In January I spoke at a conference and shared various ways that the attendees could use music in their daily lives for wellness and wholeness. Here, I will introduce a few of those music-based activities for you amazing parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals.

Listening to Music. We can listen to music passively or actively. Passive music listening involves simply letting the recording run and allowing our bodies to naturally respond to the songs. Active music listening involves specifically choosing to follow the words, melody, or an instrument that is being played during the song. Active music listening is beneficial for engaging our minds and directing our focus to a positive stimulus.

WHAT KIND OF MUSIC SHOULD I LISTEN TO? Listen to music that you like, and notice how these songs make you feel. If they make you feel good (e.g., calm, relaxed, happy, energized, etc…), then keep it up. If you notice these songs are actually making you sad or anxious, then implement a change by creating a list of songs that make you feel how you want to feel. You can even adapt your playlists to lead you to a happier or calmer state.

Writing Music. Writing meaningful phrases within a set structure helps to create organization of your thoughts and feelings. While it may seem daunting to “write a song,” this task is much simpler than that. Choose a song and count the number of lines in the verses and chorus. Then, personalize the song by replacing the lyrics with your own words! Rather than completely changing the lyrics, you can also choose to replace certain words or phrases to reflect your situation.

Singing Music. Singing the words on a lyric sheet or singing a-long to a recording engages both our minds and bodies. Have you ever been told to breathe to help relax? You can also try singing. Singing involves not only taking those deep breaths- but also letting something beautiful come out of that breath- your voice! Embrace the sound of your voice and let it settle in your ears.

Learning to Play an Instrument. Take time each day to watch a free video online to learn songs on piano, guitar, banjo, mandolin, violin, or ukulele, to name a few. If you do not own an instrument, you can also download an app that allows you to interface with a few piano keys. A real, physical instrument, however, will provide the richest sound source, and offers you the capability of manipulating a real object versus another screen- which will be a much more engaging experience for your mind and body.

Enjoy this sample of music activities for enrichment in your daily life! Whether you decide to engage in music listening, song writing, singing, or instrument play, each is a valuable opportunity to grow, learn, and explore the richness of who you are in your mind and body and your own unique capacity for human creativity.