In today’s fast-paced world that bombards the senses with sounds and mechanical vibrations, your body can easily shift
into an unnatural rhythm. You might say you’re “out of synch” or “out of harmony” while science would call that feeling
However, you don’t need to reach into the medicine cabinet to change a stressed-out mood. Instead, you can restore harmony in your body by turning to music.
Why turn to music? Because using certain types of musical rhythms brings about a state of relaxed alertness and physical
calm though an alpha brainwave pattern, similar to the pattern created when you meditate. Yet music can do in minutes what people strive to accomplish in weeks of meditative practice!
Terrific Tool for Kids
Here’s the best part: Parents can turn on this terrific tool when their kids get “out of synch.”
A certain music tempo will slow down their heartbeats, lower their blood pressure, and reduce stress hormones in the
bloodstream. Don Campbell, in his breaththrough book The Mozart Effect (Avon Books, 1997), states that listening to
half an hour of classical music produced the same effect as ten milligrams of Valium for hospitalized heart patients.
Indeed, music has power over human physiology and psychology because it bypasses the mental process. Sounds and vibrations enter the human body subconsciously…leading to either a negative or positive result. You can control that result through your choice of music. Different music has different effects that will calm your kids, excite them, get them to dance, or even move them to tears.
Matching Music to the Mood
To influence how music can affect your child, use good judgment. If a young one needs to be comforted, playing loud
drumming music won’t help because it stimulates the nervous system and could cause further distress. But playing a soothing melody by Brahms or Beethoven would slow down the child’s heartbeat and allow relaxation to set in.
At nap or bedtime, the right music can be as comforting as a favorite blanket. Select music that is soft and light in texture
to support your child’s sense of well-being. Choose music without words. Words tend to stimulate the brain and nervous
system, which is counterproductive during the times you want your child to sleep.
When babies hear soothing instrumental sounds, their brains tend to slow to the frequency generated by the sounds.
Lullabies, whale and dolphin sounds, or soft angelic choral music cradle the child in a loving vibration, thus enhancing
relaxation and inviting sleep.
As children get older, you can expand their musical inventory with stories or guided imagery combined with music. This helps a child focus on tasks better, and also facilitates the transition time between activities at school and relaxing at home.
If you sense your children feel lethargic, play syncopated Latin music to uplift their moods, or even go for some John
Philip Sousa marching music. Children feel more engaged in their chores or games while listening to music that has a lively beat.
Also explore folk songs and nursery rhymes from different cultures. Songs in other languages are a great way to experience the raw emotional aspect of music. Children hear the song from their “feeling” centers because they cannot understand the words. This teaches them to rely on the rhythm, tone, and overall mood that the voice and music create to understand the theme of the song. (To find music from other countries, look in
the “World Music” section of libraries and music stores.)
The rich variety of rhythm in dance and folk music encourages children to experiment with body movement, thus stimulating motor activity. Look for songs that identify animals and objects, songs that use clapping hands and stomping feet to learn about body parts, and songs that teach numbers.
As children grow, so will their musical interests and you’ll get to explore the rhythms of unfamiliar cultures right along
Music from the Beginning
From the beginning of their lives, make a point of sharing respect and appreciation for music with your children, and
you’ll all reap the benefits over time. You’ll see how learning musical rhythms spurs their motor development and self-
confidence. Teaching melodies and words together also stimulates learning language and math skills.
Howard Gardner, in Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Harper Collins, 1983), says that preschoolers given piano and voice lessons have been found to dramatically improve in their ability to put together picture puzzles of animals. Playing piano at preschool age also influences a child’s brain during the development of the cortex-the upper part of the brain used for thinking, talking, seeing, hearing, and creating.
You’ll experience immediate benefits, too. When you use music to change a child’s mood from “out of synch” to “in harmony,” your whole world will seem like a better place.
Dr. Caron Goode is a Managing Director of the International Breath Institute, an educational and training organization offering weekend seminars and certification in the TransformBreathing Energy Management System. Caron is also the founder of DreamLodge Seminars for women and author of Inspired Parenting series. For further information, see www.InspiredParenting.net and www.FullwaveBreathing.com.