We’ve all heard of “The Mozart Effect”, where listening to the great Amadeus’ works can enhance mental processes, especially in the young. Learning a musical instrument has also been proven to greatly assist a child’s cognitive development at their early stages of development and even improve their IQ and mathematical abilities as they get older!
With all this wonderful influence music has over us, we at The Relaxation Centre are keen to share how it can be used to calm us all down.
You know how when you hear a really old song on the radio and it instantly takes you back to a school disco you attended years back? Or reminds you of a previous heartbreak? Well we can tap into this power of music and use it our great benefit. Here’s how:
1. Need to relax? Soothing classical over thrashing metal
This may be obvious, but the type of music you choose is hugely important.
Ever wondered why fast food chains play upbeat, pop music? Because subconsciously it makes you pick up your pace a bit. They want you to purchase, eat and get out, quickly – and it works.
Some of the busier London Tube stations have been pumping soothing classical music through those tunnels for years in an effort to reduce crime and stressful travelling by subconsciously slowing people down and therefore calming them.
Choose some slower paced, quieter classical music if you want to unwind: try Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.2, the second movement and lose yourself in those wonderful harmonies.
2. For quick stress relief, listen through headphones
Many hospitals are now more au fait with music therapy and encourage patients to listen to music through headphones before and after surgery, to help with the nerves.
If you need a ‘quick fix’ – think dentist, impending exam or important presentation – pop in some headphones and play some soothing music to really channel the music (and the relaxation) into you.
3. In pain? Turn to Chopin
Music has been proven to reduce both the sensation and distress of both chronic pain and postoperative pain.
The intricate embellishments of Chopin’s piano music coupled with the soothing harmonies act as a fantastic distraction if you’re suffering, physically. It’s an even better distraction if you play the piano – the multiple tricky passages will quickly have your mind occupied!
4. Music with Meditation
Although this is a very subjective topic, music can aid meditation by helping slow the mind down and initiate the relaxation response. Choose music that works for you: some people appreciate music with no structure at all and others prefer a familiar melody.
Sounds of nature incorporated into music are often used for this purpose as it helps conjure up images of calm e.g. the sound of water can help you envisage relaxing by a mountain spring on a Spring day.
5. Mozart for Memory
“The Mozart Effect” works by these mathematical sequences and patterns leading to an improvement in the ability to manipulate shapes mentally, improves memory function and general spatial awareness.
In actual fact, “The Mozart Effect” is not specific to Mozart – many pieces of music help mentally, however the studies conducted, focused on Mozart and proved that his piano concertos most specifically, had the greatest impact.
Whether it’s Beethoven or Bjork you’re into, use music to your advantage.
As always, stay relaxed and smiling, friends.