Music as a form of meditation

Even though most of us have free time and opportunity to focus on our happiness, we’re more stressed than ever.

Mindfulness Meditation Music

I want to share a way you can use music to help calm the mind and redirect ourselves towards more useful and empowering things.

First, though I have an admission to make…

Even though I create music, for personal enjoyment, I’m still prone to stress and even depression at times.

I have noticed though that whenever I either work on some new music or just listen to one of my favourite artists, something in my brain changes.

You may not realise, but recording and producing music is necessarily a form of mindfulness that involves sound.

The quality of your work is directly connected, not only to your training and technical prowess but to your ability to listen with every fibre of your being. Being an audio engineer for over 15 years and being paid to use your ears exclusively has meant a significant change in my sensitivity to sound and particularly music.

How to use mindfulness meditation music to de-stress de-clutter and calm your mind

Here are some simple things you can do with music that will help to ease the mind and dispel stress.

The first thing you need to do is:

1. Find the right music

It has to be spacious without being boring or overly simplistic. It’s essential that it also has a strong melodic theme without being too strident. And despite the massive amount of music in the world, this is quite a difficult combination to find.

By far the best example of this that I have come across is the genius soundtrack composer Vangelis.

Here’s a track from one of my albums that works beautifully as a musical meditation.

2. Prepare the space

Ideally, you need to be alone somewhere with a relative amount of silence. Find a spot where you can lie down or sit comfortably.

“Silence is the backing track to all great music. Good music provides space for you, the listener.”

3. Have a good sound system

You can use headphones but most these days are not very comfortable or of very good sound quality. Plus there’s nothing like a great pair of speakers filling the room with beautiful sound. You can find some tips on getting a good home sound system here.

4. Create a playlist

Prepare a playlist or an album you can play from start to finish without any moments that will jolt you out of a calm state of mind.

5. Just listen

This is the most crucial point of all. Even heavy metal can be a kind of meditation if you stop and commit all of your attention. Resist the urge to do anything else at the same time. Too many people use music as a kind of backing track rather than in the moment awareness.

simple act of listening - Herrin

“By engaging in the simple act of listening you become a part of the music.”

The other great thing about this practice is that the sound replaces any internal dialogue we might have going on.

Sit, stand or lie down, put the music on and listen.

Allow yourself to pay attention to the details of the music.

You can practice shifting your attention from one instrument to another. If that seems too technical, allow the entire spectrum of sound to fill your mind and draw you in completely.

This is where the quality of the music becomes crucial.

“Great music is like a vacuum that draws you inexorably into its sphere of influence.”

This is something that audio engineers and music producers understand as a daily experience. But why should everyday music lovers miss out?

By using these mindfulness meditation music exercises, you can engage the power of sound to focus and calm your mind whenever you’re feeling stressed or agitated. Then you can come back to your life with a renewed sense of calm or inspiration. In some cases, you may find you can just let it go…

Music is a powerful medium that can help us to transcend our perceived limitations, but only if we commit to real listening.

music revelations beethoven

What do you think?

What’s your favourite music to allow you to reach a place of peace and calm?

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4 thoughts on “Music as a form of meditation”

  1. Of all the meditations that I practice, music meditation is my favorite. It’s less restrictive than guided meditation. It lets you let go and just be in the experience. This was a great article. Music is my meditation of choice.

    1. Highly underrated as a form of meditation that’s for sure. As a sound engineer and musician you do it all the time. Just stopping and really listening is a kind of mindfulness exercise!

  2. Leigh Robshaw

    I agree. How often do we give ourselves the luxury of just sitting and listening to music? It’s one of life’s great pleasures and costs nothing (once you’ve paid for the music). Thanks, great post.

  3. Grainne O'Reilly

    Music is a curative&a meditative.It affects the brain hemisphere,distracting focus,feeding new information into the brain as you listen.It can be a sharp contrast with our own thoughts.It has immediate physical impact too.Can irritate as much as relax.We take it seriously,it has associative power,some we never want to hear again,others a comfort blanket.It’s almost an entity in itself we have a personal relationship with.We can fall out of love with it.It’s powerful magic.It can also do something really powerful,help you quell the inner storm,ironically find the silence&safety the theists preach.It’s an addiction,we are highly selective in our preferred music&it can draw a line between us.We get domineering&territorial over it.It’s personality defining too,not just genre.It can reflect how intelligent you are perceived to be….to some….It’s also under-rated as a medicinal tool.If it can rock you to sleep,it’s no enemy.It’s a pure gift.

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