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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Meyer, MT-BC

In a world of unknown, music is our constant


As a music therapist, I've heard the phrase "listening to the radio is my therapy" too many times to count. Although the phrase itself disregards the years of training and education I went through to do what I do, I truly appreciate the sentiment behind the expression.

We use music in every facet of our lives. Think about it!

  • We might crank up peppy hits like "Eye of the Tiger" or anything by Lizzo during a workout

  • We might turn on something calm and instrumental by Bach, Debussy or Mozart to unwind at the end of a strenuous day

  • We might think back to gentle, romantic memories of dancing to "Love Me Tender" with our loved one

Music helps us emote. It helps us move and groove. It helps us connect with others. It helps us express our true identity.

Upon reflection, that is pretty incredible! (Although as a music therapist, I've known this all along...) With this awareness of music's reaching power we can use it to our advantage during various seasons or moments of life.

Personally, the season of life that I am in is one filled with heaviness, sensory overload and loss. The year 2020 has been no joke, and the amount of stress, negative news headlines, sadness and disappointment I have experienced this year has felt insurmountable at times. Luckily, I know that music is a consistent outlet that I can seek out (or....RUN TO) when my environment seems to be in chaos. Like we explored earlier, music is all around us and we witness it each and every day. Why not use that to our advantage?

When was the last time you really listened to a song? And no, I don't mean throwing on a song while you clean the bathroom, talk on the phone and simultaneously think about your giant to-do list. One of the quickest ways we can use music as a powerful tool is by tuning into it....closely! I call this a "mindful music moment." Do you have 3-5 minutes to be still and listen to a piece of music? If you answered yes, ask yourself the following questions while you are listening.

What instruments or sounds do I hear?

If there are lyrics, which words or phrases stick out to me?

How is the music making my body feel? Is there tension anywhere?

Can I relate to this song? In what ways?

Breathe in.

Breathe out. (repeat)

Success! So much of the music therapy research proves that truly tuning into a song is a simplistic mindfulness practice that can alleviate stress, regulate our physiological system and improve our mood. We encourage you to give it a try with music that you enjoy or that has meaning to you.

Music has the power to heal and soothe us. And how lucky are we to have access to it at any time and use it as a tool to guide us through life.

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