Just Relax: Using Music as a Stress Reliever

relaxDrop what you’re doing and take a deep breath, because today, August 15th, is National Relaxation Day!

As musicians, we all know the power of music: it can energize us while we’re exercising, bring back memories of specific moments or people, and even strengthen your brain power as you age. But nothing beats the effects of total relaxation when it comes to reducing stress and helping you feel better overall.

To celebrate National Relaxation Day, here are a few pointers to both ease your stress, and improve your technique as you play your instrument today:

1) Get rid of tension.
Tension is definitely an enemy for musicians, so engaging in relaxation and stress-relieving activities is essential. It’s easy to feel tense when you’re practicing difficult piano songs, but constant stress can lead to injuries and overall poor technique. Make sure to warm up before every practice session, and if you start feeling tense, slow down until your fingers are moving evenly and your wrists, hands and shoulders are relaxed.

2) Breathe.
Singers know all about this, but in fact, all types of musicians can benefit from deep breathing exercises. Many musicians can also benefit from yoga and pilates stretches as part of a warm-up routine. Try taking a few moments to breathe, slowly and deeply, to center yourself before a performance or audition.

3) Listen to the most relaxing song ever.
Yes, folks, we’ve discovered the most relaxing song ever, and you can listen to it here. According to the British Academy of Sound Therapy, this trance-inducing tune is the perfect tempo for synchronizing with the heart and brainwaves, leading you into a deep state of relaxation. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t… in any case, we think it’s worth a try!

4) Incorporate meditation.
When it comes to relaxing, meditation doesn’t mean you have to be completely silent. If you have a performance coming up, try listening to a recording of the song with your eyes closed, and really try to internalize the music.  The deeper the connection you have to the piece, the better you’ll be able to express yourself and really move your audience.

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Photo by Kelly Maret.

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