The Ancient Art of Listening

Once upon a time, we relied on our listening skills to tell us about the world.

In dense, shadowy forests, we listened for the crunch of leaves or the snap of a twig to tell us that animals were near. We listened when the wind picked up, warning us of an incoming storm.

After night fell, we gathered around the fire to sing songs, weave stories, and share news. The stories and songs we listened to as we sat by the hearth were passed from one generation to the next.

In fact, we’re born knowing how to listen. Months before they’re born, babies start to be able to hear sounds. Within hours of birth, they have been shown to recognize—and be calmed by—their mother’s voice.

But we often focus on other senses to the detriment of our listening skills.

No matter where we are in our lives, listening has the potential to help us heal, focus, and relax.

If, that is, we learn to pay attention to sound and harness its energy.

I’m Michael Reiley.

As far back as I can remember, music has been a vital part of my life. I always followed my own path, building a career as an independent musician and composer. Over the years, as my meditation practice deepened, I began to see how my musical and contemplative selves were intertwined.

Once I discovered the power of Deep Listening® and followed in the footsteps of my teachers, meditation and music converged for me.  They now coexist within my work, providing me with endless opportunities to explore and tap into my creativity.

Today, my work as a musician, composer, and teacher centers on how listening helps us heal, focus, and connect with ourselves and one another.

Having dedicated my life to the art of listening, I create ambient soundscapes that incorporate frequencies, field recordings, and music for various levels of consciousness, from active listening to deep sleep.

My recent projects include Echozoo, an archive of reimagined soundscapes of extinct animals and their habitats, and Celestial Music Box, a generative system that uses live star coordinate data to create sleep music.

I also lead workshops, soundwalks, and other interactive experiences where participants can experience the healing power of sound in community with one another.

As a therapeutic musician, I also play one-on-one for individuals who are healing from illness or experiencing life’s major transitions. Through live, acoustic music, I am able to provide comfort, relaxation, and respite for these patients.

After several years of being a nomad, I am currently based in Italy with my partner Monica.


Discover more about Michael and his path in this interview with Natalie Brown and the Sounds Heal Podcast.

Affiliations, Trainings & Traditions


Therapeutic Music


Bio Short (27 Words)

American composer, producer, and teacher Michael Reiley facilitates experiences in the traditions of sound therapy, sonic mindfulness, sacred music, and Deep Listening. Find out more at SoundofListening.com.

Long Bio (270 Words)

Michael Reiley is a composer, musician, and teacher. He creates sonic worlds in the traditions of sound therapy, sacred music, and Deep Listening. His work explores the nexus of inner and outer soundscapes as a mode of transpersonal connection and oneness. Through this exploration spectrums of listening consciousness are illuminated including music for sleep, dreaming, meditation, therapy, movement, and focused states of attention/awareness. His music uses techniques and technologies such as drones, binaural beat frequencies, color therapy, data sonification, field recording, tape loops, sacred geometry, esoteric frequency ratios, alternate tuning systems, extended improvisations, sound healing instruments, and more traditional instruments like piano, hand pan, and synthesizer.

Recent projects include Echozoo, an archive of reimagined soundscapes of extinct animals and their habitats, and Celestial Music Box, a generative system that uses live star coordinate data to create sleep music.

Michael is a certified Deep Listening having studied in the lineage of composer Pauline Oliveros. He currently teaches at the Center for Deep Listening at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and with his somatic listening workshops around the world called Listening Bodies.

As a sound therapist Michael has studied at the Music for Healing and Transition Program which trains musicians to play improvised music at the bedside of the sick and dying.

As a composer, he has released over ten albums on labels such as Healing Sound Propagandist, Sacred Sea Records, Pregnant Void, and on his own Sound of Listening Imprint. Michael also works as a composer for Wavepaths, a platform providing music experiences for and as psychedelic therapy. He is also the webmaster, blog editor, host, and podcast producer at Science and Nonduality.