Musician Wes Geer and mental health researcher Constance Scharff, PhD know the power of music to heal; music saved both their lives. After nine years of watching more than one hundred thousand non-musicians use music to heal, they teamed up to write "Rock To Recovery: Music As A Catalyst For Human Transformation".
Geer was chosen as touring guitarist with KORN, in part because he was sober. When his time with the band ended, he asked the Universe, "What can a sober musician do to make a difference in the world?" The idea for Rock To Recovery was born. Remembering his time in rehab, Geer had seen how music brought people together. He started going into rehabs and mental health facilities to form bands with non-musicians. The transformations were miraculous. People who started the session dope-sick or wanting to die literally left laughing and singing. The organization grew to serve more than 100 facilities in four states.
Geer wanted to share the Rock To Recovery story with a wider audience, so he partnered with Scharff, who specializes in complementary therapies that improve addiction and mental health treatment outcomes. When she saw a group of patients in an addiction detox program light up after a Rock To Recovery session, she jumped at the opportunity to write the book with Geer.
Together, the authors chronicle the stories of eighteen Rock To Recovery participants. The stories cover a wide range of demographics. Taken from interviews conducted between 2018 and 2020, each of the individuals shares in their own words how writing music and singing has helped them heal. The stories are harrowing. They cover topics from military sexual assault to sex trafficking to combat-related trauma, domestic violence and child abuse.
Not everyone makes it. Music is a healing tool, but it does not cure on its own. Yet the book as a whole is inspiring. People can overcome anything. Music gives them back their song.
Support for "Rock To Recovery: Music As A Catalyst For Human Transformation" has been strong. Brian "Head" Welch of KORN writes in the foreword: "Rock To Recovery brings the experience of playing in a band to people who are not musicians... Everyday people get to have the experience of writing and recording a song, of being part of a band, of hearing their song play on the Internet after Rock To Recovery sessions. It's a powerful activity for those who get the opportunity to participate."
In addition to the stories, science sections share with the reader the ways in which Rock To Recovery's music programming improves treatment outcomes. This includes measures of wellness, willingness to engage in treatment longer and neurological improvement.
"I remember what it was like when I was in rehab," says Geer. "We had art and yoga, but there was no music. I played my guitar and it really brought the guys together. We use this premise in Rock To Recovery. We now do over 500 sessions each month, helping over 30,000 people each year, through playing music and singing as a group. People enter the session literally suicidal or dope sick, and leave singing and laughing. There is no greater transformative experience. I get goose bumps knowing there's now a book available about our program, to help others learn how to use music to improve their lives."
"Rock To Recovery: Music As A Catalyst For Human Transformation" was made available July 15 on Amazon.
A book signing tour is scheduled for West Coast dates in July and August.
A portion of the proceeds from the book fund the Rock To Recovery nonprofit, which provides therapeutic music programming at treatment centers unable to pay for the cost of services.
* Sunday, July 25: Santa Monica, CA - 5 p.m. at Metropolis
* Tuesday, July 27: Costa Mesa, CA - 6 p.m. at MoonGoat Coffee
* Wednesday, July 28: San Diego, CA - 6 p.m. location TBD (North County San Diego)
* Sunday, August 1: Bellingham, WA - 5 p.m. at Black Drop Coffee
* Sunday, August 15: San Francisco, CA - 5 p.m. at Caffé Trieste