Relaxation Activity 3 – The Sound of Music (link to intro.)
For yourself: So often, music just flows around in the background of life. This is the opportunity to let your mind let go of everything else for a few moments, and simply focus on the music. Find a comfortable place where other noises will not interfere. A good set of headphones is a good investment, and helps block out miscellaneous noises, and makes the music feel much more personal. I recommend instrumental music that does not include melodies that make you try to think of the words to the song. (Please see below for recommendations and free music downloads.) Let your mind focus on what you are hearing. Do you focus on the emotion? Do you focus on the whole of what is being played? Do you listen to identify which instruments are playing? Does your mind create pictures of what it seems like the music is portraying (That’s ME!): Is it a beautiful place? Does it seem like a story of something happening? If you are not sure, try to focus each of these ways, and see what type of listening works best to help you relax. Be aware of your muscles, let go…
With your child: Again, choose instrumental music, but start by choosing a piece that is just 2 – 3 minutes long. Together, FIND or MAKE a Cloak of Listening for each of you, a large light-weight see-through scarf to be placed over the entire body, or a favorite blanket upon which to lie down and wrap up in. Either can be a good prop to use that gives a child something to feel the effect of what I call “All Over-ness” which helps them lie still. Let them know the “cloak” is their connection to the music – it allows them to listen to the music with their whole body, but they need to keep every part of their body within it, and lie still to make it work. (Don’t be too strict about no movement, as long as it is calm. And some children will NOT want it over their face – that’s OK.) Encourage them to take THREE deep breaths, then breathe normally while you start the music.
This may work differently with different children. Some children may benefit from having you gently glide your hands over the cloak along their arms and along their legs as they listen. Some will enjoy just listening. Some will enjoy hearing your calm voice describe what is heard. Some will enjoy telling you about what they hear. Be open to learn how this works best with your child. When finished with one short piece of music, as if they would like another, or if they would like to start a new activity. Continue as long as they like, but have a fun dramatic removal of the Cloak of Listening to finish off the activity.
At every age, Kindermusik classes offer opportunities to develop active listening skills, as well as promoting relaxation skills through music.
If you are looking for relaxing music, you might try downloading some from the PlayKindermusik website, http://play.kindermusik.com. When you initially Sign In, it extends you 3 free credits, which will allow you to download THREE songs for FREE! I strongly recommend three of the songs from the Album “Sailing to Dreamland”: My Little Boat, Suo Gan, and Skye Boat Song. That would give you approximately 10 minutes worth of some of the most relaxing music Kindermusik has to offer (without taking a Kindermusik class.) With your children, this might give you a way to start with one song, and build up to the full 10 minutes.
If you are open to purchasing 8 more credits (.89 each – total of $7.12), you can download the full album of 12 beautiful songs (getting 12 songs for 11 credits). Each song is beautiful and relaxing – I actually had a hard time choosing just three.
Of course, I have many more suggestions for relaxing music for both adults and children. Let’s spark up some comments here, or on Facebook about YOUR favorite musical selections for relaxation.