Music that Eases Your Pain

Results of the ICA Music Survey

The results of the ICA Music Survey showed us there’s really no “Top 10” for easing IC pain. The music you like to listen to and play to ease your IC is as diverse as you are. The song you're hearing , "Wings Take Flight," was composed by IC patient Janet Stephens.

Wings Take Flight
Copyright © Janet Stephens
Piano: Janet Stephens
Bass: Brian Wright
Drums: Gener Lopez
Alto Flute: Wayne Wayne (“He plays so nice, we had to name him twice.”)
Produced/Arranged by Janet Stephens & Brian Wright
Woodwinds Arranged by Wayne Wayne

We thought of 14 music styles for you to pick from. You liked them all and then some. You added even more categories that we hadn’t thought of: Celtic, soul, gospel, contemporary Christian, baroque, indie rock, and meditation and relaxation music. See how your favorite genres stack up to your fellow ICers'.

You also make your own beautiful music with a variety of instruments to calm your IC pain. The majority of you play the guitar, piano, or organ to soothe your symptoms, but the entire spectrum of instruments named lend themselves to creating peaceful, relaxing sounds.

The artists you liked were just as wide ranging. A few of your picks show how much: indie Icelandic band Sigur Rós, J. S. Bach, the Carpenters, Marvin Gaye, Conway Twitty, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Italian operatic pop group Il Divo, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, and Yanni. Few of you had the same favorite artists, but if there was any winner, it was Josh Groban, followed by a tie between J. S. Bach and Enya. Other artists that got more than one vote were Chopin, Barbra Streisand, Vivaldi, the Beatles, Marvin Gaye, and James Taylor. See the complete list of artists that IC patients told us help them ease their IC pain.

The songs and albums you liked, while diverse, seem to have some common themes—love and support, sweetness, faith, and transporting grandeur. You might like to pick some of these to listen to yourself.

Janet Stephens, the jazz pianist quoted in our Winter 2010 ICA Update story “Listen More, Hurt Less” offers a composition of hers for you to listen to here. She said that if she’s performing, rehearsing with her bassist and life partner Brian Wright, or composing, she gets significant pain relief within 15 minutes. “It’s very much like the ‘runner’s high’ people talked about in the 1970s.’”

Stephens told us that she wrote “Wings Take Flight,” the piece you are hearing, during a time when she was trying to get approval to try a controversial treatment for IC and at a moment of severe pain. She had left a private party she played for and got lost, so she was in excruciating pain by the time she got home.

“Yet,” Stephens said, “I felt drawn to the piano. As I sat down, my fingers moved, but it was not as if I was consciously doing anything other than letting the song pouring through me. This was such an unknown experience I had to talk myself into letting it take place. My heart pounded and my pulse jumped. ‘Let it go. . . Let it go. . . . You’re writing a song. . . Let it be,’ I told myself. As this was happening I saw, in my mind’s eye a huge white dove more the size of an eagle, flying strongly, soaring into lofty, gossamer clouds.”

She succeeded in getting the prescription shortly after the tune was written.

Listen to “Wings Take Flight” here and to more of her music at her and Brian’s website, Piano Meets Bass (

Want to know what the best ways are to use music to ease your pain? Some of the answers will surprise you! Read all about it in "Listen More, Hurt Less" in our Winter 2010 issue of the ICA Update.


Revised March 22, 2010