As humans, we all share the commonality of mood responses to music. However, these responses differentiate and are unique from person to person. Mood responses to music are the change in mood or emotion in an individual after listening to a piece of music. Musical mood responses are deeply connected to musical memories, cultural background, as well as musical elements and form (Thaut, Unkefer, 2005). Perhaps a slow piano sonata can bring you feelings of calmness and grounding but could give another feelings of annoyance or motivation. Or, maybe a culturally traditional lullaby to one can bring soothing and familiar feelings but to another it could bring feelings of confusion or curiosity. Our musical identity, our own preferences and musical history, is exclusive to ourselves and have be used as a tool to influence and regulate our mood. In this article, we will explore relaxation music identities as well as exercises to utilize for musical relaxation.
Finding Your Relaxation Music
Take a moment to think about music genres, artist, or songs that make you feel calm and relaxed. Maybe these are musical items that you have listen to since you were a child and are associated with positive and calming memories. Perhaps the musical items are those that you already associate with the feeling of relaxation or, possibly, you have no idea what types of musical items make you feel relaxed.
An excellent way to start exploring your relaxation music identity is to pay close attention how your mood and emotions change when engaging in listening to different types of music. Below is a playlist of popular genres and songs for relaxation. Take some time to be by yourself and devote your attention to the music as well as your body’s response to the music. As you go through the playlist, notice if there are changes in muscle tension, breathing, and heart rate. If the music causes you to feel less tension in your muscles, a slower breathing and heart rate, and overall increase in calmness then it is a candidate for relaxation music to utilize.
─ Sarah Segada
Unkefer, R., & Thaut, M. (2005). Music therapy in the treatment of adults with mental disorders: theoretical bases and clinical interventions. Barcelona Publ.