeing something in me that i never thought could possibly be meshed together as seamlessly as it has. Thank You for sharing and helping me learn how to receive from others.  A True Gift!  

There is a saying that I saw in my very near and dear RMT's office (Mrs. Alison G) that has been rattling around in my head for quite sometime. The quote is by Neale Donald Walsh that states "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." This saying is ringing so true for me in 2015.  I have pushed myself more than ever outside of my comfort zone and things are really starting to jive in my life, and all around me.  

I used to be very comfortable with the easy way of doing what was necessary to get through the day, to just start another.  This, I now know is no way to live your most authentic life.  Living an Authentic life has now become a passion and a goal for me in the last year.  It has pushed me to let go of the old to make room for the new.  With living outside of your comfort zone there has to be an acceptance of change, change for the better.  There is fear around change for some, for me living more authentically was not an easy transition.  However, with much self awareness and a lot of care and trust I started to make the necessary changes in my life that facilitated me in outputting large amounts of creative, integrative and soul searching work.  

Sometimes as we know, change is terrifying but I started to make slow changes that helped me shift the way I look at things and see the word. By giving myself permission to get rid of some very negative habits, I was able to make peace to integrate some new life and energy into my creative work and my everyday life.  Some of this creative work is not the highest of quality nor is the the be all end all, but as long as I am creating and welcoming my creative work to change and morph on a daily basis, life is good. As creative people we tend to judge ourselves before we even start to out put anything.  Time to Stop the Judgement, It is now the time to start Creating....Whatever that looks like to you.  Free Yourself from the confines of self doubt and judgment....and Jump Right in!

As an energy practitioner I have always had a major separation between what I do in studio with the music and students and what I do with my energy work for my clients.  It is so refreshing to rip off the veil and be able to offer both under one roof.  No longer am I Arley the vocal teacher and coach or Arley the Energy Practitioner I am integrating both practices into one amazing space to work from creatively!  And it is all about freeing yourself to be in the space and energy. To give yourself permission to let go and sing, to try an energy practice and heal those inhibitions from the inside out!  

This Website has been a major focus of this creative work lately and I am so proud of it.  I hope you have time to take a look at what is going on. Feel free to subscribe to the website to get your free vocal lesson and keep in touch with whats happening in and out of the studio!  The websites name is Arley Hughes Discovering Your Authentic Voice. Come and visit anytime!

 

 

 

Music Keeps My Heart Beating!!!

This song has been sitting on the back burner for me for a very very long time....ever since I started singing Rhythm and Blues I have always wanted to cover this song. Again, full of belty high notes and it was close to impossible for me to hit any of them.....lately I have been working my vocals super hard and challenging my range and I am finally able to get up to those Aretha notes!!! She is a true R & B, Gospel goddess and I sit humbly in the shadow that is the vocal powers of Miss Aretha Franklin!! Music Keeps My Heart Beating!!!

"Parts of Me" Album Launched and Available!!  Click the link below or the Merchandise Buttons!!