Excerpts from a Few Testimonial Letters

“… This module gave me extra purpose that accompanies my harp playing…….the music from the strings, the string’s vibration, the meeting place of my countenance, how my countenance radiates to the listener-receiver. This was a great addition to my learning process. I also appreciated the extra articles you provided…Thank you for all your wonderful, thoughtful writing and teaching.”

“… I am so pleased to be studying this fascinating material. It is embodied and is infinitely helpful with my harp playing. Thank You for creating this curriculum — the world needs all of this!”

“… This module was filled with deep content and provided a very meaningful opportunity to learn new concepts….I am grateful that I continue to learn and then learn some more. This is a learning and living education.”

“… I appreciate learning new material and incorporating knowledge from previous modules. Thank you for hand-delivered, personalized lessons!”

“… Thank you for your beautiful modules and years of study.”

“… I am so delighted with the program! Thank you so much for the Module and all that you provided. The book recommendations, materials, assignments, and guidance are excellent. I have nothing but thankfulness in my heart for all that you offer. I have no requests, nor comments other than to express appreciation.”

“… No problems, concerns, or flubs, whatsoever. I am growing personally, spiritually, and artistically. Not as fast as I’d like, but that’s on me, not you. Definitely making discernible progress.”

“… Your instruction and guidance have been deeply appreciated…”

“… Thank you for your patience with me, as I seem to be on the “ultra-slow track” with the RA-CM program. You have been so supportive of me during my recent illness and so very accommodating of my need to take time off from our work together. I appreciate it tremendously. This has been a great growing experience for me on every level – my spirituality has deepened, my musicianship has improved, and I have returned to the harp after a twenty year hiatus…..”

“… I have such a great appreciation of your pedagogy……….a remarkable teacher in every sense of the word….”

“… I appreciate learning new material and incorporating knowledge from previous modules. Thank you for personalized lessons!…”

“… I am really enjoying all the material presented. A wonderful contrast to my previous studies involving memorization and “facts.” Thank you for such a meaningful learning experience!…”

“… The teachings of Contemplative Musicianship and my 14 modules of Music-Thanatology study have become ever-the-more relevant and applicable…..  I thank you for this great gift of clarity in the classroom that I did not have prior to my enrollment at Chalice of Repose……Thank you so much for the inspiration!…..You taught me that I am a citizen of the planet, and how very united and at ease this makes me feel with my new students….”

“… The content is rich, diverse and interesting….I like how I have been met exactly where I’m at in my own personal, professional and spiritual growth.  This program is undeniably unique and requires one to examine oneself in a way very unlike college or medical school…..The time I spent with the instructor in the beautiful library space was lovely. Her enthusiasm for finding the right book or right song is infectious. I really enjoyed the one-on-one and ability to ask and have answered questions in real time. I got completely absorbed in the diversity of what we listened to, researched, discussed……..As an example of what I have absorbed that has changed the way I live my life: The first is the contemplation of truth, white lies, and outright lies and how deception occurs in our everyday lives. When I am tempted to tell a little white lie, I now stop dead in my tracks and just don’t. As someone who doesn’t make a practice of lying, I’d never thought about how even the littlest of deceptions can have a great impact on both the deceiver and the listener. …….Other modules are also life-changing, sparking many a conversation with family and friends. I really love how the instructor brings art, music, history, religion, spirituality, beauty, truth, deception, etc to the table and then provides the means to combine them into tools for transformation…….”

“… I continue without fail to be moved deeply and inspired by the modules, and am incredibly grateful to learn from the instructor. To study with such a master is a rare opportunity and privilege……Feedback, whether oral or written, is always substantial and helpful…….Particularly in the Instructor Responses, goes above and beyond what I would have expected, with additional resources, comments and elaborations on particular points…….My spirituality has been respected, and it has also been greatly deepened by the profound writings from various sacred texts that have been included in the curriculum… ”

“… I have found the music-thanatology modules to be highly detailed, informative, interesting and thoroughly engaging……..Each modules presents….several formative disciplines across culture and time that are well balanced and nuanced in such a way as to resonate in new and living ways for me……..I find the Instructor Responses to be completely engaged with my work and I really couldn’t ask for more from an instructor. It is very obvious from the quality of the response that my work has been read thoroughly…….I would go so far as to say that my innate spirituality has come alive during my time of study, beginning with the Contemplative Musicianship program……..My capacity to communicate at an interpersonal level has grown in manifold ways during my time of enrollment at Chalice. Outwardly, I am better able to express myself, and convey meaning in my communications to a much greater level of transparency and authenticity than at any time in my life. Because of my time with Chalice, I am better able to communicate honestly with myself, and I have learnt to recognize and confront the unfruitful ways of being that held me back in the past. My growth in this program would not be possible without the mentorship of  XXX. I want to mention her specifically, because it is all that XXX  embodies which is the shaping force of this program that speaks to me directly… ”

“… As I revisit some of the modules I am profoundly struck by the breadth of exposure that was offered us…..I want to offer my sincere gratitude… ”

“… My experience has been one of being educated, nourished and supported… ”

“… I completed the Contemplative Musicianship program….My studies made an indelible and formative impression on me, and I feel the beneficial effects of this every day…..The most important thing that I learned from my teacher is that the transformation of the heart is the essential foundation for musical expression. In our reading and writing assignments, class discussions, music rehearsals, and composition work, the goal was always an inner searching and refinement, an inner tuning, and indeed, emptying so that we might be continually filled and renewed with new life.  XXX taught us that this renewal and inner tuning, like the tuning of harp strings, is ongoing, that it requires vigilance……To be a singer is to hold an important position. Because of what I learned here, I am proud to be a singer, and I know that I have a gift and a responsibility. I have something to offer the world…”

“… Because of a serious illness and injury, I cannot continue my studies right now, but want to thank you for awakening me to a transformed listening, seeing and hearing. It will be my greatest desire to continue studying with you in some way, shape or form….(later….)”

“… The Chalice of Repose Project prepared and equipped me in innumerable ways for the many various experiences I have had with the illnesses and deaths of others. I am ever so grateful for CORP’s multifaceted approach in the formation of its students. I learned a great deal about the human body, about particular illnesses and about what symptoms and processes to expect with particular illnesses. I was able to be with my husband when he was dying in ways that I do not think I would have been able to, if it were not for the training and formation I received through CORP ….”

“… As a nurse and a musician, attending and participating in the educational programs at Chalice of Repose Project was life changing for me. I was introduced to concepts, theories, philosophies and ideas that I had never been exposed to before. Being a student at CORP has transformed the way I understand, approach, respect and contemplate music. I am a much more nuanced and sensitive musician after the kind and patient direction and tutelage received….  My understanding of death and the dying process are deepened, with richness and humility, greater sensitivity and compassion. Although I did not complete the work due to an illness and health crisis, what I learned and what I gained from the experience was invaluable and priceless. I am so grateful for the experience…..”

“… I have been thinking about you a lot this week….Your service to humankind using your talents, emanating from your music studies and desire to serve as a musician, is the most unique and far reaching and effective work I have ever encountered in all my years as a performer, historian, teacher and administrator… ”

“… Thanks for letting me see this quite wonderful evaluation instrument. It has to be the most thorough and utterly searching one I’ve ever seen!…..I found it simple in structure, yet challenging in terms of thought. It’s disarmingly honest and transparent in structure and invites the same sort of response… ”

“… I came to the program as a classically trained musician… I’ve enjoyed and benefited immensely from my experience… The modules traced an enormous arc of knowledge, truly amazing in scope and depth…..I truly appreciated and grew from the interdisciplinary approach, and was stretched in every way…..This was the first time I had ever participated in an online program, and admittedly it was challenging for me as I am not a strong self-motivator…..I was treated with the utmost respect and warmth…..I am extremely grateful for the requirement of a clinical internship……The weekly conference calls….and the written feedback were crucial to sustaining me……I should also mention that I took and completed the PSP500 continuing education unit and that was truly manna – a deep call to return to integrity in our work which was humbling, inspiring and very useful….  My music-thanatology formation was life-changing…….It has changed and enhanced the way I see the world and (am) with music… ” 

“… I cannot help but “wax lyrical” about the quality of teaching I received through the modules and in the intensives. Superior in every way! My own non-completion  had nothing to do with the quality of the program – some huge life issues got in the way…..The Chalice program is based on the formational values of deep spirituality, humility, service, transformation and virtue. I did not complete the program but it continues to inspire and inform my life in ways to numerous to mention ….”

“… I want to express my appreciation for the Contemplative Musicianship program that I am in the process of completing. I have not been able to finish on time and had to request a contract amendment for an extension.  The CORP policies provided me with space and flexibility…..Thanks for that thoughtful design in all institutional elements….It encourages adult students like me….to keep alive the commitment to grow into a fuller human being….This and the other program policies are excellently structured to provide a container in which transformative learning can happen…..Apart from policies that helped me, I want to mention the quality of education and the respectful attitude…..The quality of the materials, assignments and curriculum, and the pedagogy behind the program design….the intellectual and musical dimensions….have all enriched me beyond words…..  I have gone back several times to some particularly resonating texts and images and found always something new and valuable. Vast information was provided on cultural and religious traditions, human psychology and existential issues, and music in a manifold manner. Linkages between concepts and ideas, as well as multiple references opening new avenues for learning were of paramount importance….I discovered delicious musical pieces and extraordinary composers and musicians….For me, music is now a language, a medicine, and a prayer….It is generative and supportive. The quality of education I have received has enabled me to negotiate other programs and endeavors. The second aspect I found outstanding is the enormous respect that permeates all activities, materials, and interactions……..I found a welcoming environment that allowed me to explore new and old traditions without having to resist any pressure to adopt to any viewpoint. I felt free within a program that offered me insights about commonalities and also intrinsic values within religious and musical traditions. By being immersed in such a respectful space, self-respect was also encouraged…..I learned to take time to do things thoughtfully…..I felt understood and met where I was……….Exquisite respect for my limitations and potentials, I could grow beyond all expectations… ”

“… I am a grateful graduate of the School of Music-Thanatology and for many years I have been providing prescriptive music bedside for the dying through our local hospice and various hospitals….Because of the extraordinary formational and in-depth education that I have been so fortunate to obtain through my studies at Chalice of Repose Project, I have been able to realize my dream of offering the highest quality service in the care of the dying that I am able….I was especially grateful for the flexible adult learning format that enabled me to take a leave of absence to be with XXXX during his decline and the eventual death of XXXX….Not only did I need time to be with my family, but also, afterward, I needed months of respite and healing for myself. The School was very supportive, understanding and gracious, encouraging me to take the time needed…….The value of my learning experience through CORP goes way beyond anything I could have imagined….This fulfilled every longing for excellence that I was seeking….Dedication, expertise, leadership and teaching…….I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to attend and study with such a gifted scholar and mentor… ”

“… The written course materials came as a monthly feast, complex and delicious….”

“… I hold undergraduate and graduate degrees from XXX, worked in the XXX industry in executive management, and later created a technology start-up…..It would not be an exaggeration to say that the educational experience I received at Chalice changed my life….The programs of study, Contemplative Musicianship and Music-Thanatology opened and developed my senses (both exterior and interior) to see, hear, and feel in significant new ways…The modules, readings, and monthly assignments were academically rigorous……For me personally, the curricula were more challenging than any undergraduate or graduate course I had ever taken…….My peers and I were held accountable and responsible to extremely high standards. I also want to stress that the challenging load was acknowledged.  I needed additional time to meet the curriculum due to a physical health issue – broken bones….. I was able to move into a different cycle seamlessly despite the added administrative work load such changes entailed; such accommodations were very much appreciated by this student!….Three factors underpinned the uniqueness of the Chalice programs; each was a necessary component to the essence, strength and wonder of these programs for me.  1) the depth and breadth of the interdisciplinary curricula: interweaving biology, medicine, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, psychology, spirituality, musicology and music performance…..2) exceptionally dedicated and talented faculty and high academic and musical standards; 3) a calling to work with individuals and their families. If one is looking for more credentials simply to be more marketable, I do not believe that motivation will allow you to succeed in the music-thanatology program. The high standards demanded by the Chalice of Repose ensure the consistency and quality of work performed by those who complete the program requirements.  It was a privilege to be a student in this program… ”

“… The overarching methodology taught and required deep critical thinking skills, use of moral imagination, and ability to study and act independently while imbuing a deep appreciation and commitment for professional standards……The content of the curriculum was living and evolving while steeped in decades of ongoing study, development, and evidence-based practice….crossing inter and cross disciplinary work in areas of academic, musical, medical, clinical and spiritual formation…..Instructor responses to the submission of each module’s requirements provided affirmation and encouragement while providing personalized additional instruction…..Upon successful completion of my internship and comprehensive exams, I became a staff member at XXXX hospital. The benefits of my studies and my resulting work as a music-thanatologist have enriched my personal and professional life, relationships, and interactions beyond what any list can express…….Deep gratitude to all… ”

“… You cannot imagine the joy I experienced upon receiving Module 1 and realizing that this endeavor was going to be different from anything I’d ever done before…..The vocabulary was completely new, the readings were unique and thought-provoking, and the writing assignments required delving into places in my heart, soul and mind that had been unexplored for decades. The methodology of reading, watching selected videos, writing, generating lexica, and learning to play the harp both challenges and delights me……Last fall, our family experienced XXXXX and XXXX all within the period of a week. Both events occurred around Thanksgiving, and presented many challenges with regard to finances, planning, traveling, and emotional support for our other children and extended family.  There was simply no way I had the physical or emotional energy to continue my studies and XXX was gracious enough to grant me the time I needed to regroup…..Had I been in a traditional university program when our family life had turned to chaos, it would have been a disaster.  I would have lost all that I had accomplished.  It is with incredible gratitude that I am enrolled in a program that allowed me the space to breathe when I most needed it… ”

“… I am a professional concert artist as well as a PhD and an assistant professor of music at XXXX University.  I offer my observations not merely as a student, but as a professional educator who has been active for twenty-five years in higher education……..The courses were held with the utmost integrity, both in design and implementation. Expectations of the student were clearly communicated and yet were also accommodating with true compassion for events that come up in our lives…..I experienced a transformative healing experience from psychological wounds I had developed as a graduate student in other programs. This healing ultimately led me to my current position at XXX University… ”

“… I am writing to share the impact that my studies at the Chalice of Repose Project have had on my life and career.  I have a master’s degree and other certificates and have been a working professional for twenty years. My teachers at the Chalice of Repose Project modeled a level of commitment, transparency and integrity I have never before encountered. Of all the studies I have embarked upon, my Chalice of Repose Project education was unparalleled in its standard of excellence. The adult learning model around which my Chalice Contemplative Musicianship and Music-Thanatology studies were structured granted me the flexibility to pause in my studies in order to have a child. This ability to take a leave of absence and then resume later enabled me to continue through to completion. Entering the work-force as a Music-Thanatologist has been the most rewarding and renewing phase of my professional life…..A clinical nursing supervisor at the hospice I work for recently stated “ The music reaches the patient in ways that my medicine cannot touch…..I thank you, with deep sincerity… ”

“… I was a student of the Chalice of repose Project for roughly two years. I fell behind in my course work due to XXXXX and XXXXX. Although I have decided not to continue, I feel that my time was well spent…….I always felt supported and encouraged to do my best…..The many varied assignments helped me explore and deepen my sense of self while increasing my sensitivity to others…..Feedback was always honest but tempered with a great deal of care…..Spirituality is an essential element of this program and the thoughts of famous philosophers from many different religious backgrounds are presented in each module. I found their teachings inspirational and appreciated being exposed to such a vast amount of knowledge. The emphasis was always on appreciating and learning from everyone. I grew spiritually through this program because I was encouraged to explore deeply within myself.  This was a valuable aspect of the course work and a rare experience for which I am grateful. I found the work for CM and T-Than to be very rigorous, both musically and spiritually. I know that I will put what I have learned into good use in the future… ”

“… I am writing to reflect upon the great value of the curricula and to express my gratitude for being able to benefit from this course of study. I have both a PhD and have had a post-doc fellowship at XXXX. Through CORP Contemplative Musicianship and Music-Thanatology studies, my own spirituality has deepened and become more central to my daily life. The (pedagogical) direction has been both encouraging and corrective……..ready, willing and able to challenge me to uncover my authentic voice and train me in how to learn… ”

“… I have 20 years experience in music pedagogy and a master’s degree from XXXX…….Integration of the arts, pedagogy and curriculum were my areas of expertise….It is with deep gratitude and respect that I write to express my highest  possible regard for those in leadership positions in this remarkable organization…..The teacher in me continually marvels at the integrative curriculum that masterfully streams at least seventeen different fields of knowledge upon the bedrock of the contemplative orientation…..always within an anchored focus and practical application toward the care of the dying. The depth of scholarship and methodology in music-thanatology has called the best of my intellectual, musical and inter and intra-personal abilities to the forefront, and has enriched my own spirituality by way of anthropological research and historically authentic source material. The extensive bibliographies included in every module are alone worth their weight in gold, and have added shelves to my own personal library for the life-long pursuit of learning. Communications from the beginning have been forthright, respectful and honest. There have been no unexpected surprises; the contract, calendar requirements and ongoing modules have established a very strong steady rhythms. I sustained a significant injury to XXXXXXX and instead of being defeated in the face of the long road ahead, I was encouraged to fully heal and embrace the unique ways that this unforeseen experience could help me grow in compassion and awareness for others in pain. This is not a kind of competitive education designed to filter out the weakest, but instead, one that inherently teaches us to meet the fire-trials along the way as significant preparation for a most challenging and skilled vocation…..Our elaborate Instructor Response narrative evaluations are on a par with the most effective models of learning…..The attentive feedback is phenomenally diagnostic and very effective in helping me identify the details of my strengths and areas of weakness. I have found the language in these to be honest, supportive and positively directed toward evoking my fullest potential….I simply cannot speak highly enough of the quality, creativity, depth of scholarship and pedagogical expertise that I have received… ”

“… I chose the Chalice of Repose program because it offered a depth of material and formation not available elsewhere…….The Chalice program is longer than others, the rewards of the study are in proportion with the time required to absorb the material and meet the requirements. As far as I know, the Chalice program is the only program that includes the contemplative orientation which I feel is needed to serve the dying. I could not wait for each module to arrive. Modules drew on literature, art, music, anthropology, history, medicine, clinical practice skills, psychology, various sciences, cinematic arts, literature of several spiritual disciplines and current events. After sending in my work for each module, I would look forward to the evaluation and feedback. The feedback was highly individualized and must have represented hours of work on the part of the instructor XXXX. The years I was enrolled were not easy for me….My XXXX died suddenly. I immediately contacted the Dean and she was 100% supportive – offering me as much time as I needed to continue the work. The material in the modules became even more meaningful to me in light of my loss….Later, right prior to my clinical internship, my XXXX died, and once again, my XXXX died…..Again, I let the Dean know right away, and the support was compassionate and unconditional. Each time of personal loss, I followed the requirements and protocols that were published in the student handbook. I remained in frequent contact with the Dean and kept her informed of my situation and experiences. There is nothing unusual in the requirements stated in the contracts or handbook….. Today, I serve the dying in a major hospital. I am able to confidently move through my day and interact with doctors, nurses, administrators, chaplains and the families of the dying. This would not be possible without the formation provided by the Chalice of Repose Project School of Music-Thanatology. I am deeply grateful…..for the work of XXX……It has had a profoundly positive influence on the last days of those who are dying – and also on those who continue to live… ”

“… Thank you for everything you have done for me, for the class, for the world! What you have brought to the world is very beautiful and much needed. Thank you for your love and support… ”

“… One of the core strengths of the Chalice of Repose Project programs is their coherence. There is alignment in all aspects of knowledge, skills and spiritual development. I greatly appreciate the modeling…..of the contemplative dimension…..I have felt affirmed and encouraged, even when I have fallen short of meeting coursework delivery and administrative expectations….I appreciate the care and thoughtfulness which go into designing and delivering such an unusual and challenging program. I appreciate the nuanced way in which philosophical and epistemological frameworks cohere, the ways in which the academic staff reflect these in a “lived” manner and the overall integrity of the program… ”    

“… I benefited most from the flexibility of the two programs…  I met the unexpected challenge of diagnosis of cancer….All of my learning from the Chalice education benefited me to cope with life…..The music-thanatology program did teach me how to live well and die well, and to care for the dying in the most dignifying and loving ways… ”      

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