This being Los Angeles, a lot of entertainment people come in to break through creative blocks. Whether the person works in music, movies or tv, the underlying issues tend to be very similar and the results very inspiring. Hypnosis, in the form of hypnotherapy, has been helping creative people break through their blocks for a very long time. This is the true story of a multi-talented man named Sergei Rachmaninoff who was born in 1873.
Rachmaninoff is most famous for his Second Concerto. You’d know it if you heard it. However, this magnificent musical piece almost did not get written at all if it wasn’t for hypnosis.
In 1897, Rachmaninoff’s First Symphony was released. The very first time it was performed, the conductor, Alexander Glazunov, was rumored to have been drunk at the time. Due to his intoxication, the performance came off very poorly and Rachmaninoff was humiliated.
For three years following the disastrous performance of his First Symphony, Rachmaninoff was so traumatized and depressed that he was unable to write music. He spent much of this time with his family in Moscow in an apathetic daze.
Breaking Through Writer’s Block
In 1899, a psychologist named Nikolai Dahl gained a reputation in Moscow for alleviating a variety of sundry psychological problems using hypnosis. Rachmaninoff sought Dr. Dahl’s assistance with his depression and his corresponding inability to compose music.
Dr. Dahl’s methods involved “autosuggestion” which involved repeating the following words to Rachmaninoff while he was under hypnosis: “ You will begin to write your concerto,” “You will work with great facility,” and “ This concerto will be of excellent quality.”
During a hypnosis session, the person becomes open to suggestion making them more likely to accept the suggestions being given. This is how Rachmaninoff went from being utterly traumatized, filled with self doubt to being able to compose music. Hypnosis gave him the ability to overcome his inertia and begin composing again, with great vigor and sense of purpose.
The negative associations of ridicule and failure that Rachmaninoff experienced following the disastrous performance of his First Symphony were erased and replaced with new associations filled with drive and confidence.
Following his sessions with Dr. Dahl, Rachmaninoff wrote his Second Concerto, which is his most famous piece. He dedicated this musical arrangement to Dr. Dahl. Following this success, Rachmaninoff went on to compose many other musical pieces for the next seventeen or so years. There are many different songs that you and I have heard that have borrowed from Rachmaninoff’s brilliance.
Below is the Second Concerto’s first movement. In it, you can hear the basis for Frank Sinatra’s “I Think of You.”
In the second movement, you can easily make out the song, “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen.