Debbie Danbrook is a composer and recording artist who specializes in meditation, relaxation and healing. Danbrook is the first woman to have mastered the Shakuhachi flute, an ancient Japanese instrument.
Danbrook describes the Shakuhachi as more than just an instrument, but as a type of Zen and as a spiritual tool. Though she describes having been on a spiritual path since an early age, her learning to master the ancient flute was the true beginning of her journey of using music to heal.
When founder Talia heard Debbie Danbrook playing with Anne-Marie Boudreau, they all decided that it was the perfect time and opportunity to use their talents and expertise to help in palliative care. It was then that Music Can Heal was formed.
As part of her palliative care practice, Danbrook has played at Casey House, a palliative care facility for people with HIV/AIDS. She also performed at Sunnybrook hospital for many years as their resident musician at the hospital wide palliative memorial ceremonies.
“They had great memorials not just for friends and relatives of people who died, but also for the staff, which is really important,” Danbrook said of her experiences at Sunnybrook. She continues to play at bedside and memorials when called to.
As a recording artist, Danbrook has released over 20 albums.. Her Sacred Sounds for the Soul CD is a popular source of music in various hospices and palliative care facilities. Danbrook also says that the album has been chosen by many people to listen to during the process of dying.
Of all her experiences in relation to music and healing, the most poignant for her was more personal.
“The Sacred Sounds for the Soul CD was recorded for my dad. He was almost 98 and it was time for him to go, but I felt like he needed a little help. There was something still holding him here,” said Danbrook. “While playing the first note in that recording I felt a spiritual, Angelic channel open that was for my dad, to help him pass over. I got to play that music to him twice. He held my hand, and that was one of the most poignant moments I can remember - playing that music for my dad.”