“Music, gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything”– Plato.
Music has a way of opening our hearts and help us feel more connected to others, to ourselves, and to the world around us. It is a direct line to our emotions and state of being.
Music practice as a form of meditation is not a new idea and much has been written about cultures relating to music in this way. Music as medicine also been used for health and healing for a long time with ancient sound therapies from gong baths to Tibetan singing bowls being used as therapeutic intervention since the late 18th century.
New sound experiences like music-synched massage to ‘deep nature listening’, ‘interactive sound journeys’ in the Ecuadorean rainforest, sanctuaries from noise pollution & forest ‘listening’, music as a purposeful therapy is being radically reinvented.
We all self-medicate through music, from our unwind and de-stress playlists to our high energy playlists. Studies reveal that not only are humans hardwired for music, but they also agree that no other stimulus positively activates so many regions of the human brain from the amygdala to the hippocampus with unique powers to boost mood and memory. Researchers found that listening to and playing music increases the body’s production of the antibody immunoglobulin A and natural killer cells, the cells that attack invading viruses and boost the immune system’s effectiveness.
Anyone can use music practice as meditation. The key is concentration. Focused concentration with complete attention to the situation whether it is with composed notated, graphic, verbal or completely free improvised music. This is a meditation of completely absorbed concentration. This intense but relaxed concentration should have the music you are practicing as the single object of the awareness.
By consciously choosing to focus on the music rather than letting it just play in the background, we prevent our minds from being hijacked by whatever thought, feeling, or idea comes along. It’s like a reset button for our body, mind, and heart, allowing us to rest and process the change happening within and around us.
How to practice music meditation:
1. Find a relaxing song to play.
2. Get cozy. Support yourself in a relaxing position with pillows and blankets.
3. Press play and close your eyes.
4. Focus fully on the sound.
5. When your mind wanders – which is natural – come back to the music.
6. Every time you come back, you are practicing meditation.
7. Stay with the music until the end of the song or set a timer for 5-10 minutes if it’s a long song.
Resources for Wellness music
Mood-changing playlists on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube “chill playlists” such as “Deep Focus,” “Peaceful Piano” and “Ambient Chill can help in stress-reducing, sleep and focus enhancing. Check out these videos to de-stress, help lower your heart rate and unwind.
To Lower Your Heart Rate: Relaxing Sounds
Relaxing Music for Stress Relief. Soothing Music Meditation
For Those Who Like Nature: Soothing Waterfall With Forest Birds
Fan of the Rain? : Soft Rain Sounds
Study Music to Concentrate- Improve Focus